Today is a long travel day of 97 miles to Great Harbour. The seas are calm but thunderstorms are forecast later this afternoon. Our route today takes us to the north end of Bimini where we pick up the Moselle Bank Channel at North Rock Light. This is basically a small rock with a beacon on top. From there we head due east across the shallow Great Bahamas Bank. No fishing today as the depths are only 15-20 feet. We would probably just catch Barracuda. It is a beautiful day and the seas are flat calm.
Our destination is Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berry Islands. The entrance is through a narrow rock cut. The deep channel winds us through the inner harbor to the marina with condos lining the opposite bank. This would be a great hurricane hole. Hans, the Marina manager, is on the docks to catch our lines. Both Hans and the marina have been given high praises from other cruisers for having a well run and clean marina. Dockage fees here are very reasonable compared to most others in the Bahamas. Like the other island marinas, water and electricity are extra. Water is .50 gallon and electricity .75 per KWH.
Herbert, a local fisherman, has just returned to the docks with his catch of lobsters, snapper, and conch. Lobster for dinner tonight along with fresh Bimini bread and Marathon key lime pie for desert. How can you top that.
Our water maker parts are being shipped here from Ft. Lauderdale on Tropic Ocean Air. The small airline makes three trips per week to the island. Hans offers to pick up the parts for us. We give him a copy of our cruising permit to avoid duty on the parts. No duty is due on parts for the boat. We are shocked at the freight bill. Five dollars to fly the parts here from the states. We were expecting a much larger bill. It is a huge relief to have the water maker working once again.
Our stay at the marina is wonderful. Three times per week, the staff comes around and takes fresh bread orders. A local lady named Coolie Mae bakes the bread and it is delivered the next morning to the boat. The Marina also organizes several other weekly events. Thursday is pizza night. Orders are taken in the morning and delivered to the boat that evening. Two other Krogens, LiLi and ForeverExploring, join us aboard Idyll Time for pizza night. Friday night is “chill and grill”. Hans makes the rounds in the morning again taking dinner orders. For $15 you can choose lobster, steak, or chicken along with two sides.
The island is seven miles long and only about 1 mile wide. The bikes are soon ashore and we ride almost every road on the island. The village is just two miles from the Marina in an area known as Bullocks Harbor. Most of the locals live around the village. The population on the island is about 400. There are three grocery stores which are no more than a small one room building with some basic necessities. Fresh produce comes on the mail boat three times per month. The pickings were pretty slim the day we were there. Two liqueur stores, a hardware store and one restaurant make up the village. The locals are extremely friendly and helpful. A car horn beeps at every passing. It is their way of saying hello. They almost always stop and offer you a ride when walkin. Besides biking, we are able to get in daily 5 mile morning walks along the beach which is just a half mile from the marina. Locally known as Sugar Beach,it is one of the prettier beaches we have seen. Tourists don’t seem to know about Great Harbour and we have almost total solitude on our morning walks.
Leigh and Windy from Forever Exploring join us on a dinghy trip through the shark river. The narrow mangrove canal traverses across island from the bank side to the Atlantic. We saw quite a few sharks, turtles, and stingray while exploring the mangroves. The crescent beach with the clear aquamarine water on the ocean side is stunningly beautiful. We have the entire place to ourselves with not a sole in sight. It would be nice to linger here but we need to get back through the mangroves before the tide starts going down. Even at high tide, there is barely enough water for the dinghies.
Great Harbour has been a fantastic stop. This small island seems to have escaped the tourist crowd. Let’s hope it stays that way. The marina is also suburb. On the outside it appears as just your typical marina. On the inside it is much more. Hans has really turned this place into something special. All of the staff from dockhands to marina manager, go out of their way to please. Everyone is so delightful. We have our reservations to return next year.
Total Miles :: 96
Total Miles: 458