“What an amazing trip!! Everything we’ve ever dreamed of, perfect setting with perfect hosts. We explored Exuma and its beaches but we always ended up at Moriah Cay. What a special place. Everything that you described was so accurate and stunning.
Kayaking, swimming, exploring, sunbathing, places to eat.
Special thanks for such easy and pleasurable arrangements. Look forward future stays.
As we glide into May in Exuma, let me tell you what we expect from the weather gods this month. May is one of our favorite months with comfortable temperatures and warm Oceans.
The temperature is hovering around 85 degrees F so don’t forget the sunscreen, especially when you are on the beach. At night it will drop down to the mid seventies for a peaceful nights sleep.
May is one of the months when we can experience a total of an inch and a half of rain, but this seems to be less each year. When it does rain it is usually a short sharp downpour, with the sun returning minutes later.
May is not a favorite month for the windsurfing fans as our winds normally hover around 13 miles per hour, be aware that this refreshing breeze may deceive you into not applying the sun screen.
Perhaps the best news of all is that the Ocean temperature will be into the eighties, so you can just relax in the blue water and appreciate Exuma’s amazing beaches.
On April 23rd 2019 TheAnnual Out Island Regatta starts.
Over the next five days the population of Exuma escalates as visitors from many of the family islands descend on Great Exuma to enjoy some great boat races, loads of Bahamian food and one heck of a lot of Kalik, rum punches and Bahama Mamas.
The regatta started 66 years ago with the intention of preserving the boat building skills that the islands possessed from generations of fishermen and boat builders. The type of boats are called skiffs. They are entirely built of wood, usually around 30ft long with a forward mounted mast of exceptional length.
The long boom means the boat can carry enormous sails for such asmall craft.The boat carries several lead blocks for ballast and a crew of around 10, some of which will sit on a hefty plank well out to the beam of the boat, to act as a counter-weight to the sails and wind force.
The skill is to slide back into the boat and back out the other side as the boat rounds a marker.
The boats are divided into classes A thro’ E depending on their size. Each boat must be designed, built and skippered by a Bahamian.
Each race is two laps around a triangular course inside Elizabeth Harbour and there are some large financial prizes.
There are about ten boats in each race and they line up and anchor on the start line. The commodore of the Regatta fires a cannon to signify the start of each race. Then its chaos as the crew scramble to lift the anchor, raise the sails and steer clear of the competitors.
Following the race are a series of spectator boats cheering on the boat from their island.In addition there are more spectator boats at the turn bouys, which is where collisions and capsizes are most frequent.
While the main focus is on the water, back on land you find wooden shacks lining the streets of George Town, each offering drinks and/or food and LOUD music. !So by early evening you can imagine that many visitors and locals are well lubricated and dancing the night away.
So as we move into April let me tell you what weather your Exuma vacation has in store for you. Weather records have been collected for many years and averaged so we can be sure that it will not snow this April in Exuma ! in fact we are seeing a trend for higher temperatures.
The average daytime temperature in April is 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees centigrade) and drops to a comfortable 73 degrees at night. So open windows and no need for air conditioning.
The humidity is rising and April levels are expected to be around 61%, which is comfortable but does mean in my case that my daily walks move from an afternoon event to an early morning happening.
Rain is forecast to total one inch for the month. When you consider that rain in Exuma tends to be in short heavy amounts, it probably means it will rain about twice this month.
Winds in April average around 13mph from the east. Around twice during the month we may get stronger wind from the West. These tend to be remnants of storms off the east coast of the US. On those occasions a day with wind from the west will be followed by another blustery day with wind from the north, then 24 hours later it will settle down to an easterly breeze. Great for those who live for Kitesurfing.
Perhaps the most important weather fact for those on vacation in Exuma, is the Ocean temperature. The good news is that it is expected to be at least 78 degrees. So you can spend as much time as you like in the water.
As vacation rental property owners we feel a responsibility to ensure that our guests get the maximum pleasure from their vacation. But we have to draw a fine line as on-site owners between respecting our guests privacy and helping them get the most from their valued time.
When a guest arrives we are well aware that it can be overwhelming after an all day travel experience to be in a new country, a new island, new accommodation. where to go?, what to do?, what not to do?
The answer is a “Welcome to Harbour View” book. It’s there in the lounge for them to read and benefit, as and when they are relaxed; in their own time. So when they arrive we only have to greet them and point out a few basics, such as operation of the air conditioning. How to contact us if they have a question, or are looking for local knowledge.
The Welcome book is divided into chapters.
The first chapter relates to a few house facts. Such as; our internet details. We are on a well so we appreciate guests being frugal with water. That we recommend they use bottled water (where to get it, where to get bottles refilled) for drinking.
The second chapter is about traveling. Guests are advised to rent a car in advance of their arrival. So we remind that we drive on the left. That they should put our phone number into their mobile phone or take one of our business cards so they can contact us if they experience a problem. Similarly they are encouraged to take the welcome book with them.
The third chapter is a comprehensive list of the many beaches that they can visit. Each beach is shown on a map with the distance from our house. So that if they set the mileometer to zero when they leave the home, their beach destination is known to be “x” kilometers away. The beach is described by size, whether there are shells, shade or which is best protected from winds.
The fourth chapter is a comprehensive list of restaurants. Again we give directions, show each on a map, and give the distance. We also enclose a menu in order that they can get some idea of the range of costs and whether they have specialities… asian food….. Bahamian fare. And most important, the contact phone number and which days they might close. There is nothing worse than getting all dressed up and driving 20 minutes to find some restaurant is closed.
The fifth chapter is a list of special excursions that are available. These range from fishing guides (bone fishing is very popular in Exuma), scuba trips, ATV guided tours, kiteboarding lessons, and of course the most popular at present is the “swimming pigs” trip. This is an all day boat trip through several of the nearby tropical islands with stops to see, feed and swim with wild pigs on a deserted island, see and feed wild Iguanas found only in Exuma, to swim with (or not) nurse sharks, and to swim and explore Thunderball Cave, made famous in two James Bond films. An exciting and a trip to remember. Well our book tells you who runs the trip, who to contact, how much it costs, and where to go on the big day.
So what have I learned from writing this story? That I can improve my welcome book.
I can add photos. I can make my welcome book more interesting to my valued guests.
In fact I think I will devote some time to making my book, not just factual and informative, but make it a coffee table book and find out how much it would cost to print and present to our guests as a thank you for staying with us. If the improved version sits on their coffee table it could be talking point with friends and, who knows , maybe a new enquiry??
Travel Tip created by Don at Harbour View Exuma in association with Vacation Soup
I don’t know that we have enough words to express how grateful and blessed we feel to have met two of the most gracious, sweet, kind, caring people, our hosts and now friends, Don & Gail Amesbury.
From our very first inquiry about your beautiful vacation rental, we knew that we wanted to book with you just from the sincerity of your e-mail back to us. The details and info. you provided before we even arrived to the island was unbelievable. I would recommend to anyone thinking of booking with you, to not even take a second thought! Just book it and let Don & Gail walk you through what you need to know, they are the pros. They made our vacation, the very best ever, from beginning to end!
After booking, and from the correspondence from Don & Gail, we decided to get married in Exuma, and that was the best decision ever! We had planned to get married in Sept. this year but decided to have our dream wedding in Exuma and it was better than anything I could have ever imagined! It was truly magical. We went with an open mind and took all of their advice, and it couldn’t have been better. From the bottom of our hearts we are truly grateful to both of you, our new friends from Exuma.
Their apartment overlooking Moriah Cay, was incredible and waking up each morning with view from our bed was something we will truly miss. Exploring around the extremely private island right across from their place was beyond amazing! We never saw one other person on the island each time we were their. We saw sea turtles, baby sharks, starfish, sting rays, and the most beautiful beaches ever. It was truly heaven on earth.
The apartment was spotless and had everything we needed and more for the perfect relaxing vacation!
I can’t recommend their place enough and we look so forward to returning to this amazing piece of paradise!!!
Every year here in Exuma we watch a community of sailboats grow in our picturesque islands. Many are known as snow birds and they bring their boats to Exuma to escape the bitter winter weatherin their home area.
The migration starts around November as we see a trickle ofboats enter into Elizabeth Harbour and drop anchor in one of the many perfect locations that offer access to the soft sand beaches and protection from the prevailing wind.
Elizabeth Harbour is a beautiful area extending some 7 to 8 miles East to West and around a mile North to South. The southern shore is Great Exuma, the main island. The northern shore is a string of islands starting with Stocking Island at the western end, followed by Elizabeth Cay, then Guana Cay and finally Fowl Cay at the eastern end. So this Harbour is both large and well protected from the Ocean swells.
Inside the Harbour area are more small islands so during their stay in Elizabeth Harbour, which can vary from a few weeks to maybe 6 months, the boats can change their anchorage and their surroundings based on changes in the weather and the pure desire to change their setting.
Who is on these boats? Well it is a real mixture of solo sailors, many couples, and some families with children. The majority have travelled from Northern America and Canada.
The boats they are living aboard also vary from sailboats ranging from the 30ft to 60ft, some catamarans, mostly monohulls then a few power boats.
As Christmas approaches the numbers continue to increase, until by the New Year the totals are around 400 to 500.
So you are on a sailboat in a beautiful tropical setting, escaping the crappy weather up North, but what are you going to do with yourself each day?Well we can swim, snorkel and scuba in 70 degree water, we can play volleyball each afternoon with your fellow boaters on the four courts on Stocking Island.We can set up groups to play bridge or mahjong.
Each of the boats will have an inflatable run about of 10ft to 15ft that they use as their personal transport to get ashore, go shopping, visit other boats.
At the end of the season, usually starting at Easter, the numbers start to decline as some boats leave to return to the East coast of the US where the boat will be stored for the summer and the owners fly home. Others leave their boats in Elizabeth Harbour when they head home. There are areas in the Harbour where many moorings have been placed ready to accept stored boats. The boats are managed by local boatmen who check the security of the boats, run the electrics to keep the battery charged, and open them occasionally to avoid stale air.
There is another category of boater that I have not mentioned. That is the true cruiser. Usually a couple, sometimes a full family, that are fortunate enough to be able to adopt the cruising lifestyle and travel the world at a leisurely pace (Ah sweet memories !). Not surprisingly you will be able to pick them out by the national flag at their stern.
So there you have a short version of the life on those many boats that visit this boaters paradise.
Why don’t you visit Exuma and experience it for yourself. If you don’t have a boat you could stay with us at Harbour View.
One of the leading providers of adventure trips in Exuma is Out Island Explorers. A family run business headed by Tamara and Dallas, with help from their photogenic boys, Joss and Emit.
Whether your interest is kayaking, sailing, fishing or snorkeling, Out Island have you covered.
Their kayak trips range from a daily rental trip in company with others, with a variety of start points so you can explore different areas of the famous blue waters. Next on their agenda are trips over several days. These usually follow a route through the Exuma Cays with camping each night. The most exciting trip is probably through the worlds first marine park at Waderick Wells Cay, where because of the no fishing rules, the many species of fish, turtles and lobsters are among the largest and more plentiful you are likely to see.
Out Island Explorers also run sailing trips. Their fleet of 21ft shallow draft boats can sail the leeward waters of the islands which are sheltered from the Atlantic resulting in sailing in calm seas enabling you to see through the shallow waters.
The fleet is accompanied by the Out Island staff, with camping at night and camp fire meals. Trips vary from two or three days to an extended trip to Staniel Cay with a flight back to Exuma.
Dallas and Tamara also have a 30ft power boat and will take you for a half or full day charter for either snorkeling, fishing, or a trip to an offshore island, aptly names Sandy Cay, which was the setting for many scenes in “Pirates of the Caribbean”