Bahamas Diving & Snorkling Dog Lovers

Bahamas: Diving with
our favorite dolphin ‘Inagua’

Written by Renato Matiolli

As expected the Bahamas was about spending time underwater. The marine life we saw was breathtaking and as a bonus we all got to dive with our now favorite dolphin Miss Lady Inagua.

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We had an easy crossing from West Caicos to the Bahamas. My brother is helping a lot. He picks things up really fast and is quickly becoming a pretty descent sailor. I hope he continues to visit us during our journey around the world.


This crossing was memorable for two very important reasons. We celebrated my mom’s 70th birthday and the impeachment of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. While we ran away from Brazil for a while we, as any Brazilian, are passionate about our country and we hope things will slowly get more serious and better over there.

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While my brother get things done with the sails and ropes, Bia study the maps, plays with the navigation system, checks wind and boat speed and etc. She is also a quick learner, but more important a super great company. I guess I have never met anyone as authentic as her. She is really fun, can make fun of herself and throws the most amazing and amusing comments out of the blue. We are really enjoying having her on Ipanema.

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Our first stop in the Bahamas was Little Inagua, an uninhabited island right in the south of the archipelago. This is the most remote one can get in the Bahamas, as it is the furthest away from the US, it has no hotels or resorts, no airports, ferries nor marinas. As expected we anchored by ourselves in “no name” bay. Needless to say it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. I could spend a lifetime in this place, no problem.

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As we were sailing around the island to find our anchorage spot, a friendly and curious dolphin came to great us in very shallow waters. I soon yelled “Who wants to jump in the water to swim and play with the dolphin?!”. Not to my surprise, guess who was the only one who quickly screamed from the back of the boat “Me, me, me! Can I jump? Can I jump?!”? If you answered, my 70-year-old young at heart mom, you got it right!

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And talking about her, Feijão loves her. In the mornings he would always stand on top of her cabin, go to her hatch to see if she was already awake. If needed he could kindly and “delicately” “help” to cut her sleep a bit shorter.


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Well, as soon as we dropped anchor we all jumped in the water to explore the reef around the boat. The transparency of the crystal clear waters was from another planet. This was probably the place I have snorkeled with the best visibility ever.

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After the snorkeling, we also went diving around the bay and this was one of the best spots we had since we started the trip. Again one of our favorite dives was in an unmarked spot, not recommended in any dive site or any cruising book.

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To our luck, after a few minutes underwater, the same curious and friendly dolphin that greeted us on our arrival came to say hello. Sarah and Bia decided that she was female and we all named her “lady Inagua”. Diving with wild dolphins is such an amazing feeling! It really gave the impression that she was trying to communicate and play with the group. Lady Inagua came to visit us between six to eight times during our dive, Sarah and Bia cried every single time. Needless to say that it was a long dive, as no one wanted to get back to the boat.

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After Little Inagua Island we moved to Great Inagua, a slightly more developed island, yet still quite pristine. During our time there we only spotted one other sailboat and two people walking on the beach. Again, the place and the snorkeling were superb. This time around, as we anchored, a quite descent sized shark came to check what was going on around the boat. People were less enthusiastic to quickly jump in the water to play and swim around this huge animal.

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In Great Inagua we also had a belated celebration of our first anniversary living and sailing aboard Ipanema. It actually happened in Turks and Caicos, but we procrastinated the celebration to do it with my mother, Fabio and Bia on the boat! We will soon write a post of this one year in retrospect.


As for the Bahamas, our initial plan was to stay one whole month here in the islands. However as we got close to May some more experienced sailors recommended we had to cut this visit short due to high probability of early tropical storms as the hurricane season approaches. So unfortunately we ended up staying a lot less in the Bahamas than we wanted. It was certainly the place we should have stayed longer and that we must come back with the boat at some point. No questions about it.


Having said that we are all pretty excited to move forward as one of the most expected countries is coming up. Cuba! You have no idea how many people asked to join us during this part of the trip. So lets sail to it!



About the author

Renato Matiolli


  • Amazing photos! I spent many years working on private luxury yachts (stinkpots as you sailors might call them!) and to this day I still count the Bahamas as my favorite cruising grounds. You definitely need to go back and do the Exumas. Stunning, amazing, gorgeous. There’s more great diving to be done as well as snorkeling and paddling. I actually wrote an article about the best paddle places in the Bahamas to take your SUP or kayak out and go exploring that you can check out here:

    Fair winds and following seas on your future destinations! I’ve been to many but am more of a landlubber these days.

    • Hi Haley, thanks! I bet we would love the Exumas, it seems amazing! However we will have to leave it for another time, now all we can think of is San Blas, Galapagos and the French Polynesia.

  • Scuba diving is one of my biggest passions. The main reason I love diving is the adventure, because you never know what you will found below the water surface. The second reason would be the wonderful diversity of the marine life.

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