Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Shark Attacks in The Bahamas

nurse sharks

Should a restaurant feed sharks?

How can a restaurant pull in more clients?  One way a beachside restaurant can increase its clientele is to provide some attraction other than the quality of their food.

In the case of a beachside restaurant on a tropical island one easy way is to dump the food scraps into the ocean at the same time each day and watch as a group of sharks (what is the collective name for a group of sharks?) have a feeding frenzy. Then spread the word that you can watch a shark frenzy here.

This idea works, as Exuma has experienced on at least two ongoing restaurants.

When Gail and I bought a parcel of land in the Hartswell area we thought we had gone to heaven without dying !  We had amazing views over what was a deserted island which was to become a National Park. We could swim and sail our Hobie Cat  in calm waters. 

Lemon Shark

Then a nearby restaurant, the Bonefish Lodge which as the name suggests, was a popular haunt of the fishing fraternity, decided that they needed to increase their restaurant trade. after some deliberation they decided to add shark feeding to their menu. For only a matter of days they chummed the Ocean waters adjacent to their verandah before the nocturnal visitors would arrive for their evening meal.

It worked !  Their customer numbers increased and they enjoyed a good meal and an entertaining half hour watching the terrors of the seas bare their teeth.

What was good news for the restaurant was scary news for us local residents.  We feared that the sharks would associate humans with food.  That they would use that association to chomp down on a swimmer.

Eventually the restaurant changed owners and the feeding was discontinued.

Many years later, one of Exuma’s most popular beachside eateries was faced with the problem of what to do with their increasing volume of food waste, when we only get one bin collection per week.  Since its biodegradable, it could be dumped into the ocean.  Plus if it is done daily towards the end of their opening hours, it would pull in more clients.  Problem solved !  No more smelly waste sitting in a bin in the direct sun, attracting flies, wild dogs and other undesirables.  And increasing their profits. Win Win.

The good news is that the restaurant have rethought this practice, and shark feeding has stopped.

After 20 years of living on this beautiful island, swimming frequently and not expiring a problem, I believe that sharks get a bum rap.

lemon shark

I acknowledge that there are (and always will be) cases of sharks attacking people but considering the number of people swimming on a daily basis, and the number of sharks there are in the ocean, the risk of being attacked is infinitesimal.  I suggest that coastal  sharks see swimmers frequently but do not attack.  Ask yourself why would an intelligent creature attack a larger creature when they have the option of feeding on smaller prey that cannot defend themselves.

Just about every shark attack you hear of, involves the shark biting a limb then releasing their grip. Unfortunately that can often cause severe blood loss. Often the victim is a surfer with an arm or leg dangling in the water,  or someone spear fishing with a speared fish struggling and attracting the shark.

So, take precautions such as:  don’t wear shiny jewelry, if you are spear fishing and see a shark dump anything you may have caught, if you see a shark get out of the water but do not panic, exit in a calm and smooth manner. Enjoy your time at the beach.

Exuma Weather in July

Girl on a Beach

So what weather can you expect on your July vacation in Exuma?

As the calendar moves from June to July we are into the height of summer and also statistically, we are in hurricane season.  In the 20 plus years we have lived in Exuma I do not recall experiencing a hurricane in July, that problem is usually threatening in September.

Girl at Sunset

So back to the weather. Our temperature statistically shows highs of 87 degrees F ( 30 C) during the day and 78 degrees F (26 C) at night.  But, as a believer in global warming, and someone who has just experienced one of the hottest Junes on record, I suggest that you can add a couple of degrees to have us hovering around 90 F.

Swim Time

While June is statistically one of our wettest months, July offers us up to one inch of rain for the month.

Humidity has by now soared into the high nineties with a 13 knot breeze providing a little cooling effect.

Now to the good news !  The Ocean has really warmed and is now a toasty 84 F (29 C) degrees, Yippee !  So no excuses for missing that dip.

So July is on our doorstep, it’s going to be hot and humid, so keep hydrated,  loads of water,  loads of sunscreen.

So why not picnic on a soft sand Exuma beach, choose one with shade and exposure to the East to get that cooling breeze, and spend your day in and out of the Ocean till you become all wrinkly !…. Enjoy

The Bahamas National Trust

Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park

Ilya Tolstoy was the grandson of the famous Russian playwright. Ilya was a naturalist and he visited and fell in love with the islands of The Bahamas back in the 1950s.

He became very concerned that irreparable damage could be done to the ecology and natural beauty of the islands by  developers.  So Ilya got together a group of conservationists including The Audoban Society, the US parks service, and Miami University. The group produced a report which was presented to The Bahamian Government.

The year was 1959 and after much debate the government decided to establish the first Land and Sea Park in the World.

The responsibility for managing this unique undertaking  was put in the hands of The Bahamas National Trust and the area was named The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.

This is the 60th year that the Bahamas National Trust has managed this, and other younger parks, including The Moriah Harbour Cay National Park which we see daily and visit often from our home in Hartswell to appreciate the natural unspoiled beauty of this pristine setting.

Moriah Harbour Cay National Park
Moriah Harbour Cay National Park

Rare Animals in Exuma

Exuma Iguanas

We have seven species of Bahamian Rock Iguanas in The Bahamas. In the Exuma chain of islands we have one species that is protected and endangered with around only 5000 animals remaining.

These brown bodied creatures grow to between 2.5 to 3 feet long. They are plant eaters and their diet includes the manchineel plant which is toxic to humans. They get their moisture from the plants they eat and it is believed they do not need water to survive.

The female lays between three and a dozen eggs at around 6 years old, which she buries in the sand. After 3 months the babies hatch and dig their way to the surface. They have a ridge along their spine which is used to dissipate excess heat.

If attacked they can disconnect their tale, which will regrow.  Iguanas have a life span of around 40 years.

These friendly creatures can be seen if you take the all day excursion known as the swimming pigs trip.

Exceptional Place and Hosts !

Exuma Sailing Regatta

Harbor View is a magical place and as nice and peaceful as its owners.
The balcony view is GRANDIOSE, probably one of the most beautiful on the island.
And when we add to that the perfect location of the house … (in the southern part of the island which appeared to us wilder and calmer than the northern part … even if the whole island is very calm in general)
I thank again Gail & Don for their warm welcome, their very good advice to make our stay perfect… and help received after the puncture of my car tire the day of my arrival!
Thank you for everything and don’t hesitate to go to Harbor View … It’s Paradise!

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

Exuma’s Valued Souvenirs

Sandpiper Exuma

In previous stories I told you about “free” souvenirs you can take home as mementos of your vacation in Exuma, such as shells and sand dollars, then I told you about “low cost” souvenirs such as straw goods and shell jewelry. This time we move up on the cost scale to see what memory joggers you can purchase for a larger investment.

Exuma’s quality souvenirs immediately make me think of the Sandpiper store in George Town. This popular store, run by Diane Minns and her daughter Jessica, is very tastefully laid out with a vast selection of items to treasure and remind you of your Exuma vacation.

From quality dresses, tops and swim wear, all for tropical climes, in beautiful colors, to silver and shell jewelry  made by local artisans.  from unusual figurines made from wire and epoxy (doesn’t sound very nice but when you see it I think you will be impressed !).

One department is devoted to pottery made by Jessica, this talented lady has cups and bowls and vases. Another is devoted to book and maps, mostly related to The Bahamas.

My favorite area is partly devoted to ceramic tiles with local Bahamian character cottages and scenes of old. Then I can spend ages browsing through the selection of prints from old photographs of Bahama times gone by.

Do Not leave Exuma without a visit to Sandpiper.

Ceramic tiles in Sandpiper
Ceramic tiles in Sandpiper

Eating Out in Exuma

Blu restaurant Exuma

One of our favorite spots when eating out in Exuma is at “Blu”.  This small intimate restaurant and bar overlooks Elizabeth Harbour and their marina, so convenient to reach by road or by boat.

Theirs is basic home cooking with a limited menu, which I prefer, it gives you the feeling that each dish will receive their best attention.  I had the fish and chips which that day was fresh grouper and it was delicious.  Gail had the fish burger and a generous helping of their fries.  All washed down with Kaliks and Kalik Radlers.

Last time I had the conch burger and that was excellent, but since reading about the conch being an endangered species my conscience prodded me towards the grouper.

 

The Beer Of The Bahamas

Kalik Beers Exuma

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!

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