Cruising With The Chilbergs: Grading the Marinas of the Exumas (BLOG)

Generally, Susan and I do not like marinas, especially in the Exumas. However, occasionally we need to get water and take a break from anchoring out, so once every two weeks we go to a marina for the night
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“He who does his work with excellence will stand before kings.”

—The Bible

Generally, Susan and I do not like marinas, especially in the Exumas. The reason is simple; we can’t afford them! However, occasionally we need to get water and take a break from anchoring out, so once every two weeks we go to a marina for the night. Several clients have asked our “Expert Opinion” on them, so here it is!

ChilbergSlide

Compass Cay Marina, which is most famous for ‘Swimming with the Sharks’ was our least favorite.

It is the most expensive and the new management gave us the feeling that they want to cater to mega yachts rather than regular cruising people. We swam with the sharks and walked to the beautiful beach on the other side of the cay, so we will not return. Grade: C-

A pack of nurse sharks at Compass Cay.

A pack of nurse sharks at Compass Cay.

Cave Cay Marina (pictured at the top) is in a beautiful cove with gorgeous beaches and Stephen, the owners’ son, is fabulous.

They are friendly and super helpful. The unique feature is the floating docks with 360 degree protection. They have a garden and Susan could pick all the peppers and tomatoes that she wanted. It has no restaurant or other amenities, but we refilled our water tanks and enjoyed our stay. Grade: B

Staniel Cay Yacht Club is the hub of the Central Exumas. The owners, David and Christina, are terrific hosts and the facility is first rate.

The Villas at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

The Villas at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

The dinner at the restaurant was delicious, one of the best we’ve had anywhere in the islands. We like to eat out every few weeks, and this is a ‘don’t miss’ place. The provisioning in Staniel Cay is very good for a small community, and the snorkeling at ‘Thunderball Grotto’ is both easy and spectacular. The anchorage just north at Big Majors Spot is our favorite on the planet! The entire package here really cannot be beat. Grade: A+

Highbourne Cay Marina is maybe even better. The facility’s construction is as good if not better than any I have experience in the USA.

Everything is fantastic. Dry stack stone walls, cabanas, swimming beach, Adirondack chairs with umbrellas on the beach, bicycles and kayaks for guests. We also anchored off Highbourne Cay and the anchorage is A+ as well. I could go on and on. The food was probably the best we’ve had in the Bahamas, and the staff is out of this world. Grade: A++

The next time we return, we will certainly visit both Staniel and Highbourne. The water and fuel are both clean and the access is simple. Hopefully, we will see you there next year!

The beach at Highbourne is a great place to enjoy a drink.

The beach at Highbourne is a great place to enjoy a drink.

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