Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Exuma Weather in February

bottlenose dolphin

Been a lot of talk of extreme weather in both the US and Europe. So let me tell you what the weather is expected to be in Exuma in February. Our temperature should be a low of 70 at night and 80 during the day. We expect 0.6 inches rainfall. This month should see the lowest humidity of the year at 47% and the Ocean should be 76 degrees.

So still shorts and tee shirts and flip flops. Check out our website to see when you could experience Exuma’s weather

Memories in Exuma

Manta Ray

After 20 years in Exuma I have, as you might expect amassed a considerable amount of fond memories and I would like to share some of them with you.

One of the main reasons for visiting or living in Exuma is the Ocean. It’s always warmer that 65 degrees, even in Winter. Its colors are vibrant, and vary from sandy white to deep blue. On a calm day you can clearly see the coral, the fish, the reefs, even to depths of thirty feet.

Its ever changing with sandbars at low tide and amazingly as you explore the beaches chances are you will see more fish, more baby sharks, more rays, more turtles, than you will see people. (and long may it stay that way).

So back to my promise to tell you of just a few of my more memorable events that few folks have the good fortune to experience.

Swimming with a Manta Ray

If you visit Exuma one of the trips you MUST try is to visit Chat N Chill, not just to experience the bar and restaurant and the beautiful beach, but more importantly to see, and swim with the Sting Rays.  These tame docile beautiful creatures will brush against you as you stand in the shallows, you can pet them and feel their velvet like skin, you can feel them take food from your hand.  Well my fond memories tops that experience !

We were renting a cottage on Hoopers Bay and I looked out over the blue Ocean and could see a shape of something large swimming parallel to the beach about 10ft offshore. I watched as it reached the end of the bay, turned and swam back, still just offshore. It was something I had never seen before.  It was a Manta Ray !  From wing tip to wing tip it must have been eight foot across.

Luckily I had my snorkel and mask handy, but not my camera, I ran down to the beach and stood chest deep as the majestic creature came towards me, with the graceful flying wing motion, till about 20 feet away it just stopped, facing me.  For a full minute neither of us moved but I felt so calm and safe and peaceful.  If you have ever had the opportunity to swim with dolphins you will know that serene feeling.
After a minute the Manta Ray slowly moved in a full circle around me, always some 15ft away, then majestically turned and continued on its track.  I was so excited !

Manta Ray

Nurse Sharks Mating

Close by our home at Harbour View is the deserted island Man O War Cay. I have spent many happy days kayaking there and then walking the soft sand beaches of the eastern shore then crossing over to the western shore for the walk back. The western side tends to be a series small coves with sandy beaches then a rocky outcrop.

As I walking back on a warm sunny day I approached a rocky section and could see something flapping beyond the rocks, so I slowed and crept forward being as quiet as I could thinking it was probably a heron.  As I got closer I could see a large dark shape half in and half out of the water.  It was a nurse shark !  No, wait, its two nurse sharks and they are noisily mating !  The male is biting the back of the neck of the female  but as he sees me just yards away, he releases her and slides off into deeper water.  She just laid there for a further few minutes before she to slid into the water.  I could see the male swimming back and forth some 100 yards offshore.  Probably very unhappy at my arrival.

Nurse Shark

The Snorkeling Dolphin

My last story is a fond memory that happened in Elizabeth Harbour.  Here you can see bottlenose dolphins. Not every day but often. These majestic creatures are playful and love to swim alongside moving boats. Most boat skippers will tell you how a pod of dolphins will swim alongside their boat and continually cross in front of the bow just inches away.

Well in my story I was taking a 20 ft boat across the harbour to Stocking Island. As I got close to the shore I saw about eight or nine adults standing chest deep in the water very excited and agitated, so I stopped to see what was the cause of their commotion. Then I saw a dolphin surface in amongst them then dive again. It continued to dive and surface in amongst the group such that they never knew where it would be next, but the dolphin always managed to be just out of arms reach.

As I watched, one person, wearing snorkel and mask, bent down to get an underwater view, took water down the snorkel, and came up coughing and spluttering having dropped the snorkel. So our attention returned to the dolphin. Where would he surface next?  Then it happened !  The photo opportunity of a lifetime !  The dolphin surfaced with the snorkel in its mouth ! 

bottlenose dolphin

I hope you enjoyed these three fond memories.  There are many more..but that’s for another day

Our Favourite Beach in Exuma

coastline adventures

Here are our top ten reasons to visit Exuma. 

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should visit the island of Exuma in The Bahamas. Some are well know, some not so well known. Have a look around as we have included photos, videos, information and links. They are in no particular order:

1. Explore Exuma’s Best Beaches

When was the last time you had the opportunity to explore a deserted island?  To travel there under your own power and not see another soul. To walk through warm clear water and see fish of  all sizes.
To walk the powder soft sandy coastline and find one of many sheltered bays each with the gentle waves lapping at your feet.  Of course Moriah Cay is just one of the many beaches we recommend, follow this link to see more Exuma Beaches

2. Day Trip to See Swimming Pigs

We have recommended to almost all of our previous guest that they devote one day to the trip to see the swimming Pigs and without exception they have returned saying it was a trip to treasure for a long time (just check our guest reviews to see their words).

Your all day trip will include passing the Cays bought by the stars, stops to see wild Iguanas, Swim with Nurse Sharks, visit the swimming pigs, and explore Thunderball Cave, but rather than me go on about it, watch the video and see for yourself. want to see more of swimming pigs? Just click on this link

3. Rent A Boat

Minns Water Sports based on Lake Victoria in George Town will rent you a self-drive boat for a day or half day. Enabling you to build your own adventure and explore Elizabeth Harbour. you have many beaches to visit, snorkel areas to explore, and a choice of Restaurants to visit….check out the video.

Or maybe you want to travel outside of Elizabeth Harbour, or just want to rent a boat with a knowledgeable skipper for the day. No problem contact  Coastline Adventures.  Whichever you desire, click here for more information.

coastline adventures
photo by Nelson Ranger of ibababahamas.com

4. Dining Out

One of our favorite ways to spend a day is to lunch out at one of the many beachside restaurants, get a Kalik (local beer) and enjoy a meal such as lobster  at Santanna’s.

On the way there we visit one of the beaches, and if we have the energy, another beach on the way home…heaven!

Talking of restaurants, I invite you to check our Restaurants page.

dining at tropic breeze

5. A Kayak Trip

My perfect day is to be in Exuma and to take my kayak to explore. It could be a trip through the mangroves, It could be around Moriah Cay to the Ocean or past Man O War Cay to the sandbar. I may see a Turtle, a Dolphin or a Sting Ray. Then home with a smile on my face and some good pictures in my camera,
talking of good pictures take a look at our kayaking page.

kayaking

6. Kiteboarding

Over the last few years the sport of Kiteboarding has blossomed and Exuma is the perfect location. Which ever way the wind is blowing there is a shallow coastline to visit. For more about this sport in Exuma follow this link

7. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Exuma Scuba have been taking divers on thrilling trips for some years now. With their base on the town dock at the edge of Elizabeth Harbour they are ready to take you on your next adventure. They carry PADI certification and have a wide range of locations to take you.

If you are looking for a snorkel spot we have a list of locations for you.

More information if you go to our Scuba & Snorkel page 

8. Jet Skis in Exuma

Jet skis, you love them or hate them ! Whichever, they are a perfect way to explore the many islands that surround Exuma and also the adjacent string of islands called the Exuma Cays. For more information follow this link

9. Beach Weddings in Exuma

Want a wedding that is laidback and off the charts? We can organize your beach wedding free of charge if you stay at Harbour View for at least a week. We know the rules, we know the cost, we know the locations.

10. Bonefishing in Exuma

One of the areas to bonefish favored by the professional guides is directly in front of our home in the shallows by Moriah Cay. You are allowed to fish alone if you wish but you do need a reasonably priced license. For more videos of this difficult sport visit our bonefish page

https://youtu.be/znd-C9Mf1LY

Snorkeling close to home

coastline adventures

Just yards from our home, Harbour View, and in less than 10 foot of water lies one of the best snorkel spots in Exuma. Located just off shore between Hartswell and Moriah Harbour Cay.  While the area of the reef is not large it is well populated with all sorts of fish, from medium sized Grouper and Permit, to the dreaded Lion Fish, and even some lobsters, It’s a rewarding swim.

Exploring the Ocean around Exuma

Launching the sub into the Tongue of the Ocean

This is the third in a series of articles about Exploring the Ocean around Exuma:-

Attaching a modified speargun to the front of the Nadir and travelling down to 800 meters (2624 feet), the scientists hoped to tag a Bahamian sixgill in the safest, most humane way possible.

Although their efforts were unsuccessful, they came close. “The shark came right in front of the sub, but it was just a little too high up,” Talwar said. “Just putting in the legwork was great. It’s never been done on a sub before at those depths.”

Another key objective during August’s mission was to sample the water at 200-800 meters (656-2,624 feet) to test for environmental DNA (eDNA). “When an animal swims around, it leaves little pieces of DNA behind in the water,” Talwar said. “We are trying to see if environmental DNA can reveal the abundance of certain species.”

The team had specially adapted bottles attached to the front of the sub that collected water. The water was then run through filters in the lab and the results cross-referenced with footage the team took from the site to see if the species caught on camera are the same as those identified from the DNA.

Sharks

“We put a lot of effort into figuring out where to site protected areas, but a lot of that effort goes into shallow-water areas,” Talwar said, adding that he wanted to see more of a focus on deep-water habitats.

“We want to highlight that there is ecological value down there that is not recognized,” he said. “Going down and shining a light on everything that is often forgotten or not considered was really amazing. Now when we go out to dive, I can look into the deep blue water and know exactly what’s down there.”

Cape Eleuthera Institute Research Associate Brendan Talwar inspects the Deep Rover sub

This the third and final part of the story exploring the depths of the Ocean than borders the islands of Exuma.  The story was first published in Mongabay by Catherine Morris

Eating out at Santanna’s Bar and Grill in Exuma

beach scene

Just about every visitor to Exuma has Santanna’s Bar and Grill on their to-do list.  Rated on most sites as one of, if not THE best, to sample Dee’s culinary skills.

Based in Williamstown, this beachside eatery first came to fame when the Pirates Of The Caribbean film was being made.  The stars, Jonny Depp, Orlando Bloom would return from their days filming on Sandy Cay, to relax and have a beer or meal at Santanna’s where their boat dropped them off. Dee still has the photo album with all the pictures and it comes out at visitors request just about every day.

While my video is entitled “Feeding at Santanna’s”, it’s not going to be what you expect.!!

This event takes place each day when the diners arrive, always at the same time, to check the menu of the day.  Enjoy the video!

Exploring the Lagoon inside Moriah Harbour Cay

Moriah Harbour Cay

Moriah Harbour Cay is a marine reserve and has some of the best beaches in The Bahamas. But that is only part of the story. Because Moriah Harbour Cay is an island, a deserted island, access is limited to those with a boat or kayak, so it is unusual to see another person.

I regularly kayak across to the Cay and enjoy a leisurely walk along the edges of the lagoon that takes up the center section. Depending on the state of the tide you will see baby sharks, that approach you to see what is causing the noise as you paddle, they come within feet until they realize your size at which point they turn tail and accelerate.  The same applies to baby rays that live amongst the mangroves.

Take a walk in the warm water, let the stresses of modern day wash away and watch natures young creatures. For more information check out our website

Yearly Weather Pattern in Exuma

bonefishing in Exuma

I am often asked what the temperature is likely to be in July. Or which is the wettest month of the year. These are questions that form part of vacation planning, so I have set out below yearly weather pattern in Exuma that I hope will provide you with the information you need to be able to relax and enjoy your vacation in Exuma, hopefully with us at Harbour View

Temperatures

The first yearly weather pattern I will show you is the average temperatures in Fahrenheit.

average temperatures

As you can see the Exuma temperatures rarely drop below 70 F and rarely go above 90 F. So whenever you choose to travel to this beautiful part of the tropics, Exuma has warm weather to greet you.

Rainfall

The next Yearly weather pattern for Exuma I will show you is the second most asked. “Does it rain much that month?” or the other question is “I was looking at the weather forecast and I see that its says 20% chance of rain”.  If you do check the forecast you often see a percentage rain chance listed.

What you need to realize is that when its says 20% chance of rain that indicates that there is a 1 in 5 chance that it will rain somewhere in the area, and if you have any experience of rain in the tropics you will know that our rain is usually short and heavy and very limited in coverage. Its not like rain in Europe where it can be gentle rain all day over a vast area. It’s a common occurrence to have a 5 minute downpour in George Town then drive home and find they have no rain at all.

So here is the yearly weather pattern in Exuma for rainfall:

yearly rainfall

Your first reaction may be to think ..avoid end of May early June.  But statistically most rain comes in short sharp local downpours so when the temperature is in the nineties you might be grateful for a cooling shower. Just don’t let the sandwiches get soggy!

As for the October hump, that is in hurricane season, so some years its three times that amount, then others it’s around zero.

Humidity Levels

The next yearly weather pattern in Exuma that I will look at is humidity. The amount of moisture in the air.

yearly humidity in Exuma

Wind Speed

The next yearly weather pattern for Exuma  illustrates why our busy season is December through May.  It also illustrates why visitors in July and August spend most of their time in the Ocean or on  a beach.  August can be the month when many Bahamians take their vacation and go off island, they become reverse snowbirds ! Fortunately the effects of the high humidity are offset by the effects of the next subject we will look at, the wind.

exuma yearly humidity

As you can see from the wind chart it is usual to have a light  breeze, usually from the East. The benefit from the breeze is to dissipate some of the heat and to deter mosquitoes.  Occasionally the wind, as shown in the chart, will get up to around the 20 mph and thats when the kite boarders and windsurfers will be in their element.

Ocean Temperatures.

The last yearly weather pattern in Exuma I  show you is another factor which is important to people on vacation. The temperature of the Ocean water.

Yearly Ocean temperatures in Exuma

I think the chart is self explanatory but I would add that if you want to spend a lot of your time in the water in January, February or December, then you would be more  comfortable is a shortie wetsuit.

Conclusion

So in conclusion I would stress that any time is a good time for a vacation here in Exuma. Admittedly we do have a hurricane season but the months you should take seriously are mainly September and to a lesser extent October. That is the peak time for hurricanes and I would not advise you to choose those months because it’s also the time when many businesses close for maintenance.

We have experienced nearly twenty years of delight in Exuma and we strongly recommend you add it to your bucket list. And if you do make it a reality we hope you will consider Harbour View as your base. We promise to afford you total privacy, but with the knowledge that if you havea question, or want advise, we are just a door bell away…. Welcome

Planning your Exuma Trip

beach

Planning your  Exuma Trip?  Wondering what to expect, how to get there, what to take, how to get around.

Planning a trip to a new destination is a mixture of excitement and concern. Let me share my twenty years of experience of The Bahamas and Exuma in particular, with you, and answer the many questions that are buzzing through your brain like bees round a honey pot. Maybe checking through our list will calm your nerves, let you relax and enjoy this new adventure.

Exuma, The Island
Exuma is part of The Bahamas, located south east of Florida, and is a tropical island some 80 miles long by between 1 and 5 miles wide with the deep Atlantic Ocean on the eastern shore and the shallow sheltered water on its western coast. Famous for its blue warm waters and its friendly locals.

Exuma Map
Exuma Map

Exuma Weather
The climate of the islands is tropical with air temperatures varying from 70 degrees in January to 90 degrees in August with only 20 inches of rain per year.

weather patterns in Exuma

Hurricane Season
Exuma is subject to hurricanes. The highest risk is in September and October and rather than risk cancellations many properties close at those times. If you are traveling during those months you should give thought to taking out an insurance policy against having to cancel.  In fact you should consider whether to insure your trip, whenever you are traveling, to cover those unforeseen circumstances, like medical emergencies.

Planning your Accommodation
So planning  your Exuma trip begins with choosing your accommodation. You have a choice of staying at an all inclusive resort (adults only), hotels or rental accommodation. Resorts include Sandals, Lumina Point, St Frances Resort, all of which have their own websites. Then hotels range from Peace and Plenty, Beach Resort, Hideaways and Augusta Bay.  Then there  are many rental properties in Exuma and if you choose from the selection listed on the three major listing sites you will be paying a premium of around 20% extra. My advise would be check the newer websites that do not charge a commission, such as Houfy.com and VacationSoup.com or contact me   for  advise.

Harbour View Exuma

Planning your Flight to Exuma
Planning how to get to Exuma involves choosing the flight as there are no ferries that can get you there. So you have your accommodation sorted, now to flights. Your destination is Exuma International (GGT) and we have direct flights arriving from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Toronto, Charlotte and Nassau. For more information on flights with contact details go to our website links page.
You must also provide evidence that you have a return ticket to your country of residence.

Getting Around in Exuma
So you have your flight sorted and you know where you are staying. Next step in planning your Exuma trip is deciding how you are going to get around and explore the islands many beaches and oceanside bars and restaurants and shops.  There is no public transport in Exuma, you have the option of renting a car or relying on taxis. My advise is rent a car. I know its another expense but when you rent a car you can go where you want when you want. Sudden decision to go to a restaurant? if you have a car… off you go. No car then wait for half an hour while a taxi drives from the airport. Finished your meal?  Wait another thirty minutes for a taxi and be faced with a hefty bill. So rent a car.  For a list of providers and contact details again go to http://harborviewexuma.com./links

Planning Ahead for the Trip
So now the dates are getting closer and its time to turn to the next part of our planned trip to Exuma. We need passports for everyone, are they up to date? Do they all have at least six month between the trip and when our passports expire?
If traveling on a US, Canadian or EU passport do not need a visa to visit The Bahamas.

Planning your trip
Skitterphoto / Pixabay

Drones
If you are planning on bringing a drones to get those fabulous aerial shots, be aware that you need a license. for full details go the government website . If you do not have the license then your drone will be held at customs and you can only retrieve it as you leave.

drones

The Bahamian Currency
Note that the currency in The Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar but you do not want to get Bahamian currency for your trip, get US dollars. The Bahamian dollar is pegged to the US dollar so the rate of exchange is 1:1.  When you pay for goods in Exuma you can pay in US dollars or Bahamian dollars, or a mixture of both, and any change may well be a mixture of both.  Just ensure that when you leave Exuma you change any Bahamian bills you may have back to US currency.

Some shops and restaurants take credit cards. Some charge a fee for the use of credit card. Some places do not take cards, so have the cash available.  There are ATMs around the island.

Packing for your Trip to Exuma

Clothes
So now your vacation dates are close and you are getting ready to pack. The climate in Exuma is tropical and dress is casual.  So pack cotton and light weight linen clothes. For men shorts are OK day and evening, lightweight long pants if you are more comfortable.  The most important item is swimwear, pack plenty, you will probably spend most of your time in swimwear. Ladies take some wraps to wear over swimwear when in town or traveling, locals will not be comfortable seeing you in a bikini shopping, take wraps. Another useful item is a lightweight windproof jacket so if you go on the famous swimming pigs trip, when you get out of the water and back in the boat, you will not feel cold when the boat speeds up and you are still wet.  Pack hats for sun protection, flip flops and water shoes so you can walk across rocks at the waters edge.

If you are traveling with a partner and taking two pieces of luggage then a wise precaution would be to pack half of your clothes and half of your partners clothes in one bag and the other half in the second bag. Then if one of the bags gets delayed or lost, you both still have some clothes to wear. Whereas if you pack all yours in one bag and that bag goes missing then you will be a bit stinky by the end of the trip !

If you are traveling in the cooler months like November through February, a thin wetsuit or shortie would be good for swimming.

Northshore of Moriah Cay
Northshore of Moriah Cay

Electronics

Next part of planning your Exuma trip are items other than clothes that you should consider. Are you taking your laptop? Your I Pad? or other electronics, if so don’t forget your charger or USB plugs.  The electronics in The Bahamas is 120 volt and the plugs are the same as in the US. So if traveling from Europe you will need to bring a converter plug.
Have you checked if a hair dryer is provided at your room?

Luggage
Now some advise when traveling. Don’t have labels on your luggage with your home address. It has been known for thieves to spend time at airports noting the addresses on luggage then robbing the home knowing that the owners are away on vacation. Any external labels should only have your name and cell phone number. The full address should be inside the luggage.
Ladies do not take your best jewelry. It not worth the risk of losing expensive earrings on the beach. Similarly check that your wedding ring is not loose, loosing that when swimming could be a disaster. Your on vacation so use fashion jewelry.

Don’t forget that you cannot have liquids in your hand luggage, those must go in your check-in luggage.

Medicines. Packing for your trip it is easy to forget to get sufficient medication and remember to pack it. Bring your prescriptions with you. We do have a hospital and a pharmacy on island, so if you run out of your prescription medicine you could get refills.

Cell Phones in Exuma
If your cell phone does not work in Exuma you could call in at Bahamas Telephone office in George Town and purchase a local SIM card and have them fit it. Dont forget to keep the original card somewhere safe to replace it in your phone when you head home. Lastly don’t forget the charger.

Drones
Your drone will be held by customs if you do not have a license to import it. See notes above and in the government website

Importing Items into Exuma
There are some items that cannot be imported into any Bahamian island, and these restrictions may effect you if you are stay at a self catering address. No fresh fruit or vegetables. If you are bringing in meat or cheese make sure it is in its original packaging. You are allowed to import up to $100 worth of goods.

Exporting items from Exuma
If you are thinking that at the end of your trip you would like to take back some fish or lobsters then be aware there are limits to the size of catch you can export. They are: 6 pelargic fish such as mahi mahi, wahoo, king fish or tuna. 6 lobsters (during lobster season) and a maximum of 20lbs of other fish.

Conclusion.
I trust that this information helps you have a smooth and trouble free holiday on our tropical island and that one thing you definitely take home are fond memories.

Lobster Poppers

 

Deans Blue Hole

Deans Blue Hole

Deans Blue Hole is located west of Clarence Town on Long Island and Out Island Adventures or Roberts Island Adventures will take you there on a day trip from Exuma.  A blue hole is an underwater sinkhole caused by rainwater sinking through limestone and also the chemical reaction when salt water and rainwater meet.

There are many blue holes in The Bahamas, several in Exuma. The easiest to see are one in the “hurricane holes” on Stocking Island and a second off the coast of Crab Cay. When you snorkel over a blue hole you can see to considerable depth and are guaranteed to see many fish of all sizes. If you are scuba certified then spend a day with Dive Exuma and explore inside a blue hole, a once in a lifetime experience.

Deans Blue Hole

Deans Blue Hole is famous as the second largest blue hole in The World at 663 feet deep. Because is is close to the beach and protected by surrounding rocks, it is almost always calm and so a perfect spot to snorkel over and see rays, turtles, snappers, tarpon and many other colorful tropical fish. Near the surface the blue hole is around 82 to 115 feet diameter, although at 66 feet down it widens to a 330 feet

Since 2008 Deans Blue Hole has been the location of an annual international free diving event called Vertical Blue.  Started by a world famous free diver, William Trubridge from New Zealand, this event has grown year by year and now includes several different forms.  The most famous and original free diving event involves a diver in a skinsuit, no scuba tanks, no fins, taking one breath and swimming down as far as they can and then returning to the surface unaided.  The winner is the one who reached the greatest depth.  Not a sport for the faint hearted !!

Free Diving

Variations of the basic free dive involve adding a fin to your feet, usually a monofin. Another variation is add a weight belt which helps the descent ( but not the ascent).
Then there is the machine aided where a devise takes you down and back but still on one breath.

The purists, free diving with no fins or aids, have reached depths of 400 feet ( height of a 40 story building !) and exceeded 4 minutes below on one breath.

We at Harbour View would love to host your trip to Exuma, and we can organize a trip to Deans Blue Hole.

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