We stayed at Great Harbour Cay for almost a month. The weather was just too unpredictable to get away and head to the Exumas. So we decided to enjoy GHC, as we could take walks, provision, and the marina was friendly and social.
We finally got a three day weather window, and departed for the open water crossing across the eastern side of Great Harbour Cay to Current Cut Cay in North Eleuthera. The route was about 76 miles and we would get to Current Cut in 12 or 13 hours.
We departed the GHC marina at first light, and headed around Great Stirrup Cay, aka Coco Cay to the cruise ship passengers. Coco Cay had four cruise ships docked or anchored off the cay, which is owned by the cruise ship companies, and features a water park, sandy beaches, a hot air balloon and other tacky stuff.
The trip was okay, the seas had calmed down considerably after the past 2-3 weeks of relentless winds.
Our stop at Current Island was only overnight, and we did have a bit of a roll from the ocean swells that wrapped around the reef. We were up again early to transit the next 45 mile run from Current Island to one of our favorite bays, Alabaster Beach and anchored off Coco d’mama.
We had to keep on moving, as the weather was going to begin to blow again, from the west. So we spent only a short overnight stop at Alabaster before departing for Rock Sound.
We anchored in the western side of Rock Sound to wait for the promised winds, which lasted another couple of days, and they switched to the east again. Our west anchorage was okay, but not ideal, and the winds were forecasted to strengthen and stay strong for at least a week.
And so, we moved on over to Cape Eleuthera Marina, located at the southern end of Eleuthera.
The marina is one of our favorites, with clear water, deep channel, a great restaurant and miles and miles of trails to walk and to explore.
Eleuthera is a long island, less than 1 mile wide but 110 miles long. There are about 11,000 residents on the island. Eleuthera is from the greek word eleutheros meaning free. The island is bound on the west by the Bahama Banks, and on the east side by the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic side can be rough and rugged, and has miles of pink colored sand.
The island was first settled by Europeans in 1648 by Puritan settlers from Bermuda. The island was said to be prosperous by agriculture, exporting pineapples, until the Bahamas declared independence in 1973 and the government took over ownership of the farms.
This resulted in tourism becoming the main export, and the Disney cruise ship line purchased Lighthouse Island at the southern end of Eleuthera, and is planning to spend $250-$400 million to develop the private island for their cruise ship passengers. Ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleuthera
Well know popular singer song writer Lenny Kravitz has Bahamian heritage, and spends time at his property in Eleuthera. His song, Fly Away, is used by the Bahamas Tourism advertising. He wrote a song called Eleutheria, about the island.
We really enjoy the marina at Cape Eleuthera because it is very unique place. The marina is very well maintained, and the owners (the DeVos Family –founders of Amway) continue to spend money on the property. They were doing $1.7 million project while we were here, removing sand from a corner of the marina, and plan to extend the breakwater for better protection from westerly storms.
We wound up spending a week at the marina waiting for the winds to settle down.
We’ve met another couple, Mike is English and Esta, his wife is from Thailand. They are on an older Oyster that they bought 6 months ago, and are fun to spend time with. We saw them at Great Harbour, but did not actually meet them until they came into the marina here at Cape Eleuthera.
Since then we’ve had several nice meals (Esta’s a great cook), and a few Sundowners together.
We spent a day sharing a car rental from the marina, and went to Governors Harbour to look around, and had lunch there. On the way back to the marina, we traveled along the East Coast Road, where we gawked at the big and prosperous holiday homes overlooking the Atlantic. The road turned to a one lane sand track at several points, and I wondered if we were lost.
We stopped in at Rock Sound village to get some groceries and some more rum (Richardo Rum is local rum, well priced and good tipple), but learned that it was a holiday Majority Rule Day, and the grocery store and the grog shop were closed. We came back early the next morning to stock up .
We stopped and looked at the boats at anchor off of the settlement, and we were amazed at how protected they were in the lee of the island even with the 25knots or so that we had that day.
We are now back in Rock Sound and are enjoying being back on the hook. We departed the marina after eight days, and fished north along the wall. I got a good strike, and hauled in half a yellow fin tuna, after a shark took his tax.
We spent the next week and a half there waiting out more blows. We learn the rock sound shuffle, move to the west side for west wind blows, then back to the east side for normal easterly conditions.
Rock Sound is really a nice spot. Big anchorage, so have room for lots of boats without crowding, although a Canadian boat anchored 100 yards from us in the last strong westerly.
There are two grocery stores, one is more expensive, but has better produce. The other Halls is better prices on all items. There are also two boozer stores. Trash dump is easy and free, near the town dock.
We walked all over the township, and across to the beach on the eastern shore.
We had several nice meals with Michael and Esta on Sundowner. We found them good company and easy to hang with. We spent several nights at Frigates, a nice restaurant right on the beach, paid for overpriced beers, but great sunsets.
Met two guys there off of Salty Paws, who are mistrals playing banjo and guitar. We took lots of great photos, of sunrises and sunsets.
We finally departed yesterday as we have four or five days of good weather predicted. We decided to track along Eleuthera southern coast along the wall to fish again. After a couple of hours, another great strike, reel screaming. I Pulled in a big tuna head, which was all the shark left this time.
We fished a little longer, finally turning southwest toward Cambridge Cay in the Exumas, 30 miles across.
We left lines out but got nothing until we were about 1 mile from the park boundary, when my reel screeched out again. The line running off at a furious rate, I was afraid it would spool out, run all the line out. I tightened the Star drag to arrest the run, and started to retrieve, when the line broke, as did my heart, as my favourite cedar plug went with it.
We headed for the southern cut off Cambridge Cay on an incoming current. We have rocks in the Center of the cut, we go north of these. We have reef off the southern end of Cambridge with big swells breaking on them. I steer between the two, I can see the water boiling with the incoming current in between. We get picked up in the flood current and Southern Star in making 9-10 knots.
It’s quite the ride, and as we come deeper onto the banks the boat slows to 8 knots, but the water is flat calm. We navigate around a long sand spit north of Compass Cay, and head into our anchorage at Pipe Cay, the sun is getting low but is behind us, as we head south east to the anchorage.
We are now back in Exumas.