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Staniel Cay

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay
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Little Major’s Spot
Little Major’s Spot
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Big Major’s Spot
Big Major’s Spot
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Fowl Cay
Fowl Cay
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Dennis Cay
Dennis Cay
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Sampson Cay
Sampson Cay
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Pipe Creek
Pipe Creek
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Compass Cay Marina
Compass Cay Marina
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Compass Cay
Compass Cay
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Chicken Cay
Chicken Cay
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Staniel Cay is an anchorage in Central Exumas.

Central Exumas is a charter location in The Exumas, a yacht charter area in the Bahamas.

The anchorages on Central Exumas:

Staniel Cay Overview

Staniel Cay is one of the most eventful islands in the Central Exumas archipelago, thanks to its resourceful marinas that offer everything from fuel to food, an airstrip, welcoming restaurants and bars, and relaxing water sports. Also known as Stanyard or Staniard Cay, it is one of the most-visited places in the whole of Exumas and is perfect for a calm, relaxing vacation.

It is characterized by a large beachfront with clear, turquoise waters, potential social gatherings, and good food and camaraderie.

Staniel Cay is a loaded island that makes it a preferred base station for many charters. Our charter services also suggest Staniel Cay as a holding station because of easy connectivity to nearby sights such as Pipe Creek and Fowl Cay.

Staniel Cay entrance - Wandering Knapps, Google
Houses on the Staniel Cay shores - Natalie, Google
A view of Staniel Cay Yacht Club from the top - Paul Harding
The extensive shoreline of Happy People Marina - Paul Harding

Navigation and Anchoring

Between the southern shore of Big Major’s Spot and the Thunderball Grotto lies an anchorage with five moorings. You can rent one of them for $10 per night to enjoy safe, covered parking. If you have a larger boat (that is, above 50 feet), head to the center of the anchorage. Anchoring charges may be hefty. You can call Club Thunderball on VHF ch. 16 to get the prices.

Mooring systems are the same as in that of North Mooring Field at Warderick Wells in Exuma Park. If you find a vacant spot, you can park right away and settle the bill at Club Thunderball afterward.

To enter the cay from Exuma Sound, head towards Little Major’s Spot. Towards the south, past the Thunderball Grotto, you will find the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (SCYC) on your port side. You can anchor anywhere near its southern and western shores.

If you are planning to head further south, round Sandy Cay and head to the northern end of Lumby Cay. There’s a 50-foot hill here that’s very conspicuous, which will direct you towards the second marina, the Happy People Marina. There’s a light to the west of this marina that will guide you further to the anchorages (near the Batelco tower).

Staniel Cay Marinas

There are two marinas on this island: Staniel Cay Yacht Club and Happy People Marina. SCYC has a lot of spots across 18 slips for parking your boats, both on the southern and western ends. You can anchor in 5-7 feet of water and head to the club for some food and relaxation. The marina has power and fuel stations, fresh water and ice, internet access, and a bar with pool tables and satellite television.

SCYCY is active throughout the year, attracting cruisers who enjoy having breakfast, lunch, and dinner here. You may also rent one of the 14 bungalows that may be available for lease or part of the package. Prices are pocket-friendly. Check out its official website for more details about moorings and other services.

If you wish to park at SCYC, go round and approach from the north to avoid the rocky patch and strong currents. Extreme attention is recommended till you find 7-foot water levels.

The Happy People Marina is a smaller anchorage and has quite some room for small boats. Provisions and services are meager compared to SCYC. It’s usually preferred by those heading north in the Exuma Sound.

Areas of Interest In and Around Staniel Cay

Staniel Cay is made up of two cays that are separated by a nearly 100-foot mangrove range. This is a protected area by the Bahamas National Trust and you will need to take extra care to avoid the mangroves while at sea. Together, the cays are nearly 1 ½ miles long and almost half the size wide.

The most popular sight here is the Thunderball Grotto that has a large opening on the top for the sun rays to swipe in. This will be a great spot for photography, and was the shooting location of the James Bond films Thunderball (1965) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

There is a salt pond on the northern end of the cay that may be worth visiting.

You will find abundant shoals of bonefish in Staniel Cay Creek that lays past the Happy People Marina. Here you can engage in fish spotting and even the annual summer bonefishing tournament. Do note that, at the time of writing, off-season fishing was prohibited in the area.

Further past the Happy People Marina is an arena of unattended Bahamian sloops such as Lady Muriel, Sea Hound, and Tida Wave. Many of these boats were part of the cay’s once-popular regattas. If you’re lucky, you can explore the area with the locals who will guide you through and share some interesting stories of the legendary sailing expeditions of Staniel Cay sailors. These sailors were and are some of the best in the world, as the trophies you will see on the island will very much prove. A huge rock across the marina contains an aircraft wreck.

Again, if you’re lucky and if you plan accordingly, you can catch (and also participate in) the New Year’s Day Regatta where everyone wins prizes.

Southeast of Staniel Cay lies Lumber Cay (known for a 50-foot ridge in the middle) and Grape Tree Cay (known for its rookery). This is also a protected place and caution is recommended if you plan to visit. Sisal formation used to be found here and on the neighboring Cabbage Cay.

There’s also an isolated beach called Pirate Beach to the northern end of the cay. It’s too far from the marinas, so make sure you eat something before going for a hike.

Thunderball Grotto - Daran Clarke, Google
You can view exotic marine life at Thunderball Grotto - Daniel Reyes, Google

Services

Staniel Cay is a beloved area for many tourists. It has good provisioning and has a positive vibe overall, giving it most of the attention in the Central Exumas. For instance, three of the most popular shops in the area are in Staniel Cay. They are the Pink Store, the Blue Store, and Isles General Store. The first two are located near the Happy People Marina and offer groceries and souvenirs. You can replenish your supplies here and also stock up on marine-related stuff for your boat.

The Isles General Store (or Isles Inn) is run by Vivian Rolle and is located 100 yards up Staniel Cay Creek. It has a heavier stock with supplies, eatables, and even ice cream. The area is great to grab something to munch on and enjoy the views. The 3000-foot airstrip is just past the Isles General Store; charter flights can be booked via the store or SCYC.

Then there are the two restaurants with bars, namely SCYC and the Royal Entertainer. Each of them offers continental food for the adventurist tourist looking for some gastronomy experiment. Another restaurant here goes by the name of Chamberlain’s. In the stores and the restaurants, there are several small fun activities to engage in too if you visit during peak season.

Laundry services, medical assistance, and kayaking and snorkeling equipment can also be easily found on the cay. Staniel Cay Divers and the stores have stocks that will further help with swimming equipment.

If you are traveling solo, you can call Club Thunderball for any and all assistance. The staff is quite friendly and will accommodate/direct you as needed. You can reach out at 242-355-2024 or [email protected].

    Yachts available in Staniel Cay

    Jetskis: 2
    Jacuzzi

    NO BADA BEES

    From $130,000/week
    6 cabins
    127 ft
    IAG
    12 guests
    Built: 2010

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    Jetskis: 2
    Jacuzzi

    ATLANTIC

    From $65,000/week
    4 cabins
    108 ft
    Westport
    8 guests
    Refit: 2020/2021
    5500 US Gall/Hr

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    Scuba Onboard

    Pipe Dreams

    From $45,000/week
    3 cabins
    112 ft
    Westport
    6 guests
    Built: 2007
    120 US Gall/Hr

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    4 reviews

    NOW OR NEVER

    From $65,000/week
    4 cabins
    112 ft
    Westport
    8 guests
    Refit: 2020
    100 US Gall/Hr

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    Jacuzzi

    RENAISSANCE

    From $90,000/week
    5 cabins
    116 ft
    Hargrave
    10 guests
    Refit: NEW YACHT

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    SEAGLASS 74

    From $49,500/week
    4 cabins
    74 ft
    Horizon
    8 guests
    Refit: 2021
    90 US Gall/Hr

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    9 reviews
    Jacuzzi

    MILK & HONEY

    From $98,000/week
    5 cabins
    125 ft
    Palmer Johnson
    10 guests
    Refit: 2020
    75 US Gall/Hr

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    K SEA

    From $37,000/week
    4 cabins
    75 ft
    Hatteras
    8 guests
    Built: 2017
    160 US Gall/Hr

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    Jetski

    LEUDIN I

    From $150,000/week
    5 cabins
    131 ft
    .
    11 guests
    Refit: 2021

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    Jacuzzi

    NATURAL 9

    From $55,000/week
    4 cabins
    112 ft
    Westport
    8 guests
    Refit: 2021
    1200 RPM 25% US Gall/Hr

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    Jacuzzi

    CHIP

    From $41,000/week
    4 cabins
    84 ft
    Lazzara
    8 guests
    Refit: 2017
    120 US Gall/Hr

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    TWO

    From $27,500/week
    3 cabins
    60 ft
    Prestige Yachts
    4 guests
    Built: 2016

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    Jetski

    FRIDAY

    From $56,000/week
    4 cabins
    101 ft
    Cantieri Dell'Arno
    9 guests
    Refit: 2014
    160 US Gall/Hr

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    Jetski

    NO MATTER WHAT

    From $85,000/week
    4 cabins
    88 ft
    San Lorenzo
    8 guests
    Built: 2022

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    BELISARIUS

    From $46,200/week
    3 cabins
    92 ft
    Horizon
    6 guests
    Refit: 2017
    25 US Gall/Hr

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