Thursday, March 27, 2008

Eleuthera Explored (part 1)

Our first introduction to Eleuthera, was the anchorage of Royal Island. This is now a private island, so access to shore is prohibited and guards make sure of that. With two dogs needing “to go” twice a day, it’s not hard to imagine how we felt about the whole place. But, the weather was bad, so we had no other option. The heavy winds produced enough waves for us to get soaked each time we tried to sneak the dogs to shore, so they could crawl up the sharp rocks and relieve themselves. One day, we tried to move to Spanish Wells to pick up a mooring. Halfway there, we finally learned that all the spots were taken and had to return to our least favourite anchorage. On the way back, a big wave managed to climb over our port side, and once again, we got swamped. In the big boat, this time. The highlight of our time in Royal Island, was a big rain storm. We took advantage of the abundance of fresh water by taking a cold, but invigorating shower. It was a little hard to get the soap off, but it sure was nice to feel clean again!

We all had high hopes for Spanish Wells, written up in the cruising guides as a great spot to provision and do whatever needed to be done. Of course it was Sunday when we got there, and all of that good stuff had to wait another day. To make a long story short: Spanish Wells was pretty disappointing. We managed to get two loads of laundry done (cold water), somewhere in somebody’s back yard. We filled our water tank with brackish water and regretted that long after, filled up with diesel, and got some gas for the dinghy after the attendant first filled the jerry can with diesel, emptied the whole thing and then replaced it with the needed gas. We also bought just enough groceries to survive a little bit longer, after discovering Spanish Wells is extremely expensive ($4.25 for a bread!), and discovered there was no internet to be found, other than a $10 per hour computer store. We did like it, though, that plenty of trash cans dotted the streets.

One of the things all of us wanted to do was to visit Harbour Island on a day trip. We were able to take the dogs with us and had a good time away from our boats. The pink sand beach is nice and Dunmore Town has a lot of character. People are friendly and we were surprised to see that the area was less touristy than expected.

When the wind shifted again, making for a rolly night of sleep, we decided to motor to Meeks Patch, an island south of Spanish Wells. This proved to be a good move and soon we were followed by our friends from Cindy’s Island and Yankee Zephyr. Meeks Patch turned out to be our favourite spot in Eleuthera and all of us enjoyed the lovely beach, clear water, each other’s company, a fun night with a fire on the beach and some relaxation.

Once again, the weather made us move on, to Glass Window this time. To reach the mainland of Eleuthera, we had to pass through Current Cut, named appropriately, and managed to sail at a very slow pace to our destination. Cindy and Gray passed us along the way and took some great shots of Irie. The wind picked up, making Glass Window a very unpleasant place to spend the night. Mark and I took the dinghy down, loaded the dogs up, motored to shore and walked to see this not too special of a sight. On our way back, we had to challenge the high waves and took two of them in. Luckily, my camera was in its protective case. This was obviously not a place to stay, so we packed up and moved to Hatchet Bay, with all around protection.

In Hatchet Bay, we picked up a free mooring (nice treat) and got stuck for a week with bad weather. The poor, non-touristy town grew on us. We found a good place to take the dogs to shore, internet was available in the school’s computer lab ($5 an hour), there was a decent supermarket and people were very friendly. The only problem was our schedule to get to Rock Sound, where my parents would arrive on March 22nd. It was us against the weather again.

The day before that date, the wind direction turned in our favour and we used its 25 knots of speed to fly to Rock Sound, reaching up to 8 knots. We anchored in the huge bay, right in front of the homecoming stand. A mistake, we found out later that night, when the whole boat was shaking in the beat and the music exploded in our ears as if we were sleeping next to the speakers. Why do my parents always travel around Easter?

What would follow was a pretty hectic period of things not going the way we hoped. More about that (and accompanying pictures) later…


PJ said...

Very cool indeed.

How much is gas?

Headed down there in a week.

Eleuthera blog

Liesbet said...

Have fun in Eleuthera! Special place, indeed. It was a little disappointing to us (from a sailor's perspective). Wish we did more effort to reach Lighthouse Beach...

Gas is a little over $5 a gallon, diesel is about $4.85 a gallon. Hitching a ride is free (and easy)! Good luck with the picture shoots!