On the way to the Bahamas, we got stuck in Miami for 3 nights due to Hurricane Sandy. Not a bad place to be stuck, we took advantage of the time to eat all our favorite American dishes that we had missed in the past 2 months of traveling to South America. We also took in 2 movies (Argo and 7 Psychopaths) — first movies we have been to during our travels. Miami had small amounts of rain and wind. We stayed in South Beach, so we were able to stroll the beaches each day. Nice!
Once we arrived in Exuma Bahamas, we had another surprise awaiting us at the airport. The caretaker of the house we rented said the power was off at the house due to the storm. No worries, we rented a beach front hotel with really great views.
For a slide show of Exuma, click here.
That hotel was fully booked the second day, so we rented another hotel with even better views.
After 2 days, our caretaker agreed to give us refund us for the house with no power, so we rented a cool little beach cottage a few minutes from the beach, snagged a car, and settled in. The Bahamas were once British owned, so people drive on the left side of the road here. This allowed Lynn and I to check off one of our bucket list items — drive on the left side of the road.
At first, it was really strange. I kept mumbling to myself “stay of the left, stay on the left.” Driving to roundabouts were also different — you take the left way around the roundabout instead of the right. But interesting enough, after about 2 days of doing it, it felt absolutely normal.
The biggest challenge is that the blinkers are on the right of the steering wheel — I kept hitting the wipers ever time I tried to put on the blinkers. The radio volume is also on the right instead of the left, so we changed the radio station instead of the volume.
Since we are staying the in the Bahamas for several weeks, I wonder how it will feel to drive on the right side when we return home!
Exuma is about 50 miles from one end to the other. We drove around the island and discovered new beaches — all with impeccable white sand and blue waters. These are probably the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen (sorry Florida). In the capital (Georgetown), we hopped a water taxi to Stocking Island. This is a small island with great views and a cool little restaurant called Chat and Chill.
The owner of this place is a 63-year-old ex-banker with a degree from the University of Chicago. He was very successful but decided to pitch it all, return to the Bahamas and open up a restaurant where he could enjoy the company of travelers and just chill. The Chat and Chill restaurant is aptly named. The owner is a well-read guy that will talk your ear off about current events, his extensive travels, and his 5 children. It was fun getting to know him. Here are some of the incredible views from his place:
He also has a little place that makes fresh conch salads beach-side. They pull the conch out of the water, extracts it from the shell, slices it up mixing it with lime juice, diced tomatoes, onions and other ingredients. Then they feed the stingrays with the left over parts of the conch. Notice the huge stingray that came up to me, I petted it as it swam by.
No visit to Exuma is complete until you swim with the pigs. Didn’t know pigs could swim? Neither did I! We had a full day boat tour of many of the surrounding cays and when we arrived at one of the cays, pigs saw the boat and swam out to see us. We jumped in the water and began feeding and swimming with them. I’ve never seen anything like it, very cool!
During the excursion, we saw many islands that were privately owned by the wealthy (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, AT&T executives, Nicholas Cage, etc.). Tim McGraw’s house was incredible, huge 10,000 square foot mansion on the water.
We also snorkeled into a cave where they filmed the ending of James Bond’s Thunderball.
On our way back to the dock, we stopped by a small cay filled with land iguanas. We fed the iguanas — they were not afraid of us, they came right up.
Our next stop is to a different Caribbean Island – Long Island Bahamas. We will stay there for a few weeks before returning back to Florida. Hasta Luego!
For a slide show of Exuma, click here.