July 18 2012
For those of you, in North America, who really love excellent cruising in the most incredible tropical setting, Get to the Exumas! You can make an entire summer out of this chain of Bahama Islands. You could do it in less time, but why?
The newer cruising guides and navigation charts of these islands are accurate with a wealth of information to make your cruising fun and memorable. There are many ways you can approach planning your trip. For starters decide if you’re going to charter, or leave from Florida on you own vessel. This will dictate what islands you will be stopping at on the way the Exumas. If you fly in you will most likely start your trip from either Nassau or Staniel Cay. If you come on your own vessel you will mostly likely leave from the South Florida area, stopping in Bimini, Cat Cay, Chub Cay, or Nassau/ New Providence to check into Bahamian Customs for your Cruising Permit. Once you have been cleared you can start cruising and exploring.
Highbourne Cay is one of the first stops. It is a nice island with both an anchorage, a marina with fuel and a new restaurant/bar which everyone seems to be enjoy.
Norman’s Cay is a fun place to visit with a couple of crashed drug planes on the back side of the island and a retired cargo depot.
Warderick Wells is where the Bahamian National Park is located. There is NO fishing of any type in this area. The amount of marine life and untouched corals is incredible.
Compass Cay has anchorages and a marina with its own aquarium where you can swim with Nurse Sharks and feed them. You can get a beer and a darn good burger here as well. The beaches are long and white, surrounded by the hills of the island. Visit Rachel's Bubble Bath before you leave.
Sampson Cay has an anchorage and a marina with fuel along with lodging and restaurant. The marina on the inside of the island is well protected.
Big Majors has a large anchorage for yachts of all sizes. There are pigs on the island which swim out to the boats near the beach so you can feed them. The sunsets are awesome.
Staniel Cay has just about everything, a yacht club, dive shop, restaurant, fuel, marina, anchorages, lodging, general store, and an airport. This island carries a part of "007" history. There was a great deal of filming here for the movie "Thunderball". The grotto where they did some of the filming is very close to the marina. This is a favorite for everyone. It is also a great place to use as a hub for diving and fishing the local areas.
I could mention at least 50 other popular areas in this chain but you really need to experience the adventure for yourself. I can't have all the fun.