Next up: The Berry Islands Episode

Here’s the latest video from Peacemaker and her crew. We always hope you enjoy and be sure (if you’re not already) to follow us on facebook, youtube, and all those other social media things.

Enjoy!

Not satisfied? Here’s some more info on the cays and where we’ve been.

Leaving the Biminis we had a beautiful, 12 kts south-east wind on our beam, magnificent sun, crystal clear water and high spirits. It was an easy and pleasant passage to Mackie Shoal.

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Mackie Shoal

Anchorage: Sand

25° 40.263′ N
77° 041.704′ W

Mackie Shoal is in the middle of the Great Bahama Bank and a half-way point between the Bimini Islands and the Berry Islands. We decided to spend the night there to cut our passage in half and make the 70 mile journey in two days time. The winds were a bluster 15 kts, gusting to 25, and it was quite possibly one of the worst nights sleep ever. Peacemaker was galloping like a thoroughbred at the Kentucky derby in 2-4’ waves, but luckily, if you want to call it luck, she wasn’t rolling – which is worse somehow.

Leaving Mackie Shoal the wind changed direction to south, south-west and we were downwind sailing the remainder of the way with 20kts winds. It grayed out over the sky and the clouds came out unfortunately, but it was still a decent passage since the current and waves were pushing us along at 9-10 kts on occasion. Peacemaker was surfing for the first time!

Berry Islands

Great Harbor Cay

Anchorage: Good holding (sand, some grass)

25° 44.981′ N
77° 050.627’W

This was one of our first anchorages where our jaws dropped at how fantastic it all was. As we rounded the rocks heading into the harbor a two-mile long crescent moon of ice-cream pristine sand greeted us off in the distance as we motored through 30’ dark blue waters you could see through to the bottom. Peacemaker reached her anchorage a few hundred feet off shore in 15’ of aqua clear waters and perfect white sand below.

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The island itself doesn’t have too many amenities to offer the walking traveller. Two grocery stores, both overpriced and both a good walk away, are there and a 700 Wine and Spirits offers at least some cheap rum. We met a man barbecuing rice and beans and whatever he caught in his front yard, but we were fairly sick of rice and beans as it were.

There is a wreck (coordinates) of an old barge that at low tide is sticking out of the water and is excellent snorkeling and spearing. Leah caught a beautiful hogfish out there and we also found some conch. If you look hard enough around the anchorage, you may find some in the grassy patches strewn about. The creek (???) to the east offers good snorkeling as well where you’ll see turtles and rays and an assortment of all sea life.

The surrounding houses that line the beach were either in really good condition or really bad condition. I’m not sure if this was due to previous hurricanes or storms or if the island has just lost it’s way from tourism. There is a beach bar right on the beach aptly named “The Beach Bar” and they have reasonably priced burgers ($12) and Kaliks ($4) but close at four o’clock. Their wifi works great after hours though and they could care less if you hang out after close and mooch their wifi. There’s also a beach shower with faucet to fill up your rinsing tanks if you’re as cheap as us.

Hoffman’s Cay

Anchorage: Shallow, sand, good holding, extremely tidal

25° 36.767′ N
77° 044.196′ W

Another beautiful anchorage! You’re probably thinking that they all can’t be beautiful, but you’d be wrong. We were once again greeted with crystal clear water, white sand, and amazing scenery. This anchorage was a bit tidal though because of the cut through all the islands so be well aware where exactly and what exactly your boat will do. When we arrived it was fairly busy, but we found a nice spot and tucked in ready to TFAB (Time For A Beer).

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Just outside the cut on the Atlantic side is some extremely good snorkeling and spearing. Turtles, sharks, rays, and super-pretty and unique coral outlined the islands and there was enough of that to keep Jacques Cousteau happy.

Blue hole – We read about the Blue Hole in one of our books and I’m pretty sure it will be in yours too. It’s easy to find if you dinghy south along the island and on the second beach you’ll find a trail marked by conch. If I can find it so can you. Follow the trail for about a half mile being mindful of how mosquito-ey it will be and then you’ll end up at the top of the island and about 10’ above the outer rim of the Blue Hole. There is a trail that leads down to the actual waterline and you can get in if you’d like to snorkel or dive. Personally, I free-dove it and saw about as much as I needed to. It is fairly stagnant at the surface and a bit off putting, but once under the water, well, it doesn’t clear up that much honestly and is really dark. Still really cool to look down into a vast nothing.

We stayed here for a few days, eventually heading south, but ran into some extremely nice people along the way. Some we’d met on other islands and some we met just while exploring. Everyone loves to tell their story and hear yours and usually it’s over some rum drinks and a beautiful sunset.

Frozen/High Cay

Anchorage: Good holding, sand/grass

25° 32.800′ N
77° 043.066′ W

Frozen Cay/ Alders Cay is a private island so we didn’t stay very long here. Honestly the only reason we stopped is because of Flo’s Conch Cafe which was written about in one of the books – “You haven’t been to the Berrys until you’ve been to Flos.” Since I wanted to tell people that we went to the Berrys, we went to Flos.

Little Harbor Cay

Flo’s Conch Cafe: Small boat/dinghy dock

25° 34.344′ N
77° 043.174′ W

VHF ch 68

The tiny bit of knowledge I have about Flos: Chester, Flo’s son, now runs the restaurant and he and his family are the only inhabitants on the island. We were greeted by a barking potcake (a local breed of dog) and an extremely friendly woman who let us into what I thought was her house at first because it’s not what you would think of as a restaurant. It’s exactly where you want to eat in the Bahamas though. We were the only ones in the anchorage meaning we were the only one in the restaurant too.. Chester was in his lounge chair watching TV while we occasionally chatted to him about the nature program on. Conch and license plates plastered the walls and peoples signatures on dollar bills filled in the gaps. We had Kaliks while we waited for our food which we pre-ordered a few hours before on VHF ch. 68. When we called in, they gave us the run down of the menu which was either; Lobster, fried fish, or conch – but they were out of conch. Leah and I both opted for the lobster dinner which came with a huge helping of peas and rice (coconut rice and beans) and it was delicious.

On to Nassau to resupply.

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