EXUMAS, BAHAMAS

April – May 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

   

Get Your Bearings

Join us for 10 nights as we make our way down the chain of 365 cays spread over more than 100 miles in the Bahamas, known collectively as the Exumas. These islands boast sugary beaches, sapphire waters, fascinating wildlife, and boundless potential for adventure.

While the Exumas have some of the most picturesque (or dare we say Instagrammable) places in the world, many are impossible to get to on anything but a boat. This exclusivity has kept the water pristine, the creatures plentiful and curious, and the beaches unburdened by the typical hordes of tourists.

The 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea National Park, created in 1958, was the first land and sea park in the world and is one of the most successful marine parks. It is the first “no-take reserve” (all fishing is prohibited) in the wider Caribbean. This ecological preserve and wildlife refuge is famous for its breath-taking marine environment with incredible snorkeling and diving.

Nassau

Guest crew will fly into Nassau and we’ll spend the night in the main harbor across from Paradise Island. Once we get settled aboard Neverland, we can explore the vibrant downtown and waterfront areas of Nassau, or venture out to the resort area for one last dose of civilization!

Nassau to Highbourne Cay

36 nautical miles / 5-7 hours underway / 1 stop

We’ll get an early start for the first big leg of our Bahamas adventure where we’ll cross the shallow Exuma Bank and dodge coral heads on our way to Highbourne Cay. Shortly after departing we can stop at the Lost Blue Hole, one of the most unusual dive site in The Bahamas. This natural hole in the open ocean floor is about 100 feet across and over 200 feet deep.

We’ll then settle in for a quiet and cozy night at gorgeous Highbourne Cay. Odds are good to have a calm and secluded anchorage all to ourselves. There are several beautiful snorkeling areas over colorful coral reefs, including “Octopus Garden” and “Highbourne Rocks”, 

Highbourne Cay to Long Cay

8 nautical miles / 1-2 hours underway

Early birds can watch the sun rise from a picturesque white sand beach looking out to the east over Exuma Sound. After breakfast we’ll head out on a short passage to Long Cay, where we can spend the afternoon chillin’ on the pristine Exuma Sand Bar with a cold drink in hand, or the more adventurous can go for a snorkel or dive in 20 to 35 feet at Hammerhead Gulch to see bountiful nurse sharks, hawksbill turtles, eagle and southern sting rays.

Long Cay to Shroud Cay

nautical miles / 2 hours underway / 1 stop

Along the way we’ll stop at Norman’s Cay where we can snorkel the infamous WWII-era military plane wreck that was once used to fuel Pablo Escobar’s expanding cocaine trade until his pilot ditched short of the runway. We can also go ashore for lunch at the famous MacDuff’s Bar & Grill overlooking the Exuma Bank.

Shroud Cay is an uninhabited island only accessible by boat. Sanctuary Creek in the northern part can be explored by dinghy or by standup paddle board as you wind your way across the island to the gorgeous and secluded Driftwood Beach. The mangroves lining this sandy-bottomed creek abound in sea life and you may spot an assortment of grunts, groupers, schoolmasters, and even the occasional lobster or shark.

Further south are even more quiet creeks which are perfect for paddle boarding as no motorized vessels are allowed.

Shroud Cay to Waderick Wells Cay

19 nautical miles / 3-4 hours underway

Today we’ll raise the sails again and head back out to the depths of the Exuma Sound as we make our way directly to Waderick Wells Cay, which is home to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park’s visitor center and ranger station as well as a number of other great snorkel sites. We’ll have the trolling lines out and try to catch something delicious for dinner!

Waderick Wells Cay to Compass Cay

3 nautical miles / 2-3 hours underway / 2 stops

Today will be a great day for snorkeling as we’ll visit two of the most popular sites while we make another short hop south into the heart of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Our first stop along the way at Halls Pond Cay will give us a chance to snorkel at Jeep Reef, another of the many spectacular dive and snorkel sites in the park with a maximum depth of only 25 to 30 feet. This reef is one of the most flourishing we’ll come across, and is named after an old Jeep at the bottom which has become completely encrusted in coral and developed its own community of sea life.

Our second stop will give us some more great snorkeling at “The Aquarium”, a miniature wall off O’Briens Cay in only 15 feet of water which is filled with colorful sea life. A nearby small plane wreck is also worth checking out.

Once we arrive at Compass Cay, we can explore the “Rocky Dundas”, an ancient, hidden cave in the southern most part of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The cave is only accessible by swimming under a partially submerged ledge that will lead you to this enchanted, large open cavern. Ancient stalactites reach down from the ceiling and stalagmites rise up from the floor to greet them. The entire interior of this cave is covered in rich, colorful algae.

Compass Cay to Staniel Cay

10 nautical miles / 2 hours underway / 1 stop

In the morning we may check out Rachel’s Bath, a natural jacuzzi created by the flooding of water through the rocks at Compass Cay from Exuma Sound. Then we’ll depart for a short two hour journey as we island hop our way south to Staniel Cay.

Along the way we can visit Compass Cay Marina which is known for its docile nurse sharks living near the dock in shallow water. We can spend some time swimming with these friendly creatures, all of which have names and are known to act more like lazy cat-fish than man eaters.

Staniel Cay

0 nautical miles / 0 hours underway

There’s so much to see around Staniel Cay, we think it’s worth slowing down and spending two nights here.

Just north of Staniel Cay is the famous Pig Beach at Big Major Cay. How did the pigs get to Pig Beach? No one knows for sure. Some say they were left by a group of sailors who planned to come back and cook them, or that the pigs swam over from a shipwreck nearby.

Wherever they came from, there are now about 20 pigs and piglets on Pig Beach. With daily visits from Bahamians and tourists, the pigs are living the easy life and enjoy the company.

We’ll also visit Thunderball Grotto, a fantastic underwater cave system great for exploring and snorkeling. Teeming with exotic marine life and a kaleidoscope of brilliantly colored coral reefs and fish, like yellow-tail snappers, Angel fish, Sergeant Majors and the like, the grotto’s mystique is heightened by the small, almost hidden entrance.

If you’re in the mood for some terra firma, go ashore to visit Staniel Cay Yacht Club or any of the number of shops, bars and restaurants. Or you can post up on one of the many beaches lining the island.

Staniel Cay is also a great place for divers to explore some of the deeper realms of this area.

Staniel Cay to Cave Cay

26 nautical miles / 4-5 hours underway / 2-3 stops

In the morning we’ll make a stop at Bitter Guana Cay. Jovially known as “Iguana Beach”, the island is home to shallow pools filled with beautiful coral and marine life and countless friendly and curious iguanas who storm the beach looking for treats from arriving guests. Further south are some great snorkeling stops along the way, including the Drake shipwreck and a small plane wreck.

At Cave Cay we can enjoy an easy-going drift snorkel, take a dinghy adventure to a natural rock amphitheater and snorkel with some resident turtles, or visit a nearby Ribbon Sand Bar which is a sliver of sand in the Exuma Bank only exposed during low tide. 

Cave Cay to George Town/Stocking Island

46 nautical miles / 6-8 hours sailing

Wake up early for some breakfast, yoga or a swim and then we’ll head out for our longest sail of the journey. Our long run out on the Exuma Sound will give us a great opportunity to toss out the fishing lines and try to catch some fresh dinner, or spend the day sunning on the top deck. This is the perfect day for interested crew to learn “the ropes” of sailing and take a turn at the helm.

We’ll spend the night at Stocking Island just a mile across Stocking Harbor from George Town. We may go snorkeling at a nearby cave or head out to the beachside bar and grill to meet the resident manta rays and dolphins who call it home.

George Town

After celebrating our final night together, guests can enjoy more snorkeling or lounging in the morning before heading out to catch their departing flights out of Georgetown.

Get Your Bearings

Join us for 10 nights as we make our way down the chain of 365 cays spread over more than 100 miles in the Bahamas, known collectively as the Exumas. These islands boast sugary beaches, sapphire waters, fascinating wildlife, and boundless potential for adventure.

While the Exumas have some of the most picturesque (or dare we say Instagrammable) places in the world, many are impossible to get to on anything but a boat. This exclusivity has kept the water pristine, the creatures plentiful and curious, and the beaches unburdened by the typical hordes of tourists.

The 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea National Park, created in 1958, was the first land and sea park in the world and is one of the most successful marine parks. It is the first “no-take reserve” (all fishing is prohibited) in the wider Caribbean. This ecological preserve and wildlife refuge is famous for its breath-taking marine environment with incredible snorkeling and diving.

Nassau

Guest crew will fly into Nassau and we’ll spend the night in the main harbor across from Paradise Island. Once we get settled aboard Neverland, we can explore the vibrant downtown and waterfront areas of Nassau, or venture out to the resort area for one last dose of civilization!

Nassau to Highbourne Cay

36 nautical miles / 5-7 hours underway / 1 stop

We’ll get an early start for the first big leg of our Bahamas adventure where we’ll cross the shallow Exuma Bank and dodge coral heads on our way to Highbourne Cay. Shortly after departing we can stop at the Lost Blue Hole, one of the most unusual dive site in The Bahamas. This natural hole in the open ocean floor is about 100 feet across and over 200 feet deep.

We’ll then settle in for a quiet and cozy night at gorgeous Highbourne Cay. Odds are good to have a calm and secluded anchorage all to ourselves. There are several beautiful snorkeling areas over colorful coral reefs, including “Octopus Garden” and “Highbourne Rocks”, 

Highbourne Cay to Long Cay

8 nautical miles / 1-2 hours underway

Early birds can watch the sun rise from a picturesque white sand beach looking out to the east over Exuma Sound. After breakfast we’ll head out on a short passage to Long Cay, where we can spend the afternoon chillin’ on the pristine Exuma Sand Bar with a cold drink in hand, or the more adventurous can go for a snorkel or dive in 20 to 35 feet at Hammerhead Gulch to see bountiful nurse sharks, hawksbill turtles, eagle and southern sting rays.

Long Cay to Shroud Cay

nautical miles / 2 hours underway / 1 stop

Along the way we’ll stop at Norman’s Cay where we can snorkel the infamous WWII-era military plane wreck that was once used to fuel Pablo Escobar’s expanding cocaine trade until his pilot ditched short of the runway. We can also go ashore for lunch at the famous MacDuff’s Bar & Grill overlooking the Exuma Bank.

Shroud Cay is an uninhabited island only accessible by boat. Sanctuary Creek in the northern part can be explored by dinghy or by standup paddle board as you wind your way across the island to the gorgeous and secluded Driftwood Beach. The mangroves lining this sandy-bottomed creek abound in sea life and you may spot an assortment of grunts, groupers, schoolmasters, and even the occasional lobster or shark.

Further south are even more quiet creeks which are perfect for paddle boarding as no motorized vessels are allowed.

Shroud Cay to Waderick Wells

19 nautical miles / 3-4 hours underway

Today we’ll raise the sails again and head back out to the depths of the Exuma Sound as we make our way directly to Waderick Wells Cay, which is home to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park’s visitor center and ranger station as well as a number of other great snorkel sites. We’ll have the trolling lines out and try to catch something delicious for dinner!

Waderick Wells to Compass Cay

3 nautical miles / 2-3 hours underway / 2 stops

Today will be a great day for snorkeling as we’ll visit two of the most popular sites while we make another short hop south into the heart of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Our first stop along the way at Halls Pond Cay will give us a chance to snorkel at Jeep Reef, another of the many spectacular dive and snorkel sites in the park with a maximum depth of only 25 to 30 feet. This reef is one of the most flourishing we’ll come across, and is named after an old Jeep at the bottom which has become completely encrusted in coral and developed its own community of sea life.

Our second stop will give us some more great snorkeling at “The Aquarium”, a miniature wall off O’Briens Cay in only 15 feet of water which is filled with colorful sea life. A nearby small plane wreck is also worth checking out.

Once we arrive at Compass Cay, we can explore the “Rocky Dundas”, an ancient, hidden cave in the southern most part of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The cave is only accessible by swimming under a partially submerged ledge that will lead you to this enchanted, large open cavern. Ancient stalactites reach down from the ceiling and stalagmites rise up from the floor to greet them. The entire interior of this cave is covered in rich, colorful algae.

Compass Cay to Staniel Cay

10 nautical miles / 2 hours underway / 1 stop

In the morning we may check out Rachel’s Bath, a natural jacuzzi created by the flooding of water through the rocks at Compass Cay from Exuma Sound. Then we’ll depart for a short two hour journey as we island hop our way south to Staniel Cay.

Along the way we can visit Compass Cay Marina which is known for its docile nurse sharks living near the dock in shallow water. We can spend some time swimming with these friendly creatures, all of which have names and are known to act more like lazy cat-fish than man eaters.

Staniel Cay

0 nautical miles / 0 hours underway

There’s so much to see around Staniel Cay, we think it’s worth slowing down and spending two nights here.

Just north of Staniel Cay is the famous Pig Beach at Big Major Cay. How did the pigs get to Pig Beach? No one knows for sure. Some say they were left by a group of sailors who planned to come back and cook them, or that the pigs swam over from a shipwreck nearby.

Wherever they came from, there are now about 20 pigs and piglets on Pig Beach. With daily visits from Bahamians and tourists, the pigs are living the easy life and enjoy the company.

We’ll also visit Thunderball Grotto, a fantastic underwater cave system great for exploring and snorkeling. Teeming with exotic marine life and a kaleidoscope of brilliantly colored coral reefs and fish, like yellow-tail snappers, Angel fish, Sergeant Majors and the like, the grotto’s mystique is heightened by the small, almost hidden entrance.

If you’re in the mood for some terra firma, go ashore to visit Staniel Cay Yacht Club or any of the number of shops, bars and restaurants. Or you can post up on one of the many beaches lining the island.

Staniel Cay is also a great place for divers to explore some of the deeper realms of this area.

Staniel Cay to Cave Cay

26 nautical miles / 4-5 hours underway / 2-3 stops

In the morning we’ll make a stop at Bitter Guana Cay. Jovially known as “Iguana Beach”, the island is home to shallow pools filled with beautiful coral and marine life and countless friendly and curious iguanas who storm the beach looking for treats from arriving guests. Further south are some great snorkeling stops along the way, including the Drake shipwreck and a small plane wreck.

At Cave Cay we can enjoy an easy-going drift snorkel, take a dinghy adventure to a natural rock amphitheater and snorkel with some resident turtles, or visit a nearby Ribbon Sand Bar which is a sliver of sand in the Exuma Bank only exposed during low tide. 

Cave Cay to George Town/Stocking Island

46 nautical miles / 6-8 hours sailing

Wake up early for some breakfast, yoga or a swim and then we’ll head out for our longest sail of the journey. Our long run out on the Exuma Sound will give us a great opportunity to toss out the fishing lines and try to catch some fresh dinner, or spend the day sunning on the top deck. This is the perfect day for interested crew to learn “the ropes” of sailing and take a turn at the helm.

We’ll spend the night at Stocking Island just a mile across Stocking Harbor from George Town. We may go snorkeling at a nearby cave or head out to the beachside bar and grill to meet the resident manta rays and dolphins who call it home.

Georgetown

After celebrating our final night together, guests can enjoy more snorkeling or lounging in the morning before heading out to catch their departing flights out of Georgetown.

EXPLORE

Have a play around on this interactive map of our route to explore more places and activities available during our trip.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations include use of the following:

  • 3 queen cabins, each with private ensuite bath with electric toilet, wash basin and separate shower stall. All cabins have ample storage, a panoramic window, air conditioning, two fans, US 110v outlets and dimmable recessed lighting.
  • Social areas include an upper deck lounge with sectional couch and sunbed area with 360 degree view. Forward deck has spacious lounge area with adjustable reclining seating, trampoline and sunning areas. Aft deck offers lounge area plus alfresco dining. Salon offers lounge area with coffee table plus flat screen TV with many movies and USB capabilities.

FYI

Arriving flight info: arrive at Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau

Departing flight info: depart from Exuma International Airport (GGT) in George Town

Currency: the Bahamian dollar is pegged to the US dollar and both are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands

Electricity: Bahamas and on board Neverland are US 110v

Communications: Neverland has on board wi-fi with basic internet available whenever we’re within range of mobile towers

We’ve got you covered: bath & beach towels, bedding, shower essentials, ScubaPro snorkel & dive gear, and dive lights

What to bring: soft-sided luggage, swimwear, sunscreen, beachwear, rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, music, books, camera, and personal snorkel/dive gear and wetsuit if you prefer

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SAIL@NEVERLAND.CRUISES

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