Cruising Guide: Exumas, Bahamas
By our travel expert Laura
We’ve put together a 10-day itinerary for a sail around paradise – The Exumas in the Bahamas
Sailing AreaThanks to the constant trade winds, the Bahamas offers a temperate climate all year long. It is very sunny with 320 days of sunshine per year. Sailing the Exumas is ideal for those that enjoy solitude, nature, unspoiled beauty and quaint, low-key beach settlements.
A Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: NassauCheck in on the boat and enjoy Palm Cay resort in Nassau.
Day 2: Navigation Nassau – Highborne Cay (28nm)Highborn Cay has a few inhabitants and is situated about 30 nautical miles South-East of Nassau. It has a unique ‘H’ shape allowing a nice protected anchorage with fine sand. Having the highest relief of the nearby islands as well as with the Batelco antenna of more than 300 feet, it is one of the first islands that we see coming from Nassau.
Day 3: Visit of Highborne Cay, Allan’s Cay & Warderick Well’s Cay (20nm)You can find the islands of Allan’s Cay about a mile North-West of Highborn Cay. It is a beautiful wild area surrounded with great beaches and corals. The many islands give protection from the wind, more or less effectively. The anchorage zone is small and one should avoid it through bad weather. However, a visit by dinghy from Highborn Cay is very much worth the trip.
Day 4: Visit and activities at Warderick Well’s CayWarderick Well is in the heart of the protected park of the Exumas. It is also where you find the general quarter of the organization in charge of protecting this real paradisiac island. Most people that visit the Northern part of the Exumas believe that it is worth going. Whether it is for snorkelling, having a magnificent beach for yourself or walking on the man-built pathway on the island, this place is incomparable. The zone for anchoring North of the island is beautiful and according to many has nothing to envy to French Polynesia. It is also an excellent place to find shelter under strong wind, including the West wind.
Day 5: Navigation Warderick Well’s Cay – Staniel Cay (15nm)Enjoy a PM snorkel in the famous Thunderball cave. Staniel Cay is the farthest island North of the Exumas where you can find a village. A charming place where you can get water, diesel, propane and food (limited)
Day 6: Visit of Staniel Cay and Big Major SpotThe anchorage at Big Major Spot is about one mile from Staniel Cay by Dinghy. Once on the sandbank, there are only a few obstacles before the island. You drop the anchor in 2 to 3 meters of water. It is a deserted island that nevertheless, hosts big wild pigs that take great pleasure swimming towards you when approaching the beach by dinghy. PM Dinner at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.
Day 7: Navigation Staniel to Shroud Cay on the Exuma bank (29nm)Shroud Cay is the farthest North island in the protected Exumas Park counting about twenty deserted islands. PM Visit of the mangrove river in Shroud Cay. This is the only river on the island where access by dinghy is allowed. The small river is only accessible three hours before and after the high tides. A ride of about 20 minutes will show you the mangrove growing everywhere giving you the impression of being on a river in the Amazon. The stream runs to an end in a magnificent Lagoon where the water has a beautiful shade of blue. You also find one of the nicest beaches in the Exumas. There is also a nice viewpoint that is worth the short hike. The place is ideal for swimming and picnic on the beach.
Day 8: Navigation Shroud to Norman’s Cay (5 nm)Even if there are only a few people living there at the moment, the place was, a while ago, the quarters of the drug lord Carlos Leigher, one of the most powerful dealers in history. There are many possible activities on Norman’s Cay and it is one of the rare places in the North of the Exumas where you can find shelter from the West winds. Snorkel on the sunken plane. PM Visit Norman’s Cay, dinner at the Norman’s Cay Club.
Day 9: Navigation Shroud to Norman’s Cay (5 nm)Visit de Norman’s Cay and enjoy the beach. Norman’s Cay is an island that one should not miss when sailing in the North of the Exumas. This three-mile-long island is not more than one mile wide and this being only where a big pond of water lays.
Day 10: AM Navigation Norman’s Cay – Nassau (32nm). PM Visit of Nassau
Day 11: AM Check-out
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