North to Hopetown, Abacos

The shore at Gaulding Beach, a lovely anchorage.

While in Rock Sound (southern Eleuthera) we were constantly monitoring the forecast for the crossing from Spanish Wells in northern Eleuthera to the Abacos. Sometimes we begin our monitoring as much as two weeks prior to an important crossing. This particular trip crosses the open waters of the Atlantic so we were looking for small waves and swells (waves that have come from far away) or at least a longer period which is the time in seconds between the swells. Also in consideration was how to spend our time going north to Spanish Wells and the quality of the anchorages ( there were no marinas en route). Should we go straight to Spanish Wells and wait or test out new anchorages along the way? Scott found a spectacular anchorage at Gaulding Beach. A half moon shaped sandy beach that is shallow for a long ways out, good protection, an unimpeded view westward for sunsets, good holding for the anchor, and a great bar/restaurant within walking distance, check off all of Scott’s requirements for an ideal anchorage.

Queen’s Bath

A road for walking is a definite plus for me but let’s face it, there aren’t any good roads in the Bahamas that are wide enough for two cars and a pedestrian. We did manage to take a short walk to Queen’s Bath on the Atlantic side. We trekked down the sharp and craggy rock formations to the tidal pools that were filled with water from the large waves that splash up from the ocean. The sun warms the water in the naturally formed hot tubs. Of course, afterwards we required a beer to cool off at Daddy Joe’s where we met Saundra, the nicest bartender in the Bahamas. She taught us all about the slang and commonly used phrases of the Bahamas. We also did a little snorkeling but didn’t see much, only these interesting tubular things that looked like sausage casings, intestines or extra-long condoms that were attached to the bottom. Does anyone know what they are???

Enjoying the underwater camera.

Our next anchorage was just inside Current Cut for a single night then to Royal Island for one night where we met up with the great folks on Casablanca, Fred and Carolyn. We enjoyed a delicious meal and lovely evening aboard with their friends, Linda and Jeff. We had timed our cruise up Eleuthera just right for a smooth 70 nm crossing the following day to Tilloo Cay. The seas were even more calm than predicted. In preparation for an anticipated rough ride I took a Stugeron (an anti-seasick medication) the night before and another one that morning. I didn’t need it to prevent nausea but I think it made me tired and crabby.

We decided to test our luck and she was a lady that day!  We caught another Mahi Mahi in approximately 13,000′ of water.  It was even more exciting this time around.  In fact, my heart was pounding when we finally pulled him in.  It broke my heart watching him fight for his life just prior to being pulled into the boat.  His blue and green scales sparkling in the water were a sight to behold.

Then, BINGO, Scott found his favorite part of the Bahamas: Hopetown! This picturesque village was the quintessential coastal town. The charming homes were pastel, ornately decorated, and jam-packed together. The bounteous colorful plants in the landscaping were like eye candy that we had sorely missed in the rest of the Bahamas. We were told that golf carts were reserved for months but we managed to snag a golf cart to take an eating tour of the southern part of Elbow Cay: On Da Beach Bar, Gaffers Dockside Bar and Grille at Sea Spray Marina, then back to Reef Bar and Grill in town. We snuck through a private area at the southern end of the island to stroll the beautiful Tahiti Beach where I had originally hoped to anchor.

On our second night a storm and high winds were predicted for the following day so we decided to move to a more protected location. Unfortunately, we missed so much of Hopetown, including a climb up the famous candy-cane striped lighthouse and down time on the beaches. I didn’t even take many pictures because I thought we would be staying 1-2 more nights. I can tell that the two weeks we reserved for the Abacos are definitely not enough!

Rain clouds surround the lighthouse at Hopetown.

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