Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

cruising destination little san salvador bahamas
Wayne and Dana with Marc and Susan Cohen at Little San Salvador.
They came in on the cruise ship in the background.
Thanks, Marc, for the photo.

Location or date, choose one.  That’s the safety conscious sailor’s mantra.  Sometimes, it works out and both coincide — though our track record thus far was less than stellar.  We had to say no twice to my best friend last year, and Wayne’s folks needed to catch a flight from Grand Bahama, our original meeting point, to Nassau to meet us (and thank you Phil and Gunnel for graciously doing just that).

cruising destinations bahamas little san salvador from palm cay marina nassau
To get to Little San Salvador — Nassau to Highborne Cay;
Highborne Cay to Little San Salvador — 82 nautical mile.
Doesn’t sound like much until you realize our typical speed
crossing these bodies of water is only 4-6 miles /hour.

“Our Holland Cruise is stopping at Little San Salvador, their private island, February 10th.  We’d love it if you could meet us!” emailed friends Marc and Susan Cohen.  We met last year on a beach in St. Martin, and became fast friends.  Yep.  We definitely wanted to meet them again, although….

We knew little about Little San Salvador, didn’t pick up a Far Bahamas Explorer Guide Chart book for it as it wasn’t in our itinerary.  Never heard other cruisers mention it.  It wasn’t in our Bahamas Lonely Planet Guide.  The idea of cruisers crashing a cruise ship island appealed.  The fact that we hadn’t heard much about it also intrigued us, and truth be told, we kinda like the idea of crashing a private island.

cruising destinations in the bahamas little san salvador
Little San Salvador cruise-ship central beach at sunset… We had it to ourselves.

The weather gods were kind, we were able to sail more than motor.  The anchorage blessedly easy, and sweet, a gradual sandy slope, fringed by an easily dinghy-able beach.  Heck, we even caught our first fish (click here to read about that) crossing the Exuma Sound from Highborne Cay to get there.

horseback riders on the beach at little san salvador
Ponies on the beach at Little San Salvador.

And of course, we enjoyed lunch and hanging out with Marc and Susan, who normally live aboard their Saga sailboat, s/v Gandalf, in chilly Connecticut.

Lunch… ahem, we were “guests” of Marc and Susan, unofficially.  Guess Holland Cruise Lines figured their remote private island didn’t require those folks queued up for their generous buffet chow line to prove they were registered passengers on their cruise ship.  Good food!  Ceviche, fish, dessert.  For us, far from a supermarket to replenish perishables, it’s the fresh fruit and veg we were most excited about… apples, mango, tamarind….

cruising destinations bahamas
Lagoon overlook at Little San Salvador.  Lagoon’s between
Exuma Sound and the rugged Atlantic.

As the 2,000 or so passengers slipped away for their next stop and their supporting staff shipped in from Eleuthera ferried home, other than a few other sailboats and a bobcat whirring away on a construction project we had the beach and island to ourselves.


It was so nice, we stayed an extra day, lazing on the beach, joining the chow line for the next day’s cruise ship, and tagging along a guided hike.

cruising destinations bahamas
Eleuthera is about 15 miles in the distance
where the sun sets.  Cat Island’s
about as far.

Overall, highly recommend Little San Salvador as a stop for us other kinda cruisers; whether you’re crashing the cruise ship goodies or simply want to enjoy a nice beach and an interesting island to amble about that you’ll have mostly all to yourself from sunset to sunrise.

Not a bad way to appreciate the other kinds of cruisers, and vice versa.

Location, Location
Feb 21, 2014. BAHAMAS. Prescheduled from  Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas (N24.10.937  W.76.24.291). By the time you read this, we’ll be anchored at  a TBD isolated harbor further South on Great Guana Cay (no internet).