Five Days in the Berry Islands
The Berry Islands hold great historic intrigue owing to their past as a drug transshipment Mecca and a playground for the rich and famous to live out their fantasies. Nevertheless, it’s the championship sport fishing and island tranquility (with their many secluded beaches) that attract leisure boaters.
On a five-day journey with two travel days and three fishing days, you can cover a lot of territory and catch a lot of fish in the Berry Islands. Here is a sample itinerary to spark the imagination.
Day 1: Arrival
Don’t miss a good day of trolling while cruising to the Berry Islands. Stop in Bimini to clear customs and immigration and secure your cruising permit. With permit in hand, take your time and cruise to Great Harbour Cay Marina. Let your lines out as you cross Little Bahama Bank. Troll for yellowtail, bluestripe, jack, barracuda, and mackerel, or along the ocean edge for tuna, wahoo, and dolphinfish (mahi-mahi).
Whether you arrive in time for lunch or dinner, request a complimentary pickup from Carriearl (pronounced Carry-Earl) Boutique Hotel, which is a cozy and casual resort with only four rooms. The restaurant and cocktail lounge is just over a mile away from the marina and a social hub for hotel guests and boaters staying on the island and cruising in the area.
Their signature appetizer is a “tasty tingum,” a shared plate of lobster, shrimp tempura, calamari, cracked conch, and other samplers. On the international dinner menu, you’ll find conch and lobster meals, both Bahamian classics, and a few elevated downhome favorites like crab and dough. There is a British stamp on the Barefoot Chef’s bangers and mash, a sausage entrée, and a French signature on the restaurant’s Coquilles St. Jacques, a beautifully plated appetizer with scallops and mashed potatoes.
Two minutes away from Carriearl, across the fairway of an unused golf hole and down a walkway of palm trees, a five-mile-long, deserted, white sand beach beckons. At the southern end, Shark Creek is a mangrove nursery ideal for kayaking, and Shelling Beach grows spectacularly at low tide, conjoining the offshore Hawk’s Nest Island.
Day 2: Bonefishing
The Berry Islands have a reputation for very large schools of bonefish. After spending more than nine years visiting Great Harbour Cay, Skip Whitman from North Carolina says the quantity of bonefish still amazes him.
“I have seen schools of two thousand bonefish where you cannot see the bottom. I’ve bone-fished in about seven or eight places between Florida and The Bahamas, and I have never, ever fished a place that has as many bonefish as the Berry Islands,” says Whitman, who loves the thrill of the hunt when bonefishing.
With over 30 islands and cays in the Berrys, bonefishing flats are located across the mini-archipelago. “Lord have mercy. A friend of mine caught about six bonefish in three days and it was his first time,” adds Whitman. “He caught all of these on a fly rod, not with live bait. For someone who has never done it before [and] to be successful on the first trip, that is wonderful. I think he saw ten thousand bonefish in the three days!”
Elaborate sculptures are made every year at the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival. Learn how to re-float your boat after it runs aground. Pearl Yachts 80 Grand Banks 60 off Point Judith RI Hinckley Dasher, world’s first fully electric luxury yacht, debuted at the Newport International Boat Show. Hinckley Dasher, world’s first fully electric luxury yacht, debuted at the Newport International Boat Show. Hinckley Dasher, world’s first fully electric luxury yacht, debuted at the Newport International Boat Show. Hinckley Dasher, world’s first fully electric luxury yacht, debuted at the Newport International Boat Show. Bleached Anemone and a False-Clownfish Christmas Island: photo by Kara Murphy Christmas Island: photo by Kara Murphy Great White Wall: photo by Kara Murphy A band of sea turtles swim on site of Lady Elliot Island Ray play in the waters of Lady Elliot Island An underwater scene from Raja Ampat: photo by Kara Murphy Jellyfish everywhere in Raja Ampat: photo by Kara Murphy Idyllic Similan Island waters await: photo by Kara Murphy Sailors from the 2016 Charleston Race Week. Photo: Tim Wilkes The Sugar Sand Walk features a creation by master sculptor Patrick Harsch. The interesting shape of the pool at Playa Largo Resort & Spa offers a variety of options and views for sunning or shade. Family friendly movies are shown on a movie screen that drops down from the large trellis over the pool. Whether you prefer sun or shade, you’ll enjoy a water view on the pool deck. Chandeliers in the Tavernier Ballroom are fashioned like bubbles rising to the surface as if you’re under water. Sol by the Sea offers casual dining just steps away from the marina docks. Playa Largo Resort & Spa the lobby makes for a convenient meeting spot for light bites and happy hour drinks. The ceviche and sushi restaurant Las Olas (above) is just off the lobby IGY Marina’s Isle del Sol in St. Maarten. Photo: IGY Marinas New Nor-Tech 450 with 5 Mercury Verado 400’s. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com The A sweeping T-Top design provides a range of features. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com The interior cabin contains a full-sized head with shower. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com Natural light floods the 450’s spacious interior with luxury amenities. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com The console functions as the command center for the boat. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com The carbon fiber console serves as boat’s control center. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com Ingenious use of space in the master offers a port-side head that’s separated from the shower courtesy of frosted glass doors that swing outward. There’s room for two at the helm. Jeanneau has a long-standing relationship with the Italian design and engineering firm Garoni Design that developed the sleek-looking profile of the Leader 46 C-shaped seating is slightly raised for great views all around. Ingenious use of Pete’s Pub is a Bahamian must-see! The Leopard 43 powercat offers the stability and broad foredeck for picking up mooring balls. The forward door enables convenient centerline access from bow to stern. The salon layout provides ample storage and enables efficient freedom of movement with natural light for enjoying the outside elements. The door and windows open wide to the aft deck creating a large living area Flybridge relaxation, entertaining and sightseeing can’t be beat with a view like this. Alfresco meals on the aft deck are protected from the occasional tropical shower thanks to the large flybridge. D2 discovered one of the largest aggregations of Brisingid sea stars anyone on the ship had ever seen. NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer berthed at the NOAA Ford Island facility located in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii H2OBX rendering of facilities bar and restrooms at the water park. Photo: h20bx Remnants from the site’s rainwater collection basin The old brig still remains as the naval base’s military prison. Worn and weary, this guard shack remains at the old NAVFAC facility A rustic gasoline pump still displays prices from the 1960s. Large wave astern of NOAA ship DELAWARE II off the New England coast. Photo courtesy of NOAA The NOAA vessel Fairweather approaches one of many data buoys, which provide real-time information critical for understanding and predicting El Niño and La Niña events, ocean currents, rogue waves, and more. photo courtesy of NOAA A restaurant in the colonial town of Trinidad A horse and carriage make their way down a cobbled street in Trinidad A vintage auto in Trinidad Sunrise illuminates the mountains in southern Cuba Children on their way to school near the Bay of Pigs; Socialist propaganada at a factory Havana’s colonial quarter rises from the heart of the city. Panama hats and Che Guevara adorn a souvenir stand in Havana. Hemingway’s favorite fishing boat, Pilar Inside Hemingway’s studio at Finca Vigia on the outskirts of Havana Sea kayakers approach flamingos on Cuba’s southern coast. The full-beam king master is of equivalent or even larger size than on much bigger yachts and benefits from his-and-her heads, with separate shower compartments. Built-in storage provides for long-distance and liveaboard provisions. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com Twin doors open from the aft deck to the salon and rich furnishings: a pair of lounge chairs (not shown), large sofa, custom wooden table, writing desk, storage, and large-screen TV. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com The enclosed flybridge is well equipped with centerline controls, a large settee and custom table, and dayhead for convenience. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com Amp it Up. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com You know what they say, why have one outboard when you could have five! How to Buy a Better Used Boat. Photo: JLambertPhotos.com There’s something for everyone at Sunsail’s B.V.I. Rum Flotilla. Photo credit: Tony Demin (Sunsail) Participants from the Resorts World Bimini Wahoo Tournament, photo credit: Resortsworldoceansports.com Da Vine wine merchants on Harbour Island, Photo credit: Rex Noel Even rudimentary aids help cruisers safely navigate channels.Photo credit: Rex Noel French Leave performing at Eleuthera All That Jazz. Photo credit: Marc Coeffic Jazz Due Diligence The interior of Sassy, a 2016 101′ Hargrave, was designed by Shelley DiCondina. The Juliette Gordon Low is named after the founder of the first American Girl Scout troop. Photo credit: Visit Savannah Opposite page: St. John the Baptist Cathedral’s twin spires tower over Lafayette Square, one of Savannah’s many grand, historic houses of worship.Photo credit: Geoff L Johnson Savannah boasts the third largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, with revelry that lasts throughout the whole day and night. Photo credit: Travis Sayre Horse-drawn carriages offer one of the more popular ways to tour historic Savannah. Photo credit: Geoff L Johnson Savannah offers much to see and do on both sides of the Savannah River. Photo credit: Visit Savannah The Tybee Island Light marks the entrance to the Savannah River. The Old Savannah Cotton Exchange, completed in 1887, stands as a reminder of Savannah’s former leadership in the worldwide cotton trade. Photo credit: Dylan Wilson Stately mansions built by wealthy cotton merchants in the 1800s draw millions of visitors (including artists) to Savannah, which has one of the largest historic districts in the country. Photo credit: Geoff L Johnson The Tybee Pier & Pavillion attracts visitors to Savannah’s shores. Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn The Juliette Gordon Low is named after the founder of the first American Girl Scout troop. Photo credit: Cliff The family-run Fox Lea Farm is helping Venice rise in the rankings as a top equestrian mecca. A lifeguard stand watches over one of Venice’s pristine beaches on a perfectly clear day. A sign alongside Venice’s streets explains the history of the city. Venice Avenue cuts through the heart of the town’s historic district Venice Yacht Club The pier at Caspersen Beach always draws a crowd on sunny days. One of Venice’s best-kept secrets, however, is its quietly growing equestrian community. There’s plenty of room for toys on the large swim platform. Multiple seating areas bow to stern enable group or private conversations as desired. Woodgrain-finish flooring, windows that open, wise use of space, and 6′ 6″ headroom in the cabin offer an upscale experience. The lower galley is compact yet well-appointed with secure wine glass racks and bottle storage in the blue LED-lighted cabinet. Spring cleaning A tidy engine room has long-term benefit. Photo credit: JLambertPhotos.com Watermaker Maintenance. Photo: Christopher Allen Buchanan Watermaker Maintenance. Photo: Christopher Allen Buchanan Large wave astern of NOAA ship DELAWARE II Quantum Key West Race Week. The Jose Gaspar docked at the Tampa Convention for the annual invasion of Tampa known as Gasparilla. Photo credit: Gasparilla Pirate Invasion Brave volunteers try out SUPs during last year’s Baltimore Boat Show at the Baltimore Convention Center. Photo credit: Christopher Knauss St Thomas International regatta 2016, day 1. Photo: Ingrid Abery Try these seasoning mixes, dry rubs and dessert time-savers in the new year! The F. G. Walton Smith research vessel is docked at the facility on Virginia Key and used for marine studies including those involving sharks. Photo: PSMAS Dr. Roni Avissar, Ph.D. is the Dean of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science known globally for its outstanding programs. Photo: RSMAS Young lads head for the pig roast at Nippers on Great Guana. Photo Credit: Cher Foth ishing day is popular with everyone. Photo Credit: Cher Foth One cruise was spent at Atlantis with its many tall water slides and an abundance of swimming pools to beat the heat. Photo Credit: Cher Foth We rented outboards to navigate shallow waters between Elbow Cay and Lubber’s Quarters, and to enjoy Tahiti Beach and its soft, white sand and lunch at Cracker P’s. Courtney and Justin spend time at the helm with Capt. Jim. Sometimes the kids swap boats on travel days to other islands or all pile on one. Photo Credit: Cher Foth Whimsically decorated with beach castoffs and old buoys, this Gumbo Limbo tree is on Baker’s Bau at Great Guana, now a members-only resort. Photo Credit: Cher Foth Panamanic cushion sea stars, Asteroidea off the coast of Isabela Island. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport Galapagos sea lions, Zalophus californianus, at home on the red sand beaches of Rabida Island. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport A blue-footed booby, Sula nebouxi, perches atop a monument to Galapagos National Park. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport A pair of waved albatross, Diomeda irrorata, in courtship display. Espanola Island is the location of the only waved albatross nesting colony in the world. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport Marine iguanas, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, split from land iguanas millions of years ago and became adept at swimming and foraging for algae in the sea. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport Lonesome George, a century-old Pinta Island tortoise, or Abingdon Island tortoise, the last of his kind at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Lonesome George died in 2012. The subspecies is now extinct. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport The rugged, volcanic coast of Isabela Island in Galapagos National Park. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport The MV Eclipse, a luxury 48-passenger ship, sailing around the Galapagos. Photo Credit: Jad Davenport There are more brands of yachts than anyone could imagine at the Stuart Boat Show. Photo credit: John Lambert There are more brands of boats on display at the Stuart Boat Show than most people immagine. Photo credit: John Lambert There’s a lot to see with over 200 exhibitors featuring displays in the water and on land. Photo credit: Tom Ryon Shiny new Ranger Tugs @The Stuart Boat Show. Photo credit: John Lambert The Miss Geico Racing Team is an official sponsor of the Stuart Boat Show and always bring giveaways for adults and children. Photo credit: John Lambert More in-water boats than you would imagine at the Stuart Boat Show. Photo credit: JLambertPhotos.com “Hook The Future” – The popular kids’ fishing clinic returns again presented by Captain Don Dingman, and every participant will receive a free rod and reel. Photo credit: JLambertPhotos.com There’s always tons of fun for the kids at The Stuart Boat Show. Photo credit: John Lambert the U.S. Coast Guard always make it fun for kids at the show. Photo credit: John Lambert More center consoles at the Stuart Boat Show. Photo credit: John Lambert Boats at night at the Stuart Boat Show. Photo credit Shawn Therrien Palm Beach 65 Engine Room. Photo credit: Mike Calabro Palm Beach 65 There’s more than six feet of standing headroom in the queen VIP. Photo credit: Andrea Francolini Customizeable layouts offer galley up and down options. Photo credit: Andrea Francolini Palm Beach 65 Three matching Stidd chairs on the flybridge ensure comfort for the skipper and mates. Photo credit: Andrea Francolini Palm Beach 65 Ensuite heads come with enclosed showers and contemporary fixtures. Photo credit: Andrea Francolini Palm Beach 65 Whether in the cockpit enjoying fresh air or cozy in the salon protected from the elements, warm woods blended with colorful accents give and air of casual elegance. Photo credit: Andrea Francolini Palm Beach 65 Unique bow seating in the foredeck provides a great vantage point. Photo credit: Andrea Francolini Christmas Cocktail Meatballs by Lori Ross Simrad GO9 Charting HRPRG Yacht Devices 1 Neptulink Bluesky by MVG Garmin Virb Furuno DRS4D-NXT Target Analyzer Fireboy-Xintex panel Sea-Fire Engine shutdown systems Sea-Fire’s Firestop Detection systems offer cost effective monitoring of various zones aboard the vessel. Sea-Fire suppression systems are automatically activated at a pre-determined temperature Fireboy Extinguisher. Photo credit: Matthew Snyder Fireboy clean agent fire extinguisher. Photo credit: Matthew Snyder Photo credit: Kuznetcov_Konstantin / shutterstock Anglers show off their catch during Operation Sailfish. Photo credit: Bluewater Movements Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota, Florida. Photo credit: SUNTEX Harbor East Marina offers easy access to Baltimore’s many waterfront attractions.Photo credit: Christopher Knauss The beach scene at Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill. Photo credit: Rex Noel Regatta trophies will be awarded to the winners. Photo credit Rex Noel Skilled Bahamian sailors race through the anchorage at Little Farmers Cay. Photo credit: Rex Noel Crews hike out the pry boards. Photo credit: Rex Noel Simply Better Bottles from 50 Strong Walker Bay Generation 525. Photo credit: Billy Black Coastal Craft 65 Salon ©Neil Rabinowitz 2014 Coastal Craft 65 Running ©Neil Rabinowitz 2014 Coastal Craft 65 Master State Room ©Neil Rabinowitz 2014 Coastal Craft 65 Pilot House ©Neil Rabinowitz 2014 Coastal Craft 65 ©Neil Rabinowitz 2014 Ten Thousand Islands aerial view of mangrove islands in the saltwater estuary. Photo credit: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB Ted Smallwood’s General Store. Photo credit: Rey Perezoso Great white egret with breeding plumage. These beautiful wading birds are easily viewed from numerous locations including nature sanctuaries and coastal areas. Photo credit: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB Fishing against the mangrove islands usually leads to a rewarding catch of redifsh and snook, but keep an eye on the weather; it can be unpredictable in the Ten Thousand Island region. Photo credit: Susanna Botkin Coming back to the dock after a long day of fishing is its own reward, but the plentiful fish you can catch in Chokoloskee are even better. Photo credit: Susanna Botkin Sweetfield Manor is a restored plantation house on a hill above Bridgetown. It has been converted into a bed and breakfast by owners George and Anni Clarke (pictured). Sweetfield Manor is a restored plantation house on a hill above Bridgetown. It has been converted into a bed and breakfast by George and Anni Clarke. Costumed dancer in one of the many bands that ‘jumps up’ on Grand Kadooment Day to celebrate the end of the annual Crop Over celebration. Crop Over is an 18th-century festival honoring the end of the sugar cane harvest. Crane Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches along the quiet southern coast of Barbados. The beach was named not after the beautiful bird, but after an industrial crane used to transfer goods from ship to shore. Rum shop. These local taverns are the heart of every village. Horse races are held at the Barbados Turf Club on the old grounds of Garrison Savannah, where the British Caribbean Force was once billeted. Cattlewash Beach. The wild east coast of Barbados north of the village of Bathsheba is a long stretch of sand where the ‘white horses’ – thundering Atlantic waves – finally hit land after traveling all the way from Africa. Black cow and a rare road sign in the Scotland District, a hilly highland region in northeastern Barbados. High tea at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, the most British resort on Barbados. The island is often called the most British in the Caribbean due to the nearly 400 years of uninterrupted British rule. High tea at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, the most British resort on Barbados. The island is often called the most British in the Caribbean due to the nearly 400 years of uninterrupted British rule. The Basin is a secret bathing spot beneath sea cliffs outside the small village of Bathsheba. The surrounding beaches along the wild east coast are often too rough for swimming. But the nearby surfing breaks – including the world famous Soup Bowl – draw an international crowd. The beach at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, the most British resort on Barbados. The island is often called the most British in the Caribbean due to the nearly 400 years of uninterrupted British rule. Four-Frequency EPIRB The Wonderous Windles. Photo credit: upslim / shutterstock.com Sea Island Golf Club on Sea Island, Georgia Aftermath of Hurricane Hermine on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Photo credit: Jeff Carey The Market at the Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club. Photo credit: Christopher Knauss NARC rally participants. Photo credit: Photo credit: David H. Lyman There’s always a rush to Adderly’s for fresh produce. Photo credit: Rex Noel The anchorage at Black Point Settlement attracts cruisers on the hook. Photo credit: Rex Noel Ocean waves crash on the rugged Great Guana shoreline. Photo credit: Rex Noel The Black Point waterfront is a popular spot for cruisers to dinghy in for supplies. Photo credit: Rex Noel French Onion Soup Don’t miss the Sunseeker Predator 68 or the Sunseeker Manhattan 52 at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Sarnico, Lago di Iseo, Italy, 13 May 2016 The new Riva “Rivamare” 38 feet Ph: Guido Cantini / Sea&See.com Ocean Alexander 100 Novurania Catamaran 24 Diesel Nor-Tech 450 Midnight Express 34′ Sportfish/Tender The Marlow 53E The Maritimo M64 Surfhunter 32 Hinckley Talaria 34 Runabout Glasstream 255 Pro-XS Evo 43 Photo credit: Nick Collura Cranchi E56 F Astondoa 65 Photo credit: Alberto Cocchi Photo credit: JLambertPhotos.com Down East Buyers Guide Paraphernalia outside Whiddon’s Marina hints at more “treasure” inside their Maritime Museum. Photo by Liz Pasch Old Florida’s island elegance greets guests upon arrival at The Gasparilla Inn Water hazards along perfectly manicured greens await golfers at the Pete Dye 18-hole course. The Certified-Green Inn Marina offers a quiet setting and full service. Photo credit: John J Unrue The Inn Marina manager and fishing charter captain, Brian Knight, handles a hooked tarpon for a delighted client. PhPhoto credit: Daniel Godwin, Boca Beacon The beachfront swimming pool overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. A vintage sign outside of Coconuts, on Seabreeze Blvd., is reminiscent of Fort Lauderdales past. Photo credit: JLambertPhotos Dania Beach offers beach docking with a safe and relaxed seashore atmosphere. Photo by: Vera Jordan The many Fort Lauderdale water taxies are sure to impress first-time visitors to our waterways. Photo by: Herb Neufeld