Friday, March 28, 2014

Eleutheran Adventures

Powell Point, Eleuthera to Royal Island
February 27 ‒ March 9

The first Europeans who established a permanent settlement on this island in 1648 based their name on the Greek word for freedom, calling themselves the Eleutheran Adventurers. Their experience on these shores included shipwreck and hardship. Our adventure was of a much more delightful and relaxing variety.

We’d never visited Eleuthera before, so we rented a car one day and toured the island from the southern tip to Governor’s Harbour—about half of its 110-mile length. We were so impressed by the gorgeous scenery we kept discovering that it became our new favorite island.

Cottage on Cupid's Cay across from Governor's Harbour
Eleuthera is jam-packed with natural beauty. White and pink sand beaches stretch for miles along its coasts. Majestic cliffs and massive boulders rise above the beaches. Magnificent views of the bright aqua Bight of Eleuthera on the west and the cobalt Atlantic Ocean to the east can sometimes be seen from the same place.

Our lunch stop was Governor’s Harbour, a picturesque village with quaint New England‒style cottages that stair-step up a hill. A causeway connects the town to Cupid’s Cay, where the Eleutheran Adventurers first made landfall. We drove beach access roads and walked on beautiful beaches. And at the end of the day, we found it: the beach that surpasses all the others we’ve seen so far! They say that nothing but a four-wheel-drive vehicle can manage the last few miles of the drive to Lighthouse Point Beach. But Keith maneuvered our compact rental through deep, sandy potholes and ruts between walls of tough shrubbery along both sides. The view at the end of the road made every bump worthwhile.
Lighthouse Point Beach (late in the day, the picture doesn't do it justice!)
Cliffs at Lighthouse Point
Because of a pattern of repeating cold fronts with strong westerly and northerly winds—and the fact that there are few good harbors on Eleuthera for those winds—we didn't mosey around as much as we’d have liked. We spent several nights at Cape Eleuthera Marina, anchored for one night at Governor’s Harbour, and then moved on to Hatchet Bay Pond, a hidey-hole with all-around protection, to wait out the next storm.

The Front Porch Restaurant in Harchet Bay
There weren’t many thriving enterprises in Hatchet Bay, which made The Front Porch restaurant even more of a find. Francis, the owner/chef, had been out the previous day and had fresh stone crab claws and crawfish (lobster). I ordered crawfish stuffed with fresh crab meat (a great choice for the indecisive), and Keith went for the claws. The biggest stone crab claw on his plate was the size of his hand; including the knuckle, the claw extended a few inches up his wrist. It was all fabulous.

Storm clouds at Hatchet Bay Pond
Once the storm passed through, we moved farther north and anchored by the Glass Window, a tiny isthmus sometimes referred to as “the narrowest place on earth” (less than 100 feet). It connects the northern section of Eleuthera with the rest of the island and dramatically contrasts vivid turquoise waters with the deep-azure Atlantic. The Glass Window was named when a large stone arch crossed the narrow section. The force of a hurricane swept the arch away in the early 1920s. A couple highway bridges have since spanned the gap. On Halloween of 1991, a formidable wave moved one end of the latest bridge over by seven feet—but it’s still in use, one lane only!
The contrast between turquoise and blue at the Glass Window
The Glass Window bridge.
Waves can sweep over the top even on a clear day!
If you look closely, you can see the offset of the bridge at the orange sign.
And Pelican is in the right top corner.
Even the departure from Eleuthera had potential to be an adventure of the wrong kind. Ebb or flood tides at Current Cut, an opening 100 yards wide between Atlantic and the Bight of Eleuthera, can flow as fast as 10 knots. Since our boat goes 7 knots under power, it would be impossible to go through this cut with current against us and we would have very little control if it was with us. After reading all of the advice we could find, we arrived 90 minutes after low tide and had almost no current going through. Getting the timing right was adventure enough.
By Lightouse Point Beach
When those first Eleutheran Adventurers arrived on the island over 350 years ago, the native Arawak people called it Cigatoo, their word for paradise. According to our own Eleutheran adventures, the name is still a perfect fit. 


  1. The contrast in the water colors is amazing! So fun to see these gorgeous pictures!
    Sue R.

    1. Sue, that never ceases to amaze us. What a wonderful world God created!

  2. Sorry we've been so behind on keeping up on your blog. We hope you're doing better, Joanie!