You'd be hard-pressed to find a yacht owner who hasn't heard of or been to the Exumas. This Bahamian chain has been a favorite destination for decades, for good reason: crystal-clear waters, natural harbors, and, equally important, serenity. There are so many mostly uninhabited islands—the tourism board says there's essentially one for each day of the year—that you have an excellent chance of having an anchorage to yourself.
But what if you're looking for someplace serene yet still somewhat social? Someplace where you're not packed in caprail to anchor pocket, yet a place where you can get to know your neighbors and see familiar faces upon your return (because you do plan to return).
You can do that in the Exumas. A relatively new marina on the largest of the islands, Great Exuma, is attracting people like you. In fact, the 23-acre, deep-water Marina at Emerald Bay (average basin depth is 15 feet), which opened its doors a year ago in November, was purposely created for yachts to the 200-foot range.
Pack your golf clubs so that you can tee off at the adjacent resort's Greg Norman-designed course.
The reason you can get to know the owners docked next to you is because the marina was conceived primarily as a private yacht club for members of The Club at Emerald Bay, a community comprised of residences on an additional 470 acres of land as well as a Four Seasons Resort. While transient and charter yachts are welcome, they get slips on an as-available basis.
The pristine waters will beckon you to make a few discoveries.
If you're interested in becoming part of the community, you can purchase a "social and slip" membership at varying price levels or just a slip membership, which ranges from $100,000 to more than $1.5 million; both wet and dry slips are available. Even if you simply obtain a transient slip, you can take advantage of the various member benefits, such as transportation to and from the marketplace and the Four Seasons Resort, bellman service for provisions, dockside yacht dining and specialty catering, and concierge services. Twenty-four-hour surveillance and the fact that Emerald Bay meets ISPS security standards will give you peace of mind.
So will knowing that Emerald Bay is a place where sociable solitude is not an oxymoron.
Emerald Bay Marina
This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.