A 7 day cruise to see the wonders of the Bahamas
Themes: Excellent Diving, Excellent Snorkelling, Sunset Cruise,
Nassau to Highborne Cay is one of the most favored stops by captains and is 38nm from Nassau.
This island is 3 miles long and comparatively high with hills and humps not seen on many of the Exuma islands. You will find a modern marina accommodating yachts up to 160’, fuel, power, water, ice, showers, laundry. For dockside catering call “Cool Runner” on VHF Channel 16. There is also a good anchorage for those who do not want to be in a marina atmosphere. On the eastern shore of Highborne you will find one of the loveliest beaches in the Bahamas.
Cruise for 18nm and anchor in Soldier Cay carefully navigating the shallow waters. This is a great snorkeling spot and an afternoon of beach games with flowing rum punches. A climb to Kermit’s Hilltop Restaurant and Tavern is well worth a seat at a rooftop table were you can enjoy lunches and dinners with live music and dancing on weekends. Up the anchor and head for a 20nm passage to Staniel Cay.
The Staniel Cay Yacht Club accommodates boats up to 9ft with 18 berths and the regular marina facilities. Engine and Electrical repairs can be arranged if you so require. Rent a golf cart and go exploring, fill the dive or LP tanks. On the south side is the Happy People Marina and Hotel, two small grocery stores and Post Office. Events on Staniel Cay are Bonefishing Tournaments, Deep Sea fishing. Ask for Hugh, Burke, Sandy Gray, Tony Gray or Wade Nixon any of whom will gladly guide you to Thunderball Cave where a number of underwater James Bond scenes were filmed. i.e Thunderball. Never Say Never and the movie Splash. Beach picnics featuring Bahamian cooking and New Years Regatta where everyone can win a prize are also amongst the highlights of things to do on the Cay.
Anchor off Big Major’s and take the dinghy and some carrots with you as you may come across the wild pigs that swim up to the dinghy.
Power boaters can make the passage of 125nm distance to my absolute favorite island, Eleuthera and the towns of Spanish Wells and Dunmore Town. Sailors can take it slow and anchor on the banks overnight if the weather is good.
Eleuthera lies at nearest point some 30 miles northeast of Nassau and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands of the Bahamian chain. This island offers contrasts of craggy cliffs to pink sandy beaches and was settled in 1649 when about 100 people from the British Clergy arrived.
At Spanish Wells pick up the pilot “Little Woody”, who may even bring you a carrot cake made by his wife, to help take you through the Devils Backbone to Dunmore Town and Harbour Island. Harbor Island is becoming the new ‘St Barts’ and if you mingle in the Rock House you may even spot a celebrity! Take a golf cart to explore.
Dunmore Town was settled more than 200 years ago by the British and has colonial architecture with a Caribbean flare it was the first capital of the Bahamas. You will find old churches, art galleries, quaint shops, straw items and beautiful gardens. Ask for the House of Assembly – a local spot under the shady Christmas bedecked tree where you will find the community bulletin board and a bench to rest on. The 3 mile long beach is pink with particles of coral from Conch Shells. Some unusual dive tours can be arranged which includes a sunken train on the Devils Backbone or an underwater ride through Current Cut. Harbor Island Yacht Club and Marina, The Dunmore Beach Club and many more sophisticated accommodations and restaurants make this a very pleasant stop for a few days if you have the time to relax and enjoy.
Note: Little San Salvador’s Half Moon Bay boasts the Best Beaches in the Bahamas and has been a delightful and memorable stop amongst cruises for many years but sadly is now privately owned by Holland America Line Westours and prohibits yachtsman from anchoring in any of the bays or the lagoon. If you require shelter from bad or inclement weather contact the island Manager on the VHF
Make the 70nm passage back to Nassau taking in the beautiful hues of turquoise water and etching the memories of your trip in your mind and please remember to support the volunteers who save lives at sea, BASRA – Bahamas Air-Sea Rescue Association. www.basra.org.