Hello from Spanish Wells! We did finally get a good weather window to leave Rock Sound at the southern end of Eleuthera, and are now at the northern end by Spanish Wells. It has been a great trip north, and somewhat north-west, and we have been at some gorgeous anchorages along the way.
We left Rock Sound last Saturday, March 30, and went about 20 nautical miles north to a very secluded, quiet bay called Kemp’s Bay – just south of Pineapple Cays. We were heading 345 degrees, about NW, and the wind was 16 – 18 knots from the east so it was great to get both sails out and shut the motor off for over half the trip. Awesome!
As Sunday was supposed to be a gorgeous, calm day we decided to stay there and enjoy the Bay. Sharon got her paddleboard out, got some snorkeling in and I was able to scrub more on the bottom of the boat which seems to be attracting some mild growth. Funny thing being in warm water. We also heard Rock Sound Harbor has a lot of “stuff” in the harbor so I think we got a bit more growth after spending a week there. I also had issues with our knotmeter impeller not working as well, so after diving on it I finally took it out from inside the boat and there was gunk init that I think was impeding its ability to spin as freely. Good thing I don’t look at our instruments such as speed, wind, etc. that much – right!! (My brother-in-law, Jeff, would be rolling his eyes at me at this point!)
Anyway, it was a glorious day spent at anchor on Sunday and was actually the first time of the whole trip that we were anchored with absolutely no other boats around. Very peaceful!
Monday, April 1, we pulled up anchor and headed first for Governor’s Harbor. It seems like a pretty popular place to stop, although we also heard some precautions about not having as good of holding for anchors. It was only about 10 miles north for us so we pulled into the main harbor already at 11:00 am, only to find two other boats trying to get a good holding for their anchor, and one guy saying he had 175 of chain out, so please don’t anchor over top of it, if you please! It was only about 12 feet deep, so 175 feet of chain seemed quite excessive to us, so we decided to go back around the point to anchor for a lunch stop in the bay just south of Governor’s Harbor. Sharon and Max went ashore for a short walk while I worked on the boat bottom a bit more, and after about two hours we pulled up anchor and headed north again.
At 2:30 pm, after going another 7 miles or so, we put our anchor down in Alabaster Bay, which ended up being equally as nice as Kemp’s Bay. Onshore there was a beautiful resort called Cocodimamma Resort and it maintained a stunning beach that was great for walking and enjoying. Sharon once again got her paddleboard out on the water and even took Max for a ride. He actually greatly enjoys going on the paddleboard and stays quite still as she paddles him around.
Tuesday, April 2, we pulled up anchor in Alabaster Bay and headed to Goulding Bay and the well-known Glass Window bridge and the Queen’s Bath. This was a trip of just under 20 miles so we left around 9:00 am. The wind was about 7 – 8 knots from the south and we were headed at about 310 degrees, so WNW, so we put the headsail out, backed the RPM’s down to about 1800 and still maintained 6.3 – 6.4 knots. Very nice!
We reached Goulding Bay at about noon and anchored up by the Glass Window bridge and Queen’s Bath area. Unfortunately the wind was clocking to be more SW and we had no protection from west winds, so we had some rolling but at least the wind didn’t get much over 10 – 12 knots so it wasn’t too bad. It did, however, end up making for an interesting dinghy landing to see the Glass Window and Queen’s Bath. Basically we got to the beach and the wind was directly behind us, so the waves pushed the dinghy around as we were trying to get out of it and get it secured. We ended up using our dinghy anchor to anchor it out and away from the beach to prevent it from getting full of water.
From the boat, the Glass Window looks quite foreboding. The Glass Window is a bridge in one of the skinniest parts of Eleuthera that has the dark blue, very deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the green, very shallow waters of the Bahamas Banks on the other. The area under the bridge is what they refer to as the “window.” Not sure why it’s called the “glass” window, but it is quite interesting to see. The foreboding part of it is that from the boat all you see is rocks and cement, and it looks very sterile compared to the lush green of the rest of the islands. Don’t know if that makes sense or not. Check out the picture below to see what I mean.
But walking across the bridge and looking at the Atlantic side and then the Banks side was kind of cool. However, it was an amazing thing to see how deep and blue the water is on one side, and then only a few hundred feet west it is only 3 – 8 feet deep.
We also visited the Queen’s Bath, which is on the Atlantic side. All along the Atlantic side are incredible cliffs that fall straight down into the Atlantic with depths of over 600 feet just a short ways out. The Queen’s Bath is a section “carved” into one of the cliffs that has smaller pools of water in which one can sit in and enjoy if one so chooses, which Sharon did. But the most spectacular part of the Queen’s Bath is seeing the water rushing into and then away from the cliffs and see the sheer majesty of the water and waves. Wow!
On Wednesday, April 3, we were able to make it to Spanish Wells. It was an easy trip of about 20 miles, but we had to go through a small cut between some islands called Current Cut. We had to time it correctly with a slack tide, the period within 10 – 15 minutes or so just before or just after high or low tide, because otherwise the current that goes through there can get up to 5 – 7 knots. What that means is that if you go through there at 6 knots and push against a 7 knot current, you’re going to go backwards. Not good. So, we went through it just prior to high tide at 9:00 am and only had a 0.5 knot current against us. Nice.
We left Goulding Bay at 6:50 am already to go the 10 miles to Current Cut. We probably left too early, but it allowed us not have to rush and to even put out the headsail and sail awhile with a nice 7 – 9 knot wind off our beam. Very cool!
After getting through Current Cut, we had another 10 miles or so to go and by 10:15 am already we were anchored just outside of Spanish Wells. After lunch we put the dingy down and headed to see the town and to get some groceries. It seemed like we had heard of Spanish Wells from a number of people, especially our good friends Bob and Kim back home, and it lived up to how pretty a town it was. The buildings were all very colorful and most were kept up well. We also stopped at Budda’s Bar and Grill for Happy Hour as it came highly recommended to us by Bob and Kim. And what a fun place it was!
After spending time walking around and then getting groceries, we dinghied back to the boat and pulled up anchor again. The wind was picking up out of the east and since we had no land protection from that direction where we were we moved about two miles south to the west side of Meeks Patch Cay which shielded us from east winds. We noticed a number of other boats doing the same thing.
The winds were projected to be a bit worse today, which they were, so we stayed here and have been quite comfortable despite it being a windy, cloudy day.
Saturday is supposed to be a better day with only moderate winds from the east so we hope to make it a ways up the Abacos to the Lynard Cay area, a distance of 60 or so miles. We will probably move to a bay nearby at Royal Island tomorrow and leave early on Saturday to make the jump. We’ll let you know how it goes!