Rock Sounds is a big harbor with protection from all directions and good holding. It is one of our favorite spots on Eleuthera for that reason. It also has nice grocery, fairly new laundromat, Catholic Church, hardware store, several restaurants and more. Very friendly people here.
On the first full day we decided we needed some exercise so we set out for a long walk. First headed South on the main road out of town until we reached the caves or caverns. We had seen them years ago but couldn't remember much so it was like exploring them all over again.
The unmarked trail leaves the main road across from a white church. You quickly see the ocean hole which looks like a pond but is connected underground to the ocean so it has lots of fish in it. We saw nice sized turtle eating near the shore.
The trail goes along the pond and then shortly reaches the caves. There is a relatively new ladder laying against the wall so you can climb down. Although there were some bats, there are lots of holes letting in light and tree roots from above so you can see quite easily without a flashlight. Some nice rock formations but the most interesting feature is the tree roots coming through to the floor of the cave from above. Some are quite substantial.
The next stop on our big walk was back toward town where a few blocks east of town is another ocean hole but much bigger, maybe 100 yards in diameter. They have built a park around this one with a ladder to get out if you decided to jump in for a swim. Some people go diving..apparently its pretty interesting. We walked around town a little more to get ourselves reoriented where everything was located and then back to the boat.
That evening Bob and Diane from Sanderling invited us over for dinner and introduced us to Jack and Linda on New Attitudes. We had a fun evening but it was bittersweet since Sanderling was going on to the Exumas the following day. It was a lot of fun traveling with them for the last few weeks!
The next day we enjoyed a wonderful sail down to Hatchet Bay. This is a very well protect anchorage about 500 yards wide by 200 yard deep. It is so protected that its intimidating to come in to. The entrance is about 40 feet wide which sounds like a lot but when you look at the vertical rock walls you pass through it looks a lot smaller than that. Sure wouldn't want to try to get thru this in any bad weather.
We had been here about 8 years ago and did not have very fond memories. It was kind of dirty with lots of derelict boats around and no real good place to anchor. But since then, they've installed new moorings, cleaned up the harbor and put in a new dingy dock...one of the best around. Even has a nice covered pavilion at the end which would be great for gatherings. Very impressive. We ended up anchoring in the north end in 10 feet of clear water with good holding, yeah!
We were here on Valentine's Day, so treated ourselves to a delicious dinner out along with Bob & Diane. We went to a newly opened restaurant named Twin Brothers Seafood & Steakhouse. It was wonderful. Enjoyed conch fritters for an appetizer, then Fred had grouper fingers and Debbie had cracked conch. Bob & Diane had the same. They had to roll all four of us out of the restaurant as we ate way to much. We were thankful for the walk back to the dingy as it helped move some of that delicious food around. Was a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day!
02/13/2012, Current Cut
After the winds from the latest front died down we were off again. We wanted to go through Current Cut on our way to the Glass Window as close to slack tide as we could. It is a short cut about a quarter mile long but rock on both sides and the water can flow through at 6 knots. Also, at the exit heading South one must make a hard turn to starboard and come very uncomfortably close to the rock shore line.
Interestingly enough Monty and Sarah Lewis who make all the charts for the Bahamas that we follow religiously, were in the mooring field with us at Spanish Wells. So I asked them what they recommended on timing the cut since the guides said go through at 1 to 2 hours after high tide in Nassau. An hour can make a big difference in current speed through a cut like this one. Well Monty's reply was it depends on the wind and which way it is blowing the water. Since the wind was blowing lightly perpendicular to the cut we timed it to be there at 1.5 hours after the high in Nassau with the assumption that there should be no impact from the wind. It worked out perfectly. It was an easy passage with exception of our skipper stopping our route on the chart plotter by accident. She quickly recovered before the critical turn and off we were to the Glass Window.
02/13/2012, Glass Window, Eleuthera
The glass window is a unique spot where Eleuthera is very, very skinny and a bridge goes over the spot where there is a break in the land. You can see the ocean from the sound side. With moderate east winds, the ocean waves make it under the bridge, but over the land and into the sound side making an intermittent water fall. Looks like a window framed by the bridge and rock walls.
Shortly after we arrived, along with sv Sanderling, we hopped into the dinghy to get a closer look. It is both beautiful and troubling. The beautiful part is the ocean waves crashing in the rock cove and creating lot of turbulence. The troubling part is this bridge is heavily and due to hurricanes and storms, has shifted 4-5 feet on the one end making it a one lane bridge that has been patched up with some concrete, yikes.
02/12/2012, Spanish Wells
On day two we walked around and found a 'take away' with great hamburgers. They had lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, onion rings and special sauce, yum yum. A 'take away' is Bahamian for Take Out food. This one was near a school and catered to the kids mostly but we were there on a Saturday and had no problem getting good service. The restaurant was called the Snack Shack and apparently used to be a bank. In fact the order window you walk up to and place your take away order was the old ATM/drive through window. We were joking with the lady taking our order. She said this is the only ATM machine around that now takes your money vs. giving you some. Fun place.
Later in the day Debbie decided to do some laundry. The best option was one washer and one dryer in a closet open to the outside behind a store. The equipment was fairly good but just a rather odd setting. She had Fred drop her off at the dock so she had time to shop while the clothes were in the machines. Not a good move by Fred, oh well. Debbie now has some new conch earrings. At least Fred had some free internet from the boat so he could catch up on a few things.
That night the wind howled at 20-30 knots. We were glad to be on a secure mooring and not have to worry about our anchor or the boats around us dragging into us.
The temps cooled down but we decided to head to shore and see if we could find a golf cart rental place open on a Sunday. We got lucky, the rental place was not open, but the owner, Abner, was there and said if we brought back the cart before two we could have it. We split the cost with Bob & Diane and had great 2 hour tour of Spanish Wells and Russell Island. Saw a lot of things we had never seen before. A whole new perspective including Haitian villages that are tucked away out of site as well as several developments that look like they've been in the development stage for some time.
02/11/2012, Spanish Wells
The morning of the 10th looked to be a decent day but the following two looked like lots of wind associated with a cold front. So we decided to head to Spanish Wells and take a mooring for a couple days.
Spanish Wells it a great little island/town with the most local money of anywhere we travel in the islands. The Bahamian Fishing fleet is based here and apparently the fishing business is pretty good. Lots of nicely maintained fishing trawlers were here preparing to make multiple week trips to different parts of the Bahamas. Mostly for lobster but fish as well. We found out that most of Red Lobster's, lobster tails come from here. Interesting since you always assume they used Maine lobsters with claws like the ones in the tank when you come in the door.
The first day here we traveled to other end of the island via dinghy and found a beautiful beach that we had never seen before. It was low tide and a nice sunny day. We took tons of pictures of the water and sand which had very cool patterns in it from the water and sun coming through.
That evening we invited Sanderling and our new friends on Trinity One over to help celebrate Fred's birthday. Debbie made a fantastic Rum Cake. Earlier in the day Fred was not feeling so good about this cake seeing how much of his rum was being used for this darn thing. But after he tasted it he confirmed is was worth every ounce.