Rock Sound, Eleuthera
22 January 2019 | Rock Sound, Eleuthera
On Monday (Jan 14) winds were light and westerly, perfect for navigating the narrow "Current Cut" to enter the banks on the west side of Eleuthera proper. We timed our departure from Spanish Wells so as to pass through this cut at high tide and slack water to avoid currents that are reported to be as much as 12 kts at maximum. The time of slack water is also very brief and difficult to time precisely, but we had less than one knot, so no issues. https://www.discover-eleuthera-bahamas.com/current-cut.html
It is supposedly a great place to do a drift dive with SCUBA gear, though I've not heard of anyone who has done it. Finding a safe place to anchor our boat would have been an issue and at the time we didn't consider trying it, and would definitely only do it with a guide. From there we sailed eastward to the very protected harbor of Hatchet Bay.
The next day we went ashore at the nice dinghy dock/gazebo at the south end of the harbor and went for a walk around quiet Alicetown. There is a great cave to the north of here, but we had done that excursion on our last trip through here in 2017 so we decided to pick up and head further down the coast in the afternoon (Jan 15) with the mild weather. We had a gentle sail in northerly winds to Alabaster bay and anchored near Pelican Cay with several other sailboats. We stayed there for two nights and dinghied to the beautiful beach there the first afternoon, then again the next day to walk on a wide area of sandy shoal which just dries at low tide. From there we anchored the dinghy off the rocky southern shore of Pelican Cay and nearby rocky outcrops and went for a long snorkeling excursion. There was some really excellent snorkeling along there with a good variety of fish and great fan corals in 4 to 12 ft of water.
Thursday (Jan 17) we had a vigorous sail south in a very brisk NE breeze, seeing boat speeds of 7.5 to 8.5 most of the way. Our destination was the large bay of Rock Sound, Eleuthera where we anchored off the eastern shore with 20 or so other boats up and down that coast. We went ashore for a walk to "Ocean Hole" a blue hole sort of in the middle of the small town where reef fish are plentiful.
Later we met with fellow cruisers at a bar/restaurant inland from the harbor for drinks and conch fritters. The next day (Jan 18) was perfect for a grocery shopping trip since the store there was resupplied the previous day. They had a great stock of everything we needed and was a fairly short walk from there to the dinghy dock at Frigate's Restaurant. For a second shore trip we hiked south to the caverns that we visited and liked in 2017. It goes by either Cathedral Caverns, Spider Caves or Boiling Hole Caves and has a recently built very solid entrance stairwell. The sunlight coming in through holes in the ceiling with the amazing long tree roots make it a unique experience that we could not miss while here. https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g3579467-d6438874-i94218502-Spider_Cave-Rock_Sound_Eleuthera_Out_Islands_Bahamas.html
That evening there was an impromptu get together at Frigate's outer deck where the crew from catamaran "Salty Paws" played some great music and crews from a dozen or so boats got together on the deck to enjoy the sunset.
Saturday (Jan 19) was the day we were to be in the sights of an oncoming frontal passage, connected to the same front that brought storms and the 'polar vortex' to the US east coast that weekend. All of us anchored on the eastern shore near town gradually made our way across the bay to the western shore for protection from squalls predicted for Sunday. We all got ourselves situated along that shore with a good 400 to 500 ft between boats for plenty of room for swinging about at anchor which was comforting. The front finally came through after much anticipation late on Sunday afternoon with dark clouds and heavy downpours and a wind shift to the west. Wind gusts just reached 30 kts or so and all of us held our anchored positions just fine. These were the first real rains we've had since back in Florida, so the fresh water rinse off was welcome.
The next day (Monday, Jan 21) we had originally planned to move on to the southwest and the Exumas but predictions for the subsequent several days are for very strong easterlies in the mid 20s range, making anchoring and dinghy exploration activities there less enticing. So we and most of the other boats here made their way back over to the eastern shore off the town and plan to ride it out while the winds blow through mid-week. At least we have excellent broadband internet here--which we'll be lacking in the northern Exumas.