By Judd Burdon - Photography: Thierry Dehove
Enjoy the coverage on Great Exuma Bahamas right here!
As lifelong kiteboarders we are immersed in chasing the wind in one of the world’s most exciting cultures; ocean watersports. Kite surfers and wind surfers are in a constant pursuit of not only the strong perfect winds, but also the ideal conditions with which to defy gravity and fly over water.
Our pursuit of the wind brought us at the last minute to Great Exuma in the Bahamas after the wind forecast showed it to be epic wind conditions and Google Earth images has us salivating for what appeared to be near perfect kite spots.
The Exumas are a collection of 365 islands and cays, situated just 35 miles south of Nassau in the Bahamas. Direct flights from Miami to Georgetown Airport on Great Exuma are frequent and just an hour in duration.
Upon landing at the small Georgetown Airport on an American Airlines flight, our group of 4 included world-renowned photographer and lifelong kitesurfer Theirry Dehove. We exited the airport door right into a rental car parking lot where 2 brand new vehicles were awaiting us, provided by Airport Car Rental. Unlike many of the islands we've visited the cars were new and we were able to have one large van for all of our gear.
We drove just 10-minutes from the airport to The Grand Isle Resort & Spa located on beautiful Emerald Bay looking out to the East. This 5-Star resort is private and gated with security, although the Exumas are so safe you don’t need it. Not only is this exclusive resort perfectly situated on the Northeast side of the island, it provides absolutely everything a kiter or windsurfer would need for the trip of a lifetime.
The reception staff treated us like royalty and gave us a full tour of our 4 bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse. We were blown away not only by the 5-star accommodations and the resort amenities but also the staff's willingness to assist us in any way they could to make our trip amazing. The furnishings and architecture were unparalleled.
Grand Isle has a gold course, pool, hot tub, golf cart for our use, and 5-star dining. We have everything we needed to be self-sufficient as well, such as a gourmet fully stocked kitchen. We had the option to cook for ourselves, eat in the restaurant or they would pack us sandwiches for our days out and pack them in a cooler that they provide. The beaches in front of Grand Isle Resort are fantastic to launch from and they are groomed every day with a tractor, so no worrying about getting lines tangled in beach debris.
The Grand Isle concierge helped us arrange a full day boat excursion with Off Island Adventures and Capt. Steven Cole. We met Capt. Cole at Government Pier in Georgetown and he was incredibly friendly and a kite surfer himself! As a 6th-generation Bahamian, Capt. Cole knows all of the secret spots that are accessible only by boat.
The butter-like water was unreal. Waist deep aquamarine water with small white sand islands for miles. Capt. Cole followed us around in the boat as we kited. The area was like a dream. We stopped at Stockton Island for a late lunch, just a 10-minute boat ride from great Exuma, where we were taken to some of the highest hills in that area with paths through the jungle and some of the oldest rock you'll ever see.
Having the option to kite right from our resort beach or to be guided around by a seasoned boat Capt. who knows all of the best spots for any wind direction, is a rare combination for any location we’ve been to in the world. Our previous thought that the Bahamas was infested with sharks dissipated after our week on the water there and only one shark sighting. The sharks won’t bother you there and the Exumas have long been known as a diving paradise.
This trip has been an absolute dream and we hope to make it back to Great Exuma in the near future.
We want to send special thanks out to Grand Isle Resort, Off Island Adventures and to Airport Car Rental for making this trip a one of a kind and life long memory.