Hawksbill Cay, Bahamas
Hawksbill Cay is a private, uninhabited and very beautiful island in the Exumas region of The Bahamas in the Caribbean. More specifically, it is at the north end of the Exuma Land and Sea Park.
One of the best preserved loyalist ruins in the Bahamas is on Hawksbill Cay, which belonged to the Russel Family from 1785- 1830. It is amazing how nature has taken over and that only a couple of walls remain of the remnants of the 10 houses and numerous outbuildings of this historic sight. In the late 1700's, the American Revolution created a wave of immigration to the Bahamas. Loyalists to the English Crown moved to the Bahamas and settled in the Exumas. Most were southerners who moved there with their slaves. Early cotton crops were successful, but the thin soil of the cays and the attack of the chenille, a ravenous caterpillar, prevented long-term cultivations. After the cotton crops failed, a handful of the Loyalists stayed on in Exuma, hoping to resuscitate their fields. In many cases, the land was simply abandoned and the slaves were left to fend for themselves.
At low tide, there is a magnificent soft sand bar stretching across the end of the cay. It is possible to walk from the north end across the sand bar to the east side of the island.
It is said that the beach on the banks side is amazing but across the island on the ocean side, is the most beautiful, desolate beach of the entire region.
Two separate mooring fields on the banks side are available for explorers in dinghies. The northern mooring field at the centre of the cay holds four moorings. This field runs along the long sandy beach (Adler Beach) and is just south of the entrance to the trail to the old Loyalist settlement. A trail from Adler Beach runs across the cay and then branches off to the sound side North and South Beaches.
The main mooring field, with a drop box, is on the southwest corner of the cay. The waters along the northern shore and in the southern cove of the cay are very shallow and are best explored on a rising tide to avoid being stranded in a dinghy. Avoid very strong tidal currents in the cuts.
Cruises to this region are year round. The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout The Islands of The Bahamas give the islands a warm, agreeable climate which varies little year round. The most refreshing time is between September through May, when the temperature averages 70-75F degrees. The rest of the year is a bit warmer with temperatures between 80-85F degrees. Sea surface temperatures vary between 74 degrees in February and 84 degrees in August.