Bahamas Itinerary

Each tour is customized according to the weather and the skills of the group. If the group has individuals with vastly different skills and ambitions, we will do our best to accommodate. Sometimes that means splitting the groups accordingly.

Day 1. The tour begins and ends in Great Harbour Cay. If everyone in the group arrives early on the day of departure, we will move Mirage to another anchorage in the morning and have enough time for a paddle in the afternoon. If some people in the group are not able to arrive until the afternoon, we will stay anchored out at Great harbour until the next morning. We will still paddle near the harbour with anyone able to arrive early enough to do so.

Clear, brown water at the mouth of a mangrove estuary

The mouth of the mangrove estuary at Haines Cay

Day 2.   We will move Mirage early in the morning and eat breakfast while underway. Where we go depends on the weather. It takes between 3 and 4 hours to reach the first anchorage. If the weather allows us to travel north from Bullock Harbour, around Great Stirrup Cay and down the east coast of Great Harbour Cay, then we will be in an unnamed bay I call East Harbor. There are terrific snorkeling opportunities here. A barge sank in the northeast corner of the harbour about four years ago and has created an artificial reef. There are also numerous mangrove creeks to explore in the opposite direction from the barge. There are miles of beaches to hike.

Day 3. We may or may not move early in the morning depending on the consensus of the group. There are so many things to do and see in East Harbour, sometimes people decide to stay a little longer. In that case we would move in the middle of the day or even in the evening. The next closest anchorage is another unnamed bay I call Ambergris Harbour. It is about 1 hour from East Harbour. If the wind is easterly, we will continue on another 30 minutes to Soldier Cay. Otherwise, Ambergris offers several unique paddles. Shelling on the sand flats is among the best in the islands. Snorkeling on Whelk Point is very good, but the weather has to be calm. Soldier Cay has some of the best examples of differential erosion on fossilized coral beds in the islands. In the late spring, early summer, nearby Market Fish Cay is a Laughing Gull rookery. High Cay to the north east is home to a spectacular Brown Noddy rookery.

Tropical vegetation on long, narrow island with blue water on each side

Hoffmans Cay looking south from the lookout

Day 4. We often move in the morning, but late afternoon works well too. Assuming we are moving in the morning, the next anchorage from either Ambergris Cay or Soldier Cay is about an hour away to Hoffmans Cay. There are some paddle routes around the south end of Hoffmans that take us out to open water if the weather is calm, or we stay behind several islands that limit the swell. There are two good hikes on Hoffmans. One takes us to a look out above limestone cliffs overlooking the Northeast Providence Channel. This is one of the highest elevations in the Berry Islands at about 55 feet. There is a large blue hole a short hike from the beach. There are several trails that cut over to the ocean side to explore beaches if the sea conditions won’t allow us to paddle to the outside. There are several reefs on the bank side to snorkel over. One of them is the best we’ve found in the Berrys. If we happen to be experiencing easterlies, the anchorages along Hoffmans Cay offer excellent leeward protection. If kayakers want to try out the paddle boards, this is often the best place to do so.

Day 5. We often stay more than one day at Hoffmans Cay, but not always. For instance, we might move in the middle of the day the day after we arrive at Hoffmans. Regardless, the next anchorage is about an hour away at Little Harbour Cay. From here we can paddle to the cut between Devils Cay and Little Harbour Cay. If the swell isn’t too large from the east, it is great for snorkeling and beach combing. Paddling on the inside offers good protection from every direction except north. We always try and visit Flo’s Restaurant and Conch Bar when we are near Little Harbour.

ripples in beach sand with conch shell

Hawk-Wing conch on rippled beach

Day 6. We usually use day 6 to move back to Great Harbour, either in the morning so that there is time for a paddle around Great Harbour, or in the afternoon after a morning paddle. It takes about three and a half hours to travel from Little Harbour to Great Harbour. The paddles near Great Harbour Cay range from paddling north through Great Harbour to Great Stirrup Cay, or in the other direction, to the ship wreck and up what locals call Shark Creek through the mangroves to East Harbour.

Day 7. If someone departs early on day 7, we dinghy into the dock by 7:00 am. If someone departs in the afternoon on day 7, there will be plenty of time for a short paddle around Great Harbour Cay. If nobody departs early on day 7, that would give us more flexibility to stay out and paddle longer on Day 6.

 

Cumulus cloud reflecting in calm, shallow water

High tide on the flats behind Fanny Cay

This itinerary was only one of many possible. It could be done in reverse. We could travel across the entire Berry Bank to Frazer Hog Cay the first day and explore Chubb Cay, Bird Cay and Whale Cay before moving up to the islands in the middle of the chain. Only one thing is for sure. There is no way to see all that the Berry Islands have to offer in 7 days and 6 nights.