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:
Fodor’s Travel Guide to the Exuma Cays