The boat ride through Pipe Creek in the Exuma Cays has to be the most beautiful boat OR car ride I have ever been on. You feel like you are flying over a transparent bed of liquid air skirting by dozens of emerald islands framed with powder white beaches.
Staying in one of the villas on Staniel Cay or Samson Cay and renting a boat from Mr. Rolle to explore these islands is as good as it gets.
There was a time many years ago that our family rented the MV Ballymena for grandmother Marion's 90th birthday. Even on a 120 foot yacht there were times when the demands of 18 people made us feel like we were on a much smaller tender but the opportunity to get the family together for this occasion was fit for any mastercard commercial.
At 90, Marion still had the glamour and energy of her younger days. She reminded everyone regularly that she was still 21 and wanted our daily schedule to be full of excursions and adventures.
There were the pigs at Big Major's, Thunderball Cave, Rocky Dundas, Sea Aquarium in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Then there was Danger Reef, a 40-foot dive site said to be safe for snorkelers of all ages to swim with reef sharks. Needless to say we passed on this one.
Our favorite place to lounge is the Staniel Cay Yacht Club where you get locals and boaters eating, drinking and exchanging stories from all corners of the earth.
Dotted throughout these cays are a slew of chartered yachts and privately owned islands that can be rented with all the bells and whistles of any world-class resort experience. Further down the cays is Great Exuma Island and its capital Georgetown. The mainland is host to a variety of small hotels and bed and breakfasts where the owners themselves will tend to your every need.