Our Christmas and New Year Extravaganza in the Bahamas Exuma Islands
Colin and Summer Breeze made it to Nassau fresh from a trans-Atlantic crossing to help host our Christmas trip with Ibis out of action.
We enjoyed some perfect days of sailing, spectacularly pristine anchorages, fun with the water toys and a sumptuous New Year feast – another winning Bahamian Christmas trip and non-stop laughter 🙂
Distance: 202 Nautical Miles
Duration: 14 Days
Fish Caught: 0 (too shallow)
Christmas Photo Gallery
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21st December 2017
We started our Thanksgiving Holiday in the bustling Capital of Nassau. Bleu Turquoise and Summer Breeze were moored at Bay Street Marina, just under the bridges and little by little our group came together.
To kick off proceedings, I’d arranged for the inimitable Bobby Bower to come along and do a wine tasting for us 🙂 As usual, load of fun!
22nd December 2017
From Nassau we headed out for our first stop at Highbourne Cay, nearly 40 miles away and a long day on the water. We finally dropped the hook with the sun low in the sky but it was a bit late for a first swim in the Caribbean this holiday.
23rd December 2017
The following morning a few BT guys dinghied into the marina, explored the very expensive shop and took some pictures of this lovely little resort Cay with it’s amazing turquoise water.
From Highbourne, we sailed South for a lunch stop at Shroud Cay’s coral heads, and on to our next stop at Hawksbill Cay.
24th December 2017 – Christmas Eve
After a morning exploring the beaches of Hawksbill Cay, we hoisted the sails again for at Warderick Wells, Headquarters of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
As the sun set on a calm Christmas Eve, we looked forward to a relaxing day in paradise.
25th December 2017 – Christmas Day
It’s difficult to imagine a more stunningly perfect Christmas morning… not a ripple on the water as the sun rose over the crystal clear anchorage at Warderick Wells, and a 2.5m anchor depth meant we could count the blades of grass on the bottom!
It was an amazing day at the anchor as everyone had a go with BT’s new toy collection, and we rafted up the boats to enjoy our Christmas feast together. A long leisurely lunch gave way to post lunch entertainment including our customary Secret Santa and a game of Charades. The fun went on into the sunset… with drinks flowing, it was always going to get a bit messy!
26th December 2017
Another gorgeous morning in the Exumas, our crew shore party explored the stunning scenery at Warderick Wells and we set down our carefully carved plaques on the cairn at Boo Boo Hill with those of other passing boats.
That afternoon, we hoisted sails for a blast down-island to our anchorage spot that night at Pipe Cay.
27th December 2017
A morning’s swimming and lunch on the anchor was followed by a lovely sail down to Big Major’s Spot, a nice protected anchorage close to Staniel Cay, and Pig Beach. It’s always fun to take some scraps for the piggies and the light in the early evening is simply wonderful.
BT crew headed ashore to inspect the bar facilities at Staniel Cay Yacht Club!
28th December 2017
Francois was flying in at 4pm, so while Summer Breeze set out for a morning sail, BT crew piled ashore for a look around the island before lunch in the club house, marvelling at the nurse sharks and rays swimming about under the docks in Staniel Cay.
29th December 2017
We took the boats closer to Staniel Cay for ease of access, and from there, to the dinghy for snorkelling at Thunderball Grotto, famous for the ledge scene with Claudine Auger in the Bond film of the same name! It’s a beautiful place to snorkel, like being in a giant fishbowl teeming with life and enough of a current to sweep you around the outside, barely using your fins.
Summer Breeze anchored a little shallow and spent an hour on the bottom waiting for the tide to come in… Colin eventually powered away and went onto the fuel dock, but the next thing we knew, he was aground again on rocks in a foul current just south of the dock.
With Francois’ help, her novice crew executed a textbook kedging off manoeuvre, dropping the anchor into deep water and using the anchor winch (windlass) and engine to pull the boat to safety! Crikey, what excitement for one day!
We motored quickly away from Staniel and anchored quietly for the night at Bell Cay… possibly Johnny Depp’s island, or his friend’s place??
30th December 2017
From Bell Cay we enjoyed a day long sail up to Shroud Cay and dropped the anchor close to one of the excellent snorkelling reefs. With the sun getting low in the sky, we fired up the dinghies and took a creek exploration party through the island’s mangroves to the beautiful beach on the Atlantic coast, encountering turtles along the way.
31st December 2017
In the late morning we headed north to Highbourne Cay once more, anticipating our New Year’s night out in their restaurant, Xuma. With time for an hour or two on the beach as the sun went down we all showered and donned better clothes for the Masquerade Party.
It was an amazing buffet dinner with huge stone crab claws, oysters, lobster, steak and all the trimmings! A junkanoo troupe came later, and at midnight the sky lit up with fireworks.
1st January 2018
Our Summer Breeze crew headed back to Nassau for early flights, stopping for the night at the beautiful Rose Island anchorage to see the sunset over Atlantis… BT crew lounged the day away at Highbourne Cay with a game of Cards Against Humanity!
2nd January 2018
A beautiful morning once again, but the wing was heading us off – we topped up the tanks with fuel before setting out for Nassau.
We finished the day at Rose Island, but as the afternoon wore on the wind picked up and we turned tail for a night at Palm Cay Marina on New Providence Island.
3rd January 2018
A swanky marina with great beach facilities, but awful service in the restaurant with cold food. However, neither the rain nor the cold food could dampen BT crew spirits as they laughed all the way to the airport… Another sunset on the last night of an amazing trip with wonderful people.