We took the Staniel Cay tour with Starfish during the first week of September and it was one of the best days that I can ever remember! Before I get into the fun stuff of the trip, I wanted to say how impressed I was with the service and professionalism of this company before we'd even set foot on the boat. The four of us (two couples staying at Sandals Emerald Bay) had seen reviews and recommendations to see all of the cays during our stay and we started looking into tour options several months prior to our trip. I shot an email to Lyndsay and she responded right away which I really appreciated. During the months leading up to the trip, she kept in contact with me and worked with me on pairing our group of four with others so that we had the right amount of folks to have a great day. We arrived a week after Irene, but Lyndsay didn't miss a beat. We still didn't have enough folks confirmed by the time we left home, but Lyndsay took my contact info at the resort and promised to get in touch once she had more information. I hoped that she would, but I prepared myself for the possibility that we'd not hear anything. True to her word, she called with news that she'd booked four other folks for the same time period and the trip was on. For those of you who take care of the planning for things like this, you know how awesome it is to deal with someone who is responsive, professional and true to his/her word. Do not hesitate to email or call these folks if you want to see the Exumas!
The trip itself was beyond amazing. The cost was about $150 less than the tour offered at the resort (sorry Sandals; I'm sure yours is really great as well, but c'mon - $375 per person??) and we saw things that I used to think only existed in movies. Neville, our captain and his first mate, Scott, took us to see all of the sights you've read about – swimming pigs, endangered iguanas, Thunderball Grotto, the sandbar and a fantastic lunch at Staniel Cay Yacht Club (all included in the price, as well as the 20-25 minute cab ride to/from Neville's boat and water/soft drinks). Neville and Scott were a lot of fun, had lots of info about the cays and we felt completely safe and free to enjoy the day. Honestly, it didn't feel like we were out on a tour with a guide; it felt like we were out with old friends for a fun day on the water. This day truly gave me several of "those" memories (you know, the ones that you remember a lot more vividly than some others) that I will hold very close for a very long time – all of the fish swimming so close that they bounced off my snorkeling mask, the underwater/muffled sound of all of us giggling at all of them, the water and sky both being so clear and blue that I couldn't tell where one stopped and the other began, laughing with Neville, Scott and the other folks while enjoying a Goombay Smash (big shout to John, Tracy, Courtney and Andy if you're out there) just to name a few.
Sorry this is so long; best way to sum it up is that the cays that comprise the Exumas are amazing in many, many ways – the only way to see any of them is with Lyndsay, Neville and Starfish!