In the Bahamas

You can click on the overview of the Bahamas to the left for a closer look.  Note that north is not straight up.  It is tilted about ten degrees to the left.

Most of the voyage took place in the northwestern region of the Bahamas. In the image to the right you can see the exact route highlighted in red with the stops numbered in order and marked by stars. You can click on the map for a closer view and read about each stop in the descriptions below.

1.  North Bimini

Ben and his family made their first landfall at Alicetown in North Bimini.  Alicetown and North Bimini are famous for being, among other things, Ernest Hemingway’s home port while fishing in the Bahamas.

2.  Gun Cay and the Cat Cays

After Bimini, the family sailed south along the chain of tiny islands that includes Gun Cay and the Cat Cays.  “Cay” is pronounced “key” in the Bahamas.

3.  The Great Bahama Bank

From Gun Cay, the family sailed across the Great Bahama Bank.  In the nineteenth century, sailors were warned to take care to avoid other vessels here that might lure them onto rocks in order to plunder the wrecked vessels.  The Byrons, of course, did not have to worry about pirates!  They simply followed their GPS course.

4.  Northwest Channel Light

The Byrons turned south at the Northwest Channel Light and headed to the Joulters Cays.

5.  Joulters Cays

Here is where Dad cut his hand.  The water to the north and south of these cays is so shallow that at low tide large areas are sometimes dry.

6.  Andros

The family provisioned at Morgan’s Bluff on this island’s northern tip and then cruised south along the eastern side, stopping at many anchorages along the way.  Andros is the largest of the Bahamian islands and is noted not only for the excellent diving the Byron family enjoyed but also for its blue holes, deep inland holes where salt and fresh water mix to support an incredible variety of marine life.

7.  Fresh Creek

This was the Byron family’s last anchorage on Andros.

8.  Nassau

The Byron family reached Nassau on New Providence Island in December.  Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas and is the capital of the country.

9.  The Berry Islands

On New Year’s Day the Byron family left the noisy city of Nassau for the quiet solitude of the Berry Islands.  About thirty islands make up this crescent shaped chain.  Some of the islands have resorts or towns.  Many are completely uninhabited.

10.  The Abacos

After the Berry Islands, Ben and his family headed north to the Abacos where they cruised along the chain of cays west and north of the larger island.

11.  Spanish Cay

The Byron family’s last anchorage in the Bahamas was at Spanish Cay.  Here the drifting boat broke off their GPS antenna and Dad announced he had decided to sail to Bermuda.

12.  Walker’s Cay

Ben assumed that the family was headed for Walker’s Cay and that they would return home after staying there for a while.  Instead they headed for Bermuda and disaster.