LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Loving the Exumas! Highbourne + Norman’s Cays

It’s SO nice to have finally made it down to the E-X-U-M-A-S!

From what we’ve read and heard, the Exumas (a district of the Bahamas consisting of over 360 islands) are supposed to be some of the best cruising grounds in the world. And so far, they’ve definitely lived up to that reputation!!!


After our time in the Berry Islands, we stopped over in Nassau (West Bay) for one night and then sailed straight to Highbourne Cay at the north end of the Exuma chain. When we arrived at Highbourne Cay around 6:30PM, the main anchorage on the west side of the island was pretty crowded, but we were able to carve out a nice slice of water to anchor and ended up staying put for the next two nights.

Highbourne Cay is a private island, but visitors are welcome in the marina. And let me just tell ya…the marina facilities are some of the nicest we’ve seen. Strike that. They are definitely THE nicest.


We made sure to take advantage of their awesome marina grocery store and stocked up the boat with lots of fresh stuff we’d been out of for a few weeks. We picked up two packages of frozen chicken breasts, romaine, multiple packages of cheese (of course!), eggs, bread, bagels, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. Everything was definitely much more expensive than we are used to back at home, but it was certainly nice to find a store that was well-stocked, super clean, and had tons of options when it came to produce.

While we were there, we treated ourselves to a nice little lunch at the marina restaurant, Exuma, perched at the very top of the hill overlooking the ocean. The food sure was awesome, but cost us a pretty penny!


Jereme had a killer burger and I was craving veggies so I indulged in a wedge salad for lunch. Both were dee-lish! We may or may not have also enjoyed a few frozen drinks too! :))

Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-Sail-to-Exumas-LAHOWIND-eIMG_3631 Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-Sail-to-Exumas-LAHOWIND-eIMG_3637-1

We haven’t had a nice lunch outing like that in forever, so it was a big treat for us, and we made sure to live it up.

The marina might be pretty darn nice, but I’m not sure it’s the place I would want to jump in for a swim if you know what I mean… ;))

Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-Sail-to-Exumas-LAHOWIND-eIMG_3666 Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-Sail-to-Exumas-LAHOWIND-eIMG_3680

A big family of nurse sharks apparently hangs out by the marina and beach, and have become so-called “pets” to the marina. It felt strange to dinghy over this group of “pets.” ;))


And although we were anchored directly in front of the Batelco tower, we still couldn’t get our wifi to work while we were in Highbourne. I think it might have worked once for about 2.5 seconds and I was miracuously able to press send on an email to family.

After two nights in Highbourne, we headed south a tiny ways to Norman’s Cay. Norman’s Cay has quite the colorful history seeing as its claim to fame is that it was under control by drug lord Carols Lehder decades ago. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Norman’s was used as the base of a very profitable cocaine smuggling operation. In 1978, Lehder came onto Norman’s and began buying up most of the property, all while running the locals out of and off of the island. He bought a house for himself, along with a hotel and airstrip to help aide in his drug smuggling.

We stuck around Norman’s for two nights, but only because we arrived pretty late in the evening the first night and wanted a full day to explore.

Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-LAHOWIND-Exumas-Normans-Cay-Young-Couple-eIMG_3731 Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-LAHOWIND-Exumas-Normans-Cay-Young-Couple-eIMG_3746 Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Bahamas-Caribbean-LAHOWIND-Exumas-Normans-Cay-Young-Couple-eIMG_3722

Unfortunately, Norman’s Cay was kind of a bust for us. The island is currently undergoing some major construction and we were surrounded by the sounds of dump trucks and other construction vehicles pretty much the entire time. Not exactly “paradise found” if you know what I mean. We also tried to go to the one restaurant on the island, McDuff’s, but they happened to be closed the day we went. And our attempt to scope out the famous plane wreckage in the lagoon was squashed when we realized conditions at the tip of the island were far to rough for our dinghy.

Maybe we’ll stop back at Norman’s Cay on a future cruise and see if we have better luck!

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Bahamas + Caribbean.

Howard RothsteinMay 13, 2014 - 3:46 pm

OOPS! Did’nt realize you were still in the Exumas.

Great pictures. Be sure to get paast Georgetown to Long Island and Rum Cay. I think you’ll love it.