Whether by air or sea, as you travel your way south in the Bahamas towards the Tropic of Cancer and the 23rd parallel, the water gets warmer, the hues of blue and green more vivid, and most importantly the crowds dwindle away to your stern. You’re now officially heading “down island” in the Bahamas!
Rum Cay lies in the heart of a collection of islands comprising the Southern Bahamas, situated south of the Exuma chain and serving as the jumping off point to the Turks and Caicos Islands and Caribbean beyond.
First settled by the Lucayan and Arawak Indians, Rum Cay is considered by most to be the second island visited by Columbus on his historic 1492 voyage. The Indians left behind amazing petro glyphs and hieroglyphics in shoreline caves; otherwise only an occasional pottery artifact is uncovered in the sand dunes to evidence their stay on Rum. There’s no precise understanding of when these first inhabitants left, but Rum Cay remained largely deserted until the late 1700’s when American loyalists set up plantations on the island to farm cotton and salt. At the height of the salt farming industry, some 5,000 residents served fishing ships from as far as Nova Scotia that frequented the island to buy this valuable commodity.
Today, roughly eighty folks call Rum Cay home and daily life is little changed in 300 years. Of the island’s original settlements, only Port Nelson remains situated approximately 2 miles west of Sumner Point.
Originally named Santa Maria de La Concepcion by Columbus, Rum Cay is believed to have acquired its modern name from a shipwrecked cargo of rum. Whether true or not, the island’s most famous shipwreck is that of the 101-gun HMS Conqueror, England’s first screw propelled warship, which sank off Sumner Point in 1861 and is now preserved and protected as the Bahamas Underwater Museum. And just 10 miles to the north lies the modern day Conception Island, which today out a distance of 5 miles this 2,100 acre cay is protected under the Bahamas National Land and Sea Park. Whether its reefs, walls or wrecks, Rum and its neighbor Conception offer some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling that the Bahamas’ gin clear waters have to offer.
Rum Cay is a sea mount that rises from the ocean floor to a mere thirty square miles of rolling hills, the highest of which is approximately 120 feet. With its small circular size, regardless of how the wind blows, there’s always a windward or lee side of Rum to enjoy depending on whether you’re beachcombing, diving, surfing, or fishing. The geologic structure of the island , the Diana Bank and drop offs of the deep water Altalntic passages to the south all mix with the strong Atlantic currents to create incredible upwelling of bait fish that attract denizens of the deep. Here at Rum you’ll find world class pelagic fish in staggering numbers. Leave the marina, turn to port, and drop your outriggers....it doesn’t get any easier than that!
If its surfing or Kiteboarding, there’s never a bad day. Practically surrounded by beach, some with reefs and some without, Rum offers the complete surfing experience from gentle beginner waves to crashing breaks. Short board or long, kites or not...it’s all here, and that’s why some of the best in the surfing world come here. There are a lot of secrets in the surf world, and Rum is one of them. But now, you know.
Rum Cay is a quintessential outpost. Arriving by air? Touchdown on a 5,000 ft. landing strip, drive through a quaint town and down at the end of a winding beach road you arrive at a truly memorable resort, the Rum Cay Outpost Club & Marina. Arriving by boat? Put Georgetown to the stern, steer 65 degrees to clear the north tip of Long Island, and ahead another twenty miles bearing 100 degrees lies St. Georges Bay and the entrance to the Rum Cay Outpost Club marina. As you tie up, you’re mate reminds you the Tropic of Cancer is just 32 nautical miles south, qualifying this port-of-call as truly being in the “Far Out Islands”!
There’s something for everyone at Rum Cay. And like that famous island brew, there’s a rum for every taste and rum cocktail for every occasion. Regardless of yours, you’ll be certain to enjoy all the flavors of Rum it has to offer! All you have to do as we say at Guy Harvey Outpost, is “Go to Extremes, Go to Rum”!