Wheeling about Eleuthera

It’s Friday and we are back in Staniel Cay, again.   Saturday, tomorrow, we will be joined here by our son Rob and his girlfriend Kandice who will be aboard for a week on our run up the Exuma chain and back to Nassau.  And that will be my last stop in the Bahamas where Brenda will fly home and I’ll meet up with crew for my run back home to CT.   While I hate to see this season in the Bahamas end, I am really looking forward to being in New England for the summer, even if I do have to cut my lawn.  I guess it’s like the rest of life, you take the good with the bad.

Yesterday we had a wonderful 40 mile sail from Eleuthera on calm seas with a nice moderate wind.  Along the way we did a bit of fishing and caught a mahi-mahi.  Actually, it wasn’t just a mahi-mahi, it was a big mahi-mahi, almost too big to get aboard.   Here’s how it looked in the water.  Yes, the water is really that blue.  Mahi-mahi are very colorful when they are “pissed” and he was plenty upset, as you can imagine. And as we got it closer.  I feared that this would be as close as we’d get prior to loosing him.Happily, we landed him.  Brenda holding the pole and me with the gaff.   Now, that’s a big fish.  Then I cleaned him in the cockpit.  (Brenda went below to avoid the gore and, let me tell you, there was plenty.)  Good thing we have a watermaker as I used lots cleaning up the mess with red blood flowing off of the back of the boat.  I wonder if we were being followed by sharks?  Bottom line, nearly 10 lbs of filets.   No more fishing for a while, that’s for sure.Speaking of the “one that got away”.   We also passed a pod of pilot whales, the first we have seen.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite ready with my camera so this shot isn’t so great.   Actually, it’s pretty pathetic.  You will have to trust me that they were whales.  For the “camera isn’t ready part” they were very close.  I think that they were napping, actually.  As Pandora passed, they woke up pronto and dove.  While we were in Eleuthera we did some exploring by car.  (forgive the jarring segue) Car rentals in the Bahamas are a very different experience than in the States where you have to sign your life away before they let you behind the wheel.  In the Bahamas,  well, “it’s the Bahamas mon, don’t worry”.  Indeed. Actually, it’s as simple as handing them the cash for the rental and driving away.  No walk around to check with dents before or after, (there’s too many to count anyway) or any discussion about a security deposit.   Security deposit?  What’s that?  I guess that there’s not much of a risk of someone taking off with one of their cars.   Wait, there’s nowhere to run with the stolen car on an island with only one major road, right?   Alas, I digress. 

Eleuthera is a long, very narrow, island, 100 miles by only 3 miles at it’s widest.  At the narrowest; well it’s very narrow, only as wide as a single lane road, barely.   The island is a bit more lush than other islands that we have visited but it’s still pretty arid.  Interestingly, Dole fruit used to grow pineapples on the island but some time ago they moved their farming to Hawaii.  It’s hard to believe that they were ever able to grow pineapples on the island given the modest rainfall.

The northern part of the island is pretty hilly by Bahamas standards, but that distinction is still relative as the highest point on the island is still less than 200’.   That’s in great contrast to the Caribbean where islands rise several thousand feet above sea level. (I thought I’d throw that reference in as we are thinking of taking Pandora there for the winter of 2014/2015.  However, that’s a story for another post so I’ll let it go at that for now.)

As I mentioned, the narrowest point of the island is only a single car lane wide bridge.  That particular spot is called “the glass window” as it’s where you can see from the eastern side of the island to the western side.  And there is a HUGE difference depending on which way you look.  The view of the western side is shallow flats, typical of the Bahamas.   I understand that during a storm a few years ago this bridge was hit by a giant wave that pushed the entire bridge over some eleven feet.  I shudder to think of what that wave must have looked like. I am glad that I wasn’t there.  Even on a “calm” day, the waves are plenty big for me.The eastern side is very rugged with huge ocean waves crashing.  When I see a coastline like this I can’t help but think about what it would be like to be shipwrecked here.  No, I won’t think about that today…I walked up to the top of one of the cliffs and saw about a dozen sea turtles swimming below, way below, actually.  I had a tough time looking over the cliff with the waves crashing hard way below.  I’m not a fan of heights at all.  The turtles were each between two and three feet across.  Very beautiful.   Yes, this picture is pretty fuzzy but I figured that a bad photo of a turtle is better than no photo.  We also visited a nearby cove called “The Queen’s bath”.  Somehow, I’m not picturing good old Queen Elizabeth splashing around here in her knickers.    The waves (on a calm day) looked to be pretty spirited for the old gal.  “Come on in Liz, the water’s great”.    Can you get struck by lightning for taking the Queen’s name in vane?  No wait, the Bahamas declared their independence from England a while back so I’m safe, I guess.  A beautiful spot, Queen or not.  And yes, that’s Brenda and Maureen on the side of the cliff.  “Don’t jump…Someone call the crisis hotline!”  We stopped at a lovely spot for lunch. And believe me, there aren’t that many places like this to choose from in the Bahamas so this was quite a find.The view from the patio was beautiful.  Love those thatched umbrellas. And, after lunch, a walk on the beach.   They said that it was a pink beach but it looked more sand colored to me.  Beautiful, pink or not.All and all, a wonderful day and one of our best this winter.

While I was working on this post and cleaning up the aft cabin for Rob and Kandice’s visit tomorrow, we were hit by a humdinger of a thunderstorm.   Here’s a shot of some menasing clouds approaching from the south.  And, then the heavens opened up.  What a show.  Thankfully, no lightening nearby.  And, you may recall how much I love sunsets so I’ll close with a shot of an Eleutheran one at that.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Rob and Kandice are visiting tomorrow?  Thought so…  I can’t wait.

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