Normans Cay, Exumas

Updated: 14 February 2017

Explorer Chart: EX-11
  • An airstrip is located on the SW leg of island.
  • The old strip which was < 3000' has been extended to 5000' by the developers of White Tail Resort. There is now a fence around a large segment of the runway.
Air Service
  • Charter air service to the Cay can be arranged. Air Travel.
  • Good holding in sand off SW coast near airport in 7’ - 10’.
  • Good holding at edges of the channel at mouth of the interior lagoon on S end of cay in 10’-14’; strong tidal currents. See Explorer Chart.
  • Note: avoid anchoring in the approach channel at the SE tip of the island S of the pier as it is used by large RORO vessels and barges delivering freight.
Area Information / Tourism
  • Bahamas Area Websites. Sites that can be searched for tourist and business information throughout the Bahamas.
  • Exumas Visitors Guide. An free guide booklet available at many local businesses. It provides a good directory of services and attractions throughout the Exumas.
Art Galleries / Art
Banks & ATMs

Beverage Store
Bike Rental
Boat Rental / Charter
Book Exchange
BTC / Batelco Office
Car Rental
Cell Phone Service
  • Good cellular voice and data service is available from the cell tower at Highborne Cay.
  • Church
Coffee Shop
Cruisers Net
Customs & Immigration
Dinghy Landing
  • Along beaches. Note: large segments of beach on W side of cay are beach rock with thin covering of sand.
  • The pier at SE end of W leg of Cay on the lagoon has been substantially upgraded by the developers. As of Feb 2017 there was no dinghy dock.
  • Note: Just to S of the pier and just N of where the channel to the new marina will be cut through, there is a landing for large RORO freight boats. Vessels should avoid anchoring in the approach channel.
  • Normans Pond, between the N arms of the Cay has been reported to be the site of the mating ritual of a huge number of hammerhead sharks each April.
  • See: Environment & Ecology for Cruisers.
Fresh Fish

Golf Cart / Scooter Rental
Groceries & Produce

Hardware & Lumber
  • Norman's Cay has a very interesting history. There was once an exclusive resort at the SW tip of the island which fell on hard times and the derelict buildings have been removed.
  • During the period of 1978 to 1982, Norman's Cay was the site of a huge cocaine and marijuana transshipment operation where drugs from Columbia were repackaged and then flown into the US by a fleet of small aircraft operating out of its airstrip. Lehder got control of most of the island and since he was imprisoned that part is now mostly in ruins including the old marina and hotel. Lehder was the biggest but there were other drug runners who essentially drove the homeowners off. The DC3 wreck in the lagoon was from a shipment gone bad. The wreckage of several drug runner homes are slowly decaying on this beautiful cay.
  • For more information read: "Turning the Tide, One Man Against the Medellin Cartel" by SD Kirkpatrick and P. Abrams (1991). Read about Richard Novak and how he helped rid the cay of this curse.
  • Novak also reported that great white sharks like the NE lagoon as a mating area in the Spring.
  • Johnny Depp made a movie, Blow, about Lehder and Normans Cay in 2001.
  • The Bahamian Treasury took ownership for much of the land owned by Lehder and efforts to develop this fantastically beautiful cay have gone on for years. Prior to 2012 a deal was close for the Aman boutique hotel group to develop > 400 acres to include an expanded airstrip, resort, and high-end homes. This deal apparently fell through.
  • The Normans Cay Beach Club lease on its facilities was not renewed and it ceased operation.
  • In 2015, another developer, Fort Capital Management, purchased 110+ acres at the SW tip of the island and 180+ at the NE tip, the Whales Tail beach area where they are building (2017) several luxury villas. They have named their development White Tail Resort. The runway was extended to 5000'. A marina basin was dug out of the pond area at the SE tip of the W leg — near the defunct resort was located. In February 2017, construction of breakwaters was underway apparently in preparation for creating an opening into the marina basin.
  • Bahamas4U Link with some history.
Ice Cream
Internet & WiFi

  • Cellular data service is available from the cell tower at Highbourne Cay

Marinas & Dockage
  • In Feb 2017, construction of breakwaters is evident on the SE tip of the W leg of the Cay, S of the pier where the developers have dug out a basin for a marina. They have not broken through to the lagoon but the location of the future channel is evident from just off shore.
Marine Supplies & Parts
Marine Service & Repairs
Medical / Clinic / Pharmacy
  • SV Onward (draft 6.2') has safely transited at low tide the shoal areas off the SW coast of this cay to the anchorage by following a course through the deeper waters indicated on the Explorer Chart for the area. [Note: This data is provided for information only. Navigation decisions are the responsibility of each captain and should be based on appropriate navigation charts for the area supplemented by local knowledge.]
Packages & Shipping
Personal Servies

Post Office / Mail

  • Norman’s Cay Beach Club at Mac Duff’s; Ceased operation in 2012 due to new planned Fort Capital Management development.
  • White Tail Resort is under development by Fort Capital Management. They have demolished the ramshackle buildings of the old hotel and have upgraded the beach bungalows of the former Mac Duff's.
Restaurant & Bar
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
  • Richard Novak, the German professor / diver / marine researcher who helped authorities bring down Carlos Lehder, reported that the reefs on the NE coast of the cay were some of the best in the Bahamas.
Things to See & Do

  • Great beaches & snorkeling. The eastern beaches are deserted and beautiful. The beach and lagoon NNE of Boot Cay is spectacular.
  • The remains of a crashed DC3 can be seen in the interior lagoon off the SW corner of Boot Cay; it is slowly dissolving away and is now mostly submerged.
  • Normans Pond, between the arms of the Cay to the N is worth exploring by dinghy. Richard Novak observed a large number of hammerhead sharks mating here one April.
  • No facility for trash disposal; take it with you.
VHF Protocol
  • Standard Bahamas VHF Protocol: Ch-16 is for marine emergencies, safety, and hailing. It is also used by local Bahamian shore facilities for hailing. Communication traffic must be shifted to another channel.
  • Highborne Cay Marina broadcasts weather daily at 0800 on VHF Ch 06.
  • Marine Weather Center; Daily SSB, webcast, & email forecasts by Chris Parker. Note: Best reception in this area is usually on 4045 KHz USB Simplex at 0630 AST.
  • Bahamas Met Office website provides weather forecast for local areas throughout the Bahamas.

Topics: 19 Jan 12