There’s always something happening in the exciting Exumas!
Great Guana Cay is centrally located in the Exuma island chain, just south of the busy hub at Staniel Cay. But it’s a world apart from Staniel in character and represents a true slice of life in the Out Islands. The small town at Black Point Settlement sits on a wide bight facing west over the vast banks stretching to the Tongue of the Ocean. It’s an easy destination across the bank from Staniel Cay to the north or Farmer’s Cay to the south. You can also enter from Exuma Sound at Dotham Cut or Farmer’s Cay Cut, after which it’s a short distance across the bank to Black Point.
While there are no slips or moorings here, this is one of the largest and best anchorages in the Exumas. Most boats will anchor off the town and fairly close in, but there’s plenty of room to spread out between Dotham Point and Black Point. Come in close for a shorter dinghy ride, or stay out further for more breeze.
The residents of Black Point are among the friendliest you’ll encounter, and the community is heavily geared toward serving the needs of visiting cruisers. There are two good dinghy docks—the government dock and at Rockside Laundry—with plenty of room for all. Take a leisurely stroll through town to get acquainted. During the day you’ll most certainly find some local women sitting under trees weaving baskets, hats and other items from palm leaves. Trash can be deposited in a trailer at the government dock (please leave a donation), and fill your jugs with free reverse osmosis water at a faucet just a bit south of the dock.
Adderley’s Store has a good inventory of basic grocery items and will have an excellent selection of produce when the mail boat arrives. Among long-term Bahama cruisers, Rockside Laundry is famous as the best in the Out Islands. The proprietor, Ida, also has a small selection of marine supplies and delicious pastries, as well as showers available for a fee. Free Wi-Fi is available to patrons.
There are three terrific places to eat in Black Point—DeShamon’s, Lorraine’s and Scorpio’s. Listen on VHF 16 for special events and happy hours nearly every day. Try DeShamon’s for the pizza you’ve been missing or Lorraine’s for a full, traditional Bahamian meal. Scorpio’s has great pub food and the best happy hour deal in the Exumas. Ask Lorraine to take your order for bread to pick up the next morning.
A short fifteen-minute walk northeast from the government dock will take you to a beautiful ocean beach across the island. Turn left at the dock, then right on the dirt and gravel road that leads across the island. At the top of the hill on the left is a natural blowhole. Big swells that run on Exuma Sound vent spectacularly through the hole. A little further up the road, you’ll drop down onto the beach. It’s a nice spot to catch some sun and do a little beachcombing.
Spend time in Black Point and you’ll easily make friends, and it’s a sure thing that you’ll be invited to attend Sunday church services. Many cruisers stay here for weeks and come back again and again.
Travel advisory issued
The Bahamas announced the first confirmed case of the Zika virus on New Providence in early August, although the virus was contracted elsewhere. But later in August, several additional cases were confirmed, and at least two of these individuals were locally infected. A number of suspected cases have also been identified. The U.S. Center for Disease Control issued an advisory late in the month urging travelers to “practice enhanced precautions” to avoid infection. The Bahamian government has taken steps to combat the virus, including additional fogging for mosquitos in New Providence and elsewhere. See the CDC website for detailed suggestions on prevention. cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-the-bahamas
The Aids to Navigation Section of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) has advised mariners that the entrance lights and range lights in the harbor at Driggs Hill, South Andros, have been serviced and relit. Any discrepancies with this or any navigational aid should be reported to the RBDF by calling either (242) 362-3091 or (242) 362-4436, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s becoming common for the RBDF to apprehend large groups of illegal migrants from Cuba or Haiti on makeshift boats and rafts in Bahamian waters. Recently, a total of 112 men and women were found on a single sloop just west of Barraterra, Exuma, and were transported to immigration officials for processing. If you happen to spot anything similar in your travels, for their own safety, please contact the RBDF immediately.
Rex Noel, Southern Boating Magazine November 2016