We made it to Eleuthera after completing an uneventful passage from Bimini via the Berry Islands. After our dreadful Gulf Stream crossing we were worried we wouldn’t make but better weather and a bit more patience paid off and our trip was a success.
Our first stop was Spanish Wells Yacht Haven were we tied up and started to explore the town. As we walked up the street from the marina the town immediately struck us as unique. To start it seems very prosperous compared to Bimini. Most houses have seen continuous maintenance and pride of ownership since they were built in what I guess was the 1950s. Everyone gets around in golf carts, including the police and the waterfront is busy with fishing boats pulling into and out of the harbour.
After a long hot, demoralizing walk, our first stop was Budda’s Resturant as The Gap, our initial destination, was closed. We ended up eating there a few times through the course of our stay as the burgers were especially tasty. Budda’s kitchen is installed in an old school bus on the driveway as opposed to inside the house.
We hit the grocery store a few times and had Paul and Jodi over for dinner from the boat Mary Christine. They were a great couple and we talked into the night with them in the cockpit while the boys hung out below watching a movie. Spanish Wells seems to be the stopping point for everyone heading either North to the Abacos or south to the Exumas. We are unusual in that our boat was parked here for over a week while we headed to Governor’s harbour. I think most people stay here long enough to provision, repair, gas up and water up.
Deciding where to leave the boat was a bit of a challenge as there are few if any anchorages where the boat can be completely safe and left unattended. We could have left the boat on anchor, attached to a mooring ball or tied to a dock. We chose the dock as it would mean the boat is secure, someone will watch over it and there is little fear of it breaking away if the weather changes. This of course is the most expensive option too.
That decision made we packed and headed to the ferry dock to cross from Spanish Wells to Eleuthera proper where we picked up a rental car and drove to Governor’s Harbour. The rental was a black Jeep Cherokee very similiar to the one the Swain’s (for those of you that can remember them) owned back in the day. When you started the truck, for a half second you weren’t sure if it would turn over at all, then it would crank to life and the belt would start to squeal. The squealing would continue for about 5 minutes until everything warmed up, unless you have the AC on, then the squealing would last a lot longer – we didn’t run the AC much. Driving in Eleuthera wasn’t too bad once you got used to driving on the wrong side of the road and that on most roads one person will need to put a tire in the grass when two vehicles are heading in opposite directions.
Governor’s Harbour is a pretty standard Caribbean town, slightly run down with thriving businesses right next to abandoned houses. The harbour is supposed to have moorings but those have all disappeared over the years. Anchoring in the harbour is tricky as the ground in the harbour is a thin layer of sand over rock; not the best. That being said there were about 8 boats anchored there for the calmer portions of the week, they all cleared out the same day right before the wind changed as they would have been pushed towards the shore by it.
Mom and Dad rented an awesome condo at a place called Pine Apple Fields. It was built in 2009 and has an awesome pool area where we spend a part of everyday. It was great to reconnect with them and talk about our adventures so far. We also discussed our plans going forward with a trip to the Exumas next on the list.
Across the street from Pineapple Fields was a restaurant on the beach called Tippy’s who is famous for rum punch. The punch is incredibly strong, the decor unique and the food is great.
The Leon Levi Preserve is near the hotel too. This is an area of land that was set aside to preserve and cultivate native species of plants and animals. They are about 2 miles of trails through the forest, including a board walk through a mangrove. At the end of the trail is a tower called Ethan’s tower which provides a great view of the surrounding area.
Like all good things, our visit with Mom and Dad had drawn to a close. We got up early and headed out to Viatori to give them a tour of the boat before I took them to the airport. I headed back to the boat and started checking weather to see when we could head out to the Exumas next. Turns out the next two days will be perfect so tomorrow will be a provisioning day and hopefully this afternoon we can head out and make a few miles towards our next stop.