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Overseas Radio Network - Bahamas: Great Sailing Destinations

nippers bar in great guana cay in the bahamas is a great sailing destinationIn the Overseas Radio Network Show 6, Segment 4, we're talking about cruising destinations of the Bahamas:

  • Great Guana Cay
  • Marsh Harbour
  • Sandy Cay National Park
  • Green Turtle
  • Spanish Cay
  • Sea of Abacos
  • Bimini
  • Cat Cay

ESTELLE COCKCROFT: Hi, guys. You are back to “Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle”. And we are talking about the Bahamas Islands. As we have noted so far, there are many beautiful islands, many waypoints or bars, as it may be. And you can spend a long, long time going around and around and see a new island, a new place, new bar, every time.

For a transcript of this podcast, click "read more" below.

 

ESTELLE: Gary, I believe there is a Great Guana Cay. Is that the name of the place, another great "bar"?

Great Guana Cay

GARY FRETZ: Great Guana Cay is another great waypoint or also known as “bar” to go to. Great Guana is sometimes called the Red Neck Island and I will let you go there and figure out why. But you can dock there in the main harbor and go into the town, walk over to the Atlantic side beach. And they have the whitest beach in the Bahamas right there its fantastic.

There is a bar and restaurant called Nippers (in image above) upon this sand dune. It is like 50ft up in the air. And it has 2 swimming pools and sometimes live music. It is a fantastic spot to overlook the ocean and the beach and with coconut palms. And I just think it is definitely worth a few stops including on Sundays for the pig roast that they have there, which sometimes brings like 200 people there.

Stephen, you sail around there a lot. Why don’t you talk about just sailing around there?

Marsh Harbour

STEPHEN COCKCROFT: Guana is about, is I guess about 8 or 9 miles from Marsh Harbour. And that used to be our first stop. We used to go across. We actually didn’t used to go into the actual harbour. We used to go aro*und and anchor on the sand bar off another waypoint called Grabbers. Grabbers is a competing waypoint to Nippers. And both of them tend to have these signature drinks which is made of the most potent alcohol one could imagine.

If you drink 3 of those you are so in the bag you have difficulty finding your dinghy to get back in your boat. And there is mooring and you can pick up mooring balls and you can anchor. The holding is pretty good around there. Very relaxed island and a fun place as Gary said, it is not like Hope Town where you have this pretty little island. It is old cars lying around more the rest of it. They also got a big development up on the north of the island called Bakers Bay where a lot of celebrities have bought properties and it is under development.

It used to belong to Disney and then Disney cruise ship used to come in there but they stopped doing that because they apparently discovered that it is dangerous. I guess they don’t want to be doing what the Italian guy did.

Sandy Cay National Park

GARY: Another “don’t miss spot”, I think, in this area Sandy Cay National Park. It’s actually an underwater park so there is a series of moorings on this reef that you can motor up to and grab a mooring line from the buoy. So you don’t have to throw out your anchor and go snorkelling or SCUBA diving there. And the great thing about this reef is fishing is not permitted here so there are huge amounts of fish. There’s more than I have ever seen anywhere else sometimes and I mean I have been down there when the water is so full of fish like blocks the sunlight t out it is just amazing.

How many fish go there and you see hundreds of different varieties. We sometimes bring crackers and feed then and that’s another way to get them to come up to you and engage with you, so Sandy Cay National Park is about half way between Lovers Quarters and Peach Pub so it makes a nice intermediate stopping point to just to have a little rest and maybe have a drink or lunch.

Green Turtle Cay

Some of the other “don’t miss places” around there would be Green Turtle Cay. This is an island that is north of Great Guana and it is almost as quaint as Hope Town. It used to be a Confederate, A blockade runners’ base back in the civil war. And the Confederates would go dock their boats there and the union ships couldn’t capture them because it couldn’t it was foreign territory and there is a ship called the Adirondack.

It is a 300-foot-long iron ship that those damn Yankees were chasing the Rebs. And they ran aground and it sank and you can go snorkelling there to this day and see this magnificent ship in 100 foot clear visibility water it is a great snorkel or SCUBA dive.

Spanish Cay

Another place I like to go Spanish Cay which is a private island. Although yachties are welcome. And they have a friendly restaurant there. You can rent a golf cart and tour the island. They have a air strip there so if you want to visit it by airplane you can do that, too. There is also a first class marina and great beaches. You guys are fans of Bimini and I am to. But what…tell us about Biminis.

Sea of Abacos

STEPHEN: Well, before I go to Bimini, I just want to tell you about the passage from Guana to Green Turtle. The sea of Abacos is kind of divided between Guana and Green Turtle. It’s a sand bar that comes out from Treasure Cay and very shallow most of the time, You can’t get across there so what you have to do is you have to pop out from behind Guana and then come around and come into a passage call Whale Cay passage and this passage is famous.

Many, many ships have perished trying to get across this bar because what you have is the Atlantic Ocean pushing in and then suddenly it gets shallow and if the sea conditions are rough it is what is called a rage. A rage creates breaking waves in Whale Cay passage and many, many vessels have perished there and if you are cruising in the morning on the net, you always hear people asking what the condition of the seas are through Whale Cay Passage. It’s famous.

Bimini

Anyway Bimini is an island that we really like. If you cut straight across from Florida, it’s 42 miles from Cape Florida to Bimini. And Bimini is an Indian name for 2 islands. And they are also known as the islands in the stream and it sits right on the edge of the great Bahama bank and the look right out onto the gulf stream.

Our favourite place in Bimini is the Big Game Fishing Club. And the Big Game Fishing Club is a place where a lot of famous people, Hemmingway, used to hang out. And it is very friendly. It’s got a swimming pool. It’s got a great waypoint…bar, sorry…and it is a great island. Another very famous bar on Bimini is called the End of the World Bar and we always make sure we go to the End of the World Bar. The floor is sea sand and is owned by Bahamian, actually a very friendly place. We love going down there and having a few drinks and shooting the breeze with these folks.

There is a very, very interesting place south of Bimini on Gun Cay called Honeymoon Harbour where you can go in and there are wild stingrays. If you take some bait, you actually go into the harbour and you go the beach and you go into the water about five deep and you take squid or whatever out. And these stingrays basically accost you. And, in fact, we got some video on catamaranguru.com. If you go there, I think, it is called feeding wild stingrays where we actually fed them and a few of them actually climbing on top of you out of the water trying to get at this bait. So Bimini has go some incredibly beautiful water beautiful fishing and just an overall really good place.

[Check out our Cruising Outpost article, Bimini: Tiny Islands Full of Character(s) and Legends.]

Cat Cay

GARY: There is another island near Bimini that is actually my favourite in that area called Cat Cay and Cat is a private development but you can go to the marina and clear customs there if you like or use the bar and restaurant in the marina. And if you slip one of the boat boys a 10 bucks he will take you on a tour of the island and it’s really incredible.

There is British royalty that lives there. There are moguls in business. There is some famous people living there. And it is a development that is really, I think is incredible.

Anyhow it looks like we are running out of time if you are interested in more information about the Abacos there is a publication called the “Cruising Guide to Abacos” by Stephen Dodge and might want to invest in it and have a look it will definitely whet your appetite for the area.

So next week we are going to be talking about living aboard and falling off of the grid. And we will be back at the same time same place. You have been listening to “Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle” only on the Overseas Radio Network.

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