Where the Banks Meet the Atlantic
19 April 2008 | The Glass Window, Eleuthera
Beth - wincing at moving up the latitudes
In our policy of lingering as long as possible, we chose to hug the shore and pull in at the Glass Window while Interlude, Werplayin and Rachel E headed for Current Cut. It was interesting that we first thought "Oh - maybe we should push on with them and position ourselves for a crossing to the Abacos," despite not having seen the northern end of Eleuthera as we'd planned. It is very easy to get caught up in a group movement. I even reported on Cruiseheimers that Madcap was enroute from Alabaster Bay to Current Cut. As we started out, however, we came to our senses and veered off, and we were so glad we did. Jim commented, "What could we have been thinking?" while we strolled along the sand in this reprieve from towns and activity and the push northward.
This was a beautiful anchorage with excellent holding and Madcap was the only boat there. We usually like to balance periods of group activity with a day or two of solitary travel or anchorage so this was perfect. It was a beautiful bay - several dinghy-friendly beaches, a view of water foaming and crashing under the bridge from the Atlantic, wide expanse of soft green water reaching out to the western horizon and the roar of the Atlantic waves reaching our ears.
The "Glass Window" is a narrow ridge that joins the northern and southern ends of Eleuthera and divides the dark blue Atlantic Ocean on one side from the soft turquoise of the Bahama Banks on the other. Over time, the waves have eaten away at the natural ridge and now a man-made bridge spans the opening. It is one lane wide and crosses an opening through which the water foams and crashes onto the Banks. A few years ago, the bridge was shifted a few feet sideways in a storm and it looked pretty precarious even in its repaired state.
The views were simply stunning. We'd have hated to miss this. Shelling was interesting on the little beaches around the bay and although the water seemed a bit cooler (28C) it still felt delicious as we went in for a swim. The evenings have been cool this week and dinner was in the cabin - sweet and sour meatballs with pineapple and green peppers over rice and a nibble of chocolate for dessert.
We headed out at 7:45 to catch a favourable current at Current Cut - aptly named. Figuring that time was a bit of a trick. We knew that the water ebbs to the Ocean and flows onto the Banks so that narrowed it somewhat. The next consideration was to arrive at or near slack tide, and that's where there can be some confusion. One book said the tides there are 1 to 1 ˝ hours after Nassau, another book said 2- 2 ˝ hours later. High in Nassau was at 7:58 so we figured that if we got there sometime between 9:30 and 10 we would catch slack tide or the beginning of the ebbing current or at worst, the end of the rising tide when it wouldn't be very strong ...and it worked. We caught the ebb tide. Once again we were the fortunate beneficiaries of good planning and good luck. The planning worked for the time, and Mother Nature was in charge of the wind which was behind us - meaning that both current and wind were going in the same direction - and that makes for smooth water. Our speed picked up to 7.7 knots as we made the elbow turn - a very comfortable passage.
As we left the anchorage on Saturday morning, we kept turning to see the "window" behind us, and it was visible for miles - looking absolutely like a window through the rock. The land formations were just beautiful and we highly recommend it as a place to spend some time.
By noon, we were anchored outside the harbour at Spanish Wells and Jim has been making regular dinghy runs back and forth to the tap outside Pinder's Grocery to fill our water tank. I went walking around to find some steps to sit on where I could link up with wifi - and found it beside the school. We will probably stay in the area till Monday (at least) and then make our trip across NW Providence Channel to the Abacos.
We are definitely feeling nostalgic today; this is the first revisiting of a place on our way back north. We are up to 25 degrees of latitude again. With each passing landmark we say, "Oh, that's the last time we'll see this water... or that beach ... or this coral reef" and we moan and wail until one of us says, "until the next time!!" and we cheer up again because we surely will be back.