Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Crab Cay Exuma

Crab Cay Exuma

The largest island within Elizabeth Harbour is Crab Cay. The appeal of Crab Cay is partly its location. It is protected by a string of offshore islands so hurricane surge is not a problem. The many small soft powder sand beaches that dot the shores of the 200 plus acre island shores invite you to take advantage of the wonderful, warm climate of The Bahamas.

Crab Cay Exuma

Back in the late 1700s the Walker family needed to leave their home in Eastern North America because they had supported the British, the losers in the American war of independence. The family, along with their slaves, sailed to set up home on the land provided to them by the King of England, on The Exumas, a group of islands in the central Bahamas.  The Walkers  set up home on the island of Crab Cay inside Elizabeth Harbour.  Their properties were built using local stone.  As was the custom, the kitchen was a separate building from the living quarters. This was the practice due to the risk of kitchens burning down due to the presence of open fires, plus the need to keep the heat of cooking away from the living area. They tried to develop their land by growing cotton but after some years they gave up and moved on.

Crab Cay Exuma

The ruins of their home still exist to this day.

After the end of World War II, the story goes that a group of very wealthy individuals decided that they wanted to invest their funds in land. Not just any land, but in tropical islands. So they chose a trusted member of the group and he spent some years traveling the globe and buying tropical hotspots. After their targets were met the purchaser was rewarded by the group by allowing him to choose two islands as a reward for his diligence.  He chose Crab Cay and Elizabeth Cay, both island being at Elizabeth Harbour In Exuma.

Fast forward 40+ years and the tourism industry is booming. Wealthy investors led by Michael Jordan descend on Exuma with a view to buying and developing Crab Cay.  Word reaches the press that the asking price is ten million.  The investors decided to walk away, but the government heard the rumors and informed the island’s owner that according to their records he had not paid the property tax which had accumulated, a figure reaching millions of dollars. The Crab Cay owners was therefore forced to put the property on the market for sale.

Crab Cay Exuma

Eventually the island sold to the Murphy family. One of, if not the largest pig farming enterprises in the US. The Murphys put together a consortium with CN Luxury and drew up plans for Crab Cay.  By 2007 they intended to build a world class development, with a hotel, and Italian style hub with luxury restaurants, spa sports facilities and high end shops. then high end multi-million dollar homes spread along the shoreline. Then, of course there was to be a major marina, capable of taking the world’s mega yachts. The whole project was planned to be “the pre-eminent island destination in The Caribbean”. The plans were eventually passed and work began on the dredging for the marina.  Work progressed for some time then came to a halt and the project stopped.

Crab Cay Exuma

All that remains is a beautiful bridge, built in the Italian style, which joins Crab Cay to the mainland of Great Exuma. Known locally as “the bridge to nowhere”.

And that, unfortunately, is where we are today !  Waiting for the next chapter to be written on this beautiful island with great potential, Crab Cay.

Crab Cay Exuma

If you want to visit the ruin of the Walker family, or cruise round Crab Cay we would welcome you at Harbour View for a vacation, just visit our website for details and loads of other stories about our vacation paradise .

The Welcome Book

welcome to Harbour View in Exuma

As vacation rental property owners we feel a responsibility to ensure that our guests get the maximum pleasure from their vacation. But we have to draw a fine line as on-site owners between respecting our guests privacy and helping them get the most from their valued time.

When a guest arrives we are well aware that it can be overwhelming after an all day travel experience to be in a new country, a new island, new accommodation.   where to go?, what to do?, what not to do?

The answer is a “Welcome to Harbour View” book. It’s there in the lounge for them to read and benefit, as and when they are relaxed; in their own time. So when they arrive we only have to greet them and point out a few basics, such as operation of the air conditioning. How to contact us if they have a question, or are looking for local knowledge.

The Welcome book is divided into chapters.

The first chapter relates to a few house facts. Such as; our internet details. We are on a well so we appreciate guests being frugal with water.  That we recommend they use bottled water (where to get it, where to get bottles refilled) for drinking.

The second chapter is about traveling. Guests are advised to rent a car in advance of their arrival. So we remind that we drive on the left.  That they should put our phone number into their mobile phone or take one of our business cards so they can contact us if they experience a problem. Similarly they are encouraged to take the welcome book with them.

The third chapter is a comprehensive list of the many beaches that they can visit. Each beach is shown on a map with the distance from our house. So that if they set the mileometer to zero when they leave the home, their beach destination is known to be “x” kilometers away. The beach is described by size, whether there are shells,  shade or which is best protected from winds.

Pretty Molly Bay

The fourth chapter is a comprehensive list of restaurants. Again we give directions, show each on a map, and give the distance.  We also enclose a menu in order that they can get some idea of the range of costs and whether they have specialities… asian food….. Bahamian fare.  And most important, the contact phone number and which days they might close.  There is nothing worse than getting all dressed up and driving 20 minutes to find some restaurant is closed.

lobster at Santannas
DCIM100GOPROGOPR2528.JPG

The fifth chapter is a list of special excursions that are available. These range from fishing guides (bone fishing is very popular in Exuma), scuba trips, ATV guided tours, kiteboarding lessons, and of course the most popular at present is the “swimming pigs” trip. This is an all day boat trip through several of the nearby tropical islands with stops to see, feed and swim with wild pigs on a deserted island,  see and feed wild Iguanas found only in Exuma, to swim with (or not) nurse sharks, and to swim and explore Thunderball Cave, made famous in two James Bond films.  An exciting and a trip to remember. Well our book tells you who runs the trip, who to contact, how much it costs, and where to go on the big day.

Swimming Pigs

So what have I learned  from writing this story?  That I can improve my welcome book.  

I can add photos.  I can make my welcome book more interesting to my valued guests. 

In fact I think I will devote some time to making my book, not just factual and informative, but make it a coffee table book and find out how much it would cost to print and present to our guests as a thank you for staying with us.  If the improved version sits on their coffee table it could be talking point with friends and, who knows , maybe a new enquiry??

Sailboats in Exuma

Sailboats At Anchor in Exuma

Every year here in Exuma we watch a community of sailboats grow in our picturesque islands. Many are known as snow birds and they bring their boats to Exuma to escape the bitter winter weather  in their home area.

The migration starts around November as we see a trickle of  boats enter into Elizabeth Harbour and drop anchor in one of the many perfect locations that offer access to the soft sand beaches and protection from the prevailing wind.

Elizabeth Harbour is a beautiful area extending some 7 to 8 miles East to West and around a mile North to South. The southern shore is Great Exuma, the main island. The northern shore is a string of islands starting with Stocking Island at the western end, followed by Elizabeth Cay, then Guana Cay and finally Fowl Cay at the eastern end. So this Harbour is both large and well protected from the Ocean swells.

Inside the Harbour area are more small islands so during their stay in Elizabeth Harbour, which can vary from a few weeks to maybe 6 months, the boats can change their anchorage and their surroundings based on changes in the weather and the pure desire to change their setting.

Who is on these boats? Well it is a real mixture of solo sailors, many couples, and some families with children. The majority have travelled from Northern America and Canada.

The boats they are living aboard also vary from sailboats ranging from the 30ft to 60ft, some catamarans, mostly monohulls then a few power boats.

As Christmas approaches the numbers continue to increase, until by the New Year the totals are around 400 to 500.

So you are on a sailboat in a beautiful tropical setting, escaping the crappy weather up North, but what are you going to do with yourself each day?  Well we can swim, snorkel and scuba in 70 degree water, we can play volleyball each afternoon with your fellow boaters on the four courts on Stocking Island.  We can set up groups to play bridge or mahjong. 

Each of the boats will have an inflatable run about of 10ft to 15ft that they use as their personal transport to get ashore, go shopping, visit other boats.

At the end of the season, usually starting at Easter, the numbers start to decline as some boats leave to return to the East coast of the US where the boat will be stored for the summer and the owners fly home. Others leave their boats in Elizabeth Harbour when they head home. There are areas in the Harbour where many moorings have been placed ready to accept stored boats. The boats are managed by local boatmen who check the security of the boats, run the electrics to keep the battery charged, and open them occasionally to avoid stale air.

There is another category of boater that I have not mentioned. That is the true cruiser. Usually a couple, sometimes a full family, that are fortunate enough to be able to adopt the cruising lifestyle and travel the world at a leisurely pace (Ah sweet memories !). Not surprisingly you will be able to pick them out by the national flag at their stern.

So there you have a short version of the life on those many boats that visit this boaters paradise. 

Why don’t you visit Exuma and experience it for yourself. If you don’t have a boat you could stay with us at Harbour View.

Cruising sailboats

Special Offer 25% Off !!

Harbour View Balcony Exuma

Book a minimum 7 night vacation at Harbour View between May 28th and June 22nd for two guests and receive a 25% discount on our normal rate.

Or, during those dates, pay full price and we will pay for you to go on the Swimming Pigs all day boat trip.  See the homes of the rich and famous, swim with the pigs, feed iguanas, boat through the Exuma Cays, visit Thunderball Cave, swim with or pet the nurse sharks. This exciting and unique, all day trip can be yours at our expense.

Go to our booking page and choose your dates.

Home

Harbour View Balcony
Harbour View balcony

Shopping for Gifts in Exuma

Sandpiper store Exuma

When shopping for gifts in Exuma I can recommend three options.

My first recommendation would be to visit Sandpiper Gift Store in the center of George Town. Owner and manager Diane Minns has a fabulous selection of quality products for you. Diane has an extensive array of ladies wraps and beach accessories, she has a selection of quality coffee table sized  figurines, some in fibreglass and wire, a design concept I have not seen before. Sandpiper also has a wide selection of native art fired on tiles and an interesting collection of museum quality old photographs of life in The Bahamas some 50 years ago.  Then there is the ladies jewelry collection in  price ranges to suit everyone.

Sandpiper Store
Sandpiper store

sandpiper store
Just some of the items in Sandpiper Gift Store.

 

There are two alternative locations for gifts in Exuma. One is at Wenshua Art Gallery which I covered in a previous story and is definitely well worth a visit:  (https://harborviewexuma.com/wenshua-art-gallery-in-exuma/

Then the third alternative is The Straw Market, which is, as I write, being rebuilt so I will cover that in a future story.

 

Welcome

We welcome you to our brand new website.  We invite you to take a tour and let us know your thoughts. If you find any mistakes or broken links, or ideas to improve, please fill in the contact form.  Enjoy!

Welcome