What is better than walking on a long sandy beach with clear turquoise water to wade in or swim through? The sky here is usually bright blue, there is often a breeze or stronger wind, and the temperature at this time of year is always around 80. It’s hard to believe but EVERY stop we make in the Exumas has at least one, and often several gorgeous beaches next to where we anchor. The water is clear and warm, the sand is soft and the beaches are almost always free of debris. They are usually free of other humans too, and if people are walking on the beach, there are never more than a handful. Every beach is dog friendly and of course no leashes are needed, although we do bring one to control Sailor if/when other people pass by us. All beaches in the Bahamas are public. Some of the more than 500 islands in the Exuma chain have been sold to celebrities and wealthy people, but even Oprah has to let us use her beach up to the high tide water line. It’s the law.
In the Exumas, there are two types of beaches. The calmer, smaller beaches are on the “bank” side, the inside of the islands. We are always anchored on this side. The water is shallow and usually very calm so these beaches are perfect for swimming. Of course, the soft sand is on the sea floor as well as on the beaches which makes walking out in the water no different than walking on the beach, just wetter.
A short hike over rocky hills, often on a trail marked by other cruisers takes us to the Sound beaches. (The “marks” are varied, including conch shells, rocks, cloth tied to branches, and even old sandals.) These beaches are bordered by high rocky hills which can be climbed for dramatic views of the Sound. The beaches are often as far as you can see, deserted, and covered with soft, white sand. Waves crash over reefs close to shore, but in some parts there are calm areas where you can safely swim, almost like ponds in the water. The Sound beaches are breathtaking because the water offshore consists of shades from light to very dark turquoise, depending on the depth and floor of the sea. There might be sand, rock, reefs, or grass underneath, which affects the coloration.
Pictures being worth a thousand words, below are some I took today while on a beach walk on the Exuma Sound side of Georgetown. Pictures in the previous post were at a beach on the Elizabeth Harbor side, where we are anchored. To get to the beach on the Sound we ride a short distance to a very small stretch of harbor beach where we leave our dinghy, throwing the anchor up on the beach. If it is high tide, we put the anchor out in the water so we don’t come back to a dinghy sitting on a beach when the tide goes out. We climb a rather steep rocky hill up and then down on the other side to the beach you see in the photos below. Although the trail is steep, there are branches and sticks deep in the ground to grab for support so it is quite safe. Today we walked for several hours along this stunning beach.