Eleuthera: Governor’s Harbor, Alabaster Bay, and Hatchet Bay
April 2, 2019 – April 5, 2019
Hot, humid, zero wind: this describes our sail north to Governor’s Harbor, which is on the border between Central and North Eleuthera (and interestingly runs vertical, not horizontal – go figure!) Some of my favorite anchorages throughout the Bahamas were here on the west coast of this beautiful island. Having spent months in the Exumas, with its small islands and cross-cut inlet exposures, I was so pleasantly surprised by the lack of significant roll the anchorages on this island offered. No crazy currents going one way and the wind and roll going the other. It was just so freaking awesome.
Since we were officially on vacation (remember, I work full-time much to my dismay!), I wanted to see as much as I could and sail (or motor as would be the case) a lot, with the goal of getting to the Abacos by mid-April. Time was closing in on our first season and I was determined to enjoy as much of the Bahamas as I could.
The sailing community is actually quite small – and we often find ourselves on the same path as those we follow or who follow us on social media. Our friends Ben, Tambi, and their daughter Molly, from Sailboat Story met us for lunch at a swanky resort place with incredible views. It was 1648 – French Leave Resort. The food was just meh though and the drinks really expensive, after which I felt really guilty for suggesting this place to our friends, who are not working and rely on ad revenue from YouTube and their blog. Go check them out!
After lunch, we all went exploring our separate ways with plans to connect up again in Alabaster Bay. I needed to get some laundry done without blistering my hands using the bucket so I was off for the mile hike to the laundry in mid-town. Let me tell ya, this was a hike of Epic proportions: Erik dinghies me to a staircase where I lug two very full laundry baskets, my backpack, and the folding wagon up and onto the sidewalk. Once I have my little wagon full to brimming, I start the walk through the town, and up dirt roads trusting GPS to get me to this place. Alone. No blaming going on here, Erik needed to stay behind on the boat exploring his own adventures. He had a theory and needed to isolate the cause of some unexpected heating issues we’ve been having.
What a fantastic laundrymat! Expensive as shit, but I got 6 loads done in 1.5 hours, including drying time. The best part of the laundrymat was possibly that it was just around the corner from this artsy restaurant called the Buccaneer Club. I sent a message to Erik to grab his flip flops and meet me at the bar when the dryers were done.
The owner is the restaurant is an older petite woman with such a cool vibe about her. We ended up talking to her quite a bit and I was very impressed watching how well her restaurant runs. Highly recommend this place.
After getting our clean clothes back to the boat, we dove in the water to cool off and chill out as sunset showed her beauty. Alas, it was time to plot our next sail.
The next stop was Alabaster Bay, which is just a short trip north around the harbor – another motor given the zero-wind situation. The good news is that despite the constant motoring, we had no new issues with the fuel. Talking about our fuel issues is almost as painful as it was living through them in the first place.
Alabaster Bay was beautiful and provided us with a calm anchorage and another great sunset. We snorkeled a LOT and swam and just relaxed. But with a new weather system coming, we knew we’d need protection from the oncoming NW winds, so onward we must go. The weather always dictates our plans. I’d call Mother Nature a bad name but I’m pretty scared of her so she gets my total and unconditional respect. And fear.
Our next stop was Hatchet Bay, with it’s all around wind and surge protection and where I really was looking forward to because it has some awesome caves to explore – the challenge with Hatchet Bay, however, is the entrance. According to the maps, there was a man-made entrance in the rock wall that stretched before us. Captain was super skeptical because a half-mile out, we still couldn’t see the entrance that was supposedly right in front of us. As we got closer, with 3’ rollers on our beam and 15kts of wind, we saw this itty-bitty entrance that looked impossible to make. Talk about butt-puckering – the entrance to this bay was about 80’ wide, which may sound just fine given our boat is 26’ wide, but with current and waves, we were crabbing our way in there.
A note about Hatchet Bay – there are moorings and they are free, if you can find them but the Explorer Charts indicate the anchor holding in the Bay is feeble and to favor the NW side of the bay. Which is what we did – we anchored in 8’ of water and held just fine. No worries at all. During the blow, with winds to 25kts, we held just fine.
The caves near Hatchet Bay were damn impressive but you better take your flashlights and have backups. At one point during this hike, we turned off our flashlights and were entombed in darkness. Let me tell you how we got here…
We got off the dinghy dock and poof, Erik’s Teva’s disintegrated. The owner of the bar and hardware store came over to us and offered some help. It was so kind of him, and while Erik was definitely wearing hillbilly sandals now, it’d have to do until we get back stateside.
I don’t recall this nice man’s name, but he ended up driving us to the cave with the promise of returning an hour later, to which we gave him $30 for his time, trouble, and kindness. We also had some drinks on his patio when we got back, overlooking the bay and enjoying the sun setting.
We loved our time there, but with a little over a month left and two more islands to visit, we knew we’d need to keep pushing on.
Next up: Glass window, Current Cut, Egg Island and then on to Abacos (which is going to be very difficult for me to write about.)