Sailing through the Exuma Cays offers a special kind of beauty. National Geographic Sea Lion nestled in to anchor off Warderick Wells Cay, and we witnessed another beautiful sunrise.

Warderick Wells is home to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park headquarters. This park was established in 1958 and is funded by the Bahama National Trust. The park warden and patrol officers strictly enforce the no-take laws within the park. These stringent regulations allow aquatic flora and fauna to flourish and proliferate throughout the Bahamas. With continued financial support and the support of visitors, the Exuma Cays will remain a pristine destination for boaters and an invaluable ecosystem for generations to come.

This morning, guests were shuttled to the shore of another picturesque white sand beach. White-tailed tropicbirds soared high above our heads, and Bahama mockingbirds sang from within the palm trees. We couldn’t stay on the beach for long because there was snorkeling to be done. We boarded Zodiacs and headed out into the channel. We dropped into the crystal-clear water and drifted with the current over beds of turtle grass and the sandy bottom. After only a few minutes, we encountered some megafauna. From the shadows, five graceful spotted eagle rays appeared. These rays lack the ability to sting but are large enough to present an impressive figure. They glided beneath us, and everyone got great views and even some pictures. As we continued to glide with the current toward the coral reef, dozens of fish began to appear. We saw countless blue tangs, some scrawled filefish, queen angelfish, rainbow parrotfish, a green sea turtle, and various other species. For many, the highlight of our experience appeared just before we climbed out of the water. From the shadows ahead emerged a graceful figure…a juvenile bull shark. The shark was five to six feet long and made an impressive sight. I heard many squeals and gasps through snorkels. For many, this was their first time swimming with sharks.

In the afternoon, we returned to the beach for hiking up to Boo-Boo Hill. This hike climbs a little over 100 feet to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the island. From up high, it is easy to see why the Bahamas are referred to as the shallow sea. The sandy sea floor stretches in wave-like patterns just below the water’s surface, and the patterns only complement the wonderful array of blues.

Returning to the beach, we boarded Zodiacs. We returned to the ship as the light faded and warm salt air caressed our skin. Another stunning day in the Bahamas!