Carl and Yvonne Rolle are now fully open for business. Rollezz Villas Beach Resort is located right on the beach about one mile west of Joe Sound Creek. They have eight units for rent and a charming outside dining area serving drinks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is no doubt their hospitality will make you want to spend more time anchored in Old Bight. Call ahead for reservations at (242) 557-0005. rollezz.com
North Cat Island
Bennett’s Harbour has several good places to anchor and lovely beaches. Odette and Derek manage Yardie’s, which is a short walk from the government dock. Yardie’s has gas and serves delicious meals and conch salad. Sammy T’s Beach Resort, a little further north, is open for more upscale food. Best to call ahead: (242) 354-6009.
Alligator Creek and the creek that runs in from Bennett’s Harbour are beautiful places to explore by dinghy or kayak. If you paddle up Bennett’s Harbour near the end of the flood tide you can go all the way through to Alligator Creek, then come out the entrance and back around on the west side. This large mangrove area is teeming with wildlife.
When the wind is east or northeast you can anchor off Arthur’s Town or Orange Creek. Arthur’s Town has a couple of good restaurants and is home to the Rake and Scrape Festival, the island’s signature yearly celebration of The Bahamas’ indigenous music on the first weekend of June. People come from all over to join in the festivities.
Margaret Cleare’s Orange Creek Food Store is a well-stocked island store with a laundromat attached. Be careful going into Orange Creek in your dinghy. The sandbar’s constant shifts can make it difficult to get in and out at low tide.
If the wind is east the anchorage in Port Royal is nothing short of spectacular. Three things are important here. The beach runs from the north end of the bay, around Orange Creek Point, all the way to the mouth of Orange Creek. The anchorage gives you access to Sand Point and the extreme north end of Cat Island, which can be romantic in settled weather and has some of the best beachcombing. Perhaps most important is Shannas Cove Resort run by Gabi and Frank Wolff. The restaurant that serves the finest food on the island faces the setting sun and is high enough up the hill to see all the way to Little San Salvador. Make reservations far ahead of time for Shannas Cove five guest villas as their occupancy is unusually high. (242) 354-4249; shannas-cove.com
The anchorage at Rock Sound (among my favorite harbors) has excellent holding ground, where moving short distances around the harbor might be all that’s needed to ride out anything short of a hurricane.
The main facilities are still open for business. Dingle Motor Service is the best place to start because it is right near the dinghy dock. You can get fuel, drinking water, rental cars, laundry, Internet, some hardware supplies, and convenience-type food. It is also the best place for local knowledge and advice.
The BTC office (Bahamas Telecommunications Company) is just north of Dingle, and up the road there is a shopping center with hardware, supermarket, bank, and liquor store. This all makes Rock Sound a great place to rest and resupply.
A good day in Rock Sound begins with breakfast at Sammy’s Place, one of the few restaurants in The Bahamas that serves Bahamian breakfast daily. Choices may vary slightly, but stew fish, boiled fish, sheep’s tongue souse, chicken souse, corned beef, and grits, and other traditional dishes are on the menu. For less adventurous cruisers there are plenty of eggs, bacon, pancakes, and so on. Sammy’s also serves excellent lunch and supper.
Wild Orchids Water Front Restaurant (the old Four Points restaurant) is on the water just north of the mail boat dock. Tie your dinghy up to their dock if the wind is right and you are careful—the little basin is tight, rocky and shallow at low tide.
Spanish Wells Yacht Haven
Spanish Wells Yacht Haven & Marina is finally completely rebuilt. While people expect delays in The Bahamas, those at Yacht Haven resulted from the owners’ wish to upgrade their original plans. The new facilities, restaurant and accommodations easily compete with anything in Harbour Island, and the marina has far superior all-weather protection.
When going around to Port Royal from Orange Creek in Cat Island, take care and give the rocky bar off Orange Creek Point a wide berth. Or, approach Port Royal from the ocean to the north. Large yachts are beginning to visit and may stay several days.
By Stephen Connett, Southern Boating Magazine March 2016