Little Whale Cay, Berry Islands

Sunday, June 11, 2006

025-26.580 N
077-45.780 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the Berry Islands in the Bahamas!

First off, we wish everyone on the East Coast the best of luck. It sounds like we need to ship an arc to you. We've been getting e-mail and have been hearing that it's incredibly wet in the North East. We sure hope that it dries out and warms up soon! We have our own weather concerns. As you probably know by now the first tropical storm of the season has fired up in the Gulf of Mexico. It's predicted to move across Florida and into the Atlantic in the next 2 days. We're carefully watching it and will be moving to a safe harbor tomorrow. Since we've arrived in the Bahamas its been very cloudy with lots of strong thunderstorms. Generally that wouldn't be that much of an issue, but when you're moving in very shallow waters you need good light to read the water depths. But enough of the weather...let's get back to our story.

When you last heard from us, we were in Morgan's Bluff and were planning on heading to Whale Cay in the Berry Islands, which are a small chain of islands just N of Andros. There are about 11 cays spread out over about 30 miles. Chub Cay is the best known and most developed of the cays, but it got blown away by a hurricane and they've been working 24 hours a day to get it rebuilt. As a result of most of the island being under construction, we opted to go to Whale Cay which was about 15 miles away. When we headed out we had light SE winds. By the time we cleared the harbor entrance we had SW winds, which made our intended anchorage (and the anchorage at Chub Cay) unusable. We actually motor-SAILED to Whale Cay and checked out the anchorage on the S end which is known as Whale Point, but 2-3' waves rolling through it didn't make it very desirable. The anchorage is absolutely beautiful with a beautiful white sand beach and a gorgeous lighthouse. Some people claim that it's one of the prettiest anchorages in the Bahamas and we've heard that the diving is great just outside of it. Regardless, we couldn't stay, so we checked the charts and headed to an anchorage between Whale Cay and Little Whale Cay.

This anchorage provided great protection from NE to SW winds and was nice and flat. We anchored near a dock on Whale Cay and slept great. The waters near the boat yielded an amazing number of shells. The sands are filled with Red Heart Sea Urchins (aka Sea Biscuits which look like 1-3" thick rounded sand dollars). I've never seen live sea biscuits (we generally just find the dead shells) and it appears that the sea biscuits roams the sands looking for other shells that it devours. We pick up the shells that it's consumed the mollusk out of, so I guess that we're at the end of the food chain. :-)

The next day the winds were back to the E, so we headed back to Whale Point. We got there and anchored in 8' of beautiful white sand. There was a swell coming in from the SW, so I put out a stern anchor to keep us into the swell. We went out snorkeling and we ran into a Polka-dot Batfish, which is very rare. I got some great photos. By the time that we got back to the boat the swells had picked up substantially, so we decided to head back to our original anchorage. Sigh...what was I saying about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, I guess this is Act III!

Tomorrow we're headed to Little Harbor on Abaco Island. It's about 55 miles away and provides great protection from S to SW winds that are predicted for this tropical storm.

-- Geoff & Sue

For the cruiser:

At Whale Point be sure to avoid the brown areas in the anchorage as they're very shallow. I had guess that they were sea grass, which they are, but they're very shallow.

When entering between Whale Cay and Little Whale Cay, be sure to stay in the northern third of the channel and keep to the southern edge of the northern third as there are rocks elsewhere. Once you're through the entrance you're OK.
Log ID: 866

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