Had the pleasure, make that the delight, of a fabulous lobster lunch with newly wed guests on a beautiful February day with the temperature in the mid eighties.
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.
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
The Family Island Regatta runs from April 24th to the 30th and during that time sloops from many islands will arrive on freighters at the town dock in Elizabeth Harbour on Exuma.
There are different classes for the different size boats and the results will be cumulative for races over the week. Each race is started with boats anchored and all sails on the deck. As the starters cannon fires the boats will start to up anchor and haul up the mainsail and jib. Then the race follows a triangular course, two laps extending over the length of the large harbour.
The excitement mounts as the skippers have the maximum sail area set and counterbalance the boat by the crew sitting outboard on planks extended over the side. At the turn these crew members scamper back on deck and move to the opposite side as the boat tacks. The race is closely followed by visiting boats and now the addition of drones flying overhead.
Meanwhile on shore the crowds are either watching the races or samling the many delights at the food and liquor shacks.
For more information on the regatta and Exuma, go over to our website
My favorite type of shopping ! Being invited to a wine tasting. Bristol Wine is by far the most comprehensive wine and liquor store in Exuma. Located opposite Sandals Resort this is the place to get your Bahamian beers, either Kalik or Sands.
Their selection of wines from Europe, Napa, Australia and South America is large, and worth the journey.
Which is my favorite? Well we like the Australian “Criminal” range, especially their Pinot Noir.
This three-day event is the signature event for the destination. It is culturally packed with activities music, dance, food, and friendly competitions. Now in its 13thyear, with the theme “Cultural Diversity island by island” It is attended by thousands of visitors and Bahamians.
Starting on Thursday March 8th at Regatta Park in Exuma, an event not to be missed.
If you want to rent a self-drive boat in Exuma Bahamas then you should head for Minns Water Sports. Contact Kent or Diane, the current operators of this family owned successful long standing business. Started by Diane’s father Basil Minns, the operation now has 21 rental boats.
The smaller boats are mostly the ever popular Boston Whalers, starting at 15ft with a 60 HP outboard engine, ideal for a couple or small family. Then they have 17ft, 19ft, 20ft and finally 22ft Whaler with twin 115Hp outboards.
When you rent you are given an extensive training on how to operate, how to anchor, courtesy for others on the water and a full safety briefing on how to use the VHF radio, the buoyancy vests. Then comes the map with all the snorkeling spots, the blue holes, the sand bars and the beaches.
Then its out to the boat with full fuel tank and on into Elizabeth Harbour. This picturesque setting extends for around 7 miles east to west and around one mile north to south. It is surrounded by Great Exuma on the southside and a string of offshore islands on the north. Fowl Cay has the best snorkeling so pick up a mooring bouy (anchoring not permitted), secure your bowline and get in the warm water and see the fish life and the colorful coral.
After toweling off we move east to see and visit the sandbar that extends off the westside of Man O War Cay at low tide. A great photo op.
Next we head to one of the options for lunch. It could be Chat ‘N Chill to see the sting rays and enjoy the pig roast. It could be St Francis for cracked conch and a visit to the Atlantic side of Stocking Island.
Hey! it’s only lunchtime. I’m going to save the rest of the day’s trip for another time. Let me give you an idea of cost for your boat rental. The one day rental rate is from $180 to $265 depending on boat size. Those rates drop for bookings for consecutive days. There
is a refundable deposit and you pay for the fuel you have used.
There are half day rentals but you cannot book ahead, they are only for walk-ins.
We recommend our guests spend at least one day of their vacation exploring beautiful Elizabeth Harbour. It’s a treat not to be missed.