Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Spiny Lobsters in Exuma

Spiny lobster

One of the delights of your vacation at Harbour View is the opportunity to search and find, and if you wish, to catch  spiny lobsters in Exuma.

We do have a season when you are permitted to catch lobsters. Between August and March is open season to catch spiny lobsters, subject to certain restrictions.  The lobster must have a minimum 6 inch tail, it must not be egg carrying ( female lobsters carry their thousands of eggs attached to the underside of their body) and you can only use a pole spear or Hawaiian sling to catch them.

Lobsters can live to a ripe old age of 100 years. Like most fish stories, the largest and heaviest lobsters tend to have been caught in years past.  One of the largest weighed in at over 40 pounds and was reported in a newspaper to have been sold to a restaurant for a special meal. However the public were so upset they purchased “Larry”, yes he had a name! and sent him off to an aquarium.

So if the idea of seeing, and maybe catching a spiney lobster, give Exuma Dive  a call. They know where to take you. Lobsters are nocturnal and during the daytime, when you are looking for them, they are usually resting and hiding under ledges.  Good luck !

Next time we will look at recipes for these delicious creatures.

 

Ice Cream in Exuma

Scoops Ice Cream

We have a new budding entrepreneur in Exuma. The young lady’s name is Dominique and she is working hard to start an ice cream manufacturing company under the brand name “Scoops”.

I must admit that ice cream is one of my weaknesses and she will certainly get my support. You can imagine the problems of importing the Ben & Jerry, Hagen Daz products in relatively small quantities into a tropical island where temperatures can be in the high nineties. You need refrigerated trucks, refrigerated ships and the ability to protect these fragile products while transferring from on to another.

Dominique has wisely decided to limit the number of outlets selling her product while she irons out the kinks in her production. So to sample her delicious blends you need to visit Prime Meats, Smitties, or Naturally Fresh.  By the start of the next season in November she anticipates increasing her retail chain.

Scoops is currently available in seven flavors,  Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut, Rum Raison, Guava, Cheesecake and Caramel. My favorite is the cheesecake.

If you want to contact this young business lady, she is at scoops242@outlook.com

Dominique, we wish you well in your new venture.

Scoops ice creams
Scoops ice creams

The Salt Flats in Exuma

The Salt Beacon in Little Exuma

The salt flats in Exuma are located near Williamstown on Little Exuma.

For thousands of years salt was an essential component of civilization. Only those who had access to salt were able to sail long distances and have useable preserved meat and fish. In fact in Roman times the Centurions were paid in salt.

In the middle ages when empires were being built, and explorers were financed to find new lands, one of the commodities that  the ships were looking for was an easy access to salt.

The early settlers in The Bahamas realized this demand and used the shallow flat land around what is today the settlement of Williamstown, to meet this need and provide them with an income.

The land was channeled to allow sea water to flood the land at high tide to a shallow depth and then the warm tropical sun worked its magic by evaporating the water leaving pure sea salt. This was then raked into pyramids to dry.

Then the message had to be provided to the passing ships that this was where they could purchase fresh sea salt to preserve their purchases of fresh meat and fish.  Hence the need for the monument, reputed to be 200 years old, to indicate that this was where you should anchor off to provision.

At its peak the output was reputed to be 10,000 tons. The flats are not commercially worked now but you can still purchase sea salt locally, ask at Santanna’s Bar and Grill for details.

The Best Pizza Place in Exuma

Splash Restaurant

And the first prize goes to…… (drum roll)… “Splash Restaurant” !!

The best pizza in Exuma resides in this popular bar restaurant which offers several big screen TVs to watch your favorite sport while you pick up some stretchy cheese and get tomato paste all over your face !

Located on the edge of Elizabeth Harbour, this family run business has been around for almost twenty years and has thrived on providing home cooking at reasonable prices.

Equipped with a pool table, and being right on the beach means you have the opportunity to work up an appetite before indulging in your pizza fest.

Available in a variety of sizes and with a broad selection of toppings, Splash is the place to visit….Enjoy

The Conch in Exuma

conch

Conch in Exuma is declining in numbers. Gone are the days when going for a swim meant taking care not to tread on these plentiful creatures, now it is a rarity to see a live conch.

Yes the demand has outstripped the supply and conservation is needed to protect the conch for future generations.

Conch become sexually mature by their third year when the lip on the shell grows. Then the female will lay upwards of a half million eggs in a gelatinous string. The eggs hatch in a few days and the juveniles bear no resemblance to a conch as we know it. After around 20 days they metamorphoses to the familiar shape and then they grow quickly to maturity in two years.

The life span of a conch varies according to whether it stays in shallow water, where it will live for around seven years, or if in deep water where it will live for 20 to 30 years.

Gourmet Dining in Exuma (2)

Big D prepares Conch Salad

Gourmet dining in Exuma must include a ride to Steventon to Big D’s restaurant and watch the master prepare  a conch salad.  This Bahamian delicacy is not to be missed and Big D makes an entertaining presentation with full description, showmanship, all with his signature smile.

The ingredients for this delicacy include raw conch, fresh tomatoes, Exuma onions, fresh Exuma salt, fresh peppers

all finely chopped then drizzle squeezed orange and lime.  Adding a Scotch Bonnet pepper is optional.
then enjoy.

The real skill is extracting the conch meat from the shell. Knowing exactly where on the shell to hammer a hole to place a sharp slim knifein to cut the foot free so the meat slides out. Then you are faced with  knowing how to remove the skin and other parts from the meat.  My recommendation would  be to leave it to the experts and Darrren certainly qualifies .

That is just one of the many ways to enjoy gourmet dining in Exuma.

The Beer Of The Bahamas

Kalik Beers

Kalik is the most popular beer of The Bahamas. Brewed by Commonwealth Brewery in Nassau and distributed throughout the islands. Originally produced in 1988 from a recipe from Heineken to produce a lager with 5% alcohol.

Kalik is produced as Kalik Lite, Kalik (regular), Kalik Gold (7%) and Kalik Raddler (a lime mix).  The name Kalik is said to represent the sound of cow bells which traditionally is an instrument in the Junkanoo carnival parade.

Kalik far and away out sells all other beers in The Bahamas including imports from Eurpope and the US.

So pick up a 6 pack or a case next time you are in Exuma.  Cheers!

Wine Tasting in Exuma

wine tasting
wine tasting
wine tasting

We are fortunate to have a wide choice of wines in our Exuma stores. Surprisingly, for a small tropical island, the prices are not to different from those in the US. Most wine is sent to Exuma from the Bahamian capital Nassau.

The largest selection is at Bristol Wines, a store located in a mall adjacent to Sandals Resort. Occasionally they have an open evening with wine tasting and that we make a special effort to attend.

Their selection is not just California wines, they have a wide selection from Europe,  from Australia and New Zealand and from South America.  One of our current favorites is Pinot Noire from Chile.

Bristol Wine
Bristol Wine

Conch in Exuma

Queen Conch

For centuries the  Conch has been part of the staple diet on the people of Exuma. It is the one item you can guarantee is on the menu of almost every restaurant today.The older generation of Bahamians will tell you that as children their parents would tell them to run down to the beach and pick up some conch for their days meal.  That you had to be careful when going in the Ocean because the conch were everywhere and it hurt if you stepped on one.

The Queen Conch is found on the tropical shores of the North West Atlantic, through the Caribbean and as far South as Brazil. Conch can grow as large as 13 inch across and live for around five years in shallow water and much longer for those in deep water.

Like all members of the snail family, they have eyes on antenna, and if they loose one to a predator they will regrow the missing limb. Females lay eggs, from 180,000 to 400,000 in a gelatinus string that lays in grass or on sand until the larva hatch. Females will lay eggs eight or nine times a year  between March and October.As young the conch stay buried for the first year.

Conch are under threat from over fishing and also by acidification caused by global warming. Some nations have introduced either a closed season or quota limits.

Gourmet Dining in Exuma

view from Tropic Breeze balcony

When we want a gourmet meal we usually head east to Tropic Breeze in Williamstown on Little Exuma. This oceanside hotspot has a reputation for providing quality meals at reasonable prices.

The owner, Khriston, a Cordon Bleu trained chef has built a five star reputation over the last few years, problem is the folks on vacation have done their homework and now us locals have a hard choosing the best time to arrive. Khriston is open until 6pm (longer if you book ahead) usually Tuesday to Saturday, but always phone to check.

Our favorite from the menu is the “Lobster Poppers”.  Chunks of lobster dipped in tempora batter and deep fried.  Delicious!

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