Exploring the waters of the Exumas

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 27-April 2, 1997
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Exploring the waters of the Exumas
Question: Have you had any experience sea kayaking the Exumas Islands? Can you recommend a qualified outfitter? Is seven to eight days on the water too much?

Walt Quillinan
Lake George, NY
[email protected]

Hook up with a local outfitter for access to the best kayaking
Adventure Adviser: I haven't been to the Exumas yet myself, but everything I've heard about the 100-mile chain--72-degree turquoise water, calm seas, and crowd-free islands--makes it sound like the ideal place to paddle.

Thanks to a scarcity of drinking water and a dearth of deepwater anchorages, you can count on having the Exumas pretty much to yourself, despite the fact that the northernmost caye is only a 20-minute plane ride from the booming resorts on Nassau. And unless you have an aversion to top-notch snorkeling--underwater limestone caves and reefs are teeming with angelfish, fan coral, and millions of tiny minnows--and poking around old ruins (check out the crumbling 200-year-old cotton plantation on Hawksbill Caye), a week on the water is just the right amount of time.

Ibis Tours (800-525-9411) and Bottom Time Adventures (800-234-8464) think so, too: Both run seven- to eight-day trips for about $1,200 per person, including kayaks, tents, sleeping bags, guides, food, and flights within the Bahamas. Getting to the Exumas means flying to Nassau from Miami an then taking a regularly-scheduled puddle-jumper to George Town on Great Exuma. Call the outfitters for departure dates and prices.

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