Destinations & Sample Yacht Charter Itineraries
Snorkeling in the Exumas, Bahamas
Thanks to Adam Driffen of the catamaran Rubicon for this specialized snorkel itinerary
Captain Adam Dreffin has been chartering in the Exuma Islands for years. He has designed an itinerary at the request of charter clients who love to snorkel which we would like to share with you.
The Exuma islands are unlike any place else on earth. They are low lying, pristine, white sand, often uninhabited gems, surfacing in waters of astonishing hues.
Most experienced yachtsmen agree that for an out-island getaway, the Exumas, Bahamas is unmatched. Even repeat visitors discover amazing new reefs and are surprised by a tiny cove with a beach they have never explored.
Usually, Exumas itineraries do not omit marvels like the swimming pigs on Big Major Cay, or sundowners and live music at Staniel Cay. But for die hard snorkelers, the only thing that matters is the reefs. Captain Adam of the catamaran Rubicon has designed an itinerary for just such a group.
Day 1: Fowl Cay
Step aboard luxury sailing catamaran Rubicon, set sail and prepare to be amazed. Anchor off Fowl Cay, south of Stocking Island, and snorkel off the yacht at a spot that turtles frequent, along with a great amount of colorful fish. This is the healthiest reef around Great Exuma, with beautiful marine plant and animal life. The water here is almost always clear due to the proximity of the open ocean.
Day 2: Glass Cay
Sail north to Glass Cay. Dinghy over to two blue holes. Here I often see nurse sharks sleeping near the cave entrance where very cool water exits. Different types of corals are seen here due to the water temperature. Colorful sea fans surround the entrance as well. If the weather is calm enough we can head out into slightly deeper water. Here you can see larger fish such as barracuda, tasty grouper, lobster, snapper, and many more.
Day 3: Rat Cay, Children's Bay Cay
Sail north to Lee Stocking Island stopping along the way at Rat Cay to drift through the large cut between Rat Cay and Children's Bay Cay. The current can approach speeds of up to 3 knots here. We use an incoming tide to gently carry us over shallow water. Elk horn coral formations are home to colorful fish of all species. Almost every time, guests request drifting this spot multiple times after experiencing it once. The current does all the work!
Day 4: Rudder Cut Cay
Sail north to Rudder Cut Cay. At this location you can enjoy three separate snorkeling adventures. Float along on another drift dive. Then visit a cave for excellent shallow, calm water snorkeling, and check out the underwater art sculpture!
At a third location, one that is always super popular with guests, you'll find lots of hard corals, colorful sea fans, and plenty of parti-colored fish.
Day 5: Lee Stocking Island
Sail south to Lee Stocking and anchor off the former location of the Perry Institute for Marine Science. Here scientists used to visit annually to inspect the health of the reef on both the northeast and north sides of the island. It is one of the best spots on my list. I often have especially good luck spearfishing here. Sharks are often spotted, lobster are plentiful, as well as multitudes of fish species, large and small. The marine life is super diverse since the drop-off to deeper water offshore is very near.
Day 6: Georgetown
Sail south to George Town, stopping at Square Rock Cay where one giant lobster always hangs out, along with barracuda, stingrays, etc. There is a sunken sailboat here, which has created a very fascinating habitat.
We sail back to Stocking Island/George Town and take the afternoon to visit the blue hole. Believe it or not, the resident barracuda that hangs out is friendly and curious about snorkelers. Because people have been feeding the fish they have become very tame. We always bring bread for them and they go crazy, swarming around you. With a falling tide, the blue hole is easily seen from the surface due to the clear, cool water flowing out. On the way back to the yacht, we stop at a special spot to hand feed and pet friendly sting rays.
Time permitting, there is one other blue hole and another great snorkeling spot in the harbor. There are also extensive reefs offshore that you could take a couple of days to visit. If there isn't time enough before your departure, it's a great reason to come back again. Although, once you've experienced snorkeling here, you'll find plenty of reasons to return.
Remember, there are many variations to this sample itinerary. Your charter will be customized to fulfill the dreams of your charter party. That's the beauty of a crewed charter yacht sailing vacation.