From Eleuthera and the Exumas to Cat Island and South Abaco, the options can sound endless, but with all offering equal measures of pure isolation and fun, which ones are right for you? Here the yachts’ captains give an insight on the destination to help you narrow your choice.
From Warderick Wells Cay to Highbourne Cay, the islands and the surrounding waters of the Exumas provide guests with plenty of opportunities for fishing, diving and simply relaxing on the miles of unspoiled pristine beaches. As a jumping off point from Nassau you can make a beeline for the Exumas and spend your evenings anchored out off one of these idyllic islands.
Captain Aldon Beukman aboard the 65m (213.3ft) ETERNITY has spent a number of seasons in the Bahamas, having worked for an owner who loved the islands’ so much he opened his own resort. He believes that they really are some of the world’s finest cruising grounds. 'If I had to choose my favourite spot it would be the private island experience at Twin Cays,' he says. 'We were the first yacht ever to have rented the island for guests and it made the perfect setting from which to step on board and cruise through the archipelago.'
Captain Tom Versteeg aboard the 55m (180.4ft) LADY MICHELLE also recommends the Exumas for their incredible range of experiences. 'The pristine turquoise seas along with the islands’ secluded bays and white sandy beaches make for a perfect charter location,' he says.
'They provide ample opportunities for fine dining, vibrant nightlife and luxurious spas, as well as amazing snorkeling and scuba diving.' His favourite spots include Big Major’s for feeding and swimming with the wild pigs, cruising the mangroves of Shroud Cay by jetski or kayak, and snorkeling through Thunderball Grotto.
Captain Chris Wallace on board the 49.9m (163.9ft) INCOGNITO has been cruising the Bahamas for 15 years. 'Due to the specific nature of this environment, firsthand knowledge of the area is essential to get the most out of a Bahamas charter,' he explains. 'There are many things to do on a charter through these shallow waters, but in terms of highlights I would recommend that any cruising itinerary should include the Exuma Land and Sea Park or Stocking Island. I would also consider the southern tip of the Tongue of the Ocean, the Abacos and Rose Island in my top five favourite places to cruise in these islands.'
With her shallow draft of just 1.9m (6.1ft) and speeds of up to 37 knots, INCOGNITO is uniquely suited to the shallow waters and island hopping itineraries that the Exumas positively encourage. 'When cruising aboard INCOGNITO guests are able to take advantage of all the archipelago has to offer,' says Captain Gabriel.
A charter through any of these idyllic isles will reveal amazing beaches at every anchorage, but a handful stand out of the crowd. One of the most photographed beaches in the world is Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island. The pink colouring of the sand comes from the bright red and pink shells of tiny microscopic animals known as foraminifera. For a unique experience ask your captain to organise a horseback ride along the beach at sunset.
Located in The Bahamas Out Islands, Eleuthera is also home to beaches of white and pink sand. Surfers among the charter party should head to Surfer’s Beach where they will find one of the best and most reliable surf breaks in The Bahamas.
Over in the Exumas just about every beach is worth a visit, but Compass Cay stands out for its 15 beaches, the most spectacular of which is the long Crescent Ocean Beach where you can firstly throw hot dogs to attract the nurse sharks that call these shallow waters home, and then swim with them afterwards.
In most places the shallow water is so clear that you can see straight to the bottom, but the channels run very deep, and underwater reefs stretching nearly 760 miles are rich in fish and other marine life. For the ultimate diving experiences, Warderick Wells Cay is among the cluster of islands that make up the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
'Known as the Garden of Eden, the marine preserve abounds in coral reefs and colourful sea life,' says Captain Gabriel Grocholski aboard the 39.6m (130ft) INCOGNITO. 'Lying directly off Highbourne Cay is a drop off that faces the Exuma Sound – a vertical, 20m coral wall populated by colourful marine life and a great spot to explore for any divers in the party.'
Another highly recommended yacht available in The Bahamas this summer is the 49.8m (163.3ft) HOME. Captains Tim Jacques and Quentin Rauter are looking forward to her charter guests using her fantastic watertoys, including scuba diving equipment. 'We are particularly looking forward to anchoring off Big Major’s Spot and Warderick Wells Cay – reputedly the two best places for watersports in the Exumas,' says Captain Tim.
Captain Quentin also recommends Eleuthera for both snorkeling and diving. 'My favourite spots include the Current Cut channel which moves between Eleuthera’s Current Settlement and Current Island,' he says. 'There is also an inland saltwater lake known as the Blue Hole which provides great diving conditions.'
From bonefishing (fly fishing for bonefish) in the shallows to deep-sea fishing, the Bahamas are a mecca for mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna and marlin. 'Deep-sea fishing trips can be arranged either on board or with a local company,' explains LADY MICHELLE’s Captain Tom Versteeg.
'The hub for cruising in the Exumas, Staniel Cay is the place to fish and I would recommend that any itinerary should include fishing, be it bonefishing or deep sea.' The 55m (180.4ft) LADY MICHELLE is a fantastic choice for cruising the Bahamas and offers an extensive array of watertoys for all kinds of watersports activities, including fishing equipment.
Most Bahamian charters tend to begin in Nassau before cruising through the Exumas. For those looking to extend an Exumas itinerary by a few days then encompassing Harbour Island and Eleuthera is a must. Contact your Burgess charter expert for further information on the yachts available and possible itineraries.
To find out more about the yachts available here, please contact your broker. We will also to be happy to advise you on travel to and from your charter through our relationship with private jet company SHY Aviation.
Our captains on cruising The Bahamas
You can also find out more about the Bahamian highlights from the captains themselves. We spoke to Captain Donovan Clark of ATTITUDE, Captain Aldon Beukman of ETERNITY, Captain Chris Wallace of INCOGNITO 49.9m and Captain Troy Dougherty of MUCHOS MAS.
To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact your Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.