The scuba diving liveaboard Aqua Cat offers many activities besides scuba diving, like snorkeling, kayaking, Stand up paddle boarding, hiking a nature trail, sunbathing on a deserted beach or fishing. You will have a great time exploring the 200 mostly uninhabited islands with their many beautiful beaches in the northern Exumas. The Aqua Cat has a 28’ launch that can take you to isolated beaches where you can sunbathe, explore, kayak, snorkel or fish. You will enjoy feeding and photographing the iguanas on Allan’s Cay. You can visit the headquarters of the Exumas Land & Sea Park on Warderick Wells and explore the many trails. You can also kayak the creeks that meander through Shroud Cay. These creeks are nurseries for many varieties of fish and lemon sharks. For those interested in bird watching, the Exumas are a nesting area for many species of seabirds including White-Tailed Tropic birds, Audubon Shearwaters, Brown Noddies, and Bridled and Sooty Terns.
Snorkeling is an easy and enjoyable activity for all passengers. Instructors are available to assist and instruct those who are unfamiliar with snorkeling. All you need are mask, fins and snorkels. If you don’t have your own, the Aqua Cat has them available for rent. The Aqua Cat has a specially equipped 28-foot launch, the Sea Dog, designed for transporting passengers to the remote and pristine islands of the Exumas Cays where they can snorkel from the beach in shallow waters. There are a number of shallow reefs they can also visit. The sunken DC-3 at Normans Cay is filled with fish and lies in just a few feet of water.
Allan’s Cay is one of the last homes of the rare Bahamas rock iguanas. They were once common on most Bahamian Islands, but early settlers nearly hunted them into extinction. As you approach the beach, watch for iguanas crawling out of the woods. They are looking for handouts of bread or fruit from the guests to their island.
Guests love our new Stand Up paddleboards (SUPS). Take a spin around during one of our stops to enjoy this core activity.
There is a beautiful beach right next to the park headquarters. While there aren’t a lot of fish right off the beach, you can swim or wade around to the headquarters’ dock where schools of grunts, jacks and snapper swarm. A resident lemon shark also appears frequently. There are also a number hiking nature trails, including one up Boo Boo Hill where you have a splendid view of the sound and harbor.
There are over 100 islands in the Northern Exumas, many with beautiful deserted beaches for you to enjoy. Snorkel off the beach, collect shells or just sunbathe.
Mangroves provide haven for marine nurseries for the juveniles of many fish species including gray snapper, barracuda and grunts. During a recent snorkel in the mangroves on Ship’s Channel Cay, we saw over 100 small barracuda! The creeks of Shroud Cay are another great area to snorkel among the mangroves.
The Aqua Cat has 6 double kayaks onboard for passengers to use. Everyone will find them easy to use.The Sea Dog is available to transport you and the kayaks close to the islands or you can kayak directly from the Aqua Cat. There are over 100 islands in the Northern Exumas, many with beautiful deserted beaches. Explore the creeks on Shroud Cay or Ship’s Channel Cay. Visit Pirate’s Lair where pirates hid 250 years ago to avoid capture.
There are several nature trails on Warderick Wells that meander around the island. Maps are available at the park headquarters. If you are lucky you might see a hutia, a rare, local rodent. There are some ruins on the eastern shore that date back to 1780. Be sure to climb Boo Boo Hill to enjoy the spectacular view.
The Bahamas were a Mecca for drug smugglers in the 1970′s until the government got its act together and cleared them out. The most notorious of them was Carlos Lehder who bought Normans Cay to use as his base. Although all is quiet and peaceful now, the evidence of its previous history is very obvious – a semi submerged drug runners plane lies in the anchorage. The plane is still surprisingly complete although almost buried in sand. Sit in the pilot seat!
Many of our scuba sites are also excellent for snorkeling. The wall dives that run along the Exuma Sound begin shallow and slope gently until gradually falling over the edge. These sites are conducive to awesome diving and snorkeling simultaneously! Sites like Parrotfish Reef or Flat Rock Reef have a depth of 5’ to 10’ near the islands. While our shark dive is done in 50’ of water, the chumsicle floats 25’ above the bottom, which gives snorkelers a great view of the sharks feeding.
On most trips to this beach, we encounter stingrays that venture close to snorkelers in the hopes of a hand fed tidbit. There are also a number of small coral heads located at one end of the beach with many juvenile fish to observe.
This is a beautiful shallow reef with a depth that ranges from 2’ to 10’. There are large schools of snapper and grunts to be seen here. You will also see trumpetfish, puffers, filefish, angelfish, and butterflyfish. There isn’t a beach to snorkel from, but the Sea Dog can anchor above the reef to give snorkelers immediate access to the reef.