Bay Cay is a beautiful 870-acre (350-hectare) uninhabited cay in the Turks and Caicos, and part of the East Bay Islands National Park. The island is located near North Caicos and Middle Caicos, and north of the scenic Bottle Creek Lagoon.
There are two small islands in the Turks and Caicos named Bay Cay (the other being the likewise exquisite Bay Cay near Five Cays on Providenciales), yet this example is the better-known and larger of the two.
The island’s counterpart is the adjacent neighboring island of East Bay Cay, which is also part of the national park. There are three named points on the northern coast of the cay: Bernald’s Point near North Caicos, Sand Bar Point off the central north side, and Spanish Point near East Bay Cay.
Wildlife and Environment
East Bay Islands National Park is very important to the environment in the Turks and Caicos. Nearly all of the islands in the national park, including Bay Cay, support populations of the critically endangered Turks and Caicos Islands rock iguana. Due to the size of both Bay Cay and East Bay Cay, the cays are home to a significant portion of the iguana’s collective population in the world.
The cays are also sanctuaries for many types of birds, including Cuban crows, West Indian whistling ducks, Bahamas woodstar hummingbirds, warblers, mangrove cuckoos, several types of herons and egrets, and ospreys. The cays also have large numbers of blue land crabs.
The shallows near the cays also support some of the densest seagrass beds in the country, and consequently queen conch, eagle rays, southern stingrays, starfish, and smaller mollusks.
Beaches line the northern coasts of Bay Cay and East Bay Cay, and much of these coastlines have tall casuarina trees, which provide shade and shelter.
Getting to Bay Cay
The easiest way to get to Bay Cay is to simply swim across the narrow channel that separates the island from North Caicos, which is located at the eastern end of scenic Horsestable Beach. The small waterway (Greenwich Creek) is about 400ft (120 m) wide, and much of it is shallows with sandbars.
Access by boat to most of Bay Cay and East Bay Cay is difficult due to extensive shallows and reefs.
The East Bay Islands National Park and adjacent Bottle Creek Lagoon is one of the finest kayaking and paddleboarding locations in the Turks and Caicos.
National Park Guidelines
As is the case in all protected areas in the Turks and Caicos, It is illegal to take or harm any animal, plant, natural item or historical artifact. This includes seashells, animals, plants and flowers, coral, and sand. Littering and vandalism is against the law and punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.