The day of my new adventure started off with an early morning shuttle to Exuma. Yeah, I’m talking 6:30 am. Such a tough start given that I’d been sleeping in every day. 🙂
I was getting ready for a new adventure, not just any adventure, but a really cool one.
I must admit I’d been looking forward to this day since I arrived. Especially knowing that it would be truly a unique adventure, chock full of cool experiences.
Our mini bus picked us up at the Peace & Plenty resort on Exuma at 7:00 am before heading to the north end of the island, and picking up additional passengers as we went.
I was the only single passenger in the group of 15, plus the two crew. With this large number we were packed into the speedboat like sardines. 🙂
With a strong northerly blowing and the choppy swell rising to about a meter I felt a wave of concern wash over me…pardon the pun!
Never great in open water especially in a small boat at the best of times, I really didn’t seem to have much of a choice.
Fortunately I was able to position myself at the back of the boat near the engines thus giving me more stability. It was the best I could of hoped for in the circumstances.
Captain Anton and his first mate CJ seemed unperturbed by the conditions and quickly explained the safety rules and our plan for the day.
He then quickly turned the boat into the wind and raced off at a speed that made us skip the tops of the waves.
I guess this made it less bumpy. 🙂
The gist of our plan was to run some 60 miles off the tip of Exuma into the outer islands of the Bahamas.
The first experience was the opportunity to snorkel over the wreck of a Pablo Escobar drug plane off Staniel Cay.
The coolest thing was that there was a 1.8 meter (6 feet) grey nurse shark hiding under the wing as we snorkeled over the wreck. Very cool experience as the water was crystal clear!
Once secured back on the boat we continued our journey north. The Captain slowed for a number of remote islands and outlined the celebrity owners…
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw own Goat Cay, which we cruised by. It’s estimated to be worth $30 million US…
We motored by another series of islands owned by the famed showman David Copperfield. He had decided to purchase all of the surrounding islands to ensure no one would live close to him.
You can rent the main island for the princely sum of $375,000 per week plus and additional $20,000 for the main house.
However, before lunch we had a couple more stops to make.
The next stop was to experience snorkelling Thunderball Grotto. Named after the 1965 James Bond film, “Thunderball” which was filmed at this location.
Normally not that difficult, but we had to cope with high tides so had to dive down underwater and through a narrow crack between the rocks to enter the cavern.
Once inside the grotto I was immediately surrounded by an aquarium of tropical fish…so amazingly beautiful!
After a few minutes exploring the grotto it was time to get out, but here is where it got really sticky…
With the high tide and strong currents, many in our group became stuck inside the grotto. There were a number of people from our group that had to be rescued. Clearly, a nerve wracking experience.
Fortunately, I used the underwater walls to pull myself back out into the open sea, but it wasn’t easy. I’m glad I don’t suffer from claustrophobia is all I’m saying…
After retrieving all members of our group we set off for Pig beach.
Unfortunately arriving at Pig beach, we realized that it was packed with other tour boats which meant that we had nowhere to land. Smartly Captain Anton decided to move onto Compass Cay to swim with the sharks instead.
After pulling up to the dock and paying $10 US per person for docking fees we were able to land. We then walked along a raised dock so we could get in and swim with 8 – 10 grey nurse sharks.
Much like stingrays they are silky smooth as they glided by. The difficult part was keeping an eye on all of them at once. 🙂
They rarely bite…and I didn’t want to be lunch for any of them.
Another cool experience in a day full of new adventures!
By this time it was after 1:00 pm and not having eaten all day was starting to feel a little peckish.
For lunch we stopped at a restaurant perched high on a rocky outcrop some 40 feet above the ocean. It had its own private dock and beach, the perfect place for lunch.
The buffet lunch was delicious, but surprisingly wasn’t covered in the cost of the trip. Strangely, other than the actual boat ride itself, everything else was an extra charge.
The first port of call on our ride back was Pig Beach. Just incredible to see fully grown pigs swimming in the ocean.
As we neared the beach four of them paddled out to the boat looking for snacks. Yes, they seem very well trained. 🙂
Fortunately for us we were the only boat so we got all the attention from the resident piglets. 🙂
After enjoying their company for about half an hour, we set off for our final destination…Iguana beach.
As we drew up to the sandy cove the beach was covered with large Iguanas.
All shapes and sizes with the largest being around 1 meter (3 feet) from head to tail. I realize that large reptiles aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so a few people stayed on the boat.
I personally had never been so close to an actual Iguana so it was pretty cool. Now that I have they really do resemble mini dinosaurs…just sayin.
Overall it was a fabulous day with lots of great activities and interesting sights.
My recommendation is that you bring a hat, lots of sunscreen and your own snorkeling gear plus extra money!
Until next week