The post is finally here from our most exciting day in Exuma! A few days after we had arrived in these beautiful islands, we woke up bright and early and drove our golf cart down to the marina. We were sailing with Sun Fun Boat Tours and the boat was beautiful. We chose a full day tour so that we got in everything that we had dreamt of doing in The Exumas.
Our captain was very friendly and excited to take us out on his boat for the day. He announced that our first stop of the day would be to feed the wild iguanas! The boat ride to this beautiful slice of paradise was perfectly smooth, with a few bumps as we glided over the Atlantic Ocean.
Iguanas: When we pulled up to Iguana Island, I’m pretty sure everyone on our boat gasped. The peaceful beach was secluded and beautiful, but what was really amazing was who called the beach home. Huge iguanas covered the sand and when the saw our boat, came running towards it!
Our captain handed us slices of bread and we then spent some time feeding the iguanas. They would do anything for a slice of bread…even jump 3 feet in the air! When it came time to leave the iguanas behind, we were sad to say goodbye to our new friends, but very excited for the next adventure!
Grotto: The next stop was a small grotto for photos. It looked like something out of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Our captain told us that the cave was formed when rain landed on saltwater, created a special gas and carved away the whole front wall of the large rock. It was so interesting and definitely a beautiful spot for photos.
Turtles and Stingrays: Next, we sailed over to an area where we could swim with green sea turtles and stingrays! This experience was truly unforgettable. There was a man who used conch to guide the turtles over to tourists, but I swam out further away from the small mob of visitors. There, I found about 25 turtles that were all very curious about who I was. It was a dream come true to have all these gorgeous turtles surrounding me, letting me stroke their shells, and seeing them playfully interact with one another. There were stingrays everywhere too, and they were beautiful! Unfortunately, I used my GoPro to take photos at this boat stop and I’m still working on transferring the pictures. Once I can see them, I promise I’ll share them with you!
On the way to the next tour stop, we sailed past this huge yacht. It had a sliding board coming down into the ocean! We also saw lots of celebrity homes, including Tim McGraw’s and David Copperfield’s.
Sharks: Finally, we made it to Compass Cay! This was the tour excursion I was most excited for and it did not disappoint! After paying $10 a person to swim, I was the first person into the water. It was far less scary than I thought it would be. The sharks reminded me of giant puppies with the way they just wanted you to pet them! They don’t have teeth, but they can suck the skin off your hand. One woman put her hand too close to a shark’s mouth and it did suck off almost all the skin on her hand. But as long as you’re careful and follow the safety guidelines your captain gives you, its an amazing experience! We spent about an hour at Compass Cay, and I was reluctant to leave the nurse sharks behind.
Swimming Pigs: After leaving Compass Cay, we went to our final animal excursion and definitely the most famous of all…the swimming pigs! There weren’t nearly as many pigs as I was expecting, but nevertheless, you cannot go to Exuma and not swim with the pigs! There were a few piglets that were absolutely adorable. They loved getting petted, fed slices of bread, and walking around in the water with people. The mothers can get a little protective of their babies, so watch out for them. Swimming with the pigs is a check off the bucket list for me!
Thunderball Grotto: The last stop was to Thunderball Grotto. This grotto is supposed to be beautiful inside, with awesome snorkeling. Unfortunately, after our caption looked at the tides, the currents were deemed too difficult to swim against. We were told that to get in, we would need to hold our breaths as we swam under 7 feet of rock, so we decided against entering the grotto.
We turned away from the grotto and sailed to lunch, seeing some stunning Exuma blues on the way.
Lunch at Ty’s Sunset Bar and Grill: By 3:00, we were all starving. Lunch was scheduled very late, and we had all run out of snacks, so the idea of lunchtime was warmly welcomed. But when we pulled up to Ty’s Sunset Bar and Grill, we were a bit disappointed. The restaurant was very tiny, with no A/C, and it was still decorated for the Super Bowl. My whole family agreed that the restaurant seemed very uncleanly as well. There was a buffet of food set up, that neither looked nor tasted appetizing. We later found out that the owner of the restaurant was our captain’s brother who was trying to get the name out about his business.
Stranded at Sea: Bad lunch aside, we all still had a great day hanging out with awesome Exuma wildlife. But when we started to sail back to the resort, things took a turn for the worse. A huge storm was brewing and began to surround us on all sides. Our captain told us that it would be very dangerous to sail through the storm, so we tried to wait it out behind a big cliff. But as the storm got worse and worse, the captain decided it would be best to try to sail through it. The ride was very rough, with huge waves and lots of thunder. We had to put towels over our heads and crouch down to avoid having the rain and wing sting our faces. After about an hour of being stranded, we finally made it back to The Grand Isle Resort. Getting home to our villa was a huge relief.
Overall: The first part of our day with Sun Fun was really amazing. We saw fabulous animals and made memories we’ll never forget. Lunch was a big disappointment, and of course, handling the storm wasn’t very fun. But overall, I still recommend Sun Fun if you want to sail the Exuma Cays. We had a nice captain, our excursions were top notch, and we had a lot of fun.
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Comment below with your thoughts on this experience. Have you ever sailed around the Exumas? Would you want to if you haven’t?