After 2 days in what is probably the most gorgeous spot in the whole Bahamas at Warderick Wells, we sailed over to Eleuthera, another very long, thin island. We had a speedy sail for most of the 43miles until we reached the seemingly endless turquoise shallows of Eleuthera Bank where we crept along under engine until finally anchoring all alone right in the middle of the Rock Sound bay. We stopped when the depth read 2.8m which went down to 2.5 at low tide. A long dinghy ride into the town the next morning and a hot walk along the dusty streets of another sleepy community, and we found a small supermarket. We then tracked down a “Laundry Mat” and had a meal in a local eaterie whilst waiting for the washing. The only other attraction of the area was “Ocean Hole” one of those extraordinary blue holes of which there seem to be many in the Bahamas. This one was supposed to be at least 600ft deep and was a mile from the coast. It wasn’t very blue when we saw it but it did have some interesting fish.
The next day, after a disturbed night with lightening and heavy rain where we felt extra lonely out in the bay, we sailed the next 35mile leg to another spot in the middle of Eleuthera. This was an incredibly sheltered bay as it had been created by blasting a gap in the rocky shoreline that enclosed the inner lagoon. We arrived at this narrow passage – only 90ft wide – at midday after an early start and another speedy, effortless beam reach. It was quite a ride in for skipper as the winds had picked up to 20kts and the water at the entrance was pretty choppy, but inside was a millpond. We picked up a free buoy and were settled in just before a big squall arrived with driving rain and 30kts gusts, so we felt very pleased about that!
The 90ft entrance as we arrived, them minutes later in the squall:
We spent 2 nights in this shelter, had a very good meal on our first evening and wandered the streets of the little community here which had lots of charm and the delightful name of Alice Town. As is common in the Bahamas, we counted at least 5 churches! On our second day we walked across the thin neck of the island to the Atlantic side with some other yachties we had just met and spent the morning chatting and watching the breakers on the wild side. In the evening our new British friends on “Ruffian” joined us on board for drinks and we swapped sailing stories as one does. They were headed our way so we met up with them at the next 2 anchorages as well. It’s good to have company sometimes!
Our course on Tuesday took us the rest of the way up the coast of Eleuthera with a departure timed to get us through another challengingly shallow gap called “Current Cut” at high tide. With the help of our friends on Ruffian, we timed it perfectly and were anchored at our next spot in the Abacos at Royal Harbour by late afternoon. This was another very sheltered anchorage but with nothing much ashore so we didn’t leave our boat other than to dinghy over to our new friends on their Sadler 34 for return drinks and nibbles.
On Wednesday we had a glorious sail in a perfect force 4 across to Great Abaco and an anchorage at Lynyard Cay. David said he had never known such a long spell where he didn’t have to adjust the sail trim at all. We also hoisted the little inner staysail for extra oomph and sped along effortlessly. This time we anchored in much deeper water- that is all of 5m which is unheard of around here. We had a quick swim, possibly our last in the Bahamas, and waited for “Ruffian” to arrive, somewhat later as they are much smaller and had been wrestling fish all morning (we failed yet again and just made a mess of our line).
Yesterday we reached Marsh Harbour, the biggest town in the Abacos and the 3rd biggest in the Bahamas. Actually it is another very small place really but it does have some pretty upmarket homes along the water’s edge and is a huge mecca for boating as one of the jumping off points for the US. We are anchored here in the shallowest water yet. Last night the depth went down to 2.3m and we draw 2.1m! En route we sailed through some more impossibly blue waters. We decided there weren’t nearly enough words in the dictionary to describe the “50 shades of blue” around here. We also sailed through lots of floating weed, the same Sargasso weed as in the sea of that name. The poor duogen kept getting clogged up with weed as it was towed through the water (generating extra power for those of you who don’t know what it is).
Now we are just about ready to set off for the long passage north to the US after doing some shopping and checking out from this little country this morning. We will be at sea for probably 4 days and nights and will probably make landfall at Beaufort in North Carolina. We have family to meet in New York in June so must press on.