From Moonset to Sunset, I Loved This Day

I woke up this morning to the moon setting into an invisible horizon.  Not a bad way to start the day….and it got better from there.  We were escorted from the anchorage by two mama dolphins and their babies.  Not as baby as we saw last week, but still young.  They swam with the boat for a long time taking turns rolling on their sides to get a better look up at us.  The mom with the smaller baby kept it a little farther away from the boat while the other pair played under our bow. 

^^ It was a no wind day, our favorite kind.  Never did see the horizon out to the west. 

We were anchored near an abandoned US Naval Base so we went for a walk. You know we love abandoned things. I also wanted to go see the pink beaches again and the base was apparently overlooking one.  The base was built in the 50’s and deserted in the 80’s.  Not much is left, nature is doing a good job of reclaiming the territory. 

^^ I’m not usually inspired by resorts but this one looked inviting and we were anchored right in front of it so I thought I’d check it out, it wasn’t open helping make today a free day.

^^ This bulldozer was not part of the naval base, we just found it on the side of the road on the way.  Keith could not control his inner child and just had to sit on it.

^^ The guard post.  I suppose they are not supposed to look cute, but I thought it did.

^^ this building was one of the better conditioned ones.

^^ the Bahamians are trying to salvage and use these old water tanks.  I don’t think you can see from the picture, but they have leaks everywhere-even under the duct tape.

The real star of the walk, sorry navy base, was the pink sand beach on the other side. 

^^ I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed by how clear the water is. If we had brought more than one bottle of water I could have stayed on that beach all day.

With the island being only 1/2 mile wide at this point, I didn’t understand when the chart said it was a 2 1/2 mile walk to the beach and dismissed it as an error.  I don’t think it was.  The roads were not straight and looped around a pond.  Add in two wrong turns, exploring the base, walking the beach and we were pretty tired by the time we got back to the boat.  We took a swim to cool off and lounged for the afternoon.

^^ In the evening we took a dinghy ride and let Kai play on the beach. Still looking for the missing western horizon.

We came home and the topped off a perfect day with a perfect sunset from the cockpit.  And finally found the missing horizon.

Eleuthera, you are beautiful and we are thankful.  We couldn’t have enjoyed today any more! 

 

 

 

 

 

Eleuthera Coast Tour

We decided to take the scenic route down the coast of Eleuthera today.  The water is deep enough to sail just yards off the coast.  It was kind of like taking a slow Sunday drive.  First pit-stop was the Glass Window Bridge.  It used to be a natural rock bridge spanning the narrowest section of Eleuthera.  A hurricane destroyed it and now it is a man-made, architecturally plain bridge.  The draw is seeing the dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean and the light turquoise of the sound next to each other.  I couldn’t really capture it.  Keith and I were more impressed with the two fishermen on cliff.  I don’t know how you manage to get your fish all the way up there after you hook it!

 

^^Two fishermen hand lining 

On the walk back Kai got the bejeezus scared out of him by a tiny blowhole we didn’t see. Poor guy.  He finally worked up the courage to go back up to it. 

We got back underway and coasted down the coast, passing little anchorages with sandy beaches, resorts, and houses speckling the cliffs.

We had thought about making a lunch stop at Gregory Town.  Last time we were here it was for Pinapple Festival, the main event of the year for this island.  At that time it had been packed with people and stalls selling pineapples and pinapple slushies (without liquor) and the music had been coming from everywhere and everyone was dancing. It was a great time.  Today we didn’t even see one person! We ended up just doing a slow drive by from Pittman Cove.

^^ Kai, placing his vote for stopping and going ashore. 

^^ We sailed past the narrow rock entrance of Hatchet Bay but didn’t go in.  No hidey-hole needed today!  Yay!

We ended up about half way down the island and found a sweet deserted anchorage we had all to our selves.  We got there early enough that I was determined to find a way across to the Atlantic side.  The chart said there were pink-sand beaches directly across from us.  Keith dropped me off on the shore and wished me luck. I found a rutted out dirt road that led across.  At the end it branched, to the left led to a calm cove with a wide clean pink beach, to the right led to a “treasure” beach.  That is what I call the ones where all the trash washes up.  They were both a delight to find.  Now, when I say pink-it’s not Peptobismol pink.  Just not exactly white or yellow either. There are definitely pink grains though and in the right light you can see it.  

 

 

^^ The rest of the afternoon we let Kai play on one of the tiny islands in the anchorage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Wells and Meeks Patch

Spanish Wells, the island next to Royal Island, is a fishing town.  While that can be said about so many of the towns here, these guys are serious.  There is an immediate sense of industry when you dinghy or walk down the sea wall.  The people are friendly, the town is strikingly tidy, and it made for a good walking about day. 

^^ This was the coffee shop.  An open-front work bay with a single coffee pot and an assortment of seating in varying degrees of comfort.

^^ Want something more than coffee?  Budda’s food truck.  The sign by the wheel points to Budda’s liquor store.  The garage?

^^ I wonder who the guy in the red hat is and if he approved the mural before it was painted.

^^ Keith found the replacement spare seal to our water pump at the gas station-they do marine stuff there too. $37.75.  He practically skipped around town for the rest of the day! The mechanics at the shop said they didn’t have one but the old lady behind the counter said “gimme that, let me go look”.  Sure enough she found it.

^^ After picking up a few groceries and having lunch at the local diner with our friend Craig, we went out to the small cay, Meeks Patch.  It used by the Spanish Wellians as a local picnic spot.  It has several nice beaches, shady trees, and squishy grass.  The two pictures below were taken 10 years ago.  At that time it was painted up for quite a party.

^^This picture was taken now.  The colored tables and benches are all gone but under the bark of the trees you can still see where they were once painted. I had remembered the painted “furniture” and seeing the paint on the trees, told me I was right so I had to go look up our old photos.

^^ sandy nose, salty toes.  That is our boy!

^^ We also were finally able to get out to Egg Reef for some diving and conching. Ten years ago on our way back from the reefs we found this sunken tractor.  I’m not sure why, but it is still one of our most vivid memories from that trip, it had been just one part of an unusually special day.  We were pretty excited when we found it again.  The top picture was taken today, the bottom one ten years ago.  Looks the same.

 

 

 

Snorkle Treck

We found ourselves pinned in the harbor at Royal Island yesterday, the wind was too strong from the south to get out of harbor and we tried several times to land the dinghy on the reminants of the old pier in front of the ruins to take a walk but the swell made it untenable. Inside the protected harbor and on the other side of the island it was completely flat and knowing that we had a couple of days coming up that we would be stuck on the boat we were determined to get out and get in the water. Time to think out of the box.  Figuring if we could just get ashore somewhere we could lug our Snorkle gear over to the other side and maybe catch some dinner.

We dinghied around the entire shoreline and found a little spot on the rock shore that looked less sharp than the rest and climbed off the dinghy there.  It took a little brush beating at first but made it up to a cleared road from when the island was being prepped to become a resort.  It must have been used to drive prospective investors around to the available lots as the lot markers were still there.  We even found a lot that must have actually been purchased because there was an old dock overlooking the water, it even had a few steps carved into the rock to make it easier to get in.  It was the only lot that had any improvements on it and it became our little picnic spot for the day.  The reefs were not reachable from shore but we got lobster for dinner and had a great time enjoying someone’s long abandoned dream deck and nice teak chairs. 

^^ Happy we got off the boat when we could.

The other highlight was watching a mama dolphin swim with her newborn around the boat.  The baby still had stripes on it, sort of that newborn wrinkly look.  I don’t know if it just hadn’t figured out the surfacing thing yet or was playing but when it came up instead of arching it kind of bounced with its whole head out of the water, like they do at the sea parks.  I don’t know if it could see us at all, but it looked like it kept poking its head out to look at us.  Damn adorable.  Sorry, no pics.  I didn’t want to stop watching to go get the camera.

 

Royal Ruins

Royal Island is a fascinating island in that it has a large natural harbor in the middle and it has some interesting old ruins on it. We’ve been here before but still enjoy tromping around and exploring.  I haven’t found the whole history on the island but stories go that the pirate Captain Henry “Long Ben” Avery hid out here and was one of the few pirates that actually escaped capture and death.  Obviously, the ruins are not from his time but there are reports of a large house on the island in texts and old charts dating back to the early 1800’s.   At one time a sheep farmer owned the island which does explain the stables and the massive and very labor intensive rock walls cutting across the entire island.  There are also stories of it being owned by a rich American that used it as a place to get away from his wife and go fishing with his buddies.  No doubt the island has also seen its share of “goods” being run, maybe it still does.  Its latest history was that it was bought by a couple of pro athletes with intentions of turning the entire island into an ultra exclusive community with a large Marina and golf course in 2006. Then 2008 happened.  There are five small villas on the far side of the island, and a care taker comes over each day but other than than that there is no other activity and no signs of development happening. Eventually there will, it is inevitable but for now it is still an empty, overgrown treasure to explore.  

The natural harbor also provided great protection as we stayed for a week waiting out a cold front.