Picture the Bahamas and what do you see? White sands and clear turquoise seas bathed in tropical sunshine? Idyllic anchorages with fabulous snorkeling and diving conditions? A laid-back atmosphere with beach bars serving rum cocktails and other delights? The smiling faces of the local people?
There's all that and more in the beautiful Bahamas, just a one-hour flight from Miami.
When Hurricane Dorian hit the northern part of the Bahamas in 2019, your Bahamas sailing options were reduced. On September 1 that year, the eye of the hurricane made landfall on Great Abaco island, once a favored tropical island getaway among sailboat vacationers. To the west Grand Bahama was also badly affected. The tourism infrastructure on these once busy travel destinations is still under reconstruction.
The Bahamas comprise over 700 islands and 2,400 cays. So while the Abacos could no longer be serviced there was capacity for a quick recovery elsewhere. The main entry point of Nassau escaped significant damage, as did the region's other sailing holiday paradise, the Exumas. Extending towards the Caribbean from just 30 nautical miles south of the Bahama's main boat charter base, the Exumas form a string of cays that will keep you and your crew entranced during your charter sailing vacation.
Unlike the chain of Caribbean islands to the south that were formed by volcanic activity, the Bahamas are the above-water parts of two extensive banks that rise from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The shallow waters here are dotted with numerous islands and cays sheltered behind miles of coral reef that teem with sea life.
The delights of a sailing vacation in the Bahamas unfold around The Exumas, a string of cays much of which is enclosed in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea National Park. In the winterless climate of this special place, the trade winds blow gently across calm turquoise waters sheltered from the ocean beyond. The emphasis is on nature, solitude and tranquility, with small beach settlements, some including resorts, to be found on the cays you will visit.
On a charter covering the traditional seven days, set out from Nassau's Palm Cay Marina Base and sail some 35 nautical miles (65km) to the Exumas. One of the first cays you'll reach is Highbourne Cay, a great place to start, as you sample the warm tropical waters and snorkel some of the surrounding reefs. From there you can 'island hop' all the way to Allen Cay and examine its unique iguana sub-species. You'll have ample time to explore what you missed on the way out.
The Bahamas cruising ground is expansive, and the Exumas offer just about all that charter sailors are looking for in a holiday with family and friends. But if sailing and discovery are the main objectives, there's much more to explore on an extended voyage through this widespread archipelago.
Talk to us about the Bahamas as a convenient, family-friendly travel destination. You'll soon see just what you have in store on an Exumas sailboat charter.
January is the coolest month (77°F/25°C) and August the warmest (90°/32°). The Bahamas average an impressive 3,000 sunshine hours per year, with summer being the wettest season.
Technically outside the Caribbean but in practice a part of its weather systems, the Bahamas face the possibility of hurricanes peaks in late summer. During normal weather conditions the wind is generally calm to moderate and only occasionally becomes fresh.
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