Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (1)

Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (1)

aMapEXUMA, BAHAMAS, FEBRUARY 5TH— Get­ting from our home island of Eleuthera to oth­er Bahami­an Fam­i­ly islands is com­pli­cat­ed, usu­al­ly requir­ing air trav­el via Nas­sau. But the near­est of the Exu­ma Cays is only about 40 miles from Cape Eleuthera, or 65 miles from Governor’s Har­bour, and you can do that in under two hours in a fast boat. So off we went from Cupid’s Cay aboard Capt. Paul Petty’s immac­u­late Mar­lin 35 skiff, Mar­ti­nis & Bikinis.

The date was our anniver­sary, so it couldn’t have been bet­ter timed. Paul and his affa­ble mate Dwayne had six pas­sen­gers, includ­ing three res­i­dents of Rain­bow Bay and three Cana­di­an ladies, one of whom orga­nized the expe­di­tion. The entire trip took nine hours: two hours out and back, and five hours among the islets—which went like a flash.

0PettyBoat

The 130-mile-long arch­i­pel­ago form­ing the Exu­ma chain is a majes­tic dis­play of Bahami­an nature—however you get there, it’s worth every minute. All the col­ors from aqua­ma­rine to sap­phire shim­mer through the most beau­ti­ful ocean water in the world. But I’m going to char­ter a sail­boat next time.

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Ward­er­ick Wells Cay

A skiff is built to plane, and when you have 2-4 ft waves and chop in the deep­er parts of the Exu­ma Sound, she just pounds, and we took the pound­ing at 35 knots. Paul is a good sea­man and han­dled the waves well. He could have slowed down but then we would have had much less time in the Exu­mas. The ride was rougher out against the tide. On the return, Paul had a fol­low­ing sea and after pass­ing Cape Eleuthera cut diag­o­nal­ly north­west past the Schooner Cays, which gave us a smooth run over turquoise water. Our bod­ies only ached for 48 hours.

Con­tin­ued in Part 2….

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