The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95 verse 5
As we made the exit from Current Cut, we were headed toward the Glass Window and took some great shots as we got our first view of the bridge as we headed on down to Hatchet Bay. The Glass Window Bridge is one of Eleuthera's more popular attractions. Many times referred to as the “narrowest place on Earth”, the bridge is located just North of Gregory Town on the Northern end of Eleuthera Island. The man-made bridge took the place of a naturally formed bridge of rock that was destroyed in a hurricane. From the bridge, you can see a phenomenal contrast between the dark blue Atlantic Ocean churning away and the calm turquoise waters of Caribbean Sea. The colors are truly amazing.
The ride down to Hatchett Bay allowed us to get our first glimpse of the cliffs that make Eleuthera special. Eleuthera Island was founded in 1648 and is the birth place of the Bahamas. a group of Puritans, known as the Eleutheran Adventurers, sailed from Bermuda in search of religious freedom. Along the way, they found this beautiful gem of an island and named it Eleuthera. From the Greek word “eleuthero” which means “free” or “freedom.” You can still get a feel what the founders felt when you visit the island. Eleuthera has that unspoiled feel about it.
As got close to the cut at Hatchett Bay we grew concerned because we just couldn’t see it. This 90 foot artificial opening to Hatchet Bay did not exist before 1940’s so Hatchett Bay was just Aland bound lake next to Alice Township. With the creation of the cut, Hatchet Bay then became known as the "country's safest harbour" since it was completely enclosed and provides full protection from winds and storms. It became, therefore, an inviting stop for cruising vessels like us. We made the cut at hatchet Bay around 1:30 and found an anchorage in the back northwest corner all alone. Sometimes a shallow draft makes for the best little anchorage spots.
We took Shelby for a spin around the bay and out along the cliff to explore some of the caves along the waters edge. And after the sunset each night we would cut on JOurney’s underwater lights and watch the sea turtles swim around the boat.
The weather will keep us here a few days so it is nice to be stopped for awhile. We headed into town to meet Emmett Farrington who we had heard so much about from other cruisers and get some music out of him especially his famous Eleuthera Song. Check out our youtube video above to hear the entire song.
We explored Alice Town and the Hatchett Bay Area and enjoyed this slow and easy going settlement. Alice Town is a simple, authentic Bahamian settlement. No frills. No glamour. Located within walking distance of the dock at Hatchet Bay, this small township is a nice place to unwind a bit, take care of a few domestic chores, and experience a little Bahamian life-style.
The fronts always seem to pass us by overnight but not the winds. A spotlight woke me about 1:15 and two of our neighbors were missing. Thankful for our Rockna anchor! The next day was Super Bowl Sunday so we headed in to see what Super Bowl fun might be going on in Alice Town. We walked around stopped at a little bar for a beer. The guy was super nice and even cut off his music so we could hear the tribute - Johnny Cash’s The Old Rugged Flag. Then back to Emmett’s for another beer, some more Emmett entertainment and see the beginning of the game. Sadly, the Bahamas do not carry the commercials from the states. Funny how big that is in the states but here just ESPN commercials. So we headed back to the boat to watch the commercials and the Chiefs win.
We woke to a beautiful calm morning and boats started leaving the anchorage early. We went from 18 to 6 boats by the time we left and we watch two leave after we had pulled out heading south. We will miss Emmett but it was time to explore Alabaster Bay.
“How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.” ― Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea
Finally after a week in Bimini we get a window to get out and we are super excited. Lots of others were joining us this morning as we all headed out a sunrise. The winds kept us on shore while in Bimini and we were unable to visit the Sapona to snorkel but we got a great view of her as we headed out of Bimini. Here are some facts about this concrete ship from Wikipedia.
The S.S. Sapona was one of a fleet of concrete ships commissioned by former
U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson, to serve as troop transport during WWI,
because steel was in short supply. Believed to have been designed by Henry Ford,
it was built by the Liberty Ship Building Company in Wilmington, North Carolina,
and is sister to the ship 'Cape Fear'. Because the ship was completed after the
end of the war, it was sold for scrap to Carl Fisher, one of the developers of
Miami Beach. He used it briefly as a casino and then for oil storage, before
it was purchased in 1924 by Bruce Bethell, a former British war captain
and a liquor merchant out of Nassau. Bethell moved the ship to Bimini
and used it as a floating warehouse to store and distribute his liquor supply
during the Prohibition Era, earning him notoriety as 'Bimini’s Rum King’.
As we headed across the bank to Chub it was a beautiful smooth morning and the water was crystal clear. We could see starfish on the bottom. As the day progressed and we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere we were visited by a single seagull who kept circling and checking us out. He even sassed me a little on one fly over. Through the Northwest Channel and over the Chub right as the sunset for the night. The next morning we woke to lots of fishing boat traffic and were able to get a good look at Chub before heading out. This is a big fishing resort area. Some really big fishing boats were going in out of the channel.
As we headed over toward Nassau we had smooth waters but big rolling seas. The video of this passage just does not show how big the rollers were. We were in some deep waters so If they had been breaking at all Dee said he would have been uncomfortable but I would have been scared!!! Just as Nassau was coming into view Dee snagged a Mahi on the line. Supper was perfect with fresh fish his first Mahi. As we made our approach into Nassau to locate our anchorage at Atholl Island we got to see Atlantis and the eastern side of Nassau islands which were just beautiful as the waves crashed along the rocky shores and once again we anchored just in time to watch the sun go down and see fireworks from Atlantis. One more day and we will finally make Eleuthera.
We stayed inside up to Fleming cut and we had a smooth ride but well there is no video of Fleming cut because it was terrible. Our recommendation is don’t be scared of Current cut and go on up and cut through to Spanish Wells. More to come on our travels through Current Cut to come. Either way we made it up to Spanish Wells for an absolutely stunning sunset, and we can't wait to explore Spanish Wells.
“The sea is a desert of waves, A wilderness of water.” ― Langston Hughes, Selected Poems
After our arrival into Spanish Wells we hurried in before the sun went down to get our first glimpse of the town and head up the hill to Buddha’s for a beer. We were able to snag our first Sands Beer here. The Bahamian Brewery which makes Sands beer was flooded during Hurricane Dorian and will not be open again until August. Sadly, we prefer Sands to Kalik, brewed at Commonwealth Brewery Limited, but beggars can not be choosers. Buddha’s introduced us to Virginia our bartender who was born and raised in Spanish Wells and we got some local info about the island. More exploring to come we needed to get back on the boat before sunset and ready for the next day. We enjoyed getting a glimpse of the Atlantic and the beautiful beach looking out towards the Devil’s Backbone. Here is some local information via Wikipedia about Spanish Wells.
The island was used as a last stop for Spanish ships returning to Europe.
ships refilled their water supply from wells thus the English name of
the settlement: Spanish Wells. The first British colonists were
the Eleutheran adventurers from Bermuda (intending to be some
of the first settlers of Eleuthera), who suffered a shipwreck on the reef,
known as the "Devil's Backbone" in 1647. After living in a cave
known as "Preacher's Cave", they ended up at Spanish Wells.
Among other, later, groups of settlers were Crown loyalists,
who left the United States after the American Revolutionary War.
After groceries, we began actually exploring the little island that started with a walk a long the dock wall. I had asked a question earlier about all the cars on this little island and what happened to them once they broke down because we saw quite a few that looked to be on their last leg. Well It appears that they head out to see to be dumped and create the next reef for fish. Next, we saw an interesting way to pull boats out of the water. A bridge that is the road actually has to be removed for boats to be hauled up a track to be pulled out and worked on in the yard. Looked like it would be quite a job to just get a one boat out of the water in Spanish Wells. We had to pause our exploration for some weather so we headed over to Meeks Patch for protection but made our way back to have one last visit to Spanish Wells before leaving. On our last visit into Spanish Wells we found the school and the cemetery with the name Pinder which is also the name of the main road, the small grocery store, etc, etc. While in the Pinder grocery store we met the owner and of course his name is Mr. Pinder, and he enjoyed telling us about his travels around the world and his project to document every house on the island. All of this reminded me to look up the Pinder name. Lots of stories about the Pinders from two Pinders settling here and marrying each other to well stories that something strange might be in the air around Spanish Wells. Either way these are super nice people with a beautiful little island that we enjoyed but it is time for us to move further south.
As I said before We just left Spanish Wells after stopping for fuel at St. George Power Plant on Russell Island, and quite a few boats are out here this morning, and it looks like we are all headed down to Current Cut. We have heard it is to be very respected and after Fleming Cut was so rough we are a little concerned. We are about 6 miles from Current Cut and the water is smooth and clear.
We made it to Current Cut just at slack tide like we had hoped. Everything we read and heard about this cut was a little scary and looking at how narrow the cut is that connects two big bodies of water it was a little intimidating, but our ride through the cut was smooth and fine with a little help from the current. We did not have any issues with Current Cut and as we mentioned before we would recommend over using Fleming Cut. We are now headed through Eleuthrea Bay down to Hatchett Bay for our next adventure and once again to ride out some more weather. The winds love to blow in the Bahamas and we had no idea how much weather we would be hiding from but the rewards are great!
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1 verse 6.
January is here and we are preparing Journey to cross to the Bahamas. We pull out of Bonefish Marina and tuck back into our favorite anchorage CocoPlum in marathon. We are in walking distance to Bonefish and the people were so great to tell us to use the facilities. Little did we know as we prepared to get ready to cross that our wait would be about two weeks. The January winds set in and we were stuck in marathon, so the only good thing about this was continuing to watch the nightly pelican ritual. The main reason we are stuck was trying to get the car sold. We had one little window, but we still owned a car on that date, and then the next morning we had someone want the car and buy it by 4 that afternoon. Yet, we still had to wait. So we got to test out our new solar panels and caught up with some friends in the area, and of course enjoyed a few more of those Florida Happy Hours. As I said before, I watched the pelicans roost each night. This is what I will miss about Coco Plum, the nightly ritual to find a spot in the mangroves before sunset. A little window was coming and we needed to get into position to cross this meant a little bumpy ride up the Atlantic to Islamorada to get fuel but we took it. A beautiful sunrise before us and some rolling waves in the Atlantic but overall a fairly smooth ride until our fuel stop where we were able to get back on the Gulf side of the Florida Keys and make our way up to Pumpkin Key near Key Largo to watch the sunset and prepare to cross the next day. We are so ready!
The crossing was smooth but we did have about two and half hours of some rough seas as we entered the gulf stream, but the water was blue, deep, and the gulf stream did help us across. Soon Bimini was in sight and lots of traffic was around us as we entered the area, so we had not been alone out there crossing today. We made contact with Bimini Sands Marina and they said come on in. After getting Journey settled in her slip, Dee headed to the airport to check us in so we could fly the Bahamas Courtesy flag and officially begin exploring the Bahamas! The marina was on South Bimini so head down to the water taxi to cross over to North Bimini to explore. The water taxi was an experience especially the ride back at night. We saw a beautiful sunset and we had our first Bahama Beer, Kalik and a juicy cheeseburger!
Now it was time to explore South Bimini which is fairly remote even with the airport on this side, but and we really like this area without all the hustle and bustle found on North Bimini. Although, Bimini seems to just be a big fishing stop especially since it is only 50 miles from Miami, but North Bimini seems to be where everything is happening in the Bimini area. We explored the beach and then walked inland to explore the roads and found a little nature trail. After our day of exploring we spent a day on the beach just enjoying the view and as always I am shell hunting on the beach even as the sun goes down. Our marina was like an aquarium. We enjoyed seeing what we could spy in the water each day, but when the fishermen came in we learned of the bull sharks that were hiding under the docks. There will be no bottom cleaning here as we had planned. We endured some strong winds while spending a week in the marina but as we all saw the window to leave open we gathered at the Thirsty Turtle for a pot luck and happy hour drinks to share our stories and where we were headed to next. Good Times! Interesting enough we would continue to cross paths with some of the friends we made in Bimini.
We take a last walk on the beach and around the marina to get some pictures of Journey. Berry Islands here we come for a quick stop before heading towards Eleuthera!
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