Surrounded by enticing turquoise waters in the Exuma Cays, the 2-square-mile island of Staniel Cay sits roughly 75 miles south of Nassau and 250 miles from southeast Florida. It is also home to Staniel Cay Yacht Club, a premier resort marina in the heart of the Bahamas.
Rewinding back to the late 1950s, the property where the resort is located was originally a small refueling stop between Nassau and Georgetown and a popular spot for pigeon hunting, a local Bahamian pastime. Staniel Cay Yacht Club opened in 1956. In the early 1990s, the marina went through extensive renovations.
Today, Staniel Cay Yacht Club has expanded into a 18-slip facility accommodating vessels up to 185 feet with a 12-foot draft. New electric hook-ups and an upgraded fuel dock were recently added. More than half the docks have been replaced in the last year alone, and a breakwater wall is scheduled for construction.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club also has 14 bungalows for rent, including one currently being built with a full kitchen and dining room, perfect for vacationing families. The fun-loving property hosts many festive events where locals and property guests both join in. The Commodores Ball, on New Year's Eve, is a James Bond "Casino Royale"-themed masquerade bash that raises money for a popular wooden-boat regatta. "Staniel Cay Yacht Club is not just a resort existing separately," says owner David Hocher. "We always try to be involved with our local community. We have second and third generations of families working here."
The best way to explore the Exumas is by small boat or dinghy. "The Exumas are very diverse and there's a different beach around every corner," explains David. Staniel Cay offers numerous water activities -- exploring the sugar- white sands of Pirates Beach, snorkeling around pristine reefs and sunken airplanes, visiting the sandbars of Pipe Creek, swimming with the famous pigs on Big Major and petting the nurse sharks on Compass Cay -- the options are endless. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board to explore on your own, or book a chartered fishing adventure.
So how do you get to paradise? If you're not traveling by boat, Watermakers Air provides daily service from Fort Lauderdale to the out islands, including Staniel Cay, which has a 3,000-foot air strip. Watermakers Air was recently part of the Hurricane Matthew relief efforts, flying supplies to families on Andros Island.
The Exumas are known for their colorful flare and diversity. What are you waiting for? Staniel Cay Yacht Club is calling your name.