The Eleuthera islands are about in the middle of the Bahama islands and east of Nassau. Our first stop in the Eleuthera island chain is Royal Island Harbour, at the northern end of the chain. It is a beautiful, protected cove and is rumored to have been a favorite hiding place for pirates back in the day.
We took the dinghy over to Spanish Wells (about 5 miles away) to take a look around and do a little provisioning, along with Rick & Helen. As is often the case with the out islands, timing is everything. The supply ship was due in later that day so the selections were sparse at the two island groceries. The community is very picturesque with pastel colored cottages and a pleasure to walk around.
Spanish Wells also has a beautiful beach with pink sand that goes on for miles. The sand is super fine, almost like dust or powder, but hard packed and easy to walk on.
When we returned to the dock where we tied up the dinghies we found the tide was on its way out. Rick & Helen’s dinghy still had some water under it, but our dinghy was high and dry! Thinking we must be at low tide we decided to have a cold drink at the Shipyard restaurant and wait for the tide to come in. We looked up the local tide table using the restaurant’s WiFi and discovered we were still more than two hours from low tide! Time to figure out something else or it was going to be a long evening.
Pete and Rick climbed down into the mucky bottom and were able to free Rick’s dinghy fairly easily. Our dinghy was a different story. The engine was firmly planted in the muck and the bow was wedged up against a piling. With Pete and Rick pushing and pulling on the dinghy from the ground, and Helen and I pulling the bow line from up on the dock, we finally got it loose. Quite the adventure for one afternoon.
After a few peaceful days in Royal Island Harbour it was time to pull up anchor and head toward Hatchet Bay to continue island explorations. We actually had a good day of sailing making between 6 and 7 knots most of the time.
When it was time to start the engines to pass through a narrow channel, Current Cut, the port engine wouldn’t start. Pete lifted the cover to figure out what was wrong and he found the compartment full of water. Very soon we smelled smoke and then saw it coming from the port engine compartment. I kept control of the helm while Pete scrambled with the fire extinguisher. It appeared to have been an electrical fire and thankfully it was contained quickly with minimal damage. Eventually our heart rates returned to normal and we had to decide what to do next.
We made the decision to return to Spanish Wells because there are multiple marine and hardware stores, which would allow Pete to work on the problem and have access to parts as needed. This time we booked a slip in the marina and didn’t have to worry about the tides. Our friends Rick & Helen on Symmetry III were nearby and decided to also pull into the marina as well to do some work on their boat.
Rick and Pete spent the next couple of days helping each other out with boat repairs. Helen and I took a trip to the local grocery store and restocked our respective boats. One evening, in a rented golf cart, all four of us took a trip to the far end of the island for dinner at the Sand Bar – a pretty little restaurant with all outdoor dining right on the water.
After some last minute chores we plan to depart today and head for Hatchet Bay again. Hopefully this is an uneventful journey!
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