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Voyaging

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Cruising the Berry Islands
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Cruising a remote island chain in the Bahamas can entail a little angst, but it’s lots of fun.

By Capt. Bill Pike — July 2001
   
 


 More of this Feature
• Part 1: The Berry Islands
• Part 2: The Berry Islands
• Part 3: The Berry Islands
• Part 4: In Touch Down Island
• Berry Islands Photo Gallery

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I'm a worrywart. Plop me down in the midst of Heaven itself, with annuity checks rolling in from Earth, my wife waiting on me hand and foot, and a big fat trawler fueled up and ready to go down at the Celestial Boat Works, and I'd still worry about stuff. Like, for example, whether St. Pete had made a mistake letting the trawler and me past the Pearly Gates in the first place. And when was the Ol' Boy going to discover the glitch? And are there any good boats in Hell? Or just PWCs?

In case you don't quite get the picture, consider the following scenario. You're moseying around the Miami International Boat Show, languidly inhaling the scent of fresh fiberglass, when out of the blue, a boatbuilding guy you know hits you with a mindboggling offer: How about taking his latest cruising yacht to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks? Just drop her off in Nassau when you're through.

Sound like a groovy, carefree deal? For most folks, yeah.  But immediately after Nordhavn's Jeff Merrill dropped it on me last February, the neurosis kicked in. It started with a spasm of anxiety that ever so subtly dampened the excitement I felt at agreeing to take a brand-new Nordhavn 35 Coastal Pilot on a 10-day excursion to paradise. Then the worry machine cranked up big-time.

The boat was hardly the problem. From what I saw of Nordy at the show, she was a veritable semidisplacement jewel, overbuilt, savvily engineered, and comfortably fitted out for two people--three in a pinch. With her single 420-hp Yanmar throttled back to 8 knots, Merrill predicted a range of 1,200 miles. Her anchor-handling gear and ground tackle looked substantial. Her bronze propeller, Merrill assured me, was protected from shoals by a "grounding shoe." The electronics package at the helm blew the stuff I used to work with on tugs and ships out of the water. To top it off, there was a genuine crow's nest, affixed to a stout, well-stayed mast. The perfect place for sighting Bahamas shallows.

Next page > The Berry Islands continued > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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