Spanish Wells to Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 23 Jan 2016 15:58
Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera 25:21.07N, 076:29.57W
The weather once again has gone to rats. We took just about the last opportunity to escape to George Town in the Exumas from Eleuthera a couple of days back before another really nasty low pressure system was due to hit the USA and Bahamas. This current system stretches all the way from north of New York, way, way down through Cuba, Mexico as far as the Honduras. That’s some system. Snow shovels are selling like hot cakes further north. They’re going to need them!  But we have some catching up to do since our report from Spanish Wells and the severe weather there. Since that time we’ve sat out yet two more big blows in Rock Sound where we all had plenty of dragging room should the anchor give up it’s day job.
As mentioned, we left Spanish Wells behind, passed through Current Cut and crossed the shallow banks over to Hatchet Bay. Here our Aussie mates were in the process of buying themselves some Eleutheran real estate. They had also procured some wheels to get them around - very useful indeed. We were interested to see what they were getting themselves into as Eleuthera has lots going for it, especially if live music, either listening or playing is on your list of life’s pleasures. So it was off to a reunion with the ‘Wandering Wallabies’.
We managed to shoe horn ourselves into what we believed to be good holding near the Government dock and dropped the anchor. When we later chose to re-position ready for an mini blow the anchor emerged from the water with an old pair of shorts hanging on the end of the fluke. S’pose you could say we were anchored on short scope? Incidentally, when we finally departed Hatchet the anchor managed to hook onto some plumbing pipe. Goodness knows what else is lying on the seabed there.
We had a great time catching up with the gossip and touring the two storey wooden house they are buying. In keeping with how real estate works over here it will take a year to complete purchase on – so its not in tablets of stone yet.  Amongst a number of interesting features in this all wooden abode is an amazing custom made bed on the first floor (that’s second floor if you’re from the USA we believe). Not an item of somebody’s chattels we would normally focus on but this bed is something to behold, adorned, as the whole room is with surfboards. The headboard is garnished with what looks like angler fish teeth from the Jurassic period, guaranteed to inflict much pain should you happen to be stretching your arms in the middle of the night. There’s also the benefit of Atlantic Ocean views through the open bedroom window if lying horizontal.
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The ‘house’ and the hand made surf bed..............................
                                                             ..............................the garden with so much potential (the snakes were shy)
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Surfs up – the sign post to the beach – ‘No Out’ means just that, the road is more than a little iffy for wheeled vehicles
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The ‘house’ is the blue one in the distance – taken from this viewing platform where this other house has dolphin shaped eaves!
They are both absolutely thrilled with the project. A start has already been made to patch the roof in various places and the garden has great potential for landscaping even with the copious amounts of small Bahamian snakes in the area. Being roughy, toughy Aussies of course means they are completely indifferent to such critters unless they can consume you whole and that is clearly not something anything in the Bahamas can achieve (on land that is). We would certainly closely inspect the outdoor shower before indulging as a Bahamian Boa coiled around the pipework could prove to be an interesting experience when you have soap in the eyes.
We walked over to the Ocean side a mere ten minute walk from their new abode. This is one of the worlds best kept secrets in the surfing world. With unbroken Atlantic surf from thousands of miles away and presumably just the right underwater topography to ensure those thrill seekers can enjoy what would terrify the rest of us – gigantic wave crests rising high into the sky before tumbling over, ready to pound the unwary to matchwood when reaching the shallows. Sheer madness if you ask us. But nobody did.
Getting to Governor’s Harbour for the Junkanoo involved a gentle squeeze of three in the front of the car with ‘Skip’ riding in the back. The back being the flatbed of the their Ford pick-up. You certainly see things from a different perspective looking at the road behind you.  Without the ability to see the deep potholes in the road ahead meant lots of sliding back and forth across the flatbed especially when swerving to miss deeper holes spotted at the last minute. On the way home in the dark after the Junkanoo, apart from the perils of the now difficult to spot potholes, ‘Skip’ was sincerely hoping the cars following in the distance didn’t catch up and illuminate him like a deer caught in headlights. That said, without any ‘Joeys’ to worry about hitting on Eleuthera the old Ford clipped along at a good pace and ‘Skip’ was spared being ‘blinded by the light’ to coin an old ELO lyric.
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The truck! The long straight (in parts) Queens Highway (the only road from end to end!) ‘Skip’ arrives a little rattled and rolled
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The Junkanoo................................
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                                                                                                                                     Sponsored by BTC – the only phone company in the Islands!
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Our other pals joining in – whistles are an important part of Junkanoo
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The floats and dancers....................................................
                                                           .............................we particularly liked this one!
We’ve covered Junkanoos in previous blogs and it’s always difficult to re-capture the heady atmosphere with the recurring drum beat, the brass bands, the colourful costumes and the carefully rehearsed dancing from the local school girls. The event took up most of the evening with the Queen’s Highway  being shut off for the procession. (Every  Bahamian island still has a ‘Queen’s Highway’ from colonial days). The parade went back and forth a total of three times and by that time some of the amazing costumes were beginning to show signs of fatigue with pieces falling into the road to be collected by accompanying helpers. Halfway through the event somebody in the crowd tripped over the floodlight cable and the whole spectator area was plunged into darkness, including the bar and street food eatery. Shortly after a Bahamian with spikey boots climbed up the pole to instigate repairs adding more spice to the evening’s entertainment. But for us a diminutive young Bahamian boy stole the whole show in his white colonial police costume, he became more daring as the evening progressed, slipping back through the procession egging on the young dancers. His Dad must have been proud especially as it also went out on live television throughout the Bahamas.
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Well past his bedtime but still going strong in true Junkanoo fashion!
Another evening out involved a visit to The Rainbow Inn, a resort a few miles to the south of Hatchet Bay where the Monday pizza’s are said to be the best on the island. And they were! With the added bonus of some live music from a local Bahamian quartet with the extra special bonus of our sax blowing Aussie mate filling in. It was fantastic to see the band members reaction when he asked to join in with them and see their faces transform from suspicious concern to one of utter amazement as the mellow tones of his saxophone filled the club, blending in as if he’d played with them for years. He’s such a pro!!!
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Thanks guys!
Two days later we enjoyed one of our best sails for many a year. Heading southwards to Rock Sound the old gal gamely galloping along at speeds in excess of seven knots with hardly any wave action in the lee of Eleuthera. The next sail wasn’t to be quite as pleasant however!
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Everything up, no sea state and away she goes – wish it was like that all the time, these moments are rare!
Onwards to Rock Sound and George Town...............