Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Position: 25 32.536N, 076 44.729W
Posted by Bill
The day after we arrived at the Glass Window anchorage we went ashore to see the Glass Window, which is a natural gap in the island of Eleuthera that was caused by the constant pounding of the waves and years of hurricanes that eventually wore a gap in the land. The Bahamians built a bridge over it and you can hike to it and see the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the aqua waters of the sound on the other. The winds have been relentless and we had a very wet dinghy ride to shore. The views were breathtaking, and worth the effort to go ashore and hike to the bridge.
The sound side:
The ocean side:
Our boats anchored by the Glass Window:
Then we pulled anchor and motored directly into the wind and seas for 3 hours to Hatchet Bay. The winds were between 12 and 25 knots and the seas were 5 to 6 feet with a 2 second period…not fun. The boat would bash into a wave and then pound down into the trough, one right after another every 2 seconds. It was miserable. Fortunately, the trip was only a few hours, and Hatchet Bay Pond is protected 360 degrees by hills, so we were going to a calm place to anchor. You have to go through a narrow cut in the cliffs to enter that is only about 2 boat widths wide. We got pushed around by the current as we entered but it looks more intimidating than it really is. You could not let the boat get away from you, and had to feel the movement and react immediately.
Once inside, the water was calm and flat, and this is the first place we have anchored in flat water since Georgetown, a welcome relief. We anchored at position 25 21.046N, 076 29.520W, and went ashore to the small village of Alicetown and grabbed dinner at Twin Brothers. It was a pretty good dinner. The town is really depressed. Most of the houses and businesses are very small run down buildings, and you would see a decent house followed by ruins, followed by a house that has been under construction for probably 10 years. The people are poverty stricken by US standards. You see this throughout the Bahamas, but it was really bad here. The next day we tried to find a place to do laundry, to no avail, and walked around town. The grocery store was really nice and had pretty decent prices. Hatchet Bay has had so many great reviews and write ups. We didn’t get it. The harbor was ok, but we have seen much nicer places. The people in town were mixed…some very friendly, and others downright bitchy. Usually the Bahamians are all very friendly. We bought some groceries and dumped our trash.
The Princesses, Tricia and Jan, at Princess street…lol:
Trash is a big deal cruising the Bahamas. Through most of the Exumas you have to carry your trash with you as there is no place to dump it. It is amazing how much trash we generate as humans. On our boat we are very conscious of minimizing trash, but it is very hard to do. Some places in the Exumas will take trash for a fee, like $6/bag. Trash management is a major issue for these small cays, and most have a trash heap that is burned regularly. We had been carrying trash for about 10 days, and were glad that Eleuthera doesn’t charge to dispose of it.
In the anchorage we saw a turtle and several rays. It is a good place to hide from winds and seas, but we wouldn’t go back unless we needed that protection.
A turtle in the bay:
Views of the bay:
Today we had calm winds and relatively calm seas, so we upped anchor and motored to Spanish Wells on the north end of Eleuthera. Another front is moving in tomorrow, and we grabbed a mooring ball in a sheltered spot to weather it. There have been reports that the moorings aren’t well maintained and that they have broken loose recently, sending boats adrift, but ours looks ok, and there are no good places to anchor here. There aren’t any good places to land a dinghy in town either, and we had to tie up to a concrete wall about 4 feet above the dinghy. We threw out a stern anchor to keep the dinghy from hitting the wall while we were ashore. Spanish Wells is a quaint Bahamian town, much like some of the towns in the Abacos, with well kept colonial style homes painted bright colors. We found a great place to eat and drink called Buddha’s. Buddha greeted us as we walked up and promised us great food and a happy hour. We hitched a ride on a golf cart to get there and the driver told us that the conch fritters and cracked conch was the best around…boy was he right…both of them fantastic. We retreated home to an infestation of no-see-ums…major bummer.
We will wait out the weather and enjoy this town. Looks like we have a good weather window to cross to the Abacos on Sunday, and that is our current plan.