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Bahamas for every budget and style!

Warwick Wells

Warwick Wells

Many different ways to explore the Bahamas!

I have been exploring the Bahamas for almost a decade aboard Black Diamond a 39 foot Jeanneau. My first attraction to the Bahamas was its close proximity to the US east coast and that it is not too far from Canada either. You arrive in the Bahamas from either of these countries in about 3.5 hours by plane. With a sailboat, you are a few days sail from anywhere on the east coast, and by cruise ship you can arrive within a day or two. The Bahamas is so close, yet when you get there you feel like you are so far away. Once you’ve settled in on one of the small, secluded islands, you feel like you’re completely secluded from the busy world. When in the Bahamas, I often feel like I am somewhere in the middle of the south pacific on a remote island. But wait, I can have a similar experience at a fraction of the cost and shorter travel times just of the coast of Florida!

Warwick Wells

The Bahamas islands are not in the Caribbean.

The Bahamas is not in the Caribbean. Some believe Christopher Columbus gave it that name when he landed there on one of the cays, he also named, “Saint Salvador” meaning my salvation, as he made it to land, and did not die at sea or fall of the edge of the world. The name “Bahamas” comes from the Spanish Baja mar meaning shallow sea, and is an archipelago of over 700 islands, 600 of these islands are uninhabited stretching over 258,998 square km in the western Atlantic Ocean. The area of The Bahamas is almost equal in size to all the Caribbean islands combined. Turks and Caicos is another country that is part of the territory of The Bahamas.

With a population of about 250,000, most of that population resides in Nassau on the island of New Providence. The other most populated areas are Freeport, Grand Bahama, Marsh Harbor, Abacos and Great Exuma. The remaining populated islands often have some small settlements of only 50 to 300 people. While the rest of the islands are uninhabited.

The raw untouched islands are my favorite feature, many Caribbean destinations are over populated with private villas, resorts and homes. When I travel, I’m not looking for a busy island experience. I have sailed through most of the Bahamas, from Bimini, to Grand Bahama, Abacos, Eleuthera, The Berries, New Providence, Long Island, Mayaguana and of course Exuma. The Exuma islands, are by far, my favourite of all. About half of The Bahamian islands, are in the Exumas and about 300 of these islands are uninhabited. If you have only been to Nassau, then you haven’t had the true Bahamian experience, in my opinion.

Warwick Wells

The playground of the 1% one percenters! 

Many millionaires and celebrities have claimed the Exumas as their personal play ground. Johnny Depp, Sean Connery, David Copperfield, Lenny Kravitz, John Travolta and the Agah Khan to name just a few. With so many islands in the Bahamas, you can claim one as your own for an afternoon. Interestingly enough, there are no private beaches in The Bahamas, anyone can come ashore to the high tide line, even on the private islands. I have personally been on many islands that belong to celebrities, except for Musha Cay which is owned by David Copperfield. He charters out the island to celebrities for about $300,000 a week. He has received an exemption to the beach rule, for the privacy of his guests.

What attracts so many to the Exumas? One of the most memorable features is the crystal clear, cyan blue colored water, which is also the color found on the Bahamian flag. What causes the color of the water to be so? Well, all the Bahamas has an average depth of about 10 feet, this on the banks and the lee shores of the islands, there are some deep seas between the island chains. As the sun reflects off the white sand, only 10 feet beneath, it gives the water its bright blue color. You can even see the cyan blue color reflecting back in the middle of the night during a full moon, what an awesome sight!

The Bahamas is also known as the playground for the rich and famous! These privileged folks can be found on many mega-yachts that cruise the cays while others stay on their private islands. The nice thing is, you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the Exumas. There are about 20,000 smaller private boats that visit the Bahamas each year. Some are affordable, older, used cruising yachts, while others are more expensive, newer yachts. You can charter your own bare sailboat in the Abacos, or in Nassau and sail to the Exumas very easily. If you need a skippered boat with a captain, excursions guide and chef, you can visit www.sailboatcruise.ca and we can help arrange one for you. You can charter a boat any size, with any number of crew, to accommodate your needs and comforts.

Ocean meets the sea.

Where the Ocean meets the sea.

Differernt strokes for differnt folks, more than one way to enjoy the Bahamas.

There are many villas and cottages that can be rented by the day, week or longer. Staniel Cay has very interesting little cottages that come with use of a power boat, which allows you to explore the nearby cays. You can make your own meals, or take their all-inclusive package and eat very well at the yacht club. You will enjoy lounging by the fresh water pool or on one of many beaches. Black Point and many other surrounding islands in the Exumas also rent cottages. The Exumas are affordable and easily accessible with daily flights out of Nassau to George Town, Staniel Cay, Black Point, Little Farmers and other islands in the Exumas. Check BahamasAir, Sky Bahamas, and Flamingo Air for flights to the small cays for less than $125 each way. Once you arrive, there are speedboats that can take you between islands.

From Nassau there are several charter boats that do interesting day excursions to Exuma. Whether you arrive by cruise ship or are staying at a resort in Nassau, this is an excellent way to see a bit of the Exumas. Powerboat Adventures in Nassau’s paradise island, will zip you over to Exuma in about an hour to visit the iguanas on Allan’s Cay and then to Ships Channel Cay, a private island, where you will pet wild stingrays, wrangle sharks, and snorkel the natural protected reef. These activities are followed by a lunch buffet and rum punch, then back to Nassau. Other day charters out of Nassau will also zip you over to Staniel Cay, where you can snorkel the grotto which is famous from the 1960’s James Bond film Thunderball, with Sean Connery. After lunch you will visit Big Major Spot to see the swimming pigs, then to Bitter Guana Cay to see the iguanas, then back to Nassau. Similar day charters also run out of George Town, where you’ll find many resorts such as, Sandals Emerald Bay.

In addition to the above experiences, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, shark dives, sailing, parasailing, surfing, shelling, fishing, hiking, beach frolicking, exploring caves and local settlements, enjoying local fresh seafood at the fish fry’s and a Junkanoo festival. The locals are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet anywhere in the world. I hope I have given you enough reasons to come and explore The Bahamas for yourself. With Black Diamond Yachts, we customize the fullest of these experience aboard one of our yachts. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Follow this links to learn more about our Black Diamond Charters.

Psycho Skipper

Psycho Skipper

 

by Psycho Skipper Ed – Blogging Aboard Black Diamond

www.sailboatcruise.ca

facebook.com/blackdiamondyachts

email: ed@sailboatcruise.ca

s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at er@radonicrodgers.com

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