Going to the Bank

After one night in Hopetown, we decided to take advantage of favorable winds and weather and head to the Bank.  In particular, Tilloo Bank.

The Bahamas are riddled with sand banks, gigantic and not-so.  The white sand is part of what gives Bahamian waters their characteristic blue color.  Tilloo Bank is located, not so surprisingly, just off Tilloo Cay.  Tilloo is a lightly populated cay (with a handful of residences) just south of Elbow Cay (where Hopetown is located).  Just past the midpoint of the cay, is a typical beach — white sand, clear water, casuarinas, a few artifacts.

Tilloo beach 004

But beyond the sand lies a swath of vegetation, and beyond that, a large, shifting sandbank that feels like a giant swimming pool.  At low tide, the water is as shallow as 1 foot, even a hundred or more yards off the shore.


You can see clearly where the bank ends and the regular bottom begins, by the change in water color.  We can’t anchor on the bank because it’s too shallow.

The boundary between grass and water provides ripe pickings for treasures such as sand dollars, sea biscuits and sea urchins.


A good-sized sea biscuit, about the size of the front of my foot, in about 3 feet of water.

Apparently, you’re not supposed to take any goodies from the Bank, so we left empty-handed.

However, other denizens of the sea grass seem to be conditioned to look for handouts, attracted as they were to the sound of our outboard, our wading, and even the sound of my kayak paddle.

Stingray Tilloo Stingray Tilloo 3

The stingrays aren’t as skittish at Tilloo Bank as other places I’ve seen them.  One even passed under my kayak.  As soon as the tide turns from high to low, they come out.

Even though we didn’t get to bring home any sand dollars from the Bank, it’s sheer pleasure to just bob around in its clear, silky waters.  We took the dinghy out into the middle of the Bank, anchored it in about 18 inches of water, and swam until we got pruny.


Ripples in the sand.

We spent 2 nights at Tilloo Bank, until the wind turned more southerly.  The second night, we rocked and rolled and slept little.  It was time to move somewhere more protected, so we sailed to Marsh Harbour, the “metropolis” of the Abacos.

We’re in Marsh Harbour for a few days — picking up (fingers crossed) some parts from the importer, filling our tanks and larders, and getting ready for the next weather window (fingers crossed even more), which will take us to Eleuthera and on down to the Exumas.


We haven’t forgotten the season.  Without TV and shopping malls, we are enjoying a more simple holiday season.

7 thoughts on “Going to the Bank

    1. evarickhill Post author

      We anchored just north of the Bank, as close to shore as reasonable. When the wind is from the east, it’s just fine, but if there’s too much south in it, not very comfortable.

  1. Suzanne Whitney

    Your pictures are beautiful and, as I run errands on this gray and rainy day, I am envious of you! I actually had a doctor’s appointment this morning and showed him your pictures. His comment was, “I don’t think there’s a gun long enough to reach them! ” 🙂 If you need to go back to Marsh Harbor for any reason, or need help with the boat, I have a friend who lives there. His name is Niles Primrose and he is very experienced with sailboats.
    Merry Christmas! Suzanne & Beau Whitney

  2. comocean

    It’s cold, rainy, the malls are packed, the highways jammed and everyone is in the wrong Christmas spirit – thank god for your post and an escape to a better reality! Hope you’re drinking lots of rum, skinny dipping and living like a Jimmy Buffett song! Merry Christmas Mon!

  3. Ardis HIll

    Hi, I am waiting for the arrival of Rachel & Nate. They left the boat as it was rainy and windy, so have to do it later. ryan may come out in the morning to free Sarahh to get ready for xmas eve. everyone is going to a 5 oclock service tomorrow.. The Mach clan to some church inTakoma park I and kids will go to Good SHepherd and Lori’s family at arlington. We will miss you at our annual dinner, but happy you are having a nice time. God Bless you on this Christmas season. much love Mom Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2013 21:37:41 +0000 To: hillenter@hotmail.com


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