In Exuma, there is a beach that locals speak of with the reverence reserved solely for Church. Some say it stretches for miles with no other human in sight, while others claim the water is five shades of blue—the bluest in the world. You can't come to Exuma and not visit the Tropic of Cancer Beach. So I had to find this beach.
Step one, get directions. I asked the receptionist at my hotel and she told me it was a 40-minute drive south, in Little Exuma. Ready to be amazed, my companions and I set off on our journey. On the way, we stopped to the local fish fry for some down-home Bahamian food. I had fried fish, peas 'n' rice, and baked macaroni and an ice-cold Kalik.
Our drive carried us through various settlements of the island. We passed children playing in their front yards, picturesque beaches, and even a group of men on dirt bikes. It seemed like forever before someone finally asked, "Where is this beach?"
There is really only one road on Exuma, so I felt confident that we hadn't passed the turn for the beach yet. But there was still a nagging feeling that we might never find it.
One of my companions offered to call a local friend. She reaches him on his cell phone and he tells her that there is a sign in front of the beach and that we were nearly there. So, on we drove.
"This better be worth it," another one of my companions says. "Oh look, that sign says beach access. That has to be it."
We look at the sign but are a bit wary.
"Wouldn't it mention that this is the Tropic of Cancer Beach?" I ask.
"Let's check it out anyway," my companions say.
We turned the corner and drive to what we a well protected beach. It looked ok but isn't what we expected.
"Is this it?", I hear. "Can't be."
"Let's just chill here. We've been driving forever and this looks good."
But I was determined to find this beach, so I drove us out of the area and kept heading south. It had to be nearby. We drove for another twenty minutes with no beach access sign or anything remotely hinting at a beach. Things began to look grim. The group started getting restless.
"We should have just stayed at that beach we were at."
"Yea. Let's turn around and go to that one."
Finally, on the long stretch that is Queen's Highway, we saw the sign, Tropic of Cancer Beach. We took the road and drove another five minutes, still uncertain. There were homes, thick coppice, sand dunes, and the faint smell of salt in the air.
Finally, we found the parking area for the beach, in front of a gazebo. We walked down the steps and laid out in front of us was a graceful crescent of powder-white sand leading to the translucent blue-green water along the coast of Little Exuma.
The Tropic of Cancer crosses right through the beach, which is located at 23°26'N and 75°35'W. There is a small cay off the beach, covered in greenery.
We set up our towels, food, and drink, and ran into the water. It was breathtaking. It was cool, the perfect temperature for this hot day. I jumped in and floated on the surface of the water, staring at the sky. The waves move me back and forth and slowly I drifted back and forth into a blue slumber.