Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (3)

Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (3)

Con­clud­ed from Part 2…

Staniel Cay is an active stopover for sail­ing yachts with an affa­ble yacht club for lunch. We spent an hour mean­der­ing its wind­ing lanes and admir­ing the col­or­ful cot­tages. On the way back we stopped at Com­pass Cay to “swim with the sharks”—big, friend­ly nurse sharks which behave like aquat­ic dogs, nos­ing up to a water-lev­el dock to be fed bits of conch and allow­ing their sand­pa­per backs to be scratched.

These nurs­es are quite dif­fer­ent from your image from “Jaws” (and as vet­er­an Bahami­an divers know, we have noth­ing that threat­en­ing in local waters any­way). Adult spec­i­mens are as big as a man, but they tend to spend most of their time on the bot­tom, feed­ing on lob­ster and oth­er bot­tom dwellers, some cov­ered with sand. With snacks in the water they swim up leisure­ly and lit­er­al­ly take it out of your hand. Just watch the fin­gers to avoid being gummed.

We were back in Governor’s Har­bour before sun­set, and amazed that we were able to see so much in just a day, thank to Paul Petty’s expert knowl­edge based on his years in Exu­ma; he wast­ed lit­tle time shuf­fling us between points of inter­est. Even then, we had seen only per­haps a quar­ter of it. A high pow­ered skiff is the quick­est way over, but per­haps you want to think of some­thing else if you’re over 50. For sailors. the place idyl­lic. We have nev­er seen such water–even clear­er and more shim­mer­ing than Eleuthera. Still, after any such adven­ture, Eleuthera is the best place to wind down.

More on the web:

Pho­tos from the cruis­ing yacht Sol­stice.

 Fodor’s Trav­el Guide to the Exu­ma Cays

 

 

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