Rock Sound, Ten Bay, and Pineapple Cays, Eleuthera
March 24 – April 2, 2019
We were anchored in Eleuthera – which was founded by a group of puritans in search of religious freedom. In fact, the name of the island came from the Greek word “eleuthero/eleuthera” meaning free or freedom.
Rock Sound, Eleuthera is a large, very well protected, anchorage near the south of the island. Front Street, the area’s main street, runs along the seashore, with brightly colored houses and small businesses flanking the street. A walk up this street takes you to the island’s largest (dare I say) supermarket, where a quick walk inside had me almost in tears. The aisles were filled with products I’m used to seeing stateside, and the produce section was well stocked. If it weren’t for the fact I had Bahamian money in my wallet, I might have forgotten for a moment we weren’t in the US.
Up the street is the whitewashed buildings of St. Luke’s Anglican Church, which were dotted with poinsettia, hibiscus, and marigolds. Signs posted tell locals and visitors this is the safe house in the event of a hurricane. It was a Monday morning when we came ashore and adventured through the open doors of the outbuildings, wondering when it was built and what life must have been like before air conditioning.
As we meandered through town, we were struck by the contrast. On the one hand, it was one of the cleanest islands we’d encountered, and on the other, it had tremendous garbage strewn across abandoned properties. Dwellings were modest but I was saddened to see homes boarded up or abandoned.
After shopping for some fresh veggies, we went back into town and hitchhiked to Cathedral Cave. It just never fails to surprise me how kind and generous the locals are on every island we visit. Almost every time we are walking about, some kind Bahamian pulls up, rolls down the window and asks if we need a lift somewhere. When is the last time you saw that happen in the USA? And when was the last time you felt so easy to accept a ride? I swear, the nicest people are Bahamian (and while I’m behind in writing my blogs, the least we can do right now is give the most we can to support Abacos and Grand Bahama. Please consider donating to HeadKnowles).
Cathedral Cave is also known as Spider Cave, but I didn’t know this at the time or I am not sure I would have gone crawling into caverns there. But frankly, when we visited, I didn’t see any spiders or spider webs, so go figure! Folklore for the win!
Unlike other caves we visited, this one does not need flashlights because it’s relatively short but massively impressive. It’s located behind the ocean hole on Queen’s Highway just south of Rock Sound. It’s an interconnected network of huge trees and plenty of sunlight streaming through, giving the space a faerie feel. I expected a gnome or unicorn to just show up.
Afterward, we wandered around the blue hole and marveled at how it was constructed.
On March 26, we celebrated our 100 days at sea by dropping our suits in favor of our birthday suits and swam with whatever creatures were under the inky water. It was an amazing milestone considering the 100 days it took to get me to feel comfortable.
In all, we spent a week at Rock Sound, between the lightning fast internet for work, the great grocery store, so much to do (including large blue holes and meandering through 200 year-old fig trees), and a storm to hide out from. Just prior to the storm, we saw a boat from back home, the J&B 5, which is owned by our neighbors in Hampton, VA. We quickly hailed them and caught up on the local gossip from home, and then made way early the next morning to west side of Rock Sound, where there’d be more protection from the coming wind and surge.
Shortly after setting our anchor, the storm arrived and brought lightning with it. Our friends on J&B are no stranger to this, having been struck not once, but twice, directly from lightning. We were about 500 yards off their starboard and I joked that we probably should move further away given their track record.
J&B were fine, we were fine… And the storm passed by the next day. Leaving us with the beauty after the storm.
Time to get off the boat and do some provisioning. I brought all of my fancy red wines and even did a video about how I store them aboard but the last thing you want on a warm day sometimes is a $50 (or more) bottle of Pinot Noir. My go-to, everyday wine is actually *cough* Bota Box Pinot Grigio. As a native 3rd gen northern Californian, I think my wine buddies would be shocked that not only is it good, let me tell you: I can store quite a bit of that on my boat with less weight in my locker and more weight in my wallet. A typical box is roughly $17 and holds the eqivalent of 4 bottles. Do that math!!
Except I didn’t do the math before we left the US. I had effectively wiped out all the bags of wine I brought by the half-way mark. (Now that I’m back in the US, every time we shop, I pick up more bags.)
Anyway, we hit up a liquor store to see what deals they had and lo-and-behold, they had some pinot grigio for $9/bottle. Trust me when I say that is a steal. We took every bottle they had. Happily!
Vacation officially started as we left Rock Sound for Ten Bay. It was a gorgeous sunset like the others, but I was stoked – and Erik too as you can see. Ten Bay is a short hop – about 3.5 hours. It was a motor sail, given the winds were very light, but I’m okay with that.
What a gorgeous place that is. Vacation rentals on the beach, and the water so clear you could see the anchor from above. We were the only ones there, and far enough away that we spent much of our time naked – I mean, why not? Awakening to a sea state so calm, I could have skated across it, with magical sunrises. Again, the water here in the Bahamas is so crystal clear, so amazing, and so warm, all I wanted to do was float and soak it all in.
We stayed there a couple nights and continued on to North Palmetto Point, the Pineapple Cays where we met some other cruisers and spent time just chilling out on the beach and snorkeling big rocks.
On April 1, no fooling, we had the first pizza since leaving the US. It was cheesy goodness and so worth the carb splurge. If you go, you must visit Mate & Jenny’s. After lunch, we meandered through town, and came across a BTC phone booth – still working!
Another gorgeous sunset and it was time to move on to Governor’s Harbor.
Next up: Governor’s Harbor and beyond! XOXO, Lisa