Yachting through the Bahamas for two weeks, with destinations unknown is like being a pirate who is welcomed ashore. We began our yachting adventure in Staniel Cay, Bahamas. We arrived to find a small bar playing tropical house music, a local gentleman chopping fresh conch ceviche, and a quaint marina full of sailboats and yachts with salty dogs ready to hit the seas. We boarded Breakaway, our Broward motor yacht, and set out on our two week journey. Where would it take us? To be determined. The area around Staniel Cay is a sea of breathtaking turquoise waters with small uninhabited islands, caves, and reefs. There is a local cave that was once used in the James Bond movie, Thunderball. We learned to swim into the cave at “slack tide” or else it wouldn’t be possible to breath-hold long enough to exit under water.
My favorite place to visit in Staniel Cay is a small island inhabited only by sea pigs. The pigs swim out to greet the boats and beg for food. I had planned on getting out of the boat to frolic with my piggie friends, but Scott said they were too hostile and he tried to get the heck out of there as fast as possible! I had some good belly laughs watching him trying to get the motor going while one pig attempted to jump into our boat.
While wandering though the charming town, we smelled the most delicious cinnamon and yeast scent from a little yellow house. To our delight it was a local Bahamian woman’s home where she happens to sell her homemade bread fresh out of the oven. We bought several loaves!
The Exuma Land and Sea Park runs along Cambridge Cay and the snorkeling is fantastic in the park. Because of the abundance of wildlife, we had several lemon sharks hanging out next to our boat all day. We fed them some lunch.
We cruised to Warwick Cay and visited the whaling museum, ranger station, and whale bone collection. Scott and Randy had a stand up paddle through the mangroves which they loved until the mosquitos came out at dusk.
Our next stop was Compass Cay to swim with some sharks. I decided to be a photographer rather than a participant in this event. Scott, Randy, and Chuck posed for me while pretending to be afraid while they actually loved the friendly nurses sharks.
Heading north we reached Highbourne Cay and marina. Unique to this area are the two small islands that are inhabited only by endangered Exuma Iguanas. These iguanas can weight up to 24 lbs (11 kg) and live for 80 years. Because people feed them, they have become aggressive and will now attack humans and fight each other for the food.
Close to Nassau is an upscale resort and marina called Albany. Justin Timberlake and Kate Upton have condo floors at the resort. The night we docked there, we ended up in the bar with Jay Z and Sean Parker. Tiger Wood’s yacht was also docked in the marina. We got a kick out of that!
Next stop, Nassau. A trip to Nassau wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Atlantis, the megaresort and casino. Atlantis offers a family friendly environment complete with water slides, an underground aquarium, a rope bridge, an outdoor shark pool, and several shops and restaurants. We dined at Jean George’s Café Martinique which has a replica of the James Bond glass elevator from Thunder ball. The dining room is decorated in a plantation style and the food is upscale tropical cuisine. On the other side of the spectrum is the Green Parrot bar located in Hurricane Hole marina on Paradise Island. This bar is for the salty dog and local crowd only as it’s all outdoors, has a swimming pool, and specializes in chicken wings and conch fritters. The night I was there it was practically a hurricane, and the bar stools were full. Across the street is the Bahama Craft Centre where Dorothea Rolle sells her creative hand-made jewelry, purses, hats, and crafts.
Once we left Nassau, we headed to the Eleuthera section of the Bahamas as our final destination. We traveled through breathtaking Spanish Wells at dawn on our way to Harbour Island to dock at Valentine’s Marina.
Harbour Island is sprinkled with pastel homes, pink sand beaches, and tiny watering holes to stop and savor a Kalik, the local beer, or a Goombay Punch. We all agreed that one of our favorite spots became Sip Sip on Pink Sands Beach. They specialize in curry chicken, lobster quesadillas, and grouper sandwiches. Perched on the edge of the cliff, the turquoise water below the restaurant beckons you for a swim after lunch.
The luxury of being a modern day pirate on a yachting or boating vacation is being able to stop and stay at tiny islands along your path. The Bahamas offer you that option, whether you are looking for a party with celebrities or (more fun) a snack next to a pig on the beach.