April 13 & 14 – Royal Island

The harbor at Royal Island. Blue Wing is the tiny little boat in the middle of the harbor on the left.

We were back at Royal Island Friday the 13th. The night before when we finally returned from visiting in Spanish Wells we found Blue Wing pointing in the opposite direction from which we left her. The wind had changed to the east and had picked up considerably. Blue Wing rocked and rolled all night. The next morning the situation was no better so we decided to leave at high tide and go back to our nice protected anchorage at Royal Island.

Royal Island is uninhabited, which means no internet. And since there is no Cruisers Net that we know about in Eleuthera, we were back to listing to the radio for our weather reports. With Price Harry’s visit come and gone, the news reports are mostly about the upcoming nation wide elections on May 7. There are three political parties, the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), the Free National Movement (FNM), and the Democratic National Congress (DNA), which we learned from Royal Island’s Security Manager, Robert, is an offshoot of the FNM. The elections are a big deal here. Everywhere you see cars and golf carts flying small roof top flags of the supporter’s party. Often vehicles are decorated with more than a half dozen or so of these pennants. According to Robert people get very riled up about the whole thing. He likes to stay neutral.

Saturday morning the water in the harbor was a bit rougher than the day before. Outside the harbor we could see white caps cresting the waves. The weather report wasn’t very encouraging, predicting strong winds and scattered showers and issuing small craft warnings.

This must have been a lovely room at one time.

The next leg of our journey would take us through Current Cut. When guide books detail specific instructions on how to navigate an area or when individuals popup with unsolicited advice when you mention a specific route, I start to take note. I didn’t think sailing through a tricky area for the first time with high winds was a good idea, so we spent another day in Royal Island.

That morning, Greg took a swim and did some laundry and I did some cooking. In the afternoon we piled into the newly dubbed, Little Willie John (the dinghy) and motored ashore.

We tied up at an old concrete dock. From there we ascended a set of stairs to the grounds of the ruins of an old plantation. I was thrilled to be indulging in one of my old college hobbies, traipsing around dilapidated buildings taking photos. According to our chart book, the plantation was built in 1950. According to our guidebook, the 1930s. According to Robert, who had just heard the story from a descendent of the plantation owner, the plantation included slave quarters, which would date the place pre-1837, before England abolished slavery. There is evidence of some modern conveniences, such as a water heater, but, of course, they could have been added later.

A deck with a view. Who needs a house?

What struck me most about the ruins, besides the amazingly beautiful setting was the tile. There is a different patterned tile in almost all of the many rooms. The place must have been truly gorgeous when it was first built.

I didn't see this snake. Luckily Greg did.
After exploring the ruins, we continued inland and found a paved road. There is currently construction on the island. As we walked we saw signs denoting specific residential lots. One lot had a finished deck with a very nice table and chairs that overlooked the ocean. There were signs for scenic overlooks and we stopped at each. Finally we found ourselves at a pretty little resort, yet to be opened, that looked ready to welcome guest any minute. The pool was full and kayaks sat waiting on the beach for a peaceful paddle.

This is where we met Robert. He pulled up in his golf cart as we were poking around. We went and chatted with him, asked a few questions about the resort, and then since we realized we were trespassing, told him we were heading back to the boat.

About ten minutes up the road, Robert pulled up in his truck and offered us a ride. We had walked a very long way, so we accepted readily. Robert was very nice and got us back to the ruins in no time. I’ve got to wonder how often he has to make sure us pesky boaters get off the resort property.

One of the many patterned tiles found on the floors of the old plantation.
The bath room.
Looking outside in. The fountain room?

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