The anchorages on Central Exumas:
Compass Cay Overview
Compass Cay is a popular island in the Central Exumas that is known for its tranquil, clean beaches, clear waters, and accessible marina. It lies to the southern edge of Conch Cut and the east of Chicken Cay and The Rocky Dundas. It is perhaps the second most popular and active cay in the Central Exumas after Staniel Cay.
Roughly a mile long, it is characterized by an uneven shoreline and a 25-acre salt pan in the middle. This salina originally used to be open to Exuma Sound but has been filled over the decades. The only way to enter it is through the banks. Apart from salt evaporation pans, it is also known for bonefishing.
Navigation and Anchoring
Enter by passing Conch Cut on the north and settle for the northern shore to get cover from the east and southeast. Alternatively, you can head south if you plan to explore the busy patch till Sampson Cay. Its safe and active anchorage, the Compass Cay Marina, and Pipe Creek are located on the southern edge. You can safely anchor here that provides excellent cover from the east.
Your best bet to reach the marina is paralleling the western shore in 10-foot waters. There’s an easily identifiable rocky bar about ¼ mile south of the northwest tip that will need caution. Ahead, you will spot a deep channel cut by a sandbank. We recommend following the path to enter the marina or Pipe Creek. There will be marked buoys directing you to the anchorages. Private maintenance has also ensured some dredging work, so the channel now carries about 6 feet at low water.
If you do not wish to park at the marina or Pipe Creek, just look at anchoring northwest of Pipe Cay. It has good anchorage that protects from the west and southwest.
Do note that the marina is a naturally protected area. You should give heed to the notices and any requests from the staff.
Places of Interest In and Around Compass Cay
The extension of Exuma Sound is the most beautiful area on the cay, with a white, curving beach lining its southeast side. You can choose to anchor here in 13 feet of water but avoid parking during any winds.
On the northern tip of the cay exists a small underwater cave that’s worth a visit for divers and swimmers. It’s beyond the rocky patch of the east, which is why it is only frequented by professional divers.
There’s also The Crack, a tank dive in the rocky patch of the east that is known for excellent shoals of tiny sharks and other marine life in 80 feet of water. Compass Cay Marina has a commercial establishment that organizes a swim with friendly shark babies, which is a major fad on the cay. There’s also a pig beach on the western shore.
The beaches are clear and devoid of any litter, have clear, blue water, and are extremely safe for a quick swim or snorkel.
There is a bar within the commercial establishment at Compass Cay. You will find decent food and drinks here along with an opportunity to swim with shark babies. There’s also a small shop that functions most days of the week; here you can fill up on your groceries. No other facilities exist.
You may also find small houses for rent for a few days. Ask at the shops and bar for more details.
Entry to the dock is charged at $10 per person.