Story Jill Bobrow Photos OYC
Over Yonder Cay, a privately owned island nestled in the Bahamas’ Exuma chain, is a great getaway offering peace, privacy and incomparable service. It took five years for the island’s owners, the Bosarge Family Office, to convert this former 74-acre Bahamian fishing outpost into a state-of-the-art ultra-high-end resort.
Not only is the idea of a private resort offering a similar experience to a luxury-yacht charter appealing, this feel-good resort comes with a very small carbon footprint. In fact, it is believed to be the first island of its size to function almost entirely using renewable energy.
The Bosarge Family Office is no stranger to luxury charter. Aside from the island, the company operates two successful charter yachts, the 114-foot Tenacious and the 180-foot Marie, both sailing yachts. The island resort’s managers, Duncan Hipkin and Liza Sacks, have plenty of experience catering to charter guests. For years, they were captain and chef aboard Tenacious. Hipkin explains the main idea behind the island: “In creating the island, we were focused on the principles of renewal and regeneration, both for our guests and the island’s power sources,” he says.
In terms of the island resources, “regeneration” means that no energy goes to waste. The island is equipped to capture the winds and the sun prevalent in the Exumas. Three 140-foot-tall turbines, with a capacity of 100 kW each, harness the winds, and a 1.5-acre field of moving solar panels, able to garner close to 450 kW at peak, capture sunrays. For backup, the island is equipped with a $4 million battery reserve (able to supply the island with energy for up to three days) and cutting-edge diesel generators. All excess wind or solar energy flows to the batteries or is used to power a desalination plant, used primarily for irrigation. In this case, energy is “stored” in the form of water in underground cisterns, with a total 600,000-gallon capacity.
The owners, who work closely with a team of scientists to maximize and monitor energy use, are currently exploring proposed developments in tidal power. Water flowing into the island’s north cut moves on average at 4.5 knots, and two tidal generators could generate up to 200 kW over a typical 28-day lunar cycle. This could also allow them to provide green energy to their neighbors. Displays located all around the island allow everyone, managers and guests, to gauge energy use in real time.
In terms of the guests, renewal and regeneration means an environment offering luxury, beauty, plenty of activities and blissful anonymity. Unlike many of the islands in the Exumas, Over Yonder Cay has some elevation (up to 64 feet), providing views of the exquisite aquamarine waters around it.
Accommodations for up to 28 people are in four luxurious villas built for multiple uses. Texas-based Architect Mihai Angelescu designed them to suit families, couples or even a corporate think tank. For larger groups—a wedding or conference, for instance—Over Yonder Cay has arrangements with neighboring islands. It works well as the island’s opening party established. More than 100 guests attended the event a few months ago.
Over Yonder Cay has its own chef, of course. British chef Ryan Turner may be writing a book on low-carb spa cuisine, but he is able to suit all tastes with his delectable dishes. To work off any extra calories, the resort offers an array of water-based activities, including deep-sea fishing, spearfishing for grouper and snapper, and fly or bone fishing; scuba diving, snorkeling and sailing are also available. The island’s pristine fine-sand beach stretches about 600 feet and several infinity pools offer stunning views.
Land-based amenities include a 12-seat movie theater, a professional gym, a game room, volleyball court and tennis court. A licensed masseuse and yoga instructor are on hand to help guests relax after an arduous game. The resort’s Cessna Caravan seaplane is available for excursions to other islands or transport to and from Florida, roughly 200 miles away. A three-par golf course is currently under construction.
Over Yonder Cay also boasts the Exumas’ only deep-draft marina. It accommodates yachts up to 200 feet in length and 13 feet in depth at high tide. In fact, the Bosarge Family Office’s very own Tenacious can dock there and is available for charter along with the island or as a vacation extension. The marina also welcomes yachtsmen cruising the Bahamas in their own boats. If the island is not already “chartered,” marina guests may partake of the island’s amenities.
Over Yonder Cay is a virtual “land yacht” offering all the amenities of a destination resort. And thanks to its reliance on renewable energy, the only marks you’ll leave behind are footprints in the sand. n