Abaco to the Berry Islands

We left the Abacos last Thursday and had a great ride to the Berry Islands.  The wind was out of the north and the sea was pretty flat, for having depths of 10,000 feet.  The color of the water was an indescribable bluish-purple, and the water temperature was 79 degrees.  It was 30 miles from Little Harbour to the bottom of Abaco, and then another 30 miles to the entrance into the area we wanted to visit.  We made the ride in just 8 ˝ hours, averaging a speed of around 8 knots.  As we sailed along the coast, a pod of dolphins joined us and kept us enthralled as they danced in the foam from our boat. (See picture from another member’s log) They traveled faster than we did!  This was a very nice ride, and it felt good to be cruising again.

When we got to our chosen anchorage just south of Hoffman Cay, we hopped in the dinghy and headed to Little Caulding, also known to me and Billy as the island of my dreams and savasanas.  It was still as beautiful as I remembered it, with its powdery white sand and palm trees.  I was very happy to be back.  We took a ride around this tiny island and saw a reef shark hanging out in about 2 feet of water.  We didn’t see the manta rays that were here last time. 

The wind picked up during the night, and we tried to find better shelter.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much room for hiding in this area, due to the shallow depth of the water.  We had a rocky night’s sleep.  In the morning, we went to explore Hoffman Cay and visit the blue hole.  I was so grateful that back in 2004, when we first made this trip, we met a crazy Italian landscaper from Long Island who told us about this area.  A blue hole is just what it sounds like.  You could call it a big pond, but blue holes were formed as the earth was being formed billions of years ago.  In certain areas, the water swirled for so long, it acted like a drill and bored out these deep holes.  There are several in the Bahamas, both on land and in the ocean, ranging in depths of under 100’ to 4,000’.  They are connected to the ocean by underground caves and channels.  We used our handheld depth finder and it told us it was 40’ deep, just from the edge where we were standing.  We waited to see if the big old grouper that used to reside here would make an appearance, but he didn’t until just as we were leaving.  We continued to hike the path down to another pristine beach. 

After lunch we relocated the boat closer to Devils Cay, another favorite beach.  It was a little tricky landing the dinghy as there is a reef on the edge of the whole beach and we had waves crashing around us.  But skipper Billy was able to get us to shore without hurting the boat.  Devil’s Cay beach is about a mile long and usually has great sea shells.  But the tide was up, so I only found a few.  There are two swimming holes that are protected from the big waves by tall reefs, so we had a blast hanging out here, splashing around in the water when we were hot, working on our all over tans, drinking rum punch….ahhh, life in the Bahamas!

So we passed three full days here, exploring, hiking, eating, drinking, swimming, doing yoga and just bumming around.  The wind never died down.  In fact it blew a steady 25 to 30 knots for at least a day.  For four nights we both slept with one eye open.  Fortunately, we have a good anchor and a lot of chain, so we never dragged. 

On Sunday, we pulled up the anchor and headed to Nassau.  Although the wind was from the north, it was a very bumpy ride with seas up to 10’.  It was under 40 miles, though, and we got there with plenty of light in the sky.  We anchored in front of The Cloisters, and also, rumor reports, Lisa Marie Presley’s house.  This is our first time in Nassau.  It is a world away from Abaco and the Berrys!