The Bahamas: A spectacular collection of the world’s most stunning, unspoilt and untouched tropical islands. This week we are island hopping the Bahamas by piloting our own plane on the ultimate adventure across the Bahamas Out Islands.
Teaming up with another Professional Pilot, Oli from Pilots Paradise, we will be bringing you the very best in Flying and Travel. We are inviting you to join us on this epic voyage LIVE! You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content.
The only true way to “Island Hop” in the Bahamas is by Plane. Whilst the Bahamas is considered a Boaters Paradise, flying these remote Islands by plane offers the most flexible and expeditious mode of transport. We are navigating our way across 7 of the Out Islands: Eleuthera Island, Cat Island, Long Island, Staniel Cay, Exuma, San Salvador and Abaco Island. The Out Islands are a collection of 700 beautiful coral lined islands, 100% unspoilt and untouched, they are scarcely populated boasting tropical islands with deserted beaches and exotic wildlife.
Our journey begins in Florida USA, from where we will fly our aircraft across to the Bahamas and begin our Island Hopping Tour. Follow along LIVE with exclusive photos on our Facebook page.
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Day 7: Schooner Cays & Abaco Island
We had another chance to take in the astounding views across the Schooner Cays on our flight from San Salvador to Abaco Island. One of our longest flights in the Bahamas, it took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to make the journey.
Abaco Island is one of the larger Bahamas Out Islands and has the 3rd largest town at Marsh Harbour, which we flew into. Marsh Harbour is an international airport with aircraft handling, FBO services, AVGAS fuel and customs for the entry and exit process. Adorned with beautiful beaches, the largest number of marinas – sailing is big here, and a rich cultural history that can be found at Hope Town.
Day 6: San Salvador
Today we flew from the Exumas across to San Salvador Island. San Sal, as the locals call it, is the landing site for Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his voyage to discover the New World. As the most easterly of the Bahamas Islands, it was always going to be the first of the islands to be discovered by these pioneering European explorers. A white cross marks the spot that Columbus stepped foot on San Salvador.
Day 5: Exuma
We’ve flown from Staniel Cay in the very north of Exuma, down to Georgetown in the south of Exuma. The long thin chain of the Exuma islands provide incredible flight seeing on this route. We visited the Tropic of Cancer Beach, located on the Tropic of Cancer! It’s a white sand beach with the most beautiful and vivd blue colours; every shade of blue.
Tonight we are staying at the Grand Isle Resort & Spa at the stunning Emerald Bay, which we flew over (pictured above). The Grand Isle Resort is a luxury beach resort and a Golfer’s paradise; The Emerald Bay Golf Course is a championship 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman, and the longest golf course in the Caribbean.
Day 4: Staniel Cay
Half way through our Island Hopping tour now, and Day 4 took us on a flight from Stella Maris (Long Island) to Exuma’s Staniel Cay. Overflying the full length of Exuma, we passed many private islands which reportedly belong to Hollywood superstars.
Staniel Cay is situated in the rich turquoise blue waters which have become all too familiar during our time here in the Bahamas. We took out a boat out for the day, in true James Bond style, visiting the Thunderball Grotto – made famous by 2 James Bond films, Thunderball and Never say Never Again. But Staniel Cay’s most famous attraction has to be the Swimming Pigs. Also known as the Exuma Pigs, these swimming pigs will greet you beside your boat, in the hope you bring them food to feed them!
A short boat ride south of Staniel Cay and we reach the secluded Bitter Guana Cay, home to the Bahamas Rock Iguana which is an endangered species. Wading through the crystal clear water, having jumped off our boat, we approach the empty beach. But then with a rustling in the undergrowth that surround the beach, the Bahamas Rock Iguanas appear.
Day 3: Long Island
Long Island emerges on the distant horizon from our cruising altitude. The billowing white cumulonimbus clouds part as we make landfall, greeting us with spectacular views of Cape Santa Maria.
Columbus landed on these rugged northern shores of Long Island. A small monument on the clifftop overlooks the pounding ocean which erodes at the feet of their limestone walls. Long Island, has been a true adventure for us. Travelling from North to South we visited the stunning beaches on Cape Santa Maria, Plantations, Mangroves and the worlds deepest blue hole.
Day 2: Schooner Cays and Cat Island
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly described the Bahamas as “the most beautiful place on earth viewed from Space“. I can see why.
The Schooner Cays are a stunningly beautiful collection of white sand bars and turquoise blue waters. Flying over these Cays is like flying into another world. It’s strange because the cloud cover was fairly thick over Eleuthera Island, behind us, and then all of a sudden as we flew over the Schooner Cays the blue sky opened out in front of us, revealing this hidden gem.
From the Schooner Cays our flight path took us over Little San Salvador Island where the Atlantic Ocean was crashing onto the coral reef, and then onto Cat Island with our landing at Hawk’s Nest airfield. Cat Island is the pure, unspoilt, authentic small island experience. We visited Plantations (Pictured below), a cave with Fruit Bats, beaches, the Bahamas highest point at the Hermitage (Pictured below). But nothing compared to a junkanoo parade, organised especially for us! What an amazing experience; this is the real, authentic Bahamas Out Island experience.
Day 1: Florida to Eleuthera Island
It was a gloriously blue-sunny day in Florida, the day before we would set off on our voyage across to the Bahamas. We had all the flight planning done, charts, manuals, flight plans, customs forms and export clearances. Our Archer PA28 light aircraft was fully fuelled and ready to go. But the weather forecasts we’rent looking good. A cold front was fast approaching the east coast of Florida, bringing with it severe thunderstorms and high winds! All the forecasts gave us a very small window to depart on thursday morning, we had to get going at day break to beat the weather.
So we departed from Vero Beach Florida, with a spectacular sunrise emerging from those thunderstorms just over the coastline. But would they block our passage across to the Bahamas? After flying south towards Palm beach, we found the edge of the Cold Front and successfully continued with our ocean crossing.
Landing on schedule in North Eleuthra Airport, on Eleuthra Island we cleared customs and took a speed boat ride across to Harbour Island. The original capital of the Bahamas, Harbour Island has a beautiful collection of colonial style buildings, rich in British heritage. But the real gem of Harbour Island is the Pink Sand Beach. This pristine beach, picture postcard perfect, has a slight pink colour to the sand from the coral.
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We are immensely grateful to be supported by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism who are working with us to help provide you with the very best insight into the out Island of the Bahamas.