(Published Spring 2016)
Veteran Bahamas cruisers will tell you that the Exuma chain of islands in the Bahamas is one of the great cruising grounds in the world. The islands are pretty, the sailing is mostly in protected waters, there are hundreds of anchorages and the snorkeling and diving is some of the world’s best. Plus, it is home to the Exuma Land and Sea Park where wildlife is protected and thus abundant and remarkably unconcerned by humans.
The Bahamas are easy to get to. The people are laid back and friendly. And you can mix your vacation between modern luxury resorts, rustic local villages and bareboating in the wilds of unpopulated islands. Until recently charter companies have steered away from the Exumas. But that has changed.
A Canadian company call Navtours has opened a charter base in Palm Cay Marina on Nassau’s southern tip from which they offer a range of mono and multihulls of mostly fairly recent vintage.
Veteran Bahamas cruisers will tell you that the winter is the diciest time to cruise the Exumas and most prefer to sail there in spring, summer and fall. The trade winds are milder, the seas less bouncy and that’s when the islanders throw most of their fun festivals.
Even better, the off season—May until December—is also the time Navtours offers bareboats at significant discounts. A 39 foot cat that would run $6,300 or more a week in the winter goes for $5,040 in the off season.
The company offers a number of cruise plans. You can make a round trip from Palm Cay all the way down to George Town or you can go slowly and make it a one-way charter. You can head out for a four day weekend and do only the Land and Sea Park. Or you can head down to Staniel Cay for a visit to Pigs Bay and then head back to Nassau.
Check out Navtours at www.navtours.com to see just what you can find among their wide range of boats—mulithulls and monohulls— and just how great the off-season deals are.