Our Time in the Berry Islands: Great Harbour Cay

After our first night behind Great Stirrup Cay, we made the short trip to Great Harbour Cay. We anchored off a protected bay called The Bay of Five Pirates in Bullocks Harbour.

Bay of 5 Pirates

Great Harbour Cay is the most populated island in the Berry Islands. Population 353.  Of these 353, we interacted with 11 during our 2-day stay. After we anchored, we decided to go to the Great Harbour Marina in search of lunch, ice and some provisions. In particular we had run out of Diet Coke and beer! We discovered, contrary to what was in the cruising guide, there was no dedicated dock for dinghies, so we had to improvise by tying up at an open boat slip where there was a ladder hanging down low enough for us to climb up to the dock (about 5 feet). There were oyster shells all along the poles of the piers, so we had to carefully position Opus (our dinghy) so that it didn’t get damaged. We now are adding another line and a fender to our list of items to have with us in the dinghy when going ashore. We had a nice lunch at a tiny restaurant, Hueboo’s Cafe.  No inside seating. No menu. It seemed most of their business was take out. The waitress told us what they were serving today. We each ordered a beer. I had cracked conch and salad.  Jim had a burger and fries. Both were great. We then went to the store across the street. No beer or diet sodas!  We purchased a bag of ice anyway.  Then walked back to our dinghy, climbed down the ladder, and headed back to Ocean Song.

One of the many cute houses surrounding the bay.

The next morning, we decided to go explore the village, which was across on the other side of the bay from where we anchored.  Again, no dedicated place to land our dinghy, so we got creative. We scoped out an old cement dock that looked like it used to be a fish cleaning station or something. We rode over to it, (with an extra line and fender in the dinghy this time). We secured Opus with 2 lines and fender for protection. We hoisted ourselves up about 3 feet onto the dock. Then a short walk down a path brought us up beside a cute tangerine colored house just around the corner from the J&L Grocery Store.  We stopped in to see what the store had to offer. Eureeka! We found diet coke, and diet ginger beer. No beer beer though!   We had a brief conversation with the grocer. She told us in the Bahamas beer, and wine are sold along with liquor in the “spirits stores”.  We had our choice of 3 such stores in the village.  All 3 stores were within about 1/2 mile of each other!  She also recommended we eat lunch at CoolieMae’s restaurant. It was “around the corner, take the dirt road to the left.”



We arrived at Coolie Mae’s a bit before noon, so we had to wait for it to open.   This was okay because the restaurant was on a hillside overlooking the water. We sat on some lawn chairs in the yard and looked out onto the beautiful blue water.  Right at noon, cars started coming up to the restaurant steadily. It was locals picking up their “to go” orders. A police officer, and a Customs official among the patrons. The building looked like it used to be someone’s home, that they converted into a restaurant. We went inside. There was a small (maybe 6 barstools) counter.  Then the main dining area to the right of that. It had a cozy homey feel.  About 8 tables were set in the main dining room with print table clothes, cloth napkins and covered chairs. It was not fancy, but it looked too formal for the way were dressed!  We chose to sit at a table on the front porch. We were the only patrons dining at a table. The waitress came to take our order. There was no menu. She asked if we wanted the special. It was meatloaf, mash potatoes and mixed veggies. Well, who can turn down meatloaf??  It was delicious.  And they didn’t skimp on portions.

After lunch I headed back to the J&L’s for our sodas, and Jim went to the spirits store.  We met back at the dinghy and returned to Ocean Song.  One of the joys of traveling , to us,  is meeting local people while we travel, and especially eating local food at local restaurants!  Our next stop will be more remote.  Time to commune with nature a bit.