Sample Itinerary – 7 days
Submited by yacht AMAZING GRACE
Aquamarine and sapphire water, excellent snorkeling and white sand beaches, I never get enough of the Exumas. Every week we find new reefs and turn the corner to be surprised by a tiny cove with a beach we have not explored. The Exumas are a chain of more than three hundred islands or “cays”, most of which are completely uninhabited. Amazing Grace is the perfect way to experience the Bahamas. From the exciting resort of Atlantis on Paradise Island to the beaches of Highborn Cay you will enjoy both sides of the Bahamas experience.
Day 1 : Fifty minutes of air time from Ft Lauderdale, and you arrive in Nassau Bahamas brand new airport. Our crew will meet you and we will head out across the Yellow Bank to the top of the Exuma. Arriving at Ships Channel Cay, it is here we have our first snorkel. In the Bahamas we are allowed to use spears to catch lobster. With a little luck we will catch our dinner. From Ships Channel we will sail south to our first anchorage, Highborne Cay. We launch the dinghy and enjoy unspoiled beaches. This is also a great place to scuba dive or snorkel.
Day 2 : From Highbourne Cay we head south along the east edge of the cays where the water of the Exuma sound drops into water thousands of feet deep. For divers this is a great place for a wall dive. Along the drop off is also a great place to find game fish. Traveling with lines in the water we come to Norman’s Pond. We spend the afternoon beach combing. Around the corner lies the wreck of a plane in shallow water teeming with reef fish. We snorkel and try to find conch which we can clean and use for conch chowder. Normans Cay has a beach club and a small but excellent restaurant. This is a great place to have a drink, relax, and have dinner.
Day 3 : Heading south we get to Shroud Cay. We are on the northern tip of The Exuma Land and Sea Park(http://www.exumapark.info/CaysinExumaPark/ShroudCay/tabid/57/Default.aspx), a 172 mile sanctuary where fishing and development has been prohibited since 1958. It is the first of its kind and one of the Bahamas most valuable treasures. By dinghy we motor through a windy mangrove river that cuts through the island and brings us to an amazing beach.
Day 5 : In the morning we sail south to a mooring at the Exuma Land and Sea parks headquarters, Warderick Wells. In a picturesque anchorage we anchor in a narrow cut just feet from coral reefs and white sand beaches. The cay has many trails to explore with vistas overlooking the Exuma sound and remote beaches. The Park headquarters has a gorgeous view, a nature center, and small birds called sugar keets that are tame enough to land on your hand.
Day 5 : Staniel Cay is famous for the Thunderball Grotto. Its a small cay with sea level entrances into which you can swim. Once you enter a large cave opens up. Its like an ocean pool in a natural cathedral. The cay is hollow with light entering from small openings on top that let light stream in. The grotto is filled with fish and coral, inside and out. In the evening we stop by Staniel Cay Yacht Club. It is a small marina and resort that has kept its unique character through two generations.
Day 6 : Heading back north we head for a day anchorage at Bell Cay. There is great snorkeling at the anchorage as well as within a short dinghy ride. For the afternoon we can explore Rocky Dundas or Cambridge Cay. For the evening we sail to the anchorage at Hawksbill Cay. This is a very protected spot for the night and a great place to put the kayaks in the water and explore the beach.
Day 7 : On the north end of Hawksbill Cay is a spectacular sand-scape and beach. It is one of the most natural and pretty beaches in the Bahamas. After a morning on the beach we head north to Allans Cay, home of the endangered Bahamian Rock Iguana. They are very friendly and seem prehistoric. Day eight ends at Rose island. We get the grill started enjoy the evening just outside of Paradise Island. Here we can spend the night on anchor or return to Atlantis for one more night on the town
(Thanks to Catamaran AMAZING GRACE for the above itinerary).