GETTING THERE: The DC 3s of Bahamas Airways make the one-hour flight from Nassau to George Town every day but Thursday. Round-trip fare is $35.80. Bahamas Air Traders has a four-place Widgeon and a six-place Goose for charter, with pilots who know every Exuma cay. There are only three landing strips in all the Exumas, hut these amphibious planes can take you to the most remote islet and deposit you on the beach. Charge for the Widgeon is $94.50 per flying hour, the Goose $126. A flight to Staniel Cay in the Widgeon costs $126 for four people. Nassau Yacht Haven has a fleet of charter boats whose captains are Exuma specialists. Art Crimmins' Traveler II, a 68-foot Alden ketch that sleeps six with crew, goes for $1,200 per week. Food, drink, tips, fuel and dockage are extra on all charters. Captain John Weeks's Heron, a 52-foot Alden schooner, sleeps six guests for $900 per week, four for $700. Smaller sailboats are available for $500 per week for four. For the fisherman the Nassau Charter Boat Association, Box 1216, Nassau, Bahamas, lists 17 power cruisers equipped for Out Island cruising. Prices for cruisers in the 38-to 44-foot class average $80 per day or $500 per week, and most sleep four guests. Larger craft, sleeping six, go for from $800 to $1,400 a week.
STAYING THERE: There are only 75 tourist rooms in all the Exumas. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club has four thatched bungalows, each sleeping two. Rates are $35 for two, American plan. Meals are served in the yacht club, where Bob Chamberlain presides over a well-stocked bar and a well-stocked freezer (most Exuma meals come out of one). The exceptions are native specialties such as conch chowder, conch fritters and broiled crayfish and dolphin. Chamberlain will cook your catch.
In George Town the Peace & Plenty, right on the bay, has 32 rooms. Rates are $30 single, $50 double, full American plan. The Two Turtles Inn has an Out Island louvered charm. There are four double bedrooms at $15 per day for two, European plan, and efficiency apartments at $20. Newest George Town establishment is the motellike Pieces of Eight. A single is $20 per day, a double $32, full American plan. Minns' Water Sports rents bonefishing skiffs with guide, tackle and bait for $30 per day, and you-drive-it Boston Whalers for $25. Scuba gear is for hire in Staniel and George Town but you must have a diver's certificate. The Hawaiian sling is the only spear allowed.