Tag Archives: Bahamas

CLOSING THE LOOP, ATLANTIS & THE BERRY ISLANDS – by Randy

It is hard to believe that our family odyssey aboard Pilots’ Discretion is almost at the four year point. During our time aboard we have put in excess of six thousand miles under our keel, that is a lot of traveling by boat. We have seen and experienced so many diverse and unique places and cultures that it is now the norm for us to begin our day wondering what new adventure awaits. Florida is now nearly on the horizon and in just a few more days, we will be reinserting ourselves into our land based world, but for now we still have some traveling to do.

Our last port of call, Atlantis Marina, Nassau was not typical of the places we have visited along the way. Atlantis, to me, represents a combination of Las Vegas and a water based Disney World on steroids. Ryan and Ronan wasted no time finding the various water slides, while Theresa and I really enjoyed the front row seats we had at the marina as the various megayachts came and went. Click photo below for video:

It was a lot of fun to see, and certainly worth the visit, but it could not be more different than our next stop, the Berry Islands. The Berry Islands are a group of small cays that generally run northwest of New Providence (the island that Nassau calls home) for about 60 miles. The Berrys are largely undeveloped, or owned by private individuals and cruise ship companines, so they are about as far away from the bright lights and hustle and bustle of Atlantis as you can get.

One of the things that immediately struck me as we approached the Berry Islands was that the water is absolutely crystal clear. The Bahamas, in general, are known for their beautiful clear water, but the Berrys take clear water to the next level. It was, at times, hard to believe that our depth sounders were reading 50-60 feet while we were looking over the side at various marine life such as star fish, sharks and rays gliding beneath the Pilots’ Discretion. Click photo below for video:

The Berry Islands feel like a natural spot to wrap up our family exploring. We all got to see things that were not part of our norm. Sort of the signature for what has been an amazing four years of growth for our boys, and Theresa and I as well.

We left the Berrys on a direct course to West End, Grand Bahama Island. Ironic, in that our first stop outside the United States four years ago was, the still charming, Old Bahama Bay Marina, on West End, Grand Bahama Island. Click photo below for video:

After our stop on Grand Bahama Island it was time for the Pilots’ Discretion to cross the Gulf Stream westbound. Additional updates to follow.

HIGHBOURNE CAY & ALLEN CAY, BAHAMAS – by Ronan

After Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, we pulled into port in Highbourne Cay Marina, where we were able to see nurse sharks, and reef sharks lurking around in the water right under our boat! After we were docked, we went bike riding around the island, found an isolated beach, and went kayaking. The next day, we took a short (5 minute) dingy ride over to Allen Cay,  which is an uninhabited cay full of wild iguanas. There were none on the beach as we approached, but with the hum of our dinghy motor approaching, dozens crawled out from the brush seeking fruit and vegetable snacks. Click the photo below for a video (v-log) of our adventures!

We were advised to be careful because the iguanas have sharp teeth and will bite if you get too close.

Iguana, Allen Cay, Bahamas (2018)

Iguana, Allen Cay, Bahamas (2018)

Our next of port of call, after Highbourne and Allen Cays, was Atlantis, Nassau . . .

P.S. There are no buses on Highbourne Cay!

Ryan & Ronan @ the “Bus Stop,” Highbourne Cay, Bahamas (June 2018)

Ryan & Ronan @ the “Bus Stop,” Highbourne Cay, Bahamas (June 2018)

 

 

EXUMA CAYS LAND SEA PARK, BAHAMAS – by Ryan

After stopping at Big Majors Spot, we headed north to Warderick Wells (the Exumas Cays Land and Sea Park). We spent a couple nights on a mooring ball and went hiking and kayaking during our stay. We hiked the main trail to Boo Boo Hill where we looked through the large pile of drift wood for boat names that we recognized. We kayaked past the park ranger’s station and hugged the coast until we got to the isolated Lucky Spot Beach. One morning while we were in the park, a nurse shark was hanging out behind our boat all morning. Click on the video below to check out our adventures at Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.

Our next stop was Allan Cay …

Swimming piglets at Big Majors, Bahamas

WHEN PIGS SWIM! BIG MAJORS SPOT, BAHAMAS (MAY 2018) – by Theresa

Continuing with our video logs, after leaving Staniel Cay astern, we next stopped at Big Majors Spot, home to the infamous swimming pigs. (Click on photo below for video.) The three little piglets swimming ashore, 0.55 seconds in to the video, were absolutely priceless!

The pigs swim out to greet the arriving dinghies, aiming to have their efforts rewarded with snacks. Although most of the swimming/beach pigs were docile and friendly, there was one rather large and aggressive pig. The posted warning advised beachgoers to beware of the pig (pictured above and below) appropriately named “Big Mama Karma.”  She was given that moniker because, like karma, she had been known to come back and bite individuals in the backside!

Big Mama Karma, Big Majors, Bahamas

Big Mama Karma, Big Majors, Bahamas

After Big Majors Spot, we next set a course north to Exuma Land and Sea Park…

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

GEORGETOWN & EMERALD BAY, SOUTHERN BAHAMAS (May 2018) – by Theresa

GEORGE TOWN, GREAT EXUMA, EXUMAS, SOUTHERN BAHAMAS

We arrived in George Town, dropped anchor, and were met with a low weather system. The ensuing squalls and lightning storms were among the worst we had encountered in all our time at sea.

Squall in Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Squall in Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Squall in Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Squall in Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Eventually, the stormed cleared and we rode our dinghy through the tunnel, into Lake Victoria. The Exuma Market (very well stocked for provisioning) had a new, floating, dinghy dock. The Exuma Yacht Club, across the street, had, what the boys’ claimed, “the best burgers in all of the Caribbean.”

Georgetown dinghy dock, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Georgetown dinghy dock, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Georgetown dinghy dock, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Georgetown dinghy dock, Great Exuma, Bahamas

No stop in Georgetown would be complete without a visit to Chat ‘n Chill over on Stocking Island.

Chat 'N' Chill, Volley Ball Beach, Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas

Chat ‘N’ Chill, Volley Ball Beach, Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas

Randy chilling at Chat 'N' Chill, Volley Ball Beach, Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas

Randy chilling at Chat ‘N’ Chill, Volley Ball Beach, Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas

The resident stingrays were hovering by the fresh conch salad stand waiting to be fed by those brave enough to get in the water with them.

Stingray at Chat 'N' Chill, Volley Ball Beach, Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas

Stingray at Chat ‘N’ Chill, Volley Ball Beach, Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas

Kids feeding & petting Stingray at Volley Ball Beach, George Town, Exumas, Bahamas (May 2018)

Kids feeding & petting Stingray at Volley Ball Beach, George Town, Exumas, Bahamas (May 2018)

St. Francis, just around the corner, was a great spot to end the day.

Dinghy dock at St. Francis restaurant, George Town, Exumas, Bahamas (May 2018)

Dinghy dock at St. Francis restaurant, George Town, Exumas, Bahamas (May 2018)

MARINA AT EMERALD BAY 

After George Town, we continued our journey north, next pulling in at Marina at Emerald Bay.

Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas

Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas

A short walk away, Sandals Resort is located on a white sand crescent beach.

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Beach Resort, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Golf Course, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Golf Course, Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Continuing our journey north, our next stop in the southern Bahamas was the infamous Staniel Cay …