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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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HomeCruiseEleuthera Island: A Bahamas Paradise Beyond Compare

Eleuthera Island: A Bahamas Paradise Beyond Compare

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A couple months ago I wrote a Top 10 about the different Bahamas island groups and my number one island was Eleuthera Island. This issue I want to do a Top 10 for Eleuthera Island itself, so you can see why I loved it so much.

Eleuthera Island is 110 miles long and only one to two miles wide for most of the island. To the east is the deep Atlantic Ocean and to the west the 20 foot, or less, sound. This makes aerial photos amazing with the indigo blue contrasting against the aquamarine separated by a thin strip of green.

Now lets get down to my Top 10 on Eleuthera Island!

10. Surfer’s Beach – In 1962 Ray Shilling discovered this surfing hot spot. It is located on the Atlantic side a third of the way from the northern tip of the island. While surfing is obviously the main draw at this beach, it is still a wonderful beach for the non-surfers out there. Plus, heading to Surfer’s Manor for fish tacos is not a bad way to pass the time.

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Preacher's Cave Entrance
Preacher’s Cave Entrance

9. Preacher’s Cave – While The Bahamas is riddled with caves, Preacher’s Cave is one of the most historical. English settlers coming from Bermuda shipwrecked on the Devil’s Backbone, a reef on the north end of the island, and lived in this large, open air cave for a year in 1647. If you want to take your boat across the north of the island from Spanish Wells and Harbour Island (both of which I will mention on this list) you will need a local guide to get through the Devil’s Backbone. Nearby you will also find Sapphire Blue Hole.

Eleuthera Bound

Governor's Harbour - Consulate Grounds
Governor’s Harbour – Consulate Grounds

8. Governor’s Harbour – The capital of the island is Governor’s Harbour and it sits roughly in the middle of the island. On Friday nights this is the place to be on Eleuthera Island, because the music will be pumping and the food will be serving for Friday Night Fish Fry. Other sights are the beautiful gingerbread house library built in 1897 and the reputed ruins of the very first US consulate established in 1789.

Royal Island - Wreck - Cockpit
Royal Island – Wreck – Cockpit

7. Royal Island – This is an island in the north part of Eleuthera Island to the west of Spanish Wells. It has a well protected harbor to anchor in and the island is home to several private residences ruins. The biggest draw for me was Egg Reef off the northwest corner and the shipwreck between Egg Island and Little Egg Island. Now only the bow of this wreck sits a couple feet above the surface, but back in the 80’s I was told much more of the vessel was out of the water and the local drug runners stored their goods here. The DEA knew drugs were being run through the area, but could never find them. Now we know why.

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Harbour Island - Sand All Over Me
Harbour Island – Sand All Over Me

6. Harbour Island – Sitting on the northeast part of Eleuthera Harbour Island is renowned for its pink sand beach. While I found the pink to be more muted than expected, the island itself is quite wonderful and there is a reason people love to vacation on this island. I enjoyed riding my bike around town and even spent some time under the Sea Grape Tree limin’ (hanging out) with the locals.

Spanish Wells Graveyard
Spanish Wells Graveyard

5. Spanish Wells – If you want to find just about the most perfect little island community, then Spanish Wells is the place for you. The settlers who shipwrecked eventually moved out of Preacher’s Cave and onto this small island 1000 feet or so from the main island. The island is extremely well maintained and the locals boost a lobster fleet that accounts for 90% of the country’s exports. On top of this Spanish Wells has great beaches and a palm tree park. The island got its name from the fact Spanish galleons stopped here to fill their water supply before the long journey back to Spain. 

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Alice Town Cave
Alice Town Cave

4. Alice Town – While this town is pleasant there is nothing overly amazing about it, but it is this high on my list because of what is around it. First off if you need all around protection for your boat, Hatchet Bay is exactly what you are looking for. Up the road Hatchet Bay Cave is a long cave you can explore. In order to go past the beginning you must have a flashlight and a swimsuit is a good idea to swim in the partial submerged lower section. The final site is Seahorse National Park where you will actually find seahorses in the clear salt pond among other creatures.

Randy and myself standing in Rock Sound Cave
Randy and myself standing in Rock Sound Cave

3. Rock Sound – Down at the southern end of the island is the town of Rock Sound. I was lucky I happened to visit during the annual homecoming celebration and met some people who live elsewhere and came home for the weekend. Besides their friendship, they showed me the Ocean Hole in the middle of town that everyone swims in and Cathedral Cave. The cave is a large open air cave system with tree roots hanging from the ceiling where they poked through from above. They told me storied of the community riding out hurricanes in these caves when they were growing up.

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Me In The Current
Me In The Current

2. Current Cut – Back at the north end of the island there is a narrow cut where all the water from the sound ebbs and flows through it. This causes the water to reach speeds of up to 10 knots. If you time it right you can snorkel Current Cut at those speeds. It is exhilarating! While you wait for the current or after your swim you can hang out on the beach that makes up the sand flats.

Glass Window - View from The Rocks
Glass Window – View from The Rocks

1. Glass Window – Even though Eleuthera Island is narrow, it gets even narrower at the Glass Window where there is a bridge over a small chasm showing off the color differences between the Atlantic Ocean and the Eleuthera Sound. When the seas are rough the waves crash through this chasm and into the sound. It is very dramatic and well worth a visit. In fact on Halloween Day of 1991 a wave hit the bridge so hard it moved it 11 feet and took it out of commission. Around the bridge you will also find blowholes, The Cow & The Bull rocks, and the Queen’s Bath.

Captain Shane and Chef Lily are in the Virgin Islands running charters while Lily daydreams of when Shane will take her to experience The Bahamas. Check out svGuidingLight on the web or social media to join their adventure.

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Shane McClellan
Shane McClellanhttp://www.svguidinglight.com
Visit www.svGuidingLight.com to read more from Captain Shane about the Bahamas, Caribbean, life aboard, and more.
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