Bahamas

The Berry Islands

paddler hanging onto overhung rock

Paddler under overhang

 

The Berry Islands are located on the northeastern edge of the Great Bahama Bank. They are a beautiful chain of mostly uninhabited islands with a rich pioneer history and geological uniqueness. There are two small settlements in the Berry Islands: Great Harbour Cay in the northern part of the chain and Chub Cay at the southern most end. Our tours begin and end at Great Harbour Cay. The local economy is based on tourism and fishing. Once away from these settlements, you may occasionally see fisherman and sailors but not many, if any, sea kayakers or stand up paddle boarders.

white cliffs with beach and surf below

Cliffs on the ocean side

 

The paddling environment is diverse. The deep and swift New Providence channel lies to the east. This coastline is open and exposed with steep beaches, high limestone cliffs and some sea caves. We paddle the outside only in good weather. The Great Bahama Bank lies to the west. The depth of the Bank ranges from a few inches to several feet for as far as one can see. The inside coastline is better protected with many large, gently sloping beaches and mangroves. Between the islands are coral bottomed tidal cuts. The sea state caused by tidal currents can make for challenging paddling. We avoid the cuts whenever the current opposes the wind. They are otherwise fun to explore.

Sea Foam Shadows

Sea foam casting shadows

Wildlife is abundant in the Berry Islands, although most of it is in the water. There are shore birds like the White Ibis, the Great American Egret, the Brown Noddy and the Laughing Gull just to name a few. But it’s the marine life and the water clarity for underwater viewing that is really striking. You’ll see sport fish like Grouper and Bone Fish as well as sea turtles, rays and sharks.

Fishing boat aground in shallow water far from shore

Trawler driven aground in a storm

Most travelers see the Bahamas through the lens of a cruise ship or destination resort and think they have seen the Bahamas. Throw off the rose colored glasses and visit the Berry Islands with us. Paddle pristine tropical waters and feel the warmth of the out-island inhabitants.