A 26-year-old entrepreneur is building his tour business from the ground up, connecting locals and tourists vacationing on New Providence and Paradise Island with a triple dose of once in a lifetime experiences in The Exuma Cays.
It’s not every day one gets to frolic with pigs paddling in gin clear waters surrounding Big Major Cay, get up close and personal with docile nurse sharks at Compass Cay and bask in the sun alongside iguanas, resembling toy-size dinosaurs, on Bitter Guana Cay.
“I had so many people in New Providence asking me how to go about booking such a tour that I decided to organize one of my own. That’s how Island Treasure Hunt was born,” said Exuma native, Julian Nixon.
A licensed boat captain, Nixon moved to New Providence in 2009 to obtain his PADI Advanced Open Water Dive Certification. The temporary relocation turned semi-permanent when he decided to enlist with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
“It was always my intention to return home but employment opportunities were limited in Exuma,” said Nixon. “Or, so I thought.”
Sold as a reasonable package, a day of adventure on Nixon’s tour sees guests depart Nassau at 7:30 a.m. aboard Flamingo Air. Upon arrival at the Staniel Cay Airport 45 minutes later, travellers are whisked away to the nearby dock where they board the 13-seater, Island Treasure One.
The full-day tour, which has guests back in Nassau by 5:30 p.m. includes a visit with the pigs, a swim with nurse sharks and the rock iguanas meet and greet. Lunch is included in the price.
“It’s an unforgettable family-friendly vacation for tourists and a memorable ‘staycation’ for Bahamians,” said Nixon, who now provides part-time employment for two workers. “The trip is $350 per person, but the experience is priceless.”