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Trenton, Ontario, Canada
In June 2012 we started the Great Loop in our Bayliner Explorer. This blog is for family and friends who would like to follow our comings and goings and , for now, our getting ready for the trip. If you read this blog we would love to hear your comment& suggestions.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Great Harbour Cay - Berry Islands

God works in mysterious ways.

We never planned to visit Great Harbour Cay. But when we left our anchorage on the banks we found both engines were acting up.

The port engine was overheating badly and the starboard engine was spewing water at such a rate we had to run the bilge pumps every 15 mins.
So we headed to Great Harbour; for protection and also to see what on earth was wrong with the engines that kept causing us so many problems.

As we wearily entered through the cut we found ourselves in a wonderfully protected harbour. No rocking and rolling from constant wave action and swells caused by wind over tide, just flat calm protected harbour.
I was on the bow getting the lines ready to tie to the dock and I turned to Gary and at the same time we said to each other that it would be lovely to stay here for a while.
SeaBear, Jack Nicholas's boat at the marina


The wreck of a (so the rumour goes) drug plane. We scuba dove on it.
At low tide it sticks half way out of the water

Great Stirrup Cay Lighthouse

Isn't it incredible?!!!
Lush Bougainvilleas (and don't forget it is winter here too!)

The meandering waterway through mangroves from Great Stirrup to Bullocks

The town of Bullock Harbour

Great Harbour Cay Marina since this picture was taken it has been repainted  - they are 

Sugar Beach

From the cave - Marilyn and Frank who stay on the island for winter took us sightseeing.



Shark in the shallows of Shark Creek

Kimberly taking the freshly baked bread out of the oven

I fell in love with this place. So different from the Abacos; life here seems a lot less rushed and certainly a lot less commercial. Here you can feel the island life envelope you. Enough mod-cons that you don’t feel deprived (internet and groceries) but just enough remoteness to allow you to enjoy the tropical feel of the Bahamas. Now, I am sure there are more remote places but I haven’t been there yet, so this was it for me. Don’t misunderstand, it is not like you are cut off from civilization, there is an airport with daily flights but it just feels so ISLANDY.  Some of you might think I am being a tad naive, well that might also be the case. Regardless, I love it here!!
A reminder of days gone by. The ruins of the old county club house.The 9 holes that remain are still played regularly by visitors to the island.

Anyhow, so here we are in the Berrys. The beauty of this island is only surpassed by the beauty of its people. The Islanders are friendly, helpful and kind.
I was invited to the visiting ladies book club meeting and lunch and Gary and I even went to local Anglican Church.

The steeple of St Bartholomew's church is clearly seen from the water of  Bullocks Harbour We attended this church twice and loved the singing of the Bahamians and the passion of the priest as he led the sermons.

One of the highlights of my visit here was going to Kimberly’s home and spending a day cooking and baking with her.
Great Harbour Cay is surrounded by the shallow banks on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.

See the sea slug?

A tunnel through the mangroves to Shark creek

I cannot get over the beauty of the water 

Brought to the islands by a hurricane, this old girl is now all but forgotten on the banks

The Atlantic side offers visitors spectacular scenery with water that glistens like jewels and white sandy beaches that go on forever. The Banks side offers safe anchorages and great fishing spots where you can dingy around rocky islands looking for conch and stingrays among the mangroves and grassy spots.
The town of Bullocks Harbour has 2 grocery stores, a hardware store and a general store that sells everything from Pepsi to curtains. On one occasion we went in there to by a cool drink and found out we had forgotten our money on the boat. The owner drove Gary back to the boat to get money and left me in charge of his store, I managed to sell two sets of curtains and he thanked me as it was the best sale he had all day.
The boat that brings in supplies every 3 weeks.

The mail boat comes in every 3 weeks and also brings fresh fruit and vegetables to sell. That means the groceries taper out towards its next visit but you can almost find anything you need here.

3/4 of the crew off  SV Abyshack cleaning coconuts

But most of all I loved getting to know they people here. The lovely staff at the marina that made our stay here a memory we will treasure for ever. Their smiling faces we will never forget; Raymond who used to pick me coconuts so I could drink the sweet water from them. Meco with his loud (and not so slightly) off key singing and my new friend the  sweet Bahama-Mama , Kimberly, who taught me the ropes of baking Coconut bread and making true Bahamian style mac and Cheese. The manager Hans, went out of his way to make our stay a pleasure and nicer guy you would never meet.  There are some big and rich boats that come in to this marina and yet they treated us all the same.

Ramon kept me in coconuts. The little ones are sweeter than the big ones. The white fleshy party is softer and very tasty. 
Meko, Hans, Mr Rufus and Samantha Great Harbour Cay Marina staff ( Mr Rufus is lang since retired but still visits every day)

These two manatee showed up in GHC after a hurricane

Enjoying some fresh water

Our marina neighbours from Montreal, Fez, Ahmed and Mike

I loved it here. I wish I could stay here forever.
Tomorrow we head further south and I am hoping that our engine troubles will be a thing of the past. On to Nassau where we will not linger, it is just a stop over to the Exumas.

My heart breaks to leave Great Harbour Cay and my new friends but I am looking forward to the next part of the adventure.

…… be continued


  1. Oh Crystelle!!! Bob and I have been scuba divers for 30 years and took many vacations to the Carribean during our working years. I thought I had "seen it all" and was not interested in taking our Loop boat to the Bahamas. This is the first blog post with photos from the Bahamas that has made me realize how much I wish we had (or still could) take a boat to the Bahamas! Simply stunning! I can see why you lost your heart to this place. Xoxoxo

    1. Dear Cathryn, the Berrys are the best kept secret of the Bahamas. Boaters use it a stop over between Bimini and Nassau and never take time to stay and explore. ( Why is everyone always in a rush to get to the Exumas??)
      I am afraid all other places we go from here might not measure up to the beauty and hospitality of this amazing paradise. But we shall see.... Thank you for staying in touch, NOW get on your boat and come to the Berrys,or rent a place here.

  2. It looks like you might have found "Paradise". I'll be looking forward to tasting your coconut bread the next time our wakes cross. Take care...Kathy and Terry

    1. Ug I relied but it went missing. Where are you guys? I will make you some of Miss Kimberly's bread when I see you again. Take care, hugs C and G

  3. Beautiful. Keep those blog posts coming. David and Moyia

  4. I am sold!! We on Quest have never visited Great Harbor but it is now on our agenda, thanks to your praises. In snowy Vermont now but back to Bimini on Saturday then maybe a cruise to The Berrys.

    1. Quest will love it here!! The marina is the best!! You will miss the boom boom boom from Bimini's night life as it is very quiet here. An easy cruise for you guys and I highly recommend it. Even found some "hamburger" seabeans here, so keep your eyes open!! Stay for the friday night "Chill n Grill" good Bahamian food !

  5. Hi Gary & Crystelle,
    Loved the pictures. The water looks amazing. Keep sending us updates we will be heading that way next winter to check things out for ourselves.
    Randy & Sherri
    M/V Priorities (currently in Marathon FL)

  6. Hi!

    I am currently working on populating the Bahamas Geotourism website ( points of interest directory with descriptions and photos. Do you mind if we use photos from your site here of St. Bartholomew Anglican Church?
    Of course you will be credited, just let me know which name to put on the credits.

    Would appreciate the help.

    Thanks much,