Shroud Cay is one of my top spots in the Exuma Bahamas: ride the Sanctuary Creek waterslide, hike to Camp Driftwood, and more.

Shroud Cay, Exuma Bahamas

Shroud Cay is one of my top spots in the Exuma Bahamas: ride the Sanctuary Creek waterslide, hike to Camp Driftwood, and more.

Matt and Britney Weidert

Matt Weidert

Shroud Cay is one of my favorite destinations in the Exuma Cays that we visit on yacht charter trips. It’s a must stop each time, and in fact, we usually plan our entire trip around it!

Why might you ask? There’s plenty of other great cays in the Exumas. It all has to do with floating the mangrove river to the water slide (also known as the whirlpool or washing machine)! More on this later.

The unique mangrove environment of Shroud Cay makes it a special place – it serves as a shelter for many animals including turtles, conch, lobster, nurse sharks, and birds.

Let’s dive in.

Where is Shroud Cay in the Exumas?

Shroud Cay is located in the northern half of the Exumas, inside the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. This can be used as a first or last night stop before returning to Nassau, but usually, we pick a cay that’s farther north, such as Highbourne Cay. It’s a 40 nautical miles sail if you go that route.

There are plenty of areas to anchor and the park provides a mooring field that can used for a small fee.

If your vessel’s draft is suitable, try the North Shroud Cay anchorage (check Garmin Active Captain) which places you close to the entrance to Sanctuary Creek, the mangrove river that allows motorized vessels.

What to do at Shroud Cay in the Bahamas

Float the Sanctuary Creek to the waterslide

Check the tides and plan your visit so that you can float the Sanctuary Creek lazy river on a mid-high rising tide. Idle speed is allowed with your dinghy.

On your way, expect to see plenty of marine life – we usually see turtles and sometimes nurse sharks.

You’ll arrive just in time to see the waterslide/washing machine/whirpoool in action. As the tide empties from the shallower Exuma Bank to the Exuma Sound, it concentrates as it exits Shroud Cay and creates a river rapid.

Beach your dinghy on the shore and jump in for a ride (or two!).

Here’s a video of some of our crew riding it on a recent trip.
At the top of Camp Driftwood on a recent yacht charter trip

Visit Camp Driftwood

After the water slide, you can take a short hike of nearby hill to Camp Driftwood. The well-used trail is easily found just to the north of the washing machine.

There’s not much left of it now, but the camp was stablished in the 1960s by a sailor who lived aboard his boat inside Shroud Cay. The location later gained notariety in the 1980s where it was used by the DEA to spy on Pablo Escobar’s activities to the north at Norman Cay.

You’ll also enjoy panoramic 360 views from the top.

Lounge at Driftwood Beach

The beach where the waterslide is located is also splendid. Bring some supplies and it’s perfect for a lunch picnic, some snorkeling, or liming away in the afternoon.

The Shroud Cay mooring field | Shelter Shores is located along the shoreline here

Snorkel coral heads to the west of Shroud Cay

There are several excellent coral head areas that offer great snorkeling (no fishing in the park). Angelfish Hideaways, Neptune’s Oasis, and Shelter Shores are the top spots.

Kayak the southern Shroud Cay estuaries

While Sanctuary Creek allows motorized vessels at idle speed, the rest of Shroud Cay is off limits to them. But, feel free to jump in your kayak or paddleboard and explore the other shallow creeks or estuaries.

For the best experience, try to avoid doing this at low tide, or you might not make it very far!

To learn more about Shroud Cay in the Exumas, check out our trip report from a recent bareboat yacht charter trip where we explored Sanctuary Creek and Camp Driftwood.

Exuma Bahamas charter planning?

Consider booking with the Yacht Warriors.