The Private Islands of the Bahamas

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Sat 8 May 2010 14:02
26:54.27N 077:28.17W
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 hope not!