Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Sailboats in Exuma

anchored at night

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 weather  in their home area.

The migration starts around November as we see a trickle of  boats 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.

Cruising sailboats

Excursions in Exuma

"Overdraft" charter boat

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”

In addition Out Island Explorers also have a Hobie Cat for rent by the day, or the week.

So, contact Dallas and Tamara for full details and make your Exuma vacation that much more memorable while you stay at Harbour View.

Snorkeling close to home

coastline adventures

Just yards from our home, Harbour View, and in less than 10 foot of water lies one of the best snorkel spots in Exuma. Located just off shore between Hartswell and Moriah Harbour Cay.  While the area of the reef is not large it is well populated with all sorts of fish, from medium sized Grouper and Permit, to the dreaded Lion Fish, and even some lobsters, It’s a rewarding swim.

Exploring the Lagoon inside Moriah Harbour Cay

Moriah Harbour Cay

Moriah Harbour Cay is a marine reserve and has some of the best beaches in The Bahamas. But that is only part of the story. Because Moriah Harbour Cay is an island, a deserted island, access is limited to those with a boat or kayak, so it is unusual to see another person.

I regularly kayak across to the Cay and enjoy a leisurely walk along the edges of the lagoon that takes up the center section. Depending on the state of the tide you will see baby sharks, that approach you to see what is causing the noise as you paddle, they come within feet until they realize your size at which point they turn tail and accelerate.  The same applies to baby rays that live amongst the mangroves.

Take a walk in the warm water, let the stresses of modern day wash away and watch natures young creatures. For more information check out our website

A Day Trip with Robert’s Island Adventures

swimming pigs

Want a day trip on a boat, full of adventure, great scenery, pristine blue waters, including the famous swimming pigs?  Then give Roberts Island Adventures a call and they will make it a reality.

Robert Thompson, born and bred in Exuma has spent his life with boats and the Ocean. Now the proud owner of Roberts Island Adventures, he has a fleet of power boats including a 38 foot Rabco that takes crew and four guests, and a 35 foot Avanti that takes up to 6 guests and crew. All boats are regularly maintained and have all necessary safety gear.

Robert and his son William are the skippers and they are just itching to take you and your friends on either a full day or half day trip of a lifetime. Whether your interest in going snorkeling, spear fishing or fishing, the boys know where to go to get the best results. They know where the turtles can be found, they know where the lobsters are hiding, so you can be sure of getting those pictures you crave or that fish dish you were planning.

Their all day trip starts by wending your way through the smaller cays, passing by the islands of the stars, David Copperfield, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Tiger Woods, they all have homes on a Cay (an island). The order of the stops will vary with the tide but you will stop at Leaf Cay and go ashore to see the iguanas, unique to the Bahamas. Feed them some grapes, pose for the photo op and off we go.  Next stop may be at Big Major Cay where you will be greeted by the sight of pigs of various sizes swimming out to the boat, looking to be fed. Be warned, these are wild animals and they do not like their backs scratched as they get sunburn.  After a fun time and more pictures its “all aboard” and off to swim with the sharks! No panic, their nurse sharks, large and intimidating but basically harmless. The last part of the trip is to Thunderball Cave close to the island of Staniel Cay. This picturesque location was in one of the first James Bond films, and it truely is spectacular. More fish of all varieties and the hole in the roof provides beams of light which reflect down into the water.
Now its time to digest the exciting places you have visited as the boat makes its way back to Exuma.

Robert’s adventures come with a knowledgable and smiling crew and a cooler of cold beverages. So indulge yourself, and let Roberts Island adventures provide you the trip of a lifetime. To book go to his website

roberts island adventures

Bonefishing with Stevie

bonefish Stevie
bonefish Stevie
bonefish Stevie

If bonefishing is your pastime then Stevie should be your guide and Exuma your destination. Our island has a worldwide reputation as one of the premier locations to seek out the silver bullets.

Bonefish are one of the most difficult species of fish for anglers to tussle with. Their silver color blends in the sun shining on the Ocean and their skittish nature magnifies the difficulty. Once you have cast your line and got them to bite you can prepare yourself for a  battle. They are renown for their power and stamina and have been known to run out the anglers full line, or find a reed to tangle the line.

Bonefish are to be found throughout the Exuma chain of islands but locally their are two favorite areas that Stevie is likely to take you. His choice will depend on several factors, the main one being the state of the tide. This is because the fish grub for shrimps and crabs in the sand and mud as the tide comes in so you prefer to fish on a rising tide.

“Bonefish Steve” grew up in Hermitage in Exuma and has more than 20 years experience teaching and guiding clients in how to find, how to cast, and how to catch these elusive fish. Bonefish are not for eating, they are strictly catch and release. Thereby not depleting the numbers.

For 10 years Stevie was the go-to guide for the Peace and Plenty Hotel. The story goes, as a young lad he was on the dock one day when the hotels regular fishing guide was missing and Stevie got the chance to show clients where to fish.  The largest number of bonefish are to be found on the south side of the island where the flats stretch for miles and here you find the shoals, mostly juvenile and therefore small to medium size. The fish tends to stay in shoals when young then as they mature they become more solo and move. Often to the North shore of Exuma and one of their favorites is between Hartswell and the south shore of Moriah Harbour Cay, directly in front of our home Harbour View. Here are the big fish and you can fish, either alone wading through the warm water, or with the help and advise of “bonefish Steve”

Steve will take you for a half or full day trip. He picks you up from your accommodation, takes you to his boat, then off to wherever the best prospects are that day, taking into consideration the state of the tide, the wind direction and your experience level.  Good Luck !

To find Steve go online to his website

Adventure Trips in Exuma

"Overdraft" charter boat

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”

In addition Out Island Explorers also have a Hobie Cat for rent by the day, or the week.

So, contact Dallas and Tamara for full details and make your Exuma vacation that much more memorable while you stay at Harbour View.

Guest Review:

swimming pigs

As the owner of a rental property I fully understand that when I extoll the benefits of a vacation on our fabulous island, and tell you why you should consider staying at Harbour View; you may question whether my claims are accurate.  So instead take a minute to read what our recent guests have to say:-

“If you are planning on visiting Exuma and are wondering where to stay, save yourself the time and look no further. Book direct with Harbour View.  We explored the majority of the island and many different beaches during our stay and I promise you will not find a more beautiful beach than the one outside your door. Moriah Cay has to be the most beautiful place on earth and they are not lying when they say that your footprints will be the only ones on the beach. Imagine finding one of most beautiful places on earth and then having it all to yourself.

On top of the stunning location, Don and Gail were amazing hosts, never once intruded on our vacation but were always just a moment away if we needed anything at all. It’s like having a personal island guide with knowledge of literally everything that goes on on the island. Don even greeted us at the shore one evening with fresh warm towels when my fiancé and I got caught in small rain storm while over on Moriah.

Definitely plan on renting a car while you’re here. We rented from Thompson’s rental and had zero hassle. The rental place is right across the road from the airport so it’s super convenient! Although you do drive on the left side of the road, there is literally one main road that runs across the entire island so it’s very basic, easy driving and not much traffic! Our preference for groceries was the Exuma market in Georgetown located a few miles from the rental. Of course everything is a little pricey but the market had a much larger selection than the others we saw and with lots of fresh produce .

The hundreds of reviews for this rental are soo positive for a reason. Don’t let this one pass you by. We will most definitely be planning another trip back to this little slice of heaven on earth. Thank you so much Don and Gail for your amazing hospitality and the opportunity to explore such a beautiful place.”

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.

 

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