Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Planning A Day Boating In Elizabeth Harbour-part-two

In the last story I suggested how to spend a morning on a Minns rental boat exploring Elizabeth Harbour.  I left you feeling hungry and on the south side of Stocking Island.  Well, we are spoilt for dining choice !  

chat N chill

We can go to Chat and Chill, anchor off their soft sand beach, and visit our host KB and wife Kwanza, at the bar and enjoy a drink and meal, or stroll along the beach to the Conch Shack.  Here we have a conch salad, a Bahamian speciality, which we can enjoy while we watch the family of Sting Rays that live offshore and are waiting for your conch scraps.

stingrays

Alternatively we can sit down in the restaurant and experience a wider selection of fare at St Francis Resort.  Run and owned by George and Jillian

Recently the Peace & Plenty Hotel in George Town set up a beach bar. Again we anchor just off their soft powder sand beach, listen to some Bahamian music and down a Kalik, the local and highly rated beer,  while waiting for a wholesome burger from their BBQ.

Peace & Plenty Beach Bar

If we are in the mood for something a little more fancy,  with a touch of luxury, then we would go into the Eastern hurricane hole and tie up at the dock of Kahari Resort Restaurant.  Your not limited here to just burgers, their cuisine is more exotic, and delicious.

Before closing the book on eating on Stocking Island. Let me remind you that you don’t have to rent a boat to dine there. You can get the water taxi from Town to take you to any of these welcoming spots.

So we have quenched our thirst, downed some food and we are ready to continue exploring the Harbour.  Next stop is about a mile west where we find a dock. Now for some exercise. Those of us who are fit and able start the path that climbs through twists and turns, and is steep.  Eventually you come out at the monument on the highest point on Stocking Island (maybe the highest in all Exuma  !).  Stop. Catch your breath and admire the 360 degree view. 

Salt Monuments

The monument was build centuries ago as an indication to passing ships that salt was available.   Return to the dock and energy permitting, walk along the beautiful beach to a deserted building which marks the start of the footpath that takes you over to the Ocean. Tide permitting,  you may be able to walk and explore some of the rock pools and search for some attractive shells.

All aboard !   After a leisurely swim in the 80+ water we will head across the Harbour, traveling southwest and skim past the February Point development and on towards Flamingo Bay where we can pass under the “Bridge to Nowhere”.  This elaborate structure, built in the Italian style, was originally planned to provide access from Great Exuma to the planned development of Crab Cay.  I related in a previous story how Crab Cay was bought by the Murphy Family, the largest pig farmers in the US.  Their plan was to build an Italian style village with restaurants and top end health facilities and then multi-million dollar villas, plus a marina capable of docking some of the Worlds dream yachts. After a couple of years of expense the construction came to a holt.  All we have left to record the sad story is the Bridge to Nowhere.

Crab Cay Exuma

Want to see more?  or do you want to just sit on one of the many beautiful and deserted beaches and relax in the blue tropical waters?  

Time is marching on and I suggest we head back.  Skipper the boat through Kidd Cove, so named after the famous pirate Captain Kidd, who was reputed to have spent some time in Exuma (he did not stay at Harbour View although a few of his doubloons would have been appreciated). Slow down as we approach the low bridge we have to pass under to get into Lake Victoria.  Don’t slow down too much or the strong current will take over and steer you off course. So engine up, under the bridge and back to Minns dock where their efficient staff will refuel the boat while you complete the paperwork in the office.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how little fuel you have used.  So an eventful day, hope you  enjoyed it. 

Minns Water Sports Exuma
Minns Water Sports Exuma

Stocking Island in Exuma

Stocking Island

Stocking Island is the largest of the string of islands that line the northern shore of Elizabeth Harbour. It is partly because of these islands that Elizabeth Harbour is so well protected making the Harbour safe and minimizing flood risks for the islands capital George Town.

Stocking Island extends for just four miles running North West to South East. At its western end lies Conch Cut, the entrance from the Ocean into the Harbour. The western half of the island is unspoiled woodland with beautiful unspoiled beaches on both the oceanside and the harbourside.

Salt Monuments

Midway along the southern shore is a dock where you land if you wish to climb the steep hill to reach the monument.  This monolith was built back in the 1700s to indicate to passing ships that there was a safe Harbour and access to bulk sea salt. The salt was needed to preserve the meat and fish onboard, making salt a valuable commodity. There is also a pathway to the Oceanside where lobsters can be found amongst the coral reefs.

Cruising sailboats Exuma
Cruising sailboats Exuma

As you travel East you come to the areas that have been more developed. Partly because of the beautiful soft sand beaches and partly because of the “hurricane holes”.  These natural phenomenon are two areas where a narrow entrance leads to landlocked “ponds” perfect for hiding many boats when a hurricane approaches.  These hurricane holes are also useful for snow birds who leave their boats, in the care of locals, during the summer months.

This is the area where the water taxis take visitors from the mainland to either St Frances Resort or Chat & Chill Bar & Grill. Here you find a line small boats and dinghies anchored in the shallows while their owners enjoy the camaraderie and food. One speciality is conch salad. Made with chopped fresh conch meat with onions tomatoes and squeezed orange and lemon juice.. delicious !  Because of this popular dish the shoreline is also the home to a group of sting rays, as tame as tame can be.  Put a small piece of conch meat in your palm and hold still just below the water  and they will take it from you. These graceful creatures have skin like velvet. They are black on  the top and white underneath. An experience not to be missed.

Peace & Plenty Beach Bar

Next stop on our journey eastward is to Peace & Plenty Beach Bar. The P&P, as its fondly known is the original hotel in Exuma, located in George Town.  The beach bar is their get-a-way  where they ferry their guests, and anyone else who want to explore, for a day on a soft sand beach, with a full bar and barbecue.

Then we come to the last property on Stocking Island.  Kahari Resort.  This is a high end hotel resort with a restaurant open to non residents.  The accommodation is in thatched huts. Kahari has both an indoor restaurant and an outdoor one. Again the water taxi can provide access.

Lumina Point

From there on eastwards the island is as God made it, natural palms, mangroves and spotless beaches. So when you make your Exuma trip don’t miss a day over on Stocking Islands, a day not to be missed. Stay at Harbour View for more information

“Big Noch’s” Bar & Restaurant in Exuma

Big Nochs Bar

Big Noch is the nickname of an Exuma taxi driver and owner of the bar and restaurant of the same name in Rolle Town Exuma.

The bar has been open for some years but more recently it has gained a good reputation for their food.  Like many bars on island, it started catering to the local Bahamians, but now its appeal has spread to the tourist trade.  Their dining area is small and very basic (but adequate).  Their big growth is in  their  take out trade.

Big Nochs Bar

Based just a two minute drive from Harbour View, our rental guests have phoned Patrina and placed an order for collection some 20 minutes later.  The fare is traditional Bahamian with fresh produce including fish and lobster in season.

As an example, cracked conch is priced at $15. A peppered steak is $15. Your options range from chicken, pork, some curried dishes and fresh caught fish, conch and lobster.

Big Nochs menu

While Big Nochs does not have a seaview it certainly is convenient to have some fresh food available on our doorstep.  Give Big Nochs a try. 242 345 5013 and place an order with Patrina.

New Restaurant in Exuma

Blu on the Water

WOW !  That is the reaction as you drive over the brow of the hill and Blu On The Water first comes into view. 

If I was given complete freedom on choosing a location for a restaurant it would be right where Blu On The Water is located, it’s that perfect !

Blu on the Water

Blu is the brainchild of Ty and Sam (with a little help from their daughter Kylee) who have been catering to Exuma customers for some years. First  at what used to be Sam Grey’s restaurant at the marina in George Town, then later over on Stocking Island at Lumina Point.  Now they have their own location.

Blu on the Water

So Blu On The Water is in Rolle Town.  Between Master Harbour and Rolle Town settlement, about five miles East of George Town. As you arrive at Blu your reaction will also be “Wow”.  The view that faces you is the restaurant on your left, but your eyes will be drawn to the Ocean. It’s truly is a World class setting,  it’s stunning. To your right is Man O War Cay and directly in front is one of Exuma’s favorite tourist attractions, the Large sandbar that appears at low tide and extends for about half a mile. Left of the sandbar the Ocean colors change from white to pale blue to darker blue, as your eye travels westward you look into Elizabeth Harbour and its tantalizing line of offshore islands. ….The view is simply  stunning !

Blu on the Water

Having taken the obligatory photos, it’s time to turn you attention to the restaurant.  As you enter this new building you will be greeted by the friendly smiling staff and shown to one of dozen or so tables, all with views of the Ocean. Sip your favorite cocktail or a cold beer while you study the menu. The cuisine is international fare and prepared in the brand new kitchen under the watchful eye of your host Ty.

Blu on the Water

Blu on the Water is open daily from 11.30 through till 10 pm. I personally recommend you pick a time when the light allows you to fully appreciate the view. If you want a quality souvenir of your visit, there are tee shirts and labelled Tiki insulated mugs.

If you are staying with us at Harbour View then you are a five minute drive away.

Ty and Sam we wish you every success in your new venture. Phone 242 807 9265

Sailboats in Exuma

Exuma Sound

Every year from November onwards cruising yachts start arriving in Elizabeth Harbour in Exuma. Then over the next two months we get a daily intake, weather permitting, of more yachts until we have a fleet of around 400 cruising yachts in Exuma.

cruising yachts in Exuma

The boats arrivals coincides with the end of hurricane season and on a calm day you will see a line of sails on the horizon approaching the entrance to the harbour.

Each yacht will fly a flag at the stern of their boat,  the flag of their country of registry. So you will see mainly US Stars and Stripes, Union Jacks, and Canadian maple leafs.  Amongst that fleet will also be boats from many Europian countries and probably some Australian. As they arrive they will fly a yellow flag from the spreaders which indicates that the yacht has yet to check in with customs and immigration.

Some yachts are live-aboard cruisers, whose boat is their home, many of them will live on board for several years and some have children aboard. Some are snowbirds, heading south to escape the winter weather others will be cruising the Caribbean islands.

The boats vary in size and design, from 30 foot monohulls and catamarans, to 100+ foot mega yachts.  With 400 boats  that equates to over a thousand persons, which obviously plays a significant part to the local economy. The social life of the boaters is pretty hectic with daily volley ball matches, mass organized dinghy trips to various beaches and restaurants and culminating with  week long festivities at the cruising regatta. Events will include competitions in: The round-the island-yacht-race, talent shows, treasure hunts and sand sculptures.

boats at dock

Each morning the boats will listen to their vhf radios for weather forecasts and if there is a threat of strong winds in the future days then they often move their vessel to a more sheltered location, which is easily done in a large harbour that encloses many smaller islands.

The season starts in November and runs through to Easter, when many either start heading North to their summer home, or head  South to continue their Caribbean or even their circumnavigation.

This coming winter is expected to be busier than ever due to the devastation in the Northern Bahamas caused by hurricane Dorian. This monster storm ravaged The Abacos and Grand Bahama islands. Two of the islands that many cruisers visit. So where will they go this year?  Only time will tell, but many are expected to head on down to Great Exuma thus increasing the boat count for 2019-2020, and some years to come.

Black Point Sailing Regatta

sailing regatta

Last weekend was the annual Black Point Sailing Regatta. Held every year on the public holiday commemorating The Bahamas emancipation from Great Britain.

sailing regatta at Black Point

The event is held off the shores of Great Guana Cay, one of the many small islands which form part of the chain of islands known as The Exuma Cays.

This is the 56th year of this annual event and the commodore Gregory Adderley is the son of the founding commodore Lawrence Adderley who died earlier this year.

Black Point regatta

The 2019 winner was a local sloop “Crazy Partner”. Second was “Lady Eunice” and third “Sacrifice”. The races were in temperatures hovering around the high 90s with light winds.

Where to Exercise in Exuma

Beach Waves

The Exuma shoreline is dotted with beautiful soft sand beaches so there is no excuse for not enjoying a swim any time of the year.  The average water temperature around our coastline is 75 at the lowest in winter rising to 88 in summer and it is very rare that the swell becomes a problem.

Moriah Harbour Cay National Park
Moriah Harbour Cay National Park

Next on the list of where to exercise also involves our beaches. Now we are talking about walking or running.  What could be better that indulging in a brisk walk, or a run along a soft sand beach, maybe barefoot, with the sound of the Ocean breaking on the shore beside you.

Exuma’s beaches are not littered with beach umbrellas and deckchairs, our island is not that sort of resort. On most beaches at any time of year you can expect to be one of a few, or even the only, person in sight.

walking the shallows
walking the shallows

If you are fortunate enough to be renting in The Hartswell area you have the big advantage that you have access to Moriah Harbour Cay where you could exercise on the mile long North beach to your hearts content. Take a picnic and explore the ever changing beaches, spot the many juvenile sea creatures, turtles and rays. There are literally hours of exploring to do, so you will certainly burn those calories and be able to cool off with a relaxing swim. All with the bonus of a kayak trip to and from the deserted island and National Park.

Talking of kayaking. That’s another popular exercise in Exuma. Many rentals include kayaks in their listing, we at Harbour View certainly do. So burn those calories as you paddle the blue ocean, the mangrove areas, see the bonefish, watch for turtles and enjoy.

Harbor View Exuma kayak
Harbor View Exuma kayak

Wherever you stay for your accommodation you will be close to The Queens Highway.  So if beaches are not close by then you can walk or run the tarmac road.  There are no pavement or sidewalk so go with care.  Travel on the right hand side of the road so you are facing traffic and keep to the verge and wear something light colored or reflective.  It may sound dangerous, and I guess it is !  But I have have walked daily for many years and still have no tyre (tire) marks on me.

I would not recommend you exercise along the roads in dusk or dark or even an hour after dawn. Cars can have the sun directly in their eyes and have difficulty seeing you.

So have a great vacation, relax and burn some calories, keep hydrated, wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen.

sorry we don’t have a gym for you, but it’s more fun in the sun.

Weather in June in Exuma

Beach Waves

As June looms on the horizon it is time to look at the average weather statistics for the month of June.

The daily temperature is usually around 86 degrees during the daylight hours and dropping to 77 degrees at night.

June statistically is one of our wetter months with as much as 2 inches. But, when you check the weather forecasts during June you may see forecast saying “70% chance of rain”. Before you reach for the umbrella be aware that what this means in reality is that there is a 70% chance that it will rain somewhere in the islands. If you have experienced tropical weather you will know that we often get rain in very local patches.  Rain in George Town, not a drop in Hartswell.

The humidity has been climbing throughout the year and now it is approaching 90%. So its not surprising that if you exercise we recommend you get an early start before the sun gets too high.

That humidity we just mentioned will be to some extent offset by breezes from the East at 13 miles per hour.  Enough to provide a cooling effect, but not enough to make swimming or kayaking difficult.

Now we come to the best news !   The Ocean temperature has reached 83 degrees !!

So now we see the adults cooling off with a gin and tonic or a beer as they sit in the shallows and work on their tan.

So come and join us for the Month of June in Exuma. Check our website for availability

Cocktails of The Bahamas

Cocktails of The Bahamas

One of the pleasures of a vacation is to visit the local bars and sample cocktails.

Cocktails of The Bahamas are many and varied but tend to revolve around tropical produce like coconuts, pineapples and rum. So join me as we explore five of the best known cocktails of The Bahamas.

Bahama Mama

It is believed that the name derives from a Caribbean dancer and performer in the 1930s who also went by the stage name “Bahama Mama.”

To make the drink pour 1 ounce coconut rum, 1/2 ounce each dark rum, coffee liqueur, and grenadine, and 2 ounces each pineapple and orange juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a hurricane glass filled with cracked ice.

Sky Juice

The name comes from the fact that you need a coconut to make the cocktail and they grow on very tall trees, hence Sky Juice.

Sometimes called “Gully Wash”.  This cocktail varies from sweet to very sweet.

To make Sky Juice, gin is mixed with coconut water and condensed milk, served over ice  and garnished with freshly grated nutmeg. It’s creamy without being too thick, sweet without being too sweet.

Goombay Smash

Named after the wife of a bar owner in Abaco, Miss Emily. Although Miss Emily never touched a drop of liquor, she brewed the first Goombay smash. She made it in gallon batches from where she served it to the bar clients. Now it can be found throughout The Bahamas.

To make a Goombay Smash start with a large glass of ice cubes. Add six tablespoons of pineapple juice. Quarter cup orange juice.  Quarter cup of coconut rum. Two tablespoons white rum. 2 tablespoons good rum. Two tablespoons dark rum. Shake well and garnish with pineapple wedges.

Yellow Bird

This Cocktail of The Bahamas was named after the song “Yellow Bird”, made famous by Harry Belafonte.

The recipe says take the juice of half a lime, add one and a quarter ounces of orange juice or pineapple juice.  Add one ounce light rum. Add one ounce dark rum. quarter ounce Galliano liqueur or grenadine. Garnish with pineapple chunks.

Pineapple Upside Down Martini

This one is the easiest: Pour the pineapple juice, vodka and grenadine into a shaker full of ice. Shake, then strain into two martini glasses. Garnish with a piece of pineapple and a cherry on a skewer.

So there you have it. Five Cocktails of The Bahamas.  Try them and decide which is your favorite. But be warned, they have a kick so drink responsibly… Enjoy

If you go to our website you will find a comprehensive list of the bars and restaurants where you can try these local specialities

Beekeeping in Exuma

Bees in Exuma

Until recently there was no beekeeping in Exuma.

Bees were scarce  until the staff at the Exuma Foundation, under the leadership of Catherine Booker  intervened and had some hives imported with the help of the Savannah Bee Company.

Now, only three years later there are hives across the island and honey is being marketed from the Exuma Foundation facility on the Queens Highway halfway between town and the airport.

Watch the video to appreciate the dedication that goes into this venture and check out our more detailed review of the process on Harborviewexuma.com