Berry Islands, The Bahamas: Berry Clear Waters
Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Bimini to The Berry Islands //
On Monday, January 14 in the afternoon, after stocking up on ice and running a couple of errands, we departed Bluewater Marina and headed towards the S.S. Sapona wreck, a large cement ship whose skeletal remains sit ominously in the banks, in order to kill some time. Because we were planning on an 18-hour passage to the Berry Islands, we decided we would leave later in the afternoon in order to arrive at our destination in the safety of the morning light the next day.
After snorkeling around the wreck, we picked up the boat and sailed right off our anchorage, with favorable winds from the N/NW. We treaded carefully during this first leg as we were faced with depths of about 5’ right after sunset. At some point during the evening, there was only about 6” under our keel! (We have discovered since that our depth gauge has safety of about 2’, so I guess we had more than enough depth under our keel — we know, not as exciting). It was remarkable, however, that in the middle of the ocean one could potentially stand and walk right next to the boat... mindblown!
After leaving the shallows behind, we continued gliding through the moonlit waters of the evening, soaking in the beauty of the night: the moon was shining so bright we could see the sandy bottom beneath us, the sky was so clear it felt you could see every little star in the galaxy. To top it all, the wind was blowing in gentle breeze that kept us moving at a consistent 5 knots through very tamed waters. So tamed we ended up frying tostones while underway, along with a delicious seafood asopao (gumbo-like soup — thanks Naomi for the treat!). All in all, a perfect overnight sail!
By morning light, we were almost to Russell Light and about to cross into the Northwest Channel where the water dramatically deepened to 1,000 feet (and to about 10,000 feet if you were to continue East towards Nassau). Another mind blowing moment. Once there, we were about four hours away from reaching Bird and Whale Cays where we were looking to anchor.
It was also time to try our luck fishing in the deep waters of the channel. Tom let the rod out, and after I finished reading Skipper Bob’s recommendations on how to really catch a fish, we put together two cheapskate, Joe-budget lines (in addition to the rod) made out of 30’ of clothesline, with a 6’ steel leader and a lure. To our surprise, 15 minutes later, each line had caught a barracuda and the other a Mahi-Mahi. Problem was, the Barracuda is a nasty fish and shouldn’t really be eaten, so barracuda be gone. The Mahi we lost because Paul and I got too excited and started taking videos of Tom reeling it in, and holding it, until it flew out of his hands... We really should have been helping more... lesson learned (although we haven’t caught any more fish since).
Nearing in Bird Cay and Whale Cay, we tucked in into Buckle Cut where we found a couple of nordic (tug style) power boats anchored. We followed suit and anchored at a good distance behind them under sail. The waters were now a brilliant blue, yet crystal clear. They were lined by the powdery white sand beaches of the islands In the distance... We were in heaven. Without hesitation, we put on our bathing suits and immediately jumped off the side of the boat, finally fulfilling the one wish we had been dreaming of since leaving Boston. All the cold nights and stormy weather endured as we traveled down the US east coast were now officially all worth it. We had reached paradise.