The Southern Bahamas—A MAGNIFIcent menagerie of wildlife, clean, sapphire seas and windswept, deserted beaches.
Discover beauty that leaves you breathless. Flora and fauna found nowhere else on the earth. And locals who are friendly, welcoming and happy to regale you with local lore. Travel in five-star style and be pampered by the professional crew of Motoryacht Sweet Escape who are ready to make sure your expectations are surpassed.
Following the Footsteps of Columbus along the Southern Bahamas
BY AMANDA DIEDRICK
On a sunny Friday in October 1492 on what is now the southern Bahamian island of San Salvador, three sailing ships crossed the eastern horizon. Not surprisingly, the native Lucayans were alarmed by the appearance of these strange vessels and the foreign beings that disembarked and tendered ashore. But Christopher Columbus and his Spanish crew soon charmed them with beads, hats and tinkling bells.
As he explored San Salvador and the surrounding islands, Columbus kept a journal which, more than 500 years later, offers us a first-hand account of the bounty and beauty he witnessed.
“They are of the best colours in the world,” he wrote about the local fish, “blue, yellow, red and of all colours and painted in a thousand ways. The colours are so fine that no man would not wonder at them or be anything but delighted to see them.”
In another entry, he remarked, “The singing of little birds is such that a man could never wish to leave this place. The flocks of parrots darken the sun, and there are large and small birds of so many different kinds... that it is a marvel.”
Surprisingly little in the southern Bahamas has changed in the five centuries since Columbus first waded ashore. There remains a magnificent menagerie of wildlife—iguanas, flamingos, parrots, pelicans, turtles, sea stars, dolphins, whales, sharks and of course, fish of every size and hue. And the clean, sapphire sea and windswept, deserted beaches, rolling hills and dramatic cliffs offer infinite opportunities for adventure and discovery.
Explore the largest continuous Montastraea coral reef in the Caribbean. Snorkel through vast groves of staghorn coral. Dive the wreck of the HMS Conquerer: a 101-gun propeller-driven warship which served in the Crimean war before striking the reef off Rum Cay in December 1861.
Take a dip in Cat Island’s Big Blue Hole which, according to local folklore, is home to a horse-devouring monster. Or paddleboard on Dean’s Blue Hole—reportedly the world’s deepest—on Long Island.
On Long Island visit Hamilton’s Cave, where centuries before the arrival of Columbus, the Lucayans sought shelter from evil Carib Indians. Wander the ruins of sprawling plantations built by British Loyalists after the American Revolutionary War.
On Cat Island’s Mount Alvernia—the highest point in the Bahamas at a whopping 206 feet of elevation— hike up to the Hermitage, a tiny monastery built in 1939 by Monsignor John Hawes, known locally as Father Jerome. Along with his remarkable craftsmanship, you’ll enjoy stunning, 360-degree views of Cat Islandand the sparkling seas that surround it.
Like Columbus and crew, you’ll discover beauty that leaves you breathless. Flora and fauna found nowhere else on the earth. And locals who are friendly, welcoming and happy to regale you with local lore.
Unlike Columbus, however, you’ll travel in five-star style. You’ll be catered to by our Sweet Escape crew, who’ll see that your every need is met. And you’ll enjoy laid-back luxury, elegant dining and world-class amenities far beyond anything Columbus could ever imagine.