Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas for College Groups, Scouts BSA Groups and Youth Groups
Looking for a fantastic trip for your group that combines adventure with international travel and experiential education? A sailing adventure in the Bahamas fits the bill. Whether you organize trips for a college outdoor pursuits and recreation department, or are part of a scout troop or a youth group, read on to discover the trip of a lifetime! Our sailing charters in the Bahamas make a perfect Spring Break trip for college students. We also cater to BSA Scout groups. We have participated in the BSA Bahamas Sea Base program for over 10 years.
Kiskeedee Sailing Charters as part of Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas runs week long sailing trips for college students and other youth groups in the Abaco islands of the Bahamas. The trip is available for groups as large as 24 or as small as 8 participants. Participants live aboard one or more sailboats for the duration of the trip and become part of the crew.
Days are filled with sailing, snorkeling the reefs, trolling for local fish, and visiting the various island settlements. Each night, the boats anchor in a sheltered bay. Evening is the time to watch the sun set over the horizon, prepare fresh meals, share stories, play games and eventually drop off to sleep under the stars.
The Abaco islands make the perfect setting for a group sailing trip in the Bahamas. The Abacos are the northernmost island group in the over 700 islands of the Bahamas. The Abacos are close to Florida: only a one-hour flight from several Florida cities including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando. The airport is located in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island. This large island is the hub around which lie a string of barrier islands within easy reach by sail. The Abaco barrier reef lies just off the coast of the islands, some parts easily reached from the beach. The brilliant-blue Sea of Abaco lies between the islands and offers miles and miles of sailing and island exploring.
Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas is a live-aboard learning adventure. The group will live aboard one, two or three sailboats as part of the crew with the captain and mate. As members of the crew, the group will take part in sailing the boat, navigation, preparing meals, and other activities needed to run the boat. No experience is necessary. The captains guide the students in learning the skills needed to get the boat from place to place. Everyone will take part in hoisting, trimming and taking down the sails, steering, tacking, navigating and general safety on board. Students can also learn to identify the abundant sea life and will gain a renewed appreciation for reef and ocean ecology. Students will have opportunities to lead the group and will gain experience with group dynamics, conflict resolution and problem solving.
General Itinerary for Group Sailing Adventures in the Bahamas
The group will board the vessels in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. After an orientation, we set sail to our first anchorage and test the waters for some snorkeling and a swim review. After settling in and feasting on our first dinner at anchor, prepare to spend a peaceful night under the stars. The remaining days begin with breakfast followed by informational sessions on topics such as introduction to sailing, navigation and hands-on sailing instruction. Each day, the group will help sail the boat to one of the Abaco cays, a coral reef or other snorkeling spot. Most days will also include visits to local settlements, swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and exploring. Each night is spent on board anchored in a calm harbor sheltered from the prevailing winds. The final night will be spent at the dock in Marsh Harbour in preparation for the departures the next morning.
Life on Board
Living on board a sailboat is a little bit like camping with a bed that gently rocks and without the hard ground and campfire cooking. The boats are equipped with full galleys stocked with all of the necessities for whipping up tasty meals. We provision the boats before your arrival with lots of fresh ingredients for all of our on-board meals during the week. The menu is varied and adaptable to special needs and requests. Your group will be planning and preparing meals with assistance from the captain. You will also be sharing clean up duties as needed. Need a break from cooking? There are also opportunities to taste the local fare at the numerous and varied on-shore cafes and restaurants.
Each boat has a few bunks down below decks but most of our participants enjoy sleeping up on deck. The Abacos are far from brightly lit cities making it possible to view star constellations that you may not have seen before. It’s fun to watch for the shooting stars and passing satellites before dropping off to sleep.
We spend much of the day in the water so you will not miss having a daily shower. If you want to wash off the salty sea water, just hang up one of the solar camping showers for a warm fresh water rinse. If you are craving a real shower, you may find one on some of our island visits. The boats are equipped with flush toilets and indoor plumbing, although we emphasize water conservation on board.
Abaco Sights and Favorite Activities
Apart from sailing and exploring, the number one activity in the Abacos is snorkeling. The Abacos are home to several national parks and we will be visiting one or two of the marine reserves.
Snorkel Fowl Cay National Marine Reserve or the Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park
The Fowl Cay National Marine Reserve lies just offshore between Man-O-War Cay and Great Guana Cay and marks the area between the Sea of Abaco and the Abaco barrier reef. The marine reserve is made up of numerous “patch reefs” each surrounded by about 20 feet of pellucid water flowing over white sand. We anchor the sailboats close enough to swim to several different reefs during a single visit. In the crystal clear water you will discover an un-ending variety of fish, sea fans, corals and you may even spot some squid, a turtle or a large stingray. On a calm day, we will guide you to see the underwater cave sheltering a memorial to one of the original keepers of the reef. The reefs are full of overhangs providing lots of opportunities to practice free diving. Which large fish are hiding down there?
Another must see in the Abacos, provided the seas are calm, is the Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park. The underwater portion of this park is called Sandy Cay Reef. Here you will see more elk horn coral than anywhere else. You are also likely to spot a reef shark, some sea turtles and hopefully a family of majestic spotted eagle rays.
Explore the Lagoon at Scotland Cay
The lagoon is another favorite spot for snorkeling and beach combing. Neighbors here have created a haven for the striped Nassau Grouper by sinking some large trees. Imagine watching all varieties of colorful fish swimming in trees! Bring some food to feed the grouper and all of the other fish that love to hang out in the trees. You may also spot an octopus lair and some large stingrays in the shallows. The beach leading to the shallow lagoon is often brimming with shells and the water color is all shades of blues and turquoise.
Dive on a Wreck
The Sea of Abaco hides lots of sunken boats, barges and even cars, trucks and building equipment. Fish love to find homes around any sunken structure and snorkeling around one of these is sure to pay off in spotting some unusual fish. You may see a puffed up porcupine fish or even a beautiful filefish on one of the wrecks. If you look closely, you may even spot a spiny lobster or a lionfish hiding under a sunken beam. Moray eels love to hide in the holes where they manage to conceal their long snake-like bodies showing only their toothy mouths that slowly open and close.
Kayak and Paddleboard at Lovely Matt Lowe’s Cay
We carry kayaks and paddleboards on board the boats, which are available for you to try out at any of our anchor spots. We will set up swim ladders so everyone can have fun jumping in while waiting your turn for a kayak or paddle board. Diving contest anyone? Jumping off a boat into crystal clear water is one of the unforgettable moments of the sailing trip. Matt Lowe’s Cay is lined with palm-tree covered beaches like that you may expect to see on a deserted tropical island paradise.
Paddling the Mangrove Wetlands
The Abacos are dotted with mangrove swamps that we are sure to visit during your stay. Mangroves are salt tolerant trees that grow in shallow salt water wetlands. The roots of the mangrove tree look more like tree branches as they arch up out of the water. Native Americans called the red mangrove the “walking tree” because the roots make the tree look as though it were walking on the water.
The silence as we paddle through the mangroves is palpable; look carefully ahead and you will begin to see the countless baby turtles darting out in front of you. At first they resemble brown rocks, yet reveal themselves as they speed off to find other resting spots. We can jump in the water with mask and snorkel to view the amazing nurseries of baby fish that swim within the safety of the mangrove roots. You are likely to spot some baby barracuda at home in the mangrove.
Visit Elbow Cay
Climb the Elbow Reef Lighthouse at Hope Town
No visit to Hope Town on Elbow Cay is complete without climbing to the top of its famous candy-striped lighthouse. The lighthouse was built over 150 years ago by the British, who had colonized the Bahamas beginning in 1718. Today, the Elbow Reef light has the distinction of being the last manually operated lighthouse in the world. It runs on kerosene and the keepers climb some of the 101 steps several times each night to wind the apparatus that keeps the Fresnel lens turning on its bed of mercury. The light flashes 5 times every 15 seconds during the night.
A visit to the lighthouse offers a glimpse into the colorful history of the Abaco Islands. After the American war of independence, the British settled thousands of “loyalists” in the Bahamas. Many of them were plantation owners in the American colonies and brought their slaves with them to the Bahamas to establish new plantations on the islands. Before the British built the lighthouse, some inhabitants of Elbow Cay earned their living from “wrecking”. In other words, they would salvage the cargo from ships that wrecked on the treacherous reef that surrounds Elbow Cay. The wreckers also saved countless lives as they rushed out to ships that wrecked on the reef. The wreckers put up some resistance to the construction of the lighthouse, but the light was eventually put into operation and has remained so since it was built in 1862.
Visit Hope Town
Hope Town is a charming settlement situated on Elbow Cay surrounding a harbor chock full of moored boats. A short walk through the settlement leads to the coral pink and bright white sandy beaches with an impressive coral reef system just off shore. One can easily spend a day visiting the shops and restaurants of Hope Town as well as enjoying the beaches, reefs and brilliant blue waters just off shore. If history is what you are craving, visit the Wyannie Malone museum as well as the old cemeteries and monuments scattered about the town. An interesting find as you walk through town is the living breadfruit tree that was brought to Hope Town by Captain Bligh of Mutiny-on-the-Bounty fame.
If you would like to visit more of Elbow Cay, you can rent bicycles and ride a somewhat hilly 3.5 mile loop from Hope Town to Tahiti Beach at the southern tip of the island. You will be rewarded with a visit to White Sound with several delicious restaurants and a sweet shop as well as the astounding views over the bluffs and out to the Atlantic Ocean.
Explore Traditional Ship-Building Community at Man-O-War Cay
One of our favorite stops for tranquility, quirkiness and beautiful snorkeling, Man-O-War Cay is sure to please. Whether you are craving a seaside walk past charming homes, shops selling local handicrafts, some ice cream or a snack of the local favorite conch fritters, you will find it on this island. Here you can pick up a conch shell horn, some Bahamian batik or sturdy yet beautiful canvas bags from the women who sew at the Albury Sail Shop.
Group Sailing Adventure in the Bahamas: A Transformative Experience
A group sailing trip in the Bahamas is exciting, fun, educational and you will be sure to pick up some essential life-skills. Learning to live and operate a sailing boat as a group is invaluable experience for individual development and for team building. There will be plenty of opportunity for participants to lead the group and to facilitate group decision-making. A sailing adventure is one of the best ways to discover your own capabilities. It is also a chance to discover another culture in a foreign country. The Bahamas may be close, but the culture is unique. You will discover Bahamian food, handicrafts and the warm-hearted people who inhabit the Abaco islands.
Get rates and booking information for your Group Sailing Adventure in the Bahamas
We look forward to living and working with you on board and showing you all the wonders of the Abaco islands of the Bahamas. Here you can find additional information about rates and booking your group sailing adventure or about booking a college sailing adventure in the Bahamas.