Ever wonder what a dream vacation looks like? Look no further than a Moorings Yacht Charter in the Exuma Islands! For eight days, I got to experience the beauty and adventure that a charter from The Moorings offers. I stayed in a Moorings 433 Powercat, which was the perfect amount of space for me and five others to sleep comfortably. Learn more about the top 10 things to do when you visit the Exumas from someone who lived it herself!
1. Palm Cay
Our first location on our journey was Palm Cay. At this marina, our Moorings 433 Powercat was docked, and where we began our travels in the Bahamas. For lunch, upon arrival, we enjoyed Conch Fritters and a shareable Mediterranean plate at the Pink Octopus Restaurant. We had a beautiful ocean view and lovely outdoor seating to enjoy the fresh air and great view. If you want to stay the night in a luxury hotel, you can reserve a room in one of the beautiful rooms at the marina before or after your journey. Palm Cay was a relaxing and ideal place to begin the first leg of our journey.
2. Musha Cay Sandbar
Our next stop was Musha Cay. Cruising around 16 knots per hour, we arrived in about four hours. The sun was shining, the ocean was still, and the water was crystal clear. If you look at your tide charts and plan to arrive during low tide, you will find a long and majestic sandbar right off of Musha Cay. It is a thin strip of sand that rests right in the middle of the clear blue waters. This should be on any explorer's bucket list, it is a sight for sore eyes. We anchored our 433 PC and took the dinghy to the sandbar, where we explored, found starfish, and cooled off in the water. The best part was that it was empty. We were the only boat to be seen for miles and had the entire sandbar to ourselves. The Musha Cay sandbar was a treasure and a hidden gem.
3. Staniel Cay
After Musha Cay, we headed to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Staniel Cay is a charming island surrounded by the most beautiful water imaginable. We tied to a Mooring Ball and headed to shore on the dinghy. The yacht club on the island offers delicious drink options plus fresh food and appetizers. The atmosphere was a laid-back island-style vibe. Staniel Cay also offers some grocery options further up the island. Since we needed a few things we took a stroll through the island to pick up a few groceries before heading back to the boat for our next destination.
4. Sampson Cay - Pipe Creek
We spent the night in Staniel Cay, then took off to Sampson's Cay early morning. It didn't take us long to arrive, and the ocean was just as clear as the previous islands. "Was the Bahamas this gorgeous at every stop?" I wondered. At Sampson Cay, we explored Pipe Creek's soft, sandy shallows and turquoise water by dinghy. We even got to paddle board and a kayak for a more relaxing island feel. This was the perfect spot to sunbathe, open a good book, and let the sound of the ocean take you away.
5. Big Majors Cay - Pig Island
Big Majors Cay was one of my personal favorites because we got to splash about with the island's famous swimming pigs! There were over 20+ pigs of all shapes and sizes. The pigs were not shy and swam right up to your dingy or boat, searching for carrots, lettuce, or any snack we had to offer them. I thought the pigs were adorable and loved seeing them swim and mingle about the island. Just make sure you watch your back because the pigs think just about anything is food (including your bum!).
6. Big Majors Cay - The Grotto
The next stop on our list was The Grotto, which appears in numerous films, including two James Bond movies, Thunderball and Never Say Never. The grotto is a giant cave with exotic marine life and complex geology. It was such an exciting experience to snorkel in the diamond waters and explore all of the marine life below your fingertips. The grotto is a paradise for divers and snorkelers of all sorts!
7. Compass Cay - Racheal's Bubble Bath
In the mood for some bubbly? And I don't mean the champagne type! Compass Cay is home to Rachael's Bubble Bath, a small lagoon separated from the ocean by a thin rock bar. Every few minutes, waves crash over the rock bar into the lagoon, creating a bubbly effect in the lovely lagoon water. If you get the timing right, you can jump off the rocks in the lagoon just as the waves crash, a picture for the ages! Make sure you bring your water shoes as you have to step over some bumpy ocean floor on the way to the bubble bath.
If you do some light hiking (15 - 20 minutes tops), you can find the infamous and mysterious "Bat Cave." Looking to see bats in the wild? Think again, friend. The bat cave IS a cave, most definitely. There is also an oddly placed baseball bat hanging from the cave top. A "bat cave" with a baseball bat. Punny right? *bud dum chh*
8. O'Brien's Cay
O'Brien's Cay was another favorite spot of mine, as nurse sharks swam upright to our boat (after throwing in some food scraps of course). They meandered around our boat for over 10 minutes and even came close enough so we could pet them! The ocean waters were perfectly clear, and we had the perfect view of these gentle creatures. I had never pet a shark before, so it was quite the experience! O'Brien's Cay has several great snorkeling and diving spots, including an area known as "The Aquarium." Here, we also saw tropical fish, turtles, and rays! There is also a dive spot with a crashed airplane in the anchorage. If you're in the mood to stray out of your comfort zone, O'Briens Cay is the perfect place to do so. After a day of aquatic adventures, we enjoyed a lovely sandbar happy hour with cocktails and a beautiful sunset. What a way to top off the day!
9. Warderick Cay
Warderick Cay was the perfect place to pick up a mooring ball for a day or two. The water was clear blue (per usual), and the sun shined brighter than ever. We spent the day lounging on some blow-up chairs with some friends and catching some rays. Some sharks even came to say hi to us while we enjoyed the refreshing water on our feet as we basked in the sunshine. Some friends on another Moorings boat caught fresh tuna and Mahi on the way in! They were nice enough to share their findings with us and we enjoyed fresh Tuna Sashimi and Mahi Tacos. If you plan to visit Warderick Cay (Exumas Land and Sea Park) be sure to radio VHF channel 9 at 9 AM to secure a ball for the day and night-- they don't take reservations.
10. Boo Boo Hill
We put our art supplies together on our last day and made some magic! We collected pieces of driftwood on our previous travel days and painted our boat name, "Hawksnest" on them to leave our mark. Then we hiked to the top of Boo Boo Hill and left it with hundreds of other pieces of painted driftwood. It was an artistic and fun way to end our fantastic week of travels. As I lay down the piece of driftwood, I couldn't help but think of years ahead when I would be able to come back and reminisce on the beautiful time I had on the islands. The trip may be over, but the memories will surely last a lifetime.