Powell Cay - The Private Islands of the Bahamas
Earlier this week we arrived at a beautiful anchorage on the north side of
Powell Cay. There is big open bay with shallow water and a long sandy beach.
This area is not usually visited by cruising yachts as it is fairly tricky
to get here - crossing a number of coral heads and dodging shallow water.
However we are lucky enough to be following Isla Mia, and Doug has very good
visual piloting skills.
Powell Island is another one of the many private islands in the Bahamas -
but totally undeveloped. Close by there are 3 small developed private
islands that we had a look at, each one gorgeous.
Ambergris Cay has been planted with hundreds of palm trees and the house is
almost hidden - on cruising past, the caretakers and their dogs came down to
the dock to check that we did not land.
Bonefish Cay is developed with a few houses - either one main house and 3 or
4 of guest cottages - or it could be a shared island. Again dogs came out
barking madly when we motored by their dock on our dinghy.
The third one in this area is High Cay, the most interesting - it has one
big house - hacienda style and a smaller house on the hill which we assume
is the caretakers' home. The owner has dug out a channel through the coral
rock and cliffs, about 25 meters wide that snakes for about 200 meters
through the island to a hidden and very protected small harbour. A perfect
hurricane hole - but we suspect that this hidden harbour may have had some
more clandestine use in the past. Perhaps the name says something?
In the local realty ads, you often see a cay for sale - for example you can
buy Walker's Cay - a large island on the extreme north west of the Abacos
for $26 million. But that includes a deserted hotel and marina, a customs
office and a decent runway! If you prefer something smaller, Little Hog Cay
with two small houses will be less than $2mill, and you get two lovely
beaches, two 'houses' and some beautiful bougainvilleas.
One seldom sees the owners at these islands - and usually the identity of
the owners is kept very private. So although we tried to find his island,
Johnny Depp is still eluding us!
On a more grim note - we are watching the giant oil spill off Louisiana in
horror. Given the power of the gulf stream it is quite possible that some of
the beautiful beaches and reefs of the western Bahamas could be damaged. We