Berry Islands

This issue lets visit the Berry Islands where the population is only about seven hundred people, most of which are in Bullock’s Harbor. Due to the many wealthy seasonal residents, some of which own their own island in this 15-20 mile long curving chain, the Berry Islands can say they have more resident millionaires per square mile than any other place in the world.

We are starting at the north end of the chain by anchoring in between Little Stirrup, which is owned by Royal Caribbean and renamed Coco Cay, and Big Stirrup, which is owned by Norwegian and has a small lighthouse you can visit. Given that this harbor is called Slaughter Bay and it has very limited protection, you only want to stay here in settled weather. The fun part here is sneaking ashore and hanging out with the cruise ship guest. I found Royal Caribbean’s island to be most fun and there is even a small plane in the swim area.

It was moved here and not changed on the chart so I spent over an hour at our next stop, Bullock’s Harbor, looking for it. What I found instead was a little blue hole and a small shipwreck that is only four feet deep, so anyone can feel comfortable snorkeling around it. Ashore you can find a marina and the only settlement in this chain of islands. Take advantage of the services available because we will not see civilization until our last stop.

Now due to the northeast portion of the Great Bahama Bank we have to sail around the Stirrup Cays on the outside of the chain to get to our next stop, Hoffman’s Cay. Here you will find a big blue hole, which are usually the collapsed roof of an underwater cave. This one has 15 foot cliffs all around it you can jump off of and swim in the 100+ feet deep water. If you are wondering how you get back up don’t worry, there is a hidden trail making it very easy.

About a mile south is Devil’s Cay. This is a great island to hang out on the beach and relax. Across the way on Gaulding Cay you can find a small cave worth checking out and someone set up a hammock with an old fish net.

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About two more miles south is Little Harbor Cay with Flo’s Conch Shack. This place is literally in the middle of nowhere, but has a very good reputation as a great place to grab a bite and hang out. Sadly Flo is no longer around to run the place and I think it suffers without her. The thing that amazed me was the sheer number of conch shells it takes to make the piles around the shack!

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All the islands south of here are privately owned, but that does not stop you from being able to anchor at them and most don’t mind if you walk on the beach. Over at Whale Cay there is an old lighthouse you can explore if you want to chance it. On Chub Cay there is a marina and housing development that use to be very exclusive. It has since gone bankrupt and when I was here cruisers were allowed to walk around the grounds and swim in the pool, which was a real treat. Even better is the snorkeling at Mama Rhoda Rock across the inlet.

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Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

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