Getting Active in the Bahamas

Bahamas

Sure, the Bahamas conjures up images of doing nothing more taxing than sipping on tropical drinks under a palm tree on a talcum-powder white sand beach. But, they’re also an active vacationer’s paradise, particularly the archipelago known as the Exuma Cays. With 365 cays in the chain, there’s an island for every day of the year and just as many things to do.

Just coming up with names to describe the ever-changing color of the brilliant blue and green waters here can be a workout.  Are they teal or aqua?  Topaz or jade?  The ice-blue of Windex, or the turquoise of Scope? The deep blue of Sapphire, or the rich green of emeralds?

If you’re on a boat (and you should be, for this is the best way to see the cays), just when you’ve hit on the right flavor of Gatorade to describe the water, you’ll cross into a shallower and even more indescribably gorgeous bay. You can rent your own boat at Minn’s Water Sports ), or let Captain Pat Smith show you around on his 12-passenger vessel, the 4Cs (242) 464-1720).

At Bock Cay, just a few miles away from Exuma’s main island, you can strap on a mask and fins and dive for conchs.  Cherished as vacation souvenirs on coffee tables and fireplace mantels the world over, conchs are so abundant in the Bahamas (just try and find a menu that doesn’t boast conch fritters or chowder) that they’ve been used as building materials.  In these 10-foot deep waters, you have only to dive down and scoop them off the sea floor.  Shucked, trimmed, and mixed with onion, tomato, bell pepper, and citrus, they make the freshest conch salad you’ve ever eaten.

Just north of Staniel Cay, you can add a snorkel to your gear and plunge into the grotto known as Thunderball Cave for the 1965 James Bond movie that was filmed here. The colorful reef and tropical fish inside this hidden paradise are just an appetizer for the more exotic delights that await at the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park  a few miles further north. ...

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