Marinas, Tight Lines & Stuff ...

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Valentine's Yacht Club & Inn
Harbour Island - 242 333 2142

Valentine's Dive Centre

* * *

Spanish Wells Marina

242 333 4122

Spanish Wells Yacht Haven

242 333 4255

Local professional fishing guides:

Bonefish Joe Cleare - 242 333 2663

Bonefish Stanley Johnson - 242 333 3205

Bonefish Stuart Cleare - 242 464 0146

Bonefish Vincent Cleare - 242 333 2072

Jef Fox - 242 333 2323

Captain Herman Higgs - 242 333 2453

Maxwell Higgs - 242 333 2323

Bonefish Jermaine Johnson - 242 464 0760

Artist Larry Cleare is also the lead singer of The Brilanders


The grouper is one of the most popular food fishes in the region and also the single most threatened fish in the Caribbean. It is already extinct in most of the islands and territories bordering the Caribbean Sea. Only the Bahamas has a significant grouper fishery today, and many feel that it is only a matter of time before this collapses as well. The reason for the demise of the grouper is its placid behaviour and relatively accessible life in shallow water. A definitive study of the fish of the region notes that it was once common in many locations, but its numbers have been greatly reduced by spearfishing. Its reaction to divers is: Tend to be curious; can often be closely approached with slow non-threatening movements.

Not only is routine fishing a threat to the survival of the grouper in the Bahamas, but like the salmon, its mating behaviour also exposes it to over-fishing. Every year, huge schools of grouper congregate in spawning aggregations where they are easily speared in the hundreds. On account of this the Bahamas government has started closing the sites of known aggregations, and generally is adopting a system of marine protected areas. The concept of marine reserves is not new, and is perhaps best exemplified by the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, which has been a no-take zone since 1986. Nevertheless, the idea had not been established as a national policy for the protection of marine life until recently. This has been largely based on the findings of other countries such as New Zealand where the idea has been strikingly successful. The conditions for marine reserves have been established as follows:

Per the Bahamas government, a system of marine fishery reserves should allow no extractive uses, be representative of a cross-section of all the biogeographic, ecosystem and species units in the region, be self-sustaining and protected from damaging influences from outside the reserve.

Now available in bookstores, or in bulk from Media Enterprises.
Written and edited by Larry Smith and Neil Sealey with cover photos by Mike Toogood, the Bahama Almanac was conceived, designed and produced by Media Enterprises Ltd. Visit our web site for details:, or e-mail us at

Hurricane Preparations
Make sure you are prepared for a storm.
Keep this list handy throughout hurricane season:

When the storm first threatens
When warning is issued
When the storm is hours away
During the storm
After the storm
The day after

Top of the page

When the storm first threatens:

- Move quickly without panicking. Start monitoring the news.
- DON'T be misled by landfall predictions; strong winds could arrive hours before official landfall.
- DON'T heed or spread rumors.
- Review emergency plans with your family. Practice where to go in the house as the hurricane intensifies.
- Get supplies. Follow instructions in this guide for food and water.
- If you plan to leave, start packing.
- Limit traveling to necessary trips.
- Refill any special medications.
- Fill up your car's fuel tank. Make sure you have a spare tire; buy aerosol kits that fix and inflate flats.
- DON'T fill gasoline cans; they are a fire hazard.
- Check battery, water and oil.
- Check flashlight and radio batteries and have extra on hand.
- Charge rechargeable cellular phones, drills, flashlights, lanterns, and batteries.
- Get cash.
- If time allows, get key important documents - passports, wills,
contracts, insurance papers, car titles, deeds, leases and tax information into safe deposit box. If not, put them in a home safe or other safe, dry place.

When warning is issued:
- Secure your boat; have aircraft flown out or secured.
- Get shutters, siding or plywood in place on windows. If you haven't sunk sockets, nail wood in with masonry nails.
- DON'T tape windows; tape can create daggers of glass and bake onto panes.
- Move vehicles out of flood-prone areas and into garages if possible. If not, park cars away from trees and close to homes or buildings.
- Move grills, patio furniture and potted plants into house or garage.
- Clear yard of loose objects. If you want to do any last-minute pruning, you must take the clippings inside; trash pickup will have been suspended and you'll be creating a nice pile of missiles.
- Remove swings, and tarps from swing sets. Tie down anything you can't bring in. Check again for loose rain gutters, or moldings.
- Prepare your pool.
- Prepare patio screening. It is built to sustain 75 mph winds but as it fills with wind it can separate from the frame. Officials recommend you remove a 6-foot panel on each side to let wind pass through. Pull out the tubing that holds screening in frame to remove screen.
- Remove roof antenna; unplug antenna wire from set first.
- Remove roof turbines and cap the holes with screw-on turbine caps. Unsecured turbines can fly off and create large hole for rain to pour through.
- Secure anything inside your home that can be thrown around. Tape or tie cabinets. Remove items from counter and tabletops. Close closet doors.
- DON'T turn off your natural gas at the main meter. Only emergency or utility people should do that.

When the storm is hours away:
It is now too late to do most of what needs to be done. There is still time to --
- Put on your medic-alert tag.
- Fill your tub and bottles with water.
- Prepare food and water according to rules in this guide.
- Shut your water at the meter to prevent contamination.
- Secure and brace external doors, especially double doors.
- Move as many valuables as possible off the floor to limit flooding damage.
- Move furniture away from windows or cover with plastic.
- Continue to listen to radio and television for instructions.
- Stay off the roads. It's too late to get supplies, and you'll be
competing with people trying to flee unsafe homes.
- Stay inside. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly, sometimes hours before landfall and often at night.

During the storm:
- Stay inside!
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- DON'T use telephone or electrical appliances.
- If storm becomes intense, retreat to designated interior hurricane safe room.
- If you fear your house will come down around you, get into a bathtub and place a mattress over you.

After the storm:
- DON'T leave your home or shelter until emergency officials tell you it's safe. You may only be in the eye, with half the storm - sometimes the stronger half - still to come.
- If you're not at home, don't return until you get the all-clear. Roads may be blocked by debris. Wait to learn from broadcast reports or shelter officials which roads are passable.
- Driving with be treacherous. Traffic lights will be out and streets filled with debris and downed power lines.
- If your neighborhood floods during the storm, listen to the radio for instructions. Rising water may require you to leave even after the storm has passed.
- Watch and listen for reports of storm-spawned tornadoes.
- DON'T call police, emergency or utility officials unless you have a life-threatening emergency.
- If you must call loved ones to let them know you're all right, be brief to free lines for others.
- DON'T touch power lines. Watch for downed lines. Assume all lines are live unless told otherwise.
- Watch your step. The area will be covered with broken glass and other debris. Parts of your home, your porch, tree limbs and bridges may be weakened and could collapse.
- Watch for insects, snakes and other animals - even alligators - driven out by high water.
- Puddles may conceal dangerous debris or contain sewage or chemicals.

The day after:
- DON'T sightsee. Roads will be clogged.
- You may have to show proof of residency before allowed back into your neighborhood.
- Use cell phones sparingly; they may be the only working phones, and only a limited number of cells will be operating. Battery use is limited. Also, many cellular phone towers may be down and cell phones may not work.
The Bahama Smack
By David Gale

A Bahama smack of the 1950's was a bowsprit sloop, 18 to 40 feet in length, traditionally measured on the keel, and as lovely as she was "functionable" - a wonderful Bahamian word used when something is both functional and comfortable.

Built of local, naturally crooked hardwood frames and native pine, and designed for fishing or inter-island trading, the only metal aboard a smack was the iron nails and spikes with which she was built. Even cleats and blocks were of wood, and of course, she had no engine. There was a small trunk cabin aft, but no cockpit. In the larger smacks there was a cargo hold forward with a hatch. Her on-deck stove, or cook-box, was a wooden box about three feet square, with about six inches of sand in its top on which to build a wood fire. A smack had no head (toilet) and most didn't even have a compass aboard. Many were built with live wells in them.

The mast and boom were solid straight pine trees, however, they usually took a "set" or twist causing them to be crooked as they aged. The mast was supported by wire rigging tightened by ropes and was without spreaders, while the boom overhung the transom by almost a quarter of its length and was very close to the deck.

The mainsail was fastened to the mast by lacing lines which ran through grommets in the sail, then back and forth around the mast in such a way as to allow jam-free hoisting and lowering. The sails were vertically cut of cotton cloths, very full and deep. The mainsail had a tremendous amount of roach in the loose foot, hanging way below the boom. It had a long headboard, almost a gaff, attached by a bridle to a single halyard.

A smack was a delight to behold, with a fine entry, a graceful sheer, and the distinctive heart-shaped transom unique to the Bahamian boat builder.

Bahamian Reef Etiquette
By Florence Williams

Because coral takes decades or longer to regrow, damage from visitor traffic leaves a lasting mark.

- Don't touch living coral, or stand on it, or take any of it. (Besides, you'll be spared the sting of hard-to-identify fire coral.)

- Make sure your flippers don't kick sand over the coral.

- If diving, don't wear gloves. Be sure you can control your buoyancy well enough to keep from descending too fast and crashing into coral.

- If boating, don't drop anchor on the reef. Before booking with dive-boat operators, ask how they keep their boats in place at the dive sites.

- If fishing, make sure the target species exists in healthy populations.   On Andros, for example, Nassau grouper appear to be overfished.

- Ask your hotel or marina whether it dumps effluents in the water. Resort managers should know that their guests are keeping a watch on the embattled reefs.

Harbour Island Club & Marina

242 333 2427

Hatchet Bay Marina

242 332 0186

Spanish Wells Marina

242 333 4122

Spanish Wells Yacht Haven

242 333 4255

Valentine's Yacht Club & Inn

242 333 2142