Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (1)
EXUMA, 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.
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.
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.