Secret Bahamas with superyacht captain Mark Lacey
by Captain Mark Lacey
The 50 metre motor yacht Arianna was released onto the charter market in the summer of 2012 and since this date has been nominated for many superyacht industry awards. At the very heart of Arianna’s success is her crew and here Charterfleet catches up with Captain Mark Lacey.
Lacey has been involved in the yachting world for over 19 years and has travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean and the US east coast. Here, he offers his secret tips when chartering in the Bahamas.
Acklins Island/ Crooked Island in the Bahamas
It’s the perfect spot if you really want to get away from it all. Being halfway between the Exumas and the Turks & Caicos these islands are rarely visited and offer some of the most idyllic beaches and fishing waters in the world.
Acklins Island is one of the least known and well-preserved islands in The Bahamas. Which means its rustic landscape is ideal for vacationers looking for private getaways with outstanding secluded beaches and premier bonefishing.
Crooked Island on the other hand is one of the best guarded secrets in The Bahamas. It boasts sparsely populated settlements such as French Wells and Gun Point, which are reminiscent of early plantation lifestyles. Just over 350 people call Crooked Island home, making it a great place to explore your natural surroundings in peace.
There are numerous secluded beaches abound in these islands with names like Lovely Bay, Snug Corner and Delectable Bay.
Where to eat and drink
Crooked Island Lodge in Pittstown Point offers some of the finest cuisine in the Bahamas in a relaxed informal atmosphere. Or head to Pestell Beach Resort owned and run by King Ericcson former drummer for Neil Diamond. Who will regale you with stories of catching sharks.
Best thing to do while ashore
Turtle Sound is a bay in the centre of Crooked Island offering a multitude of flora and fauna. One of the natural wonders of The Bahamas, this waterway with differing depths is referred to as an inland river. It runs nine miles from the French Wells Channel to just behind some of the northern settlements. Mangroves, marine and bird life can be found there.
Alternatively, do a spot of bonefishing for which the islands are rated one of the world’s top spots. These wily fish are thought of as some of the strongest fighters and therefore, toughest to catch. Additionally, there is a huge network of undersea caverns so if you’re into more adventurous diving then this is a cave-divers paradise.
Best time to visit and why
May and June would be my ideal time. The weather is at it’s most settled without the peak summer temperatures or humidity. In general however, Acklins and Crooked Island have better and more constant weather than the other Bahamas.
Essential items to pack
In some ways I’d say a great charter is about what you don’t need to pack. You shouldn’t need much more than your swimsuit and camera. Everything else we do for you.
Advice for a first time charterer
Chartering is about the journey and experiences with family and less about a list of destinations to tick off. Having said that you should plan your route from pick up to drop off with your captain before arrival. The better prepared the yacht, crew and Itinerary is, the better your experience will be, and the less you will need to stress about choices once aboard.
Try to remember that as a general rule for yourself or your guests most people will want to keep passages under 2-3 hours per day. Let the captain guide you and stay flexible. It’s a ship at sea so things will always change and adapt as you go.
Why charter Arianna
Arianna is a yacht of the best quality with a phenomenal crew and a desire to achieve the highest standards possible. Guests we’ve had since launch have described the Arianna experience as their best yachting experience to date. Arianna is an extremely liveable yacht with a superbly comfortable ultra-quiet interior. She is a very sea-worthy passage-maker while remaining economical. Our crew is a great team with a depth of experience in all fields from deck and water sports through exceptional service and award winning cuisine. [Arianna’s chef Stuart won Top Chef at the 2012 Concours des Chef at the Antigua Charter Show].
What makes her special/different from other yachts
At 50 metres in length, Arianna has the volume and feeling of space of a 60metre vessel. We have a beam over 10 meters (34ft), which is around 1.5m (5ft) more than the average 50 metre yacht. This gives us exceptional volume not only in width but height for the length of the vessel. So interior and exterior spaces are exceptionally spacious.
In your opinion what makes a good charter yacht?
A top charter yacht is formed by a combination of the vessel itself, it’s preparedness and above all the crew. The crew are 75% or more of what makes the charter work. More than any hotel or restaurant it’s the crew that will make your experience.