Grand Bahama to Eleuthera

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Fri 31 Dec 2010 00:00
This was an overnight voyage in light winds. We managed to sail some of the way but our approach to Current Cut on Eleuthera was in flat calm conditions which we prefer when entering onto the banks from the ocean side. It's important to get the tides right in these entrances as the ebb can flow faster than we can motor. Our route had been eastwards along the Northwest Providence Channel which is always busy with commercial shipping along with several cruise ships from the Norwegian Lines that sail in circles to avoid being in Nassau too early. We suppose that unless you are lying in your cabin with a compass by the bedside on a calm night you would be hard pushed to detect that this circling procedure was taking place. It happens all around the Caribbean and can cause great frustration for small boats trying to pick their way through the shipping. Although AIS has made this a lot easier to handle for the on-watch crew.
At dawn we had strung out two fishing lines more in hope than expectation highlighted by the fact that having set the lines 'Skip' had promptly disappeared down below to his comfy bed for a few more hours. This turned into just a few minutes as an excited 'Admiral' interrupted his sleep with news of a substantial fish waiting to be landed at the rear deck. Possibly a Tuna. It was indeed a good fish and having been trailed behind for some distance had pretty much given up on this life and had raised the white flag. Mouth-watering thoughts of several fish dinners from the barbecue were cruelly obliterated when, having failed to get the fish into the landing net, we resorted to pulling it up on deck by the line at which point the fish parted company from the hook and slid back beneath the surface. The air was blue as the 'Admiral' had done such a superb job of getting the fish to the boat in the first place. Not a good start to our Bahamas fishing season. Still, plenty more fish in the sea as they say!
Having executed a sharp right hand turn in Current Cut we struck out for the far side of Eleuthera to a place called Alabaster Bay to spend the night. This bay, pretty in parts lies right next to Governors Harbour airstrip which turned out to be amazingly busy for such a small airfield, counting at least ten movements in and out both last thing in the evening and early next morning when we were literally doused in Avgas as one small plane took off.
Alabaster Bay                                                                                                           with a good sunset
It was time to get out and take a look at Governor's Harbour where the charts give the holding as extremely unreliable throughout most of the anchorage. But maybe a lunch time hook would hold? We stayed the night letting out about 50 metres of chain in 12 foot of water working on the premise that if the holding is bad then sheer weight of metal may just do the trick whilst we went ashore to explore and visit the post office.
We were out of practice on our dinghing activities and made the mistake of trying to carry 200lbs of dinghy and engine up the beach to tether it to a telegraph pole. We should have just anchored off and waded ashore. Then as we left to motor back to the mothership the engine spluttered to a stop and resolutely refused to re-start despite some frantic pulling on the cord under the dagger-laden eyes of the 'Admiral' who prefers not to be rowing on these occasions.  Having paddled back - fortunately with the breeze in our favour it was off with the cover to investigate the cause which the chief engineer put down to ingress of a liquid combination of hydrogen and oxygen into the fuel system - or just some water in the fuel.
Our run ashore though was excellent. Governors was once the capital of the Bahamas back in the 1700's and evidence of the colonial influence can be seen all around with some beautiful buildings in the enduring style of those times. There seemed to be quite a large ex pat population there along with holidaying visitors from the USA.
'Skip' blending in well with the post office colour scheme, the beatifully kept church and the library sporting the same colour scheme as the P.O.
The mailboat arrives                                                                           our escort for a few blocks - we didn't like to refuse                         the anchorage
We liked Governors and stayed the night putting all our faith in the quantity of chain we had stretched across the harbour anchorage. It held despite some pretty hefty blasts over the bluff. The next morning the anchor came easily off the bottom and we enjoyed a lovely sail for twenty miles down to Rock Sound Harbour, our last stop on Eleuthera before heading across Exuma Sound to Warderick Wells. But Rock Sound was our New Year's Eve stopover.