Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Some Really Old Photo’s in Exuma

Sponge fishing Bahamas

A common sight in the early 1900s was the washing, sorting,  packing and shipping of bales of sponges. The story goes that most of the fishermen were of Greek descent, in fact even today there are many families with greek names.

Sponge Fishing was a speciality of the men from Kalymnos, but like many fishing ventures, they over fished their Mediterranian waters, and were looking for alternative spots. One promising area was The Bahamas, so many moved here from Greece.

A sponge diver would venture out in a small boat and search the bottom using a glass bottom bucket.  When the found a suitable sponge they  dived with a heavy stone to take them down fast, cut the sponge free and return to the surface. They often reached depths of 100 feet and stayed down for up to 5 minutes. This dangerous occupation claimed many lives and caused others lasting damage.

Eventually the economics changed, and artificial materials replaced the demand and the industries decline.

Even now, as you walk the beaches, sponges are to be found washed up on the shore.

Exuma History

Peace & Plenty Hotel

While in Exuma you may hear the expression “generation land”. This land originally belonged to rich families who previously lived in the US and who supported the British King in the American War of Independence.

When the war was concluded those who had supported the Brits were told to leave the Country. King George allocated large tracts of land In Exuma to Lord Rolle, one of those who were given their marching orders. He packed his belongings and his slaves aboard his ship “The Peace and Plenty” and set sail for Great Exuma.

He set up two homesteads and planted cotton. By year three it was obvious that the ground could not support cotton so his Lordship moved for pastures new. Before leaving he told his slave that they would each assume his last name Rolle (slaves only had first names) and the land he owned, he bequeathed to them as a community. So they collectively owned the land, and anyone with proof of their ancestry as descending from one of the original slaves, could be allocated a plot to build their family home. So they owned the home but not the land on which it was built. This holds true to this day and the land is called “generation land”

RolleTown and RolleVille are two such areas.