CRUISING THE PRISTINE WATERS OF THE EXUMAS
The Exumas are a 120-mile-long island chain-within-the-chain of the Out Islands, with the Exuma Cays scattered in a long line extending north-east toward New Providence from Great Exuma. The Cays are the most exotic of the Out Islands, a collection of tiny jewels set in the aquamarine and sapphire of the most beautiful water you’ve ever imagined.
Leave Nassau Harbor by the East entrance, pass the Porgee rock and head SE across the White and Yellow Banks, watching for coral heads, towards Allan Cay; this is about a 35 NM run and be sure to arrive at Allan Cay with the sun still up – as a matter of fact, plan to arrive everywhere in the Bahamas in the early afternoon. It’s very shallow and you are running on Visual here..!! Overnight between Allan’s Cay and Leaf Cay, there’s a strong current here so learn to put out two anchors in the Bahamian style. You will find some interesting friends on Allan’s Cay, the place is a protected Iguana habitat and there are literally hundreds of large Iguanas everywhere. Great place and very protected.
DAY TWO. Leave Allan’s Cay and retrace your steps to the Western side of the islands standing off about 5 miles from the chain to allow for shoals. Head South East towards Norman Cay, head into the anchorage and overnight here at Anchor. If you prefer a Marina, there’s a great one on Highbourne Cay, the cay with the Batelco cell tower on it. On Norman check out the wreck of an old drug-running airplane shot down by the authorities. It sits in about 3 feet of water; have your picture taken in the cockpit..!!
DAY THREE. Norman Cay to Hawksbill Cay, one of the most attractive cays in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. It is uninhabited and has several beautiful beaches on the Western side. You can anchor here.
DAY FOUR. Up anchor and head for Compass Cay with its bold white cliffs and sweeping beach on the South end. There is a Marina here that is quite comfortable and you can also anchor off Fowl Cay.
DAY FIVE. Head SE towards Staniel Cay; there is a Marina and Yacht Club here with re-fueling facilities and a well renowned bar…! but you can also pick up a mooring off the Club Thunderball. This is where the James Bond movie, Thunderball, was filmed; the diving is quite spectacular.
DAY SIX. Time to head back, and since you are going to try and do in two days what took you five, you cannot spend all that time swimming and snorkeling. So head back to Highbourne Cay to overnight.
DAY SEVEN. Pick up speed here and head across the Banks to Porgee Rock and tuck yourself into West Bottom Harbor on Rose Island for the night. It’s about an hour to Nassau Harbor from here.