ESCAPING TO THE EXUMAS
If you are searching for picture-perfect beaches, crystal clear water and blissful isolation without having to travel to the ends of the earth, the Exumas are calling.
Perfectly blending adventure, escape and natural beauty, the Exumas make up an almost boundless archipelago in the Bahamas. With 365 islands – an island for every day of the year – it is possible to anchor off of any number of deserted cays or lay your towel down on an array of footprint-less beaches each day, and still leave at the end of your charter with much still to be explored.
The archipelago is split into three: Great Exuma, Little Exuma and the sprawling Exuma Cays. The anchor of the region and largest of the islands is Great Exuma. Its charming capital Georgetown is the unofficial yachting HQ and typical starting point for itineraries in the area, offering regular, convenient flights from Nassau, Miami and beyond. While it would be tempting to haul anchor the minute you step foot on your yacht, those who devote time to exploring this captivating city will fall under the spell of its vivacious locals, unique energy and vibrant nightlife.
When it comes to yachting though, there is nowhere like the Exuma Cays for a real break from reality. A beautiful belt of oceanic outcrops, all white sand and rustling palms, the Cays rise out of water that is clear as glass and rich with life. This jewelled island chain has long been a haven for the rich and famous, with private islands and exclusive resorts hidden among the wild and untouched ones, their yachts sheltered in their own bays or tied to their own docks.
Superyachts in search of solitude head for the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a huge protected area that was founded 50 years ago as the world’s first ever land-and-sea. From birdwatching to hiking, these islands provide plenty of scope for nature-based activities, but it is underwater where the reserve comes into its own. Divers and snorkelers will be overwhelmed by what are easily the best conditions in the Bahamas: in among the bustling coral cities, you’ll find spotted eagle rays, turtles, conch, barracuda, spiny lobsters and a parade of colourful reef fish.
No trip to the Exumas would be complete without a trip to Big Major Cay, a seemingly-uninhabited island that is actually home to a family of swimming pigs. Legends abound as to how these friendly hogs found their way to paradise, but whether their ancestors were abandoned by pirates or were the survivors of a shipwreck, these pigs have become clever swimmers and love nothing more than to pose for selfies, frolic in the waves with travellers and chase down tenders for a snack.
From Big Major Cay, it’s a short cruise to the natural fishbowl of Thunderball Grotto, named after the synonymous 1965 James Bond film. This incredible underwater cave system is popular with divers but can also be accessed by non-divers at low tide. The adventurous will be rewarded for braving the narrow entrance into the hollowed-out interior: natural skylights let in streams of sunlight from above, illuminating the turquoise, life-filled water, lending it an almost otherworldly shimmer.
You’ll find 007’s mark on the nearby Staniel Cay Yacht Club too; an eclectic and laid back yachtie hang out that was popular with crew during the filming of Thunderball. The walls are adorned with weathered nautical flags and photos of the film cast and crew, and if you are lucky, you will arrive in time for one of their legendary parties. Take a seat in one of the colourful wooden deck chairs and watch the sun set over the yachts, both big and small, in the marina; you may even find yourself sipping a cocktail with one of the many A-listers who own neighbouring private islands.
The Exumas will stay with you long after your charter: the colours here are astounding in their vibrancy, the sense of escape is rare. It is no surprise that many guests return time and time again, revisiting favourite spots, discovering new ones and immersing themselves in this tropical superyacht haven.
Get in touch with the Ocean Independence charter team to plan your Exumas superyacht charter now.