Attracted by its perfect weather, stunning island coastlines, and abundant marine life, the growth in the sailing tourism has resulted in a sophisticated infrastructure for yachts of all kinds.
During my recent trip to the Bahamas, I was particularly keen to note down a very important factor for sailors – well-provisioned anchorages. Knowing well-protected anchorages with general provisioning and fueling facilities nearby can go a long way in making sure your trip is an enjoyable one.
In this article, therefore, I have penned down my list of best anchorages in the Bahamas to spend the night.
1. Mangrove Cay
Over the years, sailors have preferred to anchor off at the Mangrove Cay if the weather is calm and settled.
Most of the time, sailors can discover a lee from one of the sides. While the holding is decent, sailors would need to be aware of the current coursing through and around the key.
Crucially, anchoring off at the Mangrove Cay would allow sailors to reduce their sail to Green Turtle as they would not have to take a detour around the Great Sale.
2. Great Sale Cay
For a long while, the Great Sale Cay has been a favourite among sailors looking to make the passage from Abaco to Florida or even further up the north.
The island itself is shaped like an inverted Y, offering protection from the west, east and north winds. The south, on the other hand, is wide open.
The approach to the anchorage is wide and fairly uncomplicated, although sailors need to be mindful of the shoal that protrudes westward.
Do note, however, that while the island here is picture perfect, it is also uninhabited. Most of the sailors anchor here to wait for a weather window.
In other words, do not expect provisioning and fueling facilities here.
3. Green Turtle Cay
Also known as the New Plymouth, the anchorage at the Green Turtle Cay is located between the entrances to White Sound and Black Sound.
The anchorage is relatively safe during settled weather and provides protection from the easterly winds.
It shallows gradually, and you would be anchoring in grass and sand, although there are sections where sand is coated over
the rocky substrate. In terms of facilities, there is a lot to look forward to including fuel, provisioning, fishing, bakery, restaurants, and banking services.
4. Whale Cay
Whale Cay has earned itself a reputation for being one of the most unforgiving cruising passage in the whole of Abacos group of islands.
However, sailors can check out the anchorage at the Whale Point where you can expect decent protection from the northeast and southwesterly winds.
The anchoring itself is great in clear 8 feet of sand. While there are no provisioning or fueling facilities, Whale Cay is undoubtedly of the prettiest anchorages in the region with some great diving spots as well.
5. Marsh Harbor
Also fondly known as the hub of Abaco chain of islands, the Marsh harbour provides a whole host of services to sailors besides anchoring.
The approach to the anchorage is wide and easy, located as it is on the south of the channel. The bottom is mostly sand and mud that provide good holding, Sailors can anchor pretty much anywhere except the channel itself.
You can look forward to a whole host of yachting facilities here including boatyards, marinas, restaurants, provisioning and fuel services.
6. Little Harbor
The inner harbour at the Great Abaco Island has been renowned for its great protection from all sides, although, it does lack in room to accommodate too many boats.
On the other hand, if the weather is nice and settled, sailors can also try the anchorage at Lynard Cay nearby.
In addition, there is also the option of dropping your anchor between the lighthouse and the north beach if the weather is fair.
The anchorages here are close to facilities such as provisioning, bars, banking, fueling, and a bakery.
7. Hatchet Bay
Hatchet Bay can arguably lay claim to being the best-protected anchorage in all of the Bahamas.
On the other hand, the approach to this harbour is relatively stiff as sailors would have to navigate through a barely 80 feet wide approach.
The sheltering, to repeat, is excellent from all the side and harbour is also provided with free moorings installed by the government.
Regarding facilities, the town has a couple of well-stocked groceries as well as a few restaurants.
8. Rock Sound
Part of the south-west shore of Eleuthera, Rock Sound has mostly been skirted by sailors visiting the Bahamas.
However, this is not the case anymore, and lately, the traffic to this part of the island has picked up. Sailors mostly have two options for anchoring, either at the Anchorage S at the government dock, or northeast of the church.
The bottom is mostly mud and sand providing excellent holding in 7 feet of water. Sailors can look forward to excellent facilities and amenities including banking, bars, restaurants, bike and car rentals, and book exchange.
9. Powell point
Powell point stands out like a small indentation on the coastline. The bottom is mostly rocky, so holding might not be the best.
If you care to engage the local fishermen, you can get a decent hold in one of the many crevices. However, this is not a particularly sheltered anchorage so be prepared for currents and winds from many directions.
Where not to anchor
It is an unfortunate fact that the best protected and sheltered anchorages in the region have over the years been cordoned off as private property.
However, there are still many great places to anchor, and you should take due care to avoid anchoring at places that would end in regret.
In particular, if you do not have proper anchoring gear, then avoid anchorages with challenging bottoms. Similarly, avoid crowded anchorages if possible.
If you are also in need of provisioning and fueling facilities, then, naturally, you should avoid anchorages at uninhabited islands.
- Make use of superior anchoring gears
- Use enough scope after careful calculation including factors such as the tide
- Take care to lay the rode in an even manner.
As a cruising destination, the attractions in the Bahamas speak for themselves. However, sailing is as much about skill, equipment, and favourable natural elements, as it is about exploring the expansive oceans.
Knowing where the safe harbours and anchorages are located in the Bahamas would make you confident about your sailing trip across this region.
The anchorages listed above are some of the best known and located on famous sailing routes. However, the list is by no means exhaustive.
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If you do know of more anchorages, then do let me know in the comments section below, I’ll be glad to hear your feedback:)