Although you’ll need a bit more than thruppence and sixpence each day, an unforgettable experience awaits your family in the Exumas.

By Lily Flack

A global pandemic, too much time indoors and a little inspiration – it only took this much for our family to make the move from living on land to on the water. Every night during quarantine we would sit and watch the Soggy Dollar Bar live stream camera from the dinner table, watching the few boats go by and the lucky people sitting on the beach. One night we even pretended to be there, sipping rum punch and relaxing in our lawn chairs. As you can already tell, our family was itching to get back on the water after spending too many days dreaming about it.

After a few months of pondering it all happened on a whim, but we did the thing. Sold our home, bought a boat, and never looked back. After three years, it still feels like a fantasy to most of us. Some parts we definitely wish weren’t real, like spending hours cleaning out the basement of our house that we had lived in for almost twenty years, cramming into our truck for a 27-hour ride to Fort Lauderdale with all we owned (including our 6-month-old Basset Hound Boomer), and spending eight days removing a West Marine store’s worth of stuff and raising the waterline of our new floating home by two inches. Was it all worth it? A million times yes.


Warderick Wells Cay, one of our favorite spots in Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. We love visiting our Park Ranger friends here!   © Brandon Flack



Boomer (who has a nose for adventure) guides a family paddle to the other side of Shroud Cay to search for turtles and the natural whirlpool.   © Brandon Flack

Beaches, crystal clear water, and warm weather is what first came to mind before we explored the Bahamas. We were never really excited about visiting, as we always thought of the Bahamas as the touristy version of the British Virgin Islands, where we spent most of our vacations as a family. Whenever I pictured the Bahamas as a kid, I thought of cruise ships filled with thousands of people headed to Nassau to stay at an all-inclusive resort and visit Atlantis. This type of vacation was never very exciting to me, as I was lucky enough to go on vacations where it felt like it was just us and the world. Most importantly, we loved the adventure and challenge of exploring places on our own, and at our pace. Don’t get me wrong, our family loves to make the most of our vacation days, but doing so without buying tickets for an excursion makes it the most memorable.

Imagine this: You just flew from Fort Lauderdale to Staniel Cay, making a few pit stops along the way at smaller islands to drop off passengers. You fly over the most stunning islands and water you could possibly imagine. When you land, you walk a few steps (literally a few steps) to a golf cart for a ride across the island to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. This might sound like a long and treacherous trip by golf cart, but in reality it takes a little less than five minutes. You are dropped off in front of the bar where you are met by the nicest staff for your first rum punch and meal of the trip.

A short dinghy ride afterwards and you are sitting on S/V Magic Bus, where she’s moored a short swim away at slack tide from Thunderball Grotto, the famous snorkeling cave shown in many James Bond movies. You spend the rest of your day snorkeling, visiting the pigs at the infamous Pig Beach, relaxing on the bow of Magic Bus, and enjoying an exquisite dinner on the beach at Fowl Cay Resort. Your night ends stargazing on the boat and of course a cocktail or two. Discovering Staniel Cay became the most memorable experience for our family, and we are excited that S/V Magic Bus can help share this experience with yours, too.

The author, brother Dylan and Boomer explore the Crab Cay Abandoned Resort near Georgetown. With a man-made canal and a beautiful hike to the Walker Ruins dating back to the 1700s, it’s the ultimate family picnic spot!    © Cindy Flack

After spending a lot of time in this part of the world, I still am unsure how to capture the essence of this corner of the globe in a way that transcends the usual descriptions. If I had to pick one word to describe the Exumas, and not take into account our boat name, it would be “magical.” Cruising through the islands and discovering the magic in each spot was my favorite part of our two-month trip.

At Warderick Wells Cay, hiking up Boo Boo Hill and overlooking the tightest yet most beautiful mooring field is a picture I have engraved in my head. At Shroud Cay, spending half a day kayaking and paddle boarding through the mangroves escorted by turtles and manatees in order to reach the most beautiful natural whirlpool. The list of islands to explore and adventures to partake in goes on and on…we’ll let you discover the rest yourself.

After our getaway, we came back and were often asked which was our favorite spot or island. The best part was that we all had different answers for different reasons. I think this is why this trip was so special, as we all found our own “magic” in different islands and adventures. There was something for all of us to enjoy. For Dad, it was the kiteboarding at Pipe Creek which he was so excited about he made a YouTube video to share with his fellow “boarders.” For Mom, it was relaxing on a sandbar all to herself while watching the dolphins swim by. For Dylan, it was creating his own driving range on a patch of sand using floating golf balls and a club from home. And for me, it was exploring a new part of the world and becoming friends with the locals with whom I still keep in touch.

Every morning aboard the Magic Bus began with a wet wake-up kiss through the hatch from Boomer (Instagram @boomertheboatdog).   © Lily Flack

We’re in love with everything about this part of the world and have already booked most of our charter weeks for this year. However, now is a great time to reserve a week for next year. So come join us and discover why Staniel Cay and the Exumas are a sailors’ paradise, a hidden gem just waiting to be found.

S/V Magic Bus is available for charter. For more information and to plan your adventure, visit

From Optis to offshore, Lily Flack has sailed the majority of her twenty-one years. A recent graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she was a skipper on the varsity Sailing team. She grew up sailing at the Wadawanuck Yacht Club and New England Science & Sailing Foundation in Stonington, CT. An original member of the MudRatz Racing Team, she had many opportunities to sail dinghies, sportboats and offshore. Most notably, she sailed the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race aboard Spitfire, a Corell 45. Until recently, she lived aboard S/V Magic Bus, a Simonis 58, and now resides on land in Stonington, CT with her family.

Next Article