The Berry Islands and Eleuthera

It in now March and we’re finding places exactly how I expected the Bahamas to be. Secluded. Crystal clear water. And some of the best shelling we’ve ever had. 

We are on the south side of Chub Key in the Berry Islands. It is incredible, but like all things, it must come to an end because the wind is going to switch direction and if we stay, we’ll be in a bad spot. Unfortunately there aren’t many anchorages on the south side of the Berry Islands. We choose a new gorgeous anchorage, but it’s shallow so we can’t quite tuck in as well as we’d hoped. Thankfully we have time to explore the beautiful beach before the weather turns. There are conch everywhere! I. mean. everywhere. And lots of sand dollars too. The kids and I are in beach combing heaven! 

Unfortunately once the wind shifts to the south, and the tide changes, the boat rocks and rolls. We have never rocked so much. It’s nauseating. No one sleeps. Eric is hopeful the rocking will subside with the tide change. I’m skeptical. Turns out I’m right, it doesn’t. Everyone is unhappy with our anchorage choice, so at first light, we’re off to find another one. Of course the wind picks up and the waves are getting big. We have to plow through them to get around the island. I stupidly forgot to prep for sea, so crap is falling all over the place. The only casualty is the butter dish. It’s at this point I decide that I don’t like The Berry Islands very much.

When Eric pulls into the new anchorage the waves almost disappear. Hallelujah! It’s much better than the last anchorage, still not great, but we make the best of it. Eric finds some lobster under the boat when snorkeling on our anchor (he does this every time we anchor to make sure it digs in well) so he grabs them and gives us a great dinner. It’s the little things in life, right?

The next day the wind shifts direction (again) but this time it’s in our favor! It makes for a speedy sail to Eleuthera, across the Tongue of the Ocean (which is a real thing, who knew), which is really deep water, so…out go the fishing rods! Sure enough, in no time…we catch a tuna! I’m at the helm for almost an hour while Eric filets it. Dinner will be awesome tonight too!

We reach the cut around 4 and are anchored just outside of Spanish Wells by 4:30. The water is a bit milky looking, but the anchor is in good, and there are zero waves, so we’ll be able to sleep well tonight. (Thank God!) We eat grilled tuna and have an excitable game of Farkel. Life is good.

The next morning we’re super excited because the girls and I get to explore our first Bahamian town, Spanish Wells! We tie up our dingy up to a wall, like everyone else, and find…there are no sidewalks! People drive right there next to you while you’re walking. It’s a bit unnerving with kids, but thankfully, there isn’t a lot of road traffic, so it’s not that big of a deal. Also, most of the cars are golf carts, so there’s that.

Eric find a part he needs at a decent boat parts store and we are free to explore the island. We climb up a substantial hill to get to the north side of the island and boy, the view, it takes your breath away. The sand is pure white and the water, crystal clear. Gorgeous. We hang out on the beach just taking it all in. This. is. the. Bahamas.

After a fair amount of walking, our bellies tell us that it’s lunchtime, so we find the local hangout called, Budda’s. It has no walls, but has good food, great people, it’s own liquor store, and wifi. We do our part to help the local economy and head back to the boat.

We know we have to change anchorages because the wind will be changing direction and strengthening, so we pick an anchorage not too far from where we are with good protection near Meeks Island. When we leave it starts to blow 40 knots and by the time we anchor it settles to 20 knots. Go figure. It’s still a good decision and once the girls finish school we check out the new beach and find another cruising family! The kids are about Cloe’s age, but they know very little English and we speak zero French, BUT somehow we understand that they’ve found baby pigs on the other side of the island and go check them out. Turns out it’s a guy running a tourist attraction on the beach. Most of the pigs are medium sized and friendly. The babies are super cute, but very shy. The kids really enjoyed the experience.

We leave bright and early to catch Current Cut as close to slack tide as possible. It is a beautiful sail. The cut is a crazy experience. At full speed it rips at 6 knots, so catching it at slack tide is best. It’s also very narrow, so only one boat can go through at a time. We go through without problem, and reach the Glass Window in no time.

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Current Cut. Yes, it’s tiny, but we made it!

The Glass Window is a place where the ocean waves crash through a substantial crevice in the rocks into the still water on the other side. It’s a sight for sure. We hike up to the bridge, which is an experience in and of itself. Again, no sidewalks, but this time you’re walking on a main thoroughfare between towns with cars buzzing by you. Real cars, not golf carts. Nerve-wracking. Across from where we land the dingy on the beach, we find something called The Queen’s Bath, which looks like a spa built for Greek Gods. They are pool sized holes that have been carved by water over a long time. When the waves crash on the rocks, the pools fill with aerated water which makes them look like big hot tubs. We also find a blowhole at the top of the hill! When a wave crashes through the gap, water rushes up through the blowhole and sprays water all over us. Refreshing. We finally make it to the bridge overlaying the window. The waves sound so powerful. We learn from a local that at one point there was a natural land bridge connecting the rocks, but it eroded and the man made bridges they put in it’s place get washed out every so often. The force of mother nature is mighty indeed.

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The Glass Window

We spend the afternoon at the beach and find another slice of heaven. We pull our beach chairs down to the water line, have a few adult beverages, and soak up the sun. Gosh, it’s beautiful here. We wish we can stay longer, but we know there are many islands to explore so we make plans to sail further down the island and to the Exumas.

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