Great Stirrup Cay is the northernmost island of the Berry Island chain and is located just north of Great Harbour Cay off the Providence Channel. The primary boating draw of Great Stirrup Cay are the several anchorages that are scattered around the island’s perimeter that offer decent protection from most directions.
Great Stirrup and neighboring Little Stirrup Cay are both private (owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines) and landing on either island is not permitted. The cruise ship anchorage is located north of Great Stirrup Island (note the cruise ship to the right in the image above), and passengers disembark from the ships to enjoy a tropical barbecue and other activities hosted by the cruise line on the islands.
The primary anchorage off Great Stirrup Cay is located on its eastern end, just off the ocean inlet between Great Stirrup and Great Harbour cays. From waypoint 25 49.016N 77 53.766W, set a course of 311 degrees true for about three-tenths of a mile until you reach the small channel that lead to the northwest behind Great Stirrup Cay. Depths here range from six to eight feet, and it is advised that you set two anchors, due to the strong currents in the area.
The second anchorage is located off the west end of the island in the gap between Great Stirrup and Little Stirrup cays. From waypoint 25 50.131N 77 55.566W, follow a course of 188 degrees true for about one mile until you reach the wider pool of eight- to ten-foot depths. Set two anchors and be aware that the area can get quite rough during a strong northerly blow.
Like many of the Bahamas Islands, the Berry Island Chain, is famous for the extensive bone fishing flats in and around the islands. For those without piscatory knowledge, the bonefish is a strong, powerful, and sleek white gamefish that feeds on the open flats and is extremely wary and hard to catch. Once hooked, these strong fish make a run for it and are exciting to catch. The most popular method for catching these fish is with a fly rod, and many local guides south on Great Harbour Cay will take you to the best spots.
Diving is also a popular activity, and many local dive boats out of Great Harbour Cay will put you over the best reefs and troughs for exploration. If you prefer to take some time ashore, many people enjoy bird watching and identification while combing the beautiful white sand beaches for shells.
For a detailed calendar of events for the area, see our "Helpful Links" section below.
Great Harbour Cay Airport is located southeast of Bullock Harbor on Great Harbour Cay about six miles southeast of Great Stirrup Cay, but unfortunately, only private chartered service (quite expensive) is available to and from the island from here. There are rumors of daily service to and from Nassau in the future, but check with your travel agent for details.