In the northwest end of Exuma Cays in the Exuma Cays Land Sea Park, the snorkeling in Hawksbill Cay offers pretty coral gardens in shallow waters. There are five main snorkeling spots. First, the Yacht Harbor Heads snorkel spot is located off the west coast in the mooring area at the north end of the beach and has several coral heads to check out. Second, the Russell Rocks Reef is off the southwest coast and there are good coral heads off the south side of the rocks. Third, the Rocker Point snorkel spot is off the southwest point and has a series of coral heads but water for strong tidal current. Forth, the South Hawksbill Cove is located on the southern end and has a beautiful coral garden. Fifth, the Pirates Cut is off the southeast point is located in the tidal cut with strong currents but has a nice coral garden.
At Hawksbill Cay, there are two mooring fields. The 10 buoy southern mooring field is in the large bay at the southern tip of the cay. The 4 buoy northern mooring field is located on the west side of Hawksbill Cay, approximately half way down the cay just south of the sand bar. All moorings at Hawksbill Cay are on a first come, first served basis. All the moorings are designed to accommodate vessels up to 65’ in length with a 6’ draft. You may enter these fields and secure to any empty ball of your choice. Each field has two moorings that will accommodate yachts to 150’ in length and are marked as such on the actual mooring ball.
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park consists of 18 tiny cays surrounded by coral reefs, of which there are 8 main cays that are better known. The region is protected by the government under the Bahamas National Trust and stretches 2.2 miles from Wax Cay Cut to Conch Cut. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park snorkeling is only accessible by boat, and snorkelers can use either Staniel Cay Yacht Club or Sampson Cay as a base.
The Exuma Cays island chain is 130 miles long and consists of 365 islands (or cays). Of the 365 cays, only 29 cays are inhabited. While snorkeling Exuma Cays, you may encounter turtles, sharks, stingrays, grouper, snapper, conch, green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles, and lobster. A great way to enjoy the snorkeling is via a live-aboard option. All of the best Exuma Cays snorkeling spots are accessible by snorkel boat tours. the water temperture is known to vary greatly from summer (78F-84F) to winter (68F-76F).
To reach the snorkeling at Exuma Cays, most travelers will fly commercial airlines into Nassau on New Providence or fly into Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. To reach the out islands from Nassau, you can either use Bahamas Air (which is known for late departures) or use the mail boat ferry service (393-1064). The main airport at Exuma Cays is the Exuma International Airport (GCT). Note, it is sometimes possible to fly commercial air from southern Florida into Great Exuma Cay, such as the United/Silver Airways flights from Ft Lauderdale to Georgetown. The capital city of Georgetown makes a good base.
Overall, Hawksbill Cay is the 18th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 20 snorkeling dives in Exuma Cays.