Eleuthera

April 4 – April 11.

Looking south in Rock Sound Harbor.

You’ll be happy to know that Eleuthera Island is as long, beautiful, and friendly as it was last year. Having been to the Glass Window, Cow and Bull rocks, Queen’s Baths, Gregorytown and Hatchet Bay last season, we skipped these spots for new places. We didn’t make many new Bahamian acquaintances, but did meet and reunite with some cruisers.

We shared Rock Sound with a dozen other boats that shifted around the harbor as the winds clocked through another big cold front. This front brought almost twenty hours of rainy, stormy weather.

It was still nasty the morning of Saturday the 6th, but we had seen a flyer for a Goombay festival, so we set out beating into the wind for Governor’s Harbor 20 miles to the north. We arrived to hear that the festival itself was canceled. Bu we did find that food was still being cooked. The ladies in the two story green house on Cupid’s Cay (you can’t miss it) were cooking chicken, steak, and sides. We scored some rice and (pigeon) peas, and mac and cheese. They make lunch out front every day, so stop by for some good eats.

Walking back along the shore we saw Apres Ski, a sailboat from Stuart, FL. We had met Kevin and Chris last season so we pulled out the hand-held VHF radio and hailed them. They invited us by for happy hour. Who could refuse that?

The next day we hiked over two miles to the Levy Preserve (see pictures). Thankfully the Beach House restaurant was there for a rest stop about halfway on our walk back. The area seemed full of tourists and devoid of natives. No one offered us a ride all day.

Monday we sailed back south six miles to Ten Bay, pulling up beside Apres Ski. Chris and Kevin joined us on Blue Wing for pizza night, great conversation, and a few uke songs. We look forward to hanging out with them when we all get back to Stuart.

After snorkeling on Tuesday morning we sailed up to another scenic beach anchorage at Alabaster Bay.

OK. So we’re officially through with all this foolishness of close hauling all day into the wind for some event, then back tracking (into the wind) to see some new place. From here on we’re making our way back using the prevailing winds.

So it’s up early, sail off the anchor with following winds for Current Cut. After 15 miles of trying to keep the wind over her right shoulder with three foot rollers coming from behind, Duwan decided it was my turn. We jibed and I tried to keep the wind over my left shoulder for another 15 before we dropped sails to go through the cut.

We wrote about the cut last year. Then we considered it wise to go through at high tide when the surrounding shallows weren’t so shallow and the current is slack. We have anchored on either side of the cut carefully watching floating objects to time the tide perfectly. We’ve taken the hair raising sharp turn avoiding rock and sand bars. This time we chose an approach with no sharp turn. We widened our window to five hours, and we shot through that sucker with good steerage making at least ten knots by the time we reached the other side. Here we found a nice calm sandy bottomed parking spot in the lee of Current Settlement.

The raft An-Tiki in Governor’s Harbor. Anthony Smith realized his dream of sailing across the Atlantic in 2011 at the age of 85. He and a crew of three elderly volunteers sailed from The Canary Islands to St. Maarten. In 2012 he sailed the raft to Eleuthera.

The platform is kept afloat by gas pipes. The masts are telegraph poles. The hut has two bunks and a gas stove. There are solar panels on the port side.

Waterfall near visitor’s center at Levy Preserve. The 25 acre preserve is part of the Bahamas National Trust. It is dedicated to the preservation of native species of plants, with a focus on the plants used in bush medicine. A mile long trail winds through mangroves and coppice forest to an observation tower. (Coppice is the practice of cutting off trees and allowing regrowth from the stumps.)

Mangrove path in Levy Preserve. I think this is our first dry-footed walk through a mangrove swamp.

Scurgeons Needle cactus.

Sword bush used for coughs and colds.

Leaf of Life. Soak crushed leaves in water overnight. Good for asthma.

Aloe Vera.

Christmas Orchid.

This Swollen Wild Pine orchid clings to the side of a tree.

View of the Atlantic from tiki bar at Beach House restaurant near Governor’s Harbor.

Couldn’t resist walking up for a chat with Court and Candy on their McGregor sailing vessel Gypsy Rose. With her retractable 6 ft keel, Gypsy Rose can be beached anywhere in the Bahamas.

Kevin and Chris on Blue Wing for pizza night.

View of south end of Alabaster Bay.

Looking East through Current Cut. Deep water is on the left. Hard shallow bar is on the right bordered by string of rocks in the distance.

Looking west through narrow end of Current Cut. This shortcut saves over seven miles over the alternative Fleeming Channel to the west. Hard to tell from the pic, but at mid-tide the water is really coursing through here.

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