A Travellerspoint blog

The Cays to Paradise: Boating the Exuma Cays II

Days 4 - 6: Highbourne Cay to Compass Cay

Day 4: Going Nowhere Fast.

Highbourne Cay to….Highbourne Cay: 0 miles

43563233642_3ea92acd99.jpg

On our second day, my 98 page itinerary demanded that we depart Highbourne Cay and travel 14.5 miles south to Shroud Cay where we would anchor for the night.

The weather disagreed.

It became clear that we were spending the entire day on Highbourne Cay and wouldn’t be moving the boat until the following day.

It was a hardship being stuck on a beautiful private island, with a comfy slip, shore power, showers, an upscale restaurant, beautiful deserted beaches, and free bicycles, but we made the most of it.

First order of business: Showers. You learn quickly on a boat that whenever an opportunity to take a land-based shower presents itself, you take it.

(The same holds true for a #2)

I whipped up a breakfast of eggs-in-a-basket with avocado slices, fresh tomatoes, and salsa while everyone cleaned up.

29740567238_0e94ba4d36.jpg

After breakfast, we set out to explore. Highbourne Cay has 8 amazing beaches, each one more beautiful than the last. Highbourne was nearly deserted and we had every pristine beach to ourselves.

41803026300_a35c89e8c9.jpg

28723039517_5dfb178052.jpg

42706389875_d790906a9f.jpg

41802936670_4978165bd7.jpg

41802920550_411182b555.jpg

We thought we’d take the bus to visit one of the more distant beaches, but when we saw how long this guy had been waiting, we decided to take the bikes.

42706257445_b4c3456c50.jpg

We stumbled on a perfect crescent beach, complete with a lounging pavilion, chairs, a paddleboard, and an outdoor bar where we quickly set up our rum punch assembly line.

41802676340_1d799577bc.jpg

28722825217_94c84b1fd8.jpg

43610234051_fa6e73f167.jpg

29740332518_959bf95e87.jpg

29740320658_511977aaec.jpg

42706158765_121f1a149b.jpg

29740305848_b6d1c8e03b.jpg

42706118605_71fa615cbf.jpg

42706147875_e1ebb7e700.jpg

41763953100_5297f53b59.jpg

43525334662_5838f9ef78.jpg

Knowing that we couldn’t do anything or go anywhere was incredibly relaxing.

Eventually, we biked our way back to the Marina for lunch at Xuma. Lunch was as decadent as dinner. Their hamburger was a thing of beauty.

42706075125_c719e6f946.jpg

41802656670_c83d7b8d29.jpg

43610078031_7b69a2849f.jpg

43610069961_8645a656b9.jpg

43562873612_4927a5e23a.jpg

41802621060_e72a9f07ac.jpg

43562854322_2af4a338f5.jpg

Then it was back to the boat for clean-up and naps before dinner.

We noticed the beach had a bonfire set up so we inquired at the office and found that we could reserve the beach pavilion and bonfire for dinner – so reserve it we did. It cost $200, but it was well worth it.

Sure, you could probably just show up on the off chance that no one else was using it and use it for free, but we were glad we had a paid reservation when we arrived and a large family had set up camp in the pavilion.

No receipt? No beach for you. They packed up and went to find their own spot.

43562804782_bd4eb7892d.jpg

42892550924_1a997c2b68.jpg

28722430737_ff509c8a3d.jpg

43562829102_92c8830bab.jpg

43562816472_05d7139670.jpg

43562702952_7be3943699.jpg

43609886011_84d5bcc209.jpg

42892387424_e44b236360.jpg

Pesto pasta, grilled chicken, salad, bread, s’mores, a beach bonfire and more wine than Trader Joe’s…it just didn’t get better than this. This is what boat trips are all about.


Day 5: Here Comes the Sun.

Highbourne Cay to Shroud Cay: 14.5 miles

43562615782_2ea8b94908.jpg

It was still cloudy when we woke up, but the weather looked promising. We made plans over a breakfast of yogurt, granola, and fruit parfaits.

43562639492_3e813b8002.jpg

We had to modify our itinerary to make up for the day we spent on Highbourne and decided to skip a stop at Norman’s Cay and head straight for Shroud. The following day, instead of stopping at Warderick Wells, we’d go all the way from Shroud Cay to Compass Cay.

As we made our way north, the gray skies gradually began to clear. The dark water gradually illuminated, as streaks of electric blue began to appear.

28722282637_24889ae0ae.jpg

42892302924_3dcf3189cd.jpg

42892287554_fe3c6d1c0a.jpg

43562543192_545cd242c4.jpg

The skies were clearing as we anchored at Shroud Cay.

Our “routine” became an appetizer and cocktails mid-morning so we celebrated our arrival with bloody marys and a fruit tray.

43609750711_babb767ed7.jpg

43609743801_fa5926ddc6.jpg

43562524512_cd8813c1ec.jpg

42887954334_6c73463c73.jpg

Then, we did nothing but lounge in the incredible water with cocktails until it was time for lunch.

41802275160_f21d665a44.jpg

28665434037_53b2c9dbd5.jpg

42705687385_318e1c45fb.jpg

43609658601_37ae2acc51.jpg

41744892100_0438ec1f04.jpg

43605559351_99e6e0e8fb.jpg

43609645451_1d21a7f1a8.jpg

43609592961_f2dcc164e5.jpg

41797821770_909ebde234.jpg

41797874040_bfefe39915.jpg

Lunch was a giant platter of nachos, black beans and rice, and one weird circular rainbow around the sun that looked very much like a celestial boob.

43562400152_1dfa215166.jpg

29739688348_f049570ff2.jpg

28722064877_b0f99d9d0a.jpg

43562374282_2385bd1dcb.jpg

After lunch, it was nearing high tide, so it was a good time to take the dingy for a ride up the shallow mangrove river on Shroud Cay to see what was supposed to be “the most amazing beach ever.”

We navigated slowly through the shallow water, the guys having to get out on occasion to pull us through.

43609503521_7594a050ab.jpg

42705465815_c8a0a5eabc.jpg

41744967560_cb7675e2db.jpg

42892013574_68ab70b3eb.jpg

29739591338_c23e8081e3.jpg

42891986254_34a5348750.jpg

42891973294_0a39e41bce.jpg

43609428311_d4259a33bf.jpg

At the end, the river spilled into the ocean at what was, definitely, the most amazing beach ever.

We pulled out the drinks, parked our butts in the sand, and let the sun and sea take us. We did a whole lot of nothing for a couple of hours.

28721915657_a83ca2e238.jpg

43609404101_cc8d0d41fb.jpg

41801964320_8baf5c2eaf.jpg

41801951480_1f67c982a2.jpg

28721853987_6dd8901ed2.jpg

29739466718_751f335148.jpg

43562180842_11beef2471.jpg

42891760204_69d815cdcb.jpg

42705213495_4210986a85.jpg

42705196335_d37f1c4596.jpg

28721749027_5deba21fdd.jpg

42891685974_7edbe7f575.jpg

42891657134_9d0a7f6b61.jpg

42891587864_67a5e095cf.jpg

43562066062_29328a41af.jpg

42705085815_275612d919.jpg

43609050611_f16f86d08d.jpg

41744992460_0043bdb4fb.jpg

43553217741_960dc0a521.jpg

29681656028_45384f438b.jpg

Eventually, we made our way back to the boat and cleaned up for dinner. It was nothing more than hot dogs and hamburgers, but with the sea salt air and the magnificent sunset, there has never been a finer meal.

43561905362_1ef28f1af4.jpg

43561890582_c3711ec95b.jpg

43561875662_4785a09e20.jpg

41801596320_b6d91865a9.jpg

42891425004_57ce1bcdb1.jpg

42891389784_f6c0eb21ba.jpg

43608903291_c097219a6c.jpg

Day 6: On Thin Water.

Shroud Cay to Compass Cay: 27 miles

Because our power cat only had a 3 foot draft, this allowed us to cruise on the shallow west side of the islands, where the Exuma Bank offers crystalline turquoise and jaw dropping views. We planned to take advantage of the “skinny water” and take our time navigating to Compass Cay and simply enjoy the ride.

Because we had to combine 2 days of travel into one, it would be a long ride. We decided to get up early and have a quick breakfast “to go” of bagels with fruit.

42704876395_5b5b453e63.jpg

We pulled out as the sun was just peeking into the day.

43561767472_d1524a8ebd.jpg

To break up the long day, we planned to stop at Cambridge Cay to visit the sandbar. This meant our morning would take us 22 miles. The weather had completely cleared and we finally saw that Exuma water we had been dying for.

43561750482_55eee36e40.jpg

43561741342_03dd2bfe8e.jpg

43608810471_c9eaf71fdc.jpg

42704793205_de2e1c9028.jpg

42891304114_ec76aa62f6.jpg

43608779021_e3feeaed5e.jpg

42704756795_cc8389abb2.jpg

43608755241_77bbae93e8.jpg

43608738991_f9cff5208a.jpg

43608727301_6293c833d0.jpg

41801411200_a679ce8e1b.jpg

29738933458_1f1811dccc.jpg

42704648855_33d149d145.jpg

42704638345_b8e38fb94d.jpg

29738845318_d9648599b9.jpg

42891130764_c72f1f0df0.jpg

42704576825_381229f012.jpg

42890964174_a3465b96e5.jpg

28665509697_ef39d592cf.jpg

We stopped for lunch at Cambridge Cay: sesame seared tuna with noodles.

43561373482_5cf9bbe9bb.jpg

43561361512_e59b6ebde9.jpg

After lunch, we took the dingy to explore the sandbars and shallow waters around Cambridge Cay.

43561349342_6fea074dec.jpg

43608429361_8c23923a4d.jpg

42889839754_58a56fe11e.jpg

42889814074_5e80f18878.jpg

42889791384_b771db479b.jpg

43607216981_e3f2199f2e.jpg

Then, it was another 5 miles to Compass Cay, famous for its tame nurse sharks.

We had reserved a marina slip, which was no easy feat. Compass doesn’t have bathrooms, showers, or a regularly operating restaurant, but we had shore power and it was just nice to get off the boat and stand on a non-moving, non-wet surface for a bit.

41780421250_ecb7fbea54.jpg

41780433860_5733e46ac2.jpg

28700856837_57e924e179.jpg

29718083748_29d7bfbf35.jpg

43541478052_020c02e090.jpg

41801046780_b9838048bd.jpg

43608410791_00465aa70f.jpg

We enjoyed a sunset platter with wine before grilling up some steaks and calling it a night.

42870607074_2d492a0783.jpg

43553081551_5e77265d5a.jpg

29738434008_5898cb796d.jpg

43608297701_68969e4e23.jpg

29718018418_11749392c6.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 09:05 Archived in Bahamas Tagged sailing nassau catamaran exuma out_islands lion_of_the_sea highbourne_cay

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Very nice pics! We were there last year. Did you go in the washing machine at Shroud Cay? It’s a current that you swim into and it turns you around. There’s also a really cool sandbar near compass Cay called little pine Cay it’s beautiful! Great trip report!

by ryanboz7

Ryan - that whole area at Shroud was just amazing!

by vicki_h

I see y’all went to Staniel Cay just got the new posts! Great area

by ryanboz7

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint