Norman’s Cay, Part 3: Exploring the caves in Norman’s Pond

Norman's Cay, East Side

On the north half of Norman’s Cay is a lake or a pond. It’s reputed to be a hurricane hole, but it’s very tricky to get inside. There’s also a few caves there, and I really wanted to check it out. Better to take the dinghy, I thought, than to take Wee Happy the first time. Even though Albin Vegas only draw four feet, I still would rather check it out by dinghy the first time. Who knew I would ever be so prudent?!

Lala and I loaded up the uber dinghy for the expedition. We carried water, a radio, food, a good anchor, etc… We picked up Mimi from s/v Maffick to come along with us while her husband Rich went conching again. We slowly wove our way through the shallow waters of the southern anchorage. This place dries up to standing sand at low tide, so we were careful to stay in good water. We were leaving around high tide too so we wouldn’t get stranded.

We made it out to the eastern shore of the island with no difficulty, although the cut from the inner lagoon to the ocean side was rolly and a bit confused. These cuts often are. When the wind and current oppose each other, it gets hectic. If either are really strong (or heaven forbid both are really strong) then a “rage” can happen. Rages are impassable. Just stay home.

Once on the outside, we skirted north along the coast, oohing and aahing about the lovely water colors and beautiful beaches. I found and memorized landmarks along the way so I’d be able to get us back. If something happened to us out here, no one would be able to assist for a while, especially after the tidal current kicked in with the ebb tide.

We found the entrance to the pond. It was a narrow cut between two rocks with a million sharp jagged edges only maybe 20 feet apart. All the waters bottleneck here, and it was rolly and the currents were confused and weird.

Norman's Pond Conch Cave

We made it in carefully and then took a hard right to hug the eastern shore so we could find the caves. We spotted the first and went right up to it and anchored. It was absolutely filled with conch shells! Some fisherman must have been throwing their empty conch shells for many years. It was stunning with the contrast of smooth enameled organic shell shapes in a hard limestone cave.

Lala in the Conch Cave

Ooh was the coolness and shade of the cave a welcome treat! The sun here is unbearable in the middle of the day. We continued on and explored two more caves that we found on the eastern shore as we traveled north. The lake was a calm water can possibly be. There was no noise. It was eerily silent and calm. What a difference it was from the reversing-current of the southern anchorage!

After finding a few sailboats and houses at the northern end of the pond, we headed back, reversing our route. The high sun made the waters absolutely electrify. We snapped pictures in every direction and breathed in the refreshing colors all around us.

High tide had passed, and now we would face an ebbing tidal current to get back into the southern anchorage. At the bottleneck the current was so strong that we needed 80% throttle on our 15 horse power outboard to make forward progress! That was only an hour after high tide! I wouldn’t want to try that cut in full mid-tidal current! You probably wouldn’t make it! I sure was glad we had enough power to force our way through it! No smaller motor would have made it, and we’d have been calling for help.

What great water!

All’s well that ends well. We made it back safe and sound to find everyone in the anchorage on shore conching. That means cleaning conch shells and getting the meat out and preparing it to be eaten. What a place! If you ever get to go to the Bahamas, be sure to make it to Normans Cay. You can get here by boat or plane, and it is well worth the trip!

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3 thoughts on “Norman’s Cay, Part 3: Exploring the caves in Norman’s Pond

  1. Peter Clancy

    You were probably unaware of a very hidden cave located under a limestone cliff on the NE side of the island. It’s easy to walk right past it as you must crawl under a rock outcrop to get inside. You enter a large room apparently manmade, with a sand floor and a hollowed out opening to secretly view the ocean approaches. It was rumored to be a pirates hideaway.

    1. wh-admin Post author

      Wow, that sounds wonderful. Yes, we were unaware of this but hopefully it won’t have been destroyed by the hurricane and we can go check it out if we are in Norman’s Cay again!!

  2. Peter Clancy

    Please change the cave location from the ‘NE side’ to the ‘NW side’. My mistake. Last time I was there was about 1974 and the cave was still intact. I wonder if Carlos Lehder even knew about it.


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