Day 1 -2: Boarding in Key West – The most southerly city in the United States. This is a quaint town with lots of shopping and water activities. Stroll the streets of Old Key West to check out the characteristics of Conch architecture. A ride on the conch train will give you a wonderful history of this old Florida city. A traditional event is sunset on the wharf where street vendors display their talents against the most spectacular backdrop.
Day 2 – 4: Dry Tortugas – The southernmost waters on the eastern coast of the United States. Anchor off Garden Key and go ashore to explore Fort Jefferson, “The Gibraltar of the West”. Look in the moat around the Fort for sea turtles, a project that the local rangers have started. Another must is snorkeling the underwater nature trail. For those who like to bird watch Bush Island will be a special stop. Visit the lighthouses on Loggerhead Key.
Day 5 – 6: Key West – A quick stop back in Key West. Here is your chance to explore a little more of this enchanting town. Maybe play a round of golf or just relax at one of the street side cafe.
Day 7 – 8: Key Largo – is the entrance to the lower keys. Visiting John Pennekamp State Park, a living coral reef, is a magnificent sight to see. There are many snorkel and dive experiences unique to this area including the 13′ bronze statue “The Christ of the Deep”, Mosquito Bank with its giant coral heads that you can stand on and have your head above water, and M.V Brentwood, one of the many wrecks in shallow water all of these sites are full of tropical fish life.
Day 9 – 10: Bimini- A place where the famous and infamous have escaped to, this charming petite island of only 7 miles in length will be your welcome to the Bahamas. You will notice the pristine white beaches and the beautifully colored waters that make the Bahamas so spectacular. Here snorkeling, diving and fishing are a must. There are several shallow sites such as Three Sisters Rocks, Bimini Roads (thought to be part of the fallen Atlantis), and the Sapona, a concreter ship, partially submerged in 20′ of water. For the divers there are a number of reefs to include “Off the Wall” a 1230 ft drop to peer into a 2000′ deep blue drop off at the edge of the continental shelf. There are several little cays to tuck up and relax behind while using wave runners and our sunfish sailboats. Big game sport fishing is also an excellent idea in Bimini.
Day 10 – 11: The Berry Islands – a stirrup-shaped chain of cays and islets along the northeastern edge of the Great Bahama Bank. Home of Mamma Rhoda Rock a wonderful place to snorkel. Dingy rides to Hoffman where the day’s events can include rock climbing, cliff diving and snorkeling a blue hole.
Day 12 – 14: Nassau/Paradise Island – Upon approaching Nassau Harbor you will see rising in the distance the beautiful resort Atlantis. Stopping in their marina will allow you into the magical grounds of the lost civilization of Atlantis. This is an excellent marine exhibit to thrill the youngest and oldest in your party. This winds through a large portion of the Atlantis property amongest the pools, water slides, and beaches. There is a casino, championship golf course and excellent shopping. Don’t miss downtown Nassau with the largest straw market in the world and the historic British First and monuments.
Day 14: On the way to the Exumas you can experience snorkeling and diving Barracuda reef and a Big Hole. Both locations afford spectacular reef life. This is a good time for fishing. Exumas are Home of the Exuma Cays Life and Sea Park. Stop at Allan’s/Leif Cay. These little islands are one of the remaining habitats for Iguanas in the Bahamas. A dingy ride to the beach at either cay is a must. As you stand on the shore one by one the Iguana’s come to see who is calling.
Day 15: Highborn Cay – a favorite stopping ground with its beautiful sand beaches and quiet cove. Stingrays, spotted eagle rays and 8′ pet shards are common sites in these parts.
Day 16: Normans Cay – Snorkel in the remains of an infamous drug runner’s wrecked, partially submerged airplane. The island with its adjacent cays forms a large, shallow lagoon with good bone fishing.
Day 17 – 18: Shroud Cay – an archipelago of small cays divided by creeks. Anchor off a small sandy cove where the crew will set up your beach day extravaganza. The chef will prepare your meal surfside and you and your guests will play the day away with beach games, toys and more. There are plenty of sand spits to park the wave runners on and the fishing is excellent in the Boca at the end of the cay.
Day 19: Hawksbill Cay – One of the most attractive islands in the Exuma Cays. Ashore, park wardens have cleared trails leading to the extensive ruins of a loyalist plantation.
Day 20: Warderick Well – There are over 4 miles of trails on Warderick wells that lead to rare plants, caves, wells and the ruins of a small plantation. Local legend has it that a shipload of missionaries once wrecked and perished on the island. It is said that on moonlit nights a ghostly congregation might be heard singing hymns.
Day 21: Staniel Cay – Famous for its Thunderball Cave where underwater scenes were filmed for two James Bond films and the Disney movie Splash. Bone fishing, reef and deep-sea fishing are excellent.
Day 21 – 22: George Town – An excellent stopping point with an airport with a runway over 5000 feet. Being the capital of the Exumas if affords unique shopping and a last chance to dive or snorkel another blue hole.
Emily Mack Melody Delgado
Yacht Charter Consultants
17037 Palamino Lake Drive
Dade City, FL 33523