Secrets of the Exumas Revealed
15. March 2014
Whether it’s a lobster hidey hole or the best break in a southeast wind, Exuma locals, like insiders everywhere, can be protective of their favorite spots. Although we aren’t in the know on every niche, we can assure you you’ll find plenty of top-notch opportunities to experience your watersport of choice.
If you’re going for bonefish, hiring a local guide, such as Stevie Ferguson, may be your best bet for getting clued in on the local knowledge. That being said, the flats around Moriah Harbour, as well as flats running the majority of the island’s leeward side, are popular with tours and independent adventurers alike.
Similarly, deep sea fishing is often most affordably accessed with a local tour provider. But if you’re looking to make an excursion, the deep water off the tip of Long Island, less than 40 miles away, is often a thoroughfare for mahi and wahoo. Depending on the season, a run along the ridge from Elizabeth Harbor past Emerald Bay (Sandals) can also be productive.
For those who own or rent skiffs and other small boats, nearby and easily accessible cast fishing and spearfishing opportunities are available just beyond many of the cuts connecting Elizabeth Harbor with the Exuma Sound. Situate yourself near some underwater structure (clearly visible in these waters), put some conch on a hook, and you’re almost guaranteed action.
Diving, Snorkeling, and Underwater Photography
Because snorkeling but not spearfishing is permitted in Elizabeth Harbor, safe and protected reefs make for great sightseeing and underwater photography in a range of conditions. Several buoys mark reefs for sail and power vessel navigation, and you can find vibrant underwater structures near them. Another local favorite, the interior of the Stocking/Elizabeth Island cut offers a reef wall protected from the surf at mid- to low tides.
For SCUBA enthusiasts, blue holes, existing in only a few locations worldwide, are a special treat. Snorkelers can also float also float atop these unique wonders to view resident sea life. Caves along the interior of Stocking Island enable amateurs to take a peek, but the depths of Mystery Cave must be limited to experts due to labyrinthine complexity and depths (200+ feet) requiring exotic gases. Jacques Cousteau’s team is said to have traveled 1,700 miles into Mystery Cave, a feat only for the world class.
Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, and Surfing
Exuma Sound-facing beaches, including those on Great Exuma and Stocking Island, are favorites for watersports. Protected by Long Island, these areas exclude steep surf except in strong north to northeast winds, but conditions are consistently welcoming for kiteboarding and windsurfing.
Another option is the Moriah Harbor area. In high winds, it offers protection from swells, making for a flat, fast ride many beginner and intermediate kiteboarders and windsurfers especially appreciate. Additionally, this beautiful area is in the process of becoming a protected sea park and is well worth a visit for beach-lounging purposes alone.
Finding Your Best Spot
One of the best things about Exuma is the friendliness of its Bahamian residents and the others who call it home. Any watersport enthusiast would be well served by heading to one of the local haunts, where you just might strike up a conversation with an insider willing to share some more of the secrets of this island paradise.
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