Four Memorable Memorial Day Boating Destinations
This week at Arlington National Cemetery, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment is placing more than 230,000 flags at gravesites as Americans remember soldiers that have given their lives for our freedom. In addition to being eternally and patriotically grateful for those who’ve paid the ultimate price, the boating community welcomes Memorial Day as a festive transition from spring to summertime on the water. South Florida in particular is a hot spot for the sandbar hopping and hotdog grilling that comes along with this holiday, but for those who would like to go a little further than your local sandbar, here are a few places close enough for an exciting weekend excursion.
The gateway to the Bahamas, this beauty shouldn’t be overlooked. Fishing opportunities are diverse here. While the West End wahoo highway doesn’t go off again until cold front season, the bottom drops off quickly as you head southeast along the edge on the way to Port Lucaya to fishing depths of 100, 500, then 1000 feet before you know it. Head about 20 miles due south from Lucaya for marlin or yellowfin tuna, or cruise east to Deep Water Cay for unparalleled bonefishing in the flats.
The living’s easy among this 120-mile-long chain of islands where you’ll find crystal clear blue water, miles of pristine beaches, protected harbors featuring full-service marinas and resorts, and gorgeous quaint colonial architecture in pleasing pastel colors. If you’re looking for a Memorial Day barbecue, Guana Cay is your best bet atop the island’s tall sand dune overlooking a miraculous 7-mile-long beach. Oh yeah, and then there's the infamous Nipper's.
Photo courtesy of Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society.
One of the only manually-operated lighthouses left in the world, Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town is worth a visit. Besides the picturesque view, a local marlin hot spot is located just off the edge in about 600 feet of water east of the light. Arguably some of the best marlin fishing in the world happens in the Abacos during spring and early summer, and while most will be blues, you can reel in quite a few white marlin through June with natural dredges and light tackle.
Here, nature outnumbers man. Sapphire-blue water and footprint-free beaches make Great Exuma and Little Exuma absolute tropical gems. The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, beginning just 35 miles southeast of Nassau. Once called Yumey and Suma (names of Amer-Indian origin), the islands have gone through many changes over the years. Today, they’re divided into three major areas—Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays. Great Exuma and Little Exuma are known for their laid-back surroundings, while The Exuma Cays act as a playground for the rich and famous, boasting numerous private homes, luxury resorts and beachside condos.
"Domesticated" swimming pigs live on Major's Spot Cay, and it's uncertain how they got there. Whenever a boat arrives, they swim out to it and expect to be fed, a practice that's been going on for years.
Named for its geographic coordinate, Tropic of Cancer Beach, also known as Pelican Beach, is a graceful crescent of white-powder sand borders with translucent blue-green water along the coast of Little Exuma. Venture here for the longest beach on the island and prettiest in the Exuma chain, or head over to Stanley Cay or Compass Cay if you'd prefer to swim with the friendly neighborhood nurse sharks.
A perfect fuel stop if you’re planning to head further south in the Caribbean, Long Island is an advantageous sport-fishing spot worth experiencing.
If big-game angling’s your game, you’re going to want to drop your outriggers as soon as you leave the harbor and troll the untouched waters along the island’s northern tip. Warm currents rushing past the island give you a strong chance at white and blue marlin, tuna, and a variety of other pelagics.
Located on the east coast of Long Island and plunging 663 feet into the ocean floor, Dean’s Blue Hole is the world’s deepest blue hole and the second largest underwater chamber. If you’re into freediving, you don’t want to miss this captivating cavity resembling a shimmering underwater cathedral on a sunny day.
Near Or Far
Whether you’re taking advantage of the three-day weekend by crossing the gulf stream, or your sandbar Sunday is spilling into Monday this weekend, getting on the water is the plan. From your friends here at HMY Yachts, have fun, keep an eye on the weather, stay safe, and have a happy Memorial Day!