5 Days on Staniel Cay, Part 3 – Off the Cay

In 5 Days on Staniel Cay, Part 1, we talked about the beaches on Staniel Cay and in Part 2, we highlighted some of the other attractions on island that we were lucky enough  to experience. In this last part, we’re going to feature the area surrounding Staniel Cay – which are just a short boat ride from Staniel Cay and definitely worth exploring!

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Exuma, a long chain of stunningly beautiful islands, or cays – 365 of them, that start about 35 miles south of Nassau, Bahamas. The Exuma Cays are the northernmost part of this chain and much of it is easily accessible from Staniel Cay.

Map of Exuma Cays
If you have boating experience, you can rent a boat for the day or the week from Coral at Staniel Rentals, or 1/2 day and daily rentals from Nicole at 3N’s Vacation Services. If you’re not comfortable navigating your own boat, Nicole can also arrange a guided tour of the surrounding cays for you.

During our all too short stay, we first took a guided tour of the surrounding area, which included snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto,

Thunderball Grotto - copyright Rum Therapy
Swimming with the pigs at Big Major Cay,

Pig Beach - copyright Rum Therapy

Swimming with the nurse sharks on Compass Cay,

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And a fun afternoon playing on the sandbar near Little Pipe Cay.

Beach Walk - copyright Rum Therapy Exuma Cays - copyright Rum Therapy
We enjoyed the day so much that several days later, we decided to rent a boat of our own to explore more of the incredible area. We swam with the pigs again, then headed north for more time on Compass Cay, where we spent time chatting with Tucker, the proprietor of Compass Cay Marina,

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Exploring the stunning Crescent Beach on Compass Cay,

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Boating through some of the clearest, bluest water we’ve ever seen,

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Then spending the last several hours of our day on Sandy Cay, exploring the tiny uninhabited island and the long arc of white sand sandbar that appears during low tide.

Exuma Cay Sandbar - copyright Rum Therapy
Have you spent time on Staniel Cay or in the Exuma Cays? Tell us about it!

Find these cays on the map above, or on our Bahamas Map

To see more posts on the Bahamas and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Crescent Beach, Compass Cay

During our recent interview with Beach Bar Bums, we were asked to list a few of our all-time favorite beaches. Crescent Beach on Compass Cay in the Bahamas was one.

This gorgeous arc of brilliant white sand and clear turquoise water was actually a recent addition to our favorites “list” as we visited the Exuma Cays for the first time a few months ago. One of the stops on our first day of exploring was Compass Cay. Compass Cay has become known for it’s marina, where you can can interact with their friendly pet sharks, but, as we found on our second visit, there is more to see on Compass Cay than sharks – although that was really a great experience…

We rented a boat for a second day of exploring from Coral at Wheels -N- Waves Island Rentals on Staniel Cay and she mentioned that we should definitely spend a little more time on Compass Cay, and to make the short hike over from the marina to Crescent Beach. Boy are we glad she made that recommendation.

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Upon our arrival, we spent a little time swimming with the sharks again and visiting with Tucker, the proprietor of Compass Cay, who echoed Coral’s thoughts on Crescent Beach, then started on the path to the beach.

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The path was marked with colorful and whimsical signs.

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The sandy path wound its way through the foliage.

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As we rounded the last corner, we got our first glimpse of the gorgeous beach.

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The beach was a long stretch of sugar soft, white sand and there was no one else in sight.

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We spent several hours walking the beach and floating in the lovely warm, clear water.

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There are so many gorgeous beaches and sandbars in the Exumas, but we must say Crescent Beach stands out as our favorite Exuma beach from this trip just for its sheer beauty, although we’ve only visited a few of the 365 islands and cays that make up this magnificent chain so far…

Have you been to Crescent Beach on Compass Cay? Tell us about it!


Find Crescent Beach on our Bahamas Map

You might also enjoy:
Compass Cay and its One Full Time Resident

The Swimming Pigs of the Exuma Cays
Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Thunderball Grotto


To see more posts on the Bahamas and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Compass Cay, Exuma and its One Full Time Resident

Compass Cay, one of the small cays that make up the extraordinarily beautiful chain of islands called the Exuma Cays, is home to only one full time resident. Well two, if you count the island cat Lilly…

Compass Cay is perhaps best known as the location of friendly swimming sharks, but there are other reasons to spend time on this small and beautiful island with water as clear as a swimming pool – making boats appear to be floating on air, and one of them is to meet and chat with the only full time resident, Tucker Rolle.

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During our recent stay at Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay, we had the chance to visit Compass Cay and meet this soft spoken, friendly man who works hard at making sure his guests are having a nice time. And as the word gets out about this magical place, there are certain to be more and more visitors making their way to Compass Cay.

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Tucker has been the proprietor of Compass Cay since 1992, but has worked on Compass Cay farming it since he was 13 years old. At that time he lived in a small house on Sister Cay directly across from Compass, and would row over everyday to work on the cay.

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Now, the Compass Cay Marina & Resort includes a protected marina with electricity, reverse osmosis water, laundry, shower service and a small store. Tucker say that the marina has accommodated a boat as large as 155 ft in the past, but most boats that dock here are 135 ft or less. Boating guests are told that they need to draw less than 6 ft. to come in at low tide. There is a $10 per person landing fee to come ashore at the marina – which was well worth it in our book. There are also a few homes available to rent on Compass Cay if you’d like to have more time to experience all that this cay has to offer.

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In addition to marveling at the nurse sharks interacting with the many people that visit on day excursions, the island has other interests well worth exploring, such as the absolutely stunning Crescent Beach, just a short walk from the marina.

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And if you have time, you might want to visit Rachel’s Bubble Bath, a natural lagoon fed by water from the sea breaking over an opening in the surrounding rocks, climb the 92 ft high Compass Peak for a great view of the nearby Exuma Land and Sea Park and visit the 12 other beautiful deserted beaches on the cay.

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We also enjoyed checking out the colorful and amusing signs and memorabilia lining some of the trails and pathways through the island.

Before reluctantly leaving, we asked Tucker if there was anything else he would like us to mention in our post about Compass Cay. He said, “We try to keep Compass as natural as possible and do not want to see development on the lovely cay.  That’s why we all say take only pictures and only leave footprints.  We want to share Compass Cay with our guests and make them feel welcome and at home. Like our sign says, Welcome Home to Compass Cay.”

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Have you been to Compass Cay? Tell us about it!

 

Find Compass Cay Marina and Crescent Beach on our Bahamas Map

You might also enjoy:
The Swimming Pigs of the Exuma Cays
Thunderball Grotto


To see more posts on the Bahamas and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Swimming With Sharks on Compass Cay

So, I know sharks play an important part in the oceans ecosystem, but I just am not a fan. Sorry sharks. Nothing personal, it’s just those teeth…

When we were offered a stop at Compass Cay to swim with the sharks during an excursion generously provided by Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay, I thought fine. I’ll just take photos of the experience while John happily interacts with them in the water. Photos, from the dock – or as far away as I needed to be out of tooth range. But then I did a little research on the type of shark that hangs out at Compass Cay. The Compass Cay sharks are nurse sharks and according to National Geographic, adults are commonly about 7.5-9.75 ft long (although they can get as big as 14 ft.) and weigh 200-330 lbs. NG goes on to say, “Nurse sharks are for the most part harmless to humans.”  Apparently they just don’t like to be provoked…(please tell me what ticks off nurse sharks!)

Compass Cay Shark - copyright Rum Therapy
Upon our arrival at the Compass Cay Marina, we quickly became aware of the sharks presence. There were several people already in the water with (gasp) sharks swimming all around them. No one was panicking and there were even smiles.

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Some were petting the sharks…

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I found myself getting more and more intrigued.

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Tucker, the man who owns Compass Cay Marina relayed the story of the sharks. When he first opened Compass Cay Marina, he brought in several nurse sharks. Over the years, the sharks had little sharks, have become accustomed to human
interaction and are now considered “pets”. There is a continual and abundant supply of fish scraps for the sharks as fish are cleaned at the end of one of the docks. At feeding time, a small hatchet is whacked on the cleaning board and the sharks come swimming in.

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Hmmm. To make a long story short, I not only got in, but I snorkeled with them, pet them and enjoyed every minute. We enjoyed it so much, that we rented a boat from Staniel Cay Rentals and came back several days later to do it again at high tide when they just float right up next to you on the dock.

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When we got back to our hotel, we looked through the pictures we got underwater while swimming.
Even more impressed that I got in.

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So, do I have a greater appreciation for sharks? Well, let’s just say I really did enjoy this adventure and would do it again. With nurse sharks. On Compass Cay. In a heartbeat.


Have you gone swimming with the sharks on Compass Cay? If not, would you? Tell us about it!

Find Compass Cay Marina on our Bahamas Map

You might also enjoy:
The Swimming Pigs of the Exuma Cays


To see more posts on the Bahamas and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC