Ever dreamed of sailing through paradise? Shimmering turquoise waters gently lapping at the side of your boat as you ease by hazy sun-kissed islands? If scenes like these have ever flickered through your mind, then perhaps it was the Exumas you were thinking of. Situated along the eastern edge of the Grand Bahamas Bank and boasting calmer waters than neighboring archipelagos, the Exumas are a chain of over 365 islands (or cays) and stretch to a length of 209km as part of the wider Bahamas.
Navigating this seductive tropical landscape in comfort and style is the only way to go, so cruising on a Nautitech 40 Open catamaran is an ideal way to travel. With its large living spaces, sleek forward saloon windows and frontdeck lounge, the 46 Open is all about relaxing in elegant surroundings while taking in the glorious scenes passing by. The 46 Open’s twin helm positions are also excellent for maneuvering in harbors and the transom passage gives easy access from one hull to the other. But once you’re out of the harbor and ready to explore the Exumas, where do you start?
Start your adventure by sailing from Nassau to the idyllic Highbourne Cay, also known as the ‘Gateway to the Exumas’, where its exceptional naturally sheltered marina, luxury cottages and outstanding facilities are ready to welcome your Nautitech with open arms. Home to 8 beaches that are all within walking distance of the marina, as well as Xuma’s Restaurant and Bar, it’s a perfect place to start your Exumas adventure.
Ease through the calm crystal-clear waters as you leave Highbourne Cay, cruising in your Nautitech south towards the dreamy pristine coral reef that surrounds Norman’s Cay. Those flawless clear waters make it possible to see the sunken ruins of a crashed aircraft, one of the most unique sights in the region and an adventurous snorkeling opportunity. And while the submerged C-46 World War II-era plane is undoubtedly cool, across Norman’s Cay there’s also plenty more colorful snorkeling locations dotted around its gorgeous natural habitat.
The Exumas adventure continues as the Nautitech Open 46 comfortably navigates the sublime waters that approach the gleaming white sands of Shroud Cay, arguably the most picturesque island in the Bahamas. Located approximately 1 1/2 miles northeast of the northern tip of Elbow Cay, Shroud Cay’s mooring field is an ideal spot for exploring its enchanting channel of mangroves or viewing the fascinating marine life. Sea turtles, lobsters and conch are just some of the creatures that it’s possible to dive amongst here, while Camp Driftwood offers amazing 360-degree views and a truly secluded beach.
Drift by the uninhabited but beautiful Hawksbill Cay – though if you do want to moor your Nautitech here then there are two fields with a total of 14 moorings. The remarkable vistas at Hawksbill are delightful and the tranquil waters are perfect for relaxing. But there’s still plenty more of the Exumas to explore as we continue our journey south east to the protected waters of Warderick Wells Cay.
Home to the largest underwater natural park in the entire region, no voyage through the Exumas would be complete without a stop at Warderick Wells Cay. With its thousand-colored reefs, tropical fish, stromatolites and even the skeleton of a sperm whale, snorkelling or diving in these waters is an unforgettable experience and an epic way of seeing nature at its closest. And with 3 mooring fields (Northern, Emerald Rock, and Southern at Hog Cay), there’s plenty of choice for stopping and exploring the 20 nature trails and 20 secluded beaches spread across the island.
The stunning turquoise stretch of waters south towards Staniel Cay is an easy cruise for a sophisticated catamaran like the Nautitech Open 40. Famous for its population of docile nurse sharks and its well-protected marina, Compass Cay is a charming place to stop off on the way down. The sociable stress-free atmosphere around the marina’s boardwalks and the chance to swim with the uniquely unassuming sharks makes Compass Cay an ideal location to spend a night relaxing on your journey around the Exumas.
Enjoy a heavenly morning sunrise before maneuvering your Nautitech out of the natural harbor and continuing your journey to the one of the most famous cays in all of the Exumas. With 18 secure slips at its expansive marina, Staniel Cay is an essential part of the adventure through this sublime stretch of the Bahamas and well worth mooring your Nautitech up for. In fact, if you’ve never been, it’s possible you’ve seen it before anyway. As a filming location for the James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again, Staniel Cayhas some Hollywood Glamour to go with its already immaculate beaches and lodges. Also, if you want an elegant dining experience then don’t forget to make an evening reservation at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.
But one of the quirkiest parts of your voyage around the Exumas is just a 10-minute boat ride away, over at Big Major Cay. Otherwise known locally as Pig Island, you’re able to visit the curious swimming pigs lazily playing the turquoise waters of this pretty beach. It’s a popular spot so expect plenty of other people to be there, but the sight of the swimming pigs is an odd but enchanting part of the Exumas experience.
After resting and relaxing at Staniel Cay, admire the beautiful Exumas landscape one more time by cruising on the Nautitech Open 40 north up towards Allen Cay. Before you finish your journey, get a rare glimpse of the Allen Cay Rock Iguanas, a critically endangered (and very friendly) species of lizard that make any visit to this small cay extremely special. And don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the epic journey you’ve just made.
Taking a Nautitech on a voyage around the exquisite Exumas is something that can only be appreciated once you do it. From watching idyllic sunsets at famous movie locations to swimming with sharks, there’s a whole world of adventure waiting right here.