Day 1: Nassau, Atlantis Marina
Nassau and Paradise Island offer a variety of activities to suit all ages and preferences. For families, Paradise Island Resort has the largest waterpark in the world, dolphins to swim with, and an amazing aquarium. Downtown, culture buffs will find colonial architecture and pirate museums. Shoppers have straw markets and duty–free, upscale boutiques. Nightlife includes Vegas–style casinos and vibrant nightclubs. Fly into Nassau, transfer to luxury charter yacht PARADISE, meet the crew and plan the remainder of the day. The following day, head south to the Exuma Island chain. Each island is unique and together they offer unsurpassed cruising grounds and anchorages. Each land has its own charm, people, beauty, friendliness, and harbors. Embark on a vacation where giant starfish, wild iguanas, swimming pigs, dolphins, turtles and sharks are far more numerous than people.
Day 2: Exuma Islands, Allen Cay
Allen Cay is the first cay of interest in the Exumas chain. It is uninhabited except for a rare and endangered species of iguanas not found anywhere else in the world. The prisitne beach is perfect for a liesurely walk and optimal for nature photographers, especially those fond of iguanas. The anchorage here is lovely and protected.
Day 3: Highbourne Cay
Highborne Cay is a privately owned island. Stop by the marina to sample some fresh Bahama bread, walk along pristine beaches or snorkel offshore. The anchorage, which is close to the cut, is ideal for deep water fishing. Neighboring Saddle Cay is fun to explore by tender.
Day 4: Norman’s Cay
Norman’s Cay has a dramatic recent history as the headquarters for Carlos Lehder’s drug-smuggling operation from 1978 to 1982. Lehder purchased most of the island, including an airstrip, used as a strategic stopping point for Colombian drug flights bound for the United States. With the Bahamian authorities looking the other way and the local inhabitants scared off, the island became a private haven of debauchery for Lehder and his associates. In 1982, the Bahamian government cracked down on the activities on Norman’s Cay, ultimately confiscating Lehder’s land. It is now a tourist destination where visitors can snorkel the wreckage of a drug running Douglas DC-3 plane that crashed in shallow water,
Day 5: Shroud Cay
Shroud Cay, an uninhabited cay owned by Exumas Land and Sea Park, is an archipelago of cays and rocks surrounding a shallow tidal mangrove salina which serves as a unique nursery for conch, crawfish, sea turtles, birds and many varieties of fish. The beach on its eastern side, accessible from the western anchorages through a mangrove river, is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Unspoiled with crystal clear waters, the colors are simply magnificient. Providing there is wind, this is an amazing place for kitesurfing and the Shroud river is interesting to explore by tender or kayak. If you boat around to the back of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, you can climb up to one of its highest points. To do so, you need to wade through shoulder deep water and climb up a rocky path, but the 360 view is so worth it!
Day 6: Waderick Wells
This island was selected to be the headquarters for the Exumas Park due to the wide variety of naturally occurring ecosystems, and it’s centrally located geographical position within the park. From rocky bluffs to sand dunes, mangrove creeks and sand flats, this island has it all. Hike across the island on more than seven miles of trails. Vist the skeleton of a 53’ Sperm Whale (died after swallowing a plastic bag) that watches guard over Powerful Beach. The southwest end of the island is the pirates hangout. Stromatolites, an ancient and very rare form of early life on earth, line the sand bank. A short trail leads from the beach to the Pirates Lair on Warderick Wells. Numerous snorkeling and exploring opportunities abound in this area. On Saturday nights, cruisers frequently gather around the small tiki hut on the beach for a happy hour.
Day 7: Cambridge Cay, Little Bell Cay
Cambridge Cay, also known as Little Bell Cay, is privately owned but visitors are welcome ashore. Here visitors find a very nice anchorage off a beautiful beach. The rock wall on the cay is believed to have been some kind of holding pen for animals. Conch Cut has a stand of pillar coral over four feet high – one of the largest remaining stands of pillar coral in the region.
Day 8: Compass Cay
A magnificent crescent shaped half mile beach, voted one of the best in the Bahamas, is just one of 13 on Compass Cay where visitors enjoy swimming and shell collecting. Snorkel the many shallow reefs surrounding the island or swim with Tucker’s pet nurse sharks. There is also a batcave and Rachael’s Bubble Bath”, a large natural pool full of bubbles formed from ocean waves that crash over the edge of the lagoon. Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy bonefishing in the creek. Yachtsmen can stretch their sealegs hiking trails to the Low Tide Airport, Hester’s House, the old Haitian shipwreck, or circumnavigating the island. In the evening, meet other boaters at the marina for sundowners and watch for the elusive green flash.
Day 9: Sampson Cay/Fowl Cay
Dock at the marina or at anchor. Fowl Cay, a private 50-acre island, features a lovely resort with amenities that include an excellent bar and restaurant, tennis court, swimming pool and beach games. Spend the day relaxing on shore or explore the surrounding islands by tender.
Day 10: Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay is one of the few inhabited islands inthe Exumas and home to the renowned Staniel Cay Yacht Club, the only full service marina in the cays. Staniel Cay is located just a few hundred yards from Fowl Cay, Musha Cay, Iguana Cay and Thunderball Grotto, this latter is the location of the James Bond film “Thunderball”. Staniel Cay is the activity hub in the cays, and a favorite destination of yachtsmen. The yacht club restaurant is the place to be for lunch, dinner, and nightlife. An airstrip, grocery store, and a few shops round out the island’s offerings.
Day 11: Bitter Guana Cay
Bitter Guana Cay offers another great anchorage and magnificent beach. Hike the short path that leads to the far side of the island where there is a picturesque rocky shoreline and a small grotto filled with shells and rocks.
Day 12: Blackpoint
The town of Black Point is small and friendly, located near the northern tip of Great Guana Cay. Take a shore excursion to visit this charming Bahamian settlement where most of the homes are cinderblock, stuccoed and painted in pastels, creating pleasing splashes of color. Chat with the locals, stop in at Lorraines Cafe and visit Doris’ Gift Shop for local souvenirs. Take time to discover what day to day life in the Bahamas is all about. Later, hike to the bluff to see the impressive Dotham Cut.
Day 13: Little Farmers Cay
This largly under-developed cay with about 60 congenial residents boasts a bit of civilization. Ocean Cabin has villa rental, convenience store, wholesale and retail and other assorted services including a popular restaurant. The proprietor, Terry Bain with his wife Ernestine, are a local institution. Stop by for lunch or dinner, a game of dominos and and a bit of his repartee. The Farmers Cay Yacht Club has a great bar, waterfront restaurant, bakes bread to order and operates a small grocery and liquor store.
Day 14: George Town
Today charter guests must bid farewell to the spectacular Exumas, their wonderful crew and beautiful yacht, and begin to dream about their next Caribbean Charter adventure with Sunreef Yachts Charter. For those catching an evening flight or extending their stay, George Town has plenty to offer. The capital and largest city in the district, George Town (permanent population 1,000) was founded in 1793 and boasts a colorful history. Pirates used Georgetown’s deep water harbor during the 17th century and the “plantation aristocracy” from Virginia and North and South Carolina settled here in the 18th century. Elizabeth Harbor became a refitting base for British vessels and the U.S. Navy used the port during World War II. Today George Town is a vibrant place with delightful shops, restaurants and bars. Two Turtles Inn and Eddie’s Edgewater are spots to try out, as well as February Point, which includes a great restaurant/bar that has live music one night per week. Another option, but further out of town, is the Four Seasons Hotel that has a number of bars both indoors and out. For those who enjoy a relaxing game of golf, play 18 holes at Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club, designed by professional golfer Greg Norman.