For those without a boat, or for those seeking a more serene excursion, kayaking is an ideal way to get off the beach and experience the Exumas.
The warm waters around Great Exuma are usually calm and clear, making it easy to spot plenty of marine life on a relaxing kayaking expedition. Kayaking is an easy and agile way of exploring the narrow waterways between the mangroves, giving you access to places larger boats cannot reach. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself drifting past deserted sandy beaches on some of the 365 pristine cays that make up the Exumas.
BEST PLACES FOR KAYAKING IN THE EXUMA ISLANDS
Great Exuma is surrounded by small, uninhabited cays, which make exploring the area very scenic. White sandy beaches and green mangroves with their tangled root systems are home to a variety of birds and wildlife.
A string of cays can be found off the southwest coast of Great Exuma, and they are best explored by kayak. Bonefish Cay, Green Turtle Cay and Jewfish Cay are all named after the sea creatures that dwell in these warm waters.
Another great spot for kayaking is the area between Great Exuma and Little Exuma. Launch your kayak beneath the road bridge and explore these sheltered waters around the Moriah Cay National Park and Man-O-War Cay. You can even paddle your kayak into the mangroves in this area and enjoy the peace and serenity of this scenic coastline.
Emerald Bay is a popular place for kayakers on the northeast coast of Great Exuma. The sheltered waters are ideal for beginners and the extraordinary color of the water is what gives the bay its name.
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS ON AN EXUMA KAYAKING TRIP
Drifting gently along in your kayak is a blissful way to see amazing animals and marine life that the Bahamas are known for. You may spot conch shells lying on the sand, but remember not to keep any shells that have a creature living inside them. You’ll find plenty more that have been discarded.
Look out for crabs, lobsters, hogfish, snappers, turtles and even small sharks that inhabit the reef. Dolphins are often seen playing or leaping out of the water and stingrays may be seen resting on the sandy bottom or swimming, their winged bodies gently rippling to propel them through the water. One creature you definitely don’t want to touch is the Portuguese man-of-war, which are semi-transparent and possess long poisonous tentacles that can be very painful if brushed against.
On land you may see lizards, iguanas, cute green tree frogs and even the odd snake, although there are no poisonous snakes on the Bahamas Exuma Islands. Low-lying bushes and native trees include lignum vitae, mahogany, cascarilla, sea grapes, tamarind and guava.
The mangroves and trees are home to over 230 species of birds and you are likely to hear them even if you do not see them during your kayaking trip. The Bahama parrot, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flamingoes, blue herons, falcons and Bahama ducks all inhabit these lovely islands.
Every cay is different, offering the chance to see castaway islands, pristine white sandy beaches, colorful fish, turtles and more. It is a quiet and adventurous way to discover nature without causing too much disturbance.
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