Best of the Bahamas: Eleuthera

Publish date: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 16:45

At this point in your Bahamas sail shakedown you will be eager for even more islands offering an array of activities. If you are looking for diversity, look no further than the skinny island of Eleuthera! At the widest point of this island it is still just shy of a mile. In comparison to the width, however, this island is rather lengthy. Eleuthera stretches 108 miles from North to South and this long, skinny island packs a huge punch!  With Atlantic reefs, excellent surf, ship wrecks for snorkeling and diving, pink beaches and more, we advise you to keep reading and discover the best of Eleuthera.

When heading south from the Abacos plan to visit Harbour Island. Once you have explored Harbour Island you will have to back track north in order to sail south down Eleuthera on the Caribbean Sea side (west side of the island), but the sweeping three miles of pink sand beaches will be well worth the extra time put in—we promise! Valentine’s Resort and Marina on the west side of Harbour Island in Dunmore Town is equipped with all the amenities that you require, but as with most creature comforts, it comes at a price. You can alternatively set anchor at Fort Point Anchorage, dinghy ashore, and begin exploring. It will only take you about 15 minutes to walk from one side of this island to the other, so we suggest grabbing some Caribbean cuisine at Sip Sip and then moseying to the public beach access just next door for stretches of pink sand on untouched beaches. When you’ve worked up a nice tan, roam the streets. For the history buffs out there, make it point to peep St. John’s Angelican Church—the oldest religious foundation in the Bahamas, dating back to 1768. Before heading back to your boat for the evening, stop by Bahamas Coffee Roasters and Bistro for some of the islands best pizza.

From Harbour Island you can sail north on the outside or the inside. If you sail on the inside it is recommended by some cruisers, but not all cruisers, to hire a pilot to help navigate you through the Devil’s Backbone. This is a shallow reef on the northern end of Eleuthera which is great for snorkeling and diving. You can also stop at a little cove before crossing through and dinghy to a point of interest known as Preacher’s Cave.

Just off the northern tip of Eluethera, make it a point to stop in the small town of Spanish Wells on St. George’s cay. This is a good place to dock and explore. This island is full of local knowledge, and you can enjoy it by wandering the streets. There is also a grocery store, should you need to stock up on provisions. From Spanish Wells you can make your journey to the west side of Eleuthera by crossing through the notorious Current Cut.  The current that flows through this cut is a thrill to dive or snorkel as you are washed through the ebb or flood. While swimming the cut is a thrill, navigation through the cut can be a nail biting experience due to surrounding rocks and shallows, not to mention that at the peak of the flow the current can rush up to ten knots. Take your time, study the charts and tides, and you will make the pass with flying colors.

Two items that should belong on your Bahamas Bucket List can explored in the same day! Drop anchor in Glass Window Anchorage and then take a short hike to the Glass Window Bridge. From here you can see the deep blue Atlantic on one side and the turquoise Caribbean Sea on the other. The bodies of water are separated rock that is 30 ft. wide. While the view is top notch, if you have a drone you will not find a better time to fly it. The images that you will capture from up high are astonishing. Once you wrap up at the bridge take a short hike to the Queen’s Bath. These natural pools house crystal clear water that is warmed by the sun. You may want to check out Gaulding Cay Beach if you are looking for a good picnic spot. This beach is easy to access and guarantees good snorkeling.  

As you make your way south, stop in Gregory’s Town. You can set anchor in Pitman Cove. If surfing is a pastime, then making the trek to Surfer’s Beach will be worth it. Situated on the Atlantic side of the island, this secluded access has been a popular surf destination for nearly 50 years. When you’re surfed out, enjoy an evening of live music at Elvina’s. Groove the night away with an eclectic crowd and enjoy a cocktail or three.  

Once you have made it to the South Eleuthera, you will find a few good anchorages in Rock Sound. But more importantly in Rock Sound you will find Ocean Hole. This is an inland swimming hole with an unknown depth that is filled with tropical fish and turtles. This natural wonder is a must see!

Finally, at the southernmost tip of Eleuthera you will stumble upon Lighthouse Bay. Discover large limestone exposed cliffs that provide plenty of shade, large rock formations and excellent snorkeling on this powdery-pink sand beach.

Once you finish your pilgrimage on, around and through Eleuthera you will thank yourself for taking the time to discover this natural sanctuary. The diverse experiences that are witnessed on this island are unrivaled, and you will sail away vowing to return again.