Spanish Wells to Governor’s Harbor

Moving on

Tuesday morning’s forecast didn’t promise much in the way of diminished winds, in fact the wind is supposed to persist at 15 to 20 kts. with periods of 25 kts. until Friday, so we decided to move from Spanish Wells despite the wind.
Bahamas Water

We filled our water tanks with city water in anticipation of leaving the marina and ready access to water. City water is 15¢/gal., and we figured it’s city water that’s piped all over Eleuthera, it should be drinkable. NOT!!! It reminds me of the stuff they force you to drink before those GI tests. You know it’s salty and you should probably throw it up, but the salt is disguised enough that it won’t make you throw up- it just makes you run to the head for 3 hours afterwards…. you get the picture. In addition, it’s chlorinated like pool water, and if that wasn’t enough, I added a dose of chlorine to the tank before filling it just to make sure. Oh boy! Up until that point, we had been happily drinking our tank water, and with running it through the softener on its way into the tank, and the taste & odor filter after the boat’s pressure pump, we always had excellent water quality. Now we have 300 gallons of the most foul-tasting and smelling water we’ve ever encountered. It’s OK for showering, washing and other household use, but there’s no way that’s passing my lips!! So before we slipped the lines, we got the golf cart from the marina and headed out to the “water guy”- out past the grocery. This guy runs a bottling business out of his garage in Spanish Wells. He has an RO system, and bottles and sells the water. It’s $10/case with a box of 6- 1-gallon jugs , $9/case with just jugs, and he’ll deliver it to your boat and pump it into your tank for 50¢/gal. Well, our tanks were already full of the 15¢/gal. city water, and his portable tank was down for some modifications, so I left with 3 cases of water. I draw the line at making coffee with seawater.
So with water stowed in the guest stateroom, we slipped the dock lines and bid farewell to Spanish Wells. We headed for Current Cut, where we would decide if we’d head south to Highborne Cay in the Exumas or continue east toward Eleuthera.
Current Cut is noted on the chart as having very strong currents, and as we finally spotted the cut, we could see from a half mile away the current rushing out of the cut. It had to be going at least 3 kts, The cut is nearly invisible until you are within about ¾ mile, and gives you a creepy feeling heading toward this cut in the shoreline you can’t see! We finally entered the cut, and it was as described, a LOT of current, as much as we’ve encountered in our cruising time. I spoke to Ole Pot, the pilot in Spanish Wells about the cut, and he said I’d have no problem, “piece of cake….Just watch that bar as you come through the cut and make a hawd raght just pass the bar.. make sure the current don’t push you over onto the other side where it’s shallow.” Well, it was a bit tense, but the cut really wasn’t difficult, despite the strong current. Depths in the cut were well over 25 ft. The typical depths here on the bank are very similar to boating at home on the bay, except that here you can see the bottom, and the color of the water tells the depth; but we generally see anywhere from 2-15 ft. under our keel. Takes some getting used to!
The rest of our run across the Bight of Eleuthera was bumpy. We again had winds out of the SE, so our course put the wind and waves square on our nose, so it was a bumpy ride with lots of spray. The boat was encrusted in salt when we arrived at
Governor’s Harbor.


We dropped the hook in the SE part of the harbor, opposite the government dock. We were able to get the anchor to set, although the charts warn of poor holding. With winds in the 25 kt, range, we were thankful to get the anchor set securely. It was dark till we got situated and dropped the dink over the side. We headed in to Cupid’s Cay to get a brief shore leave with access next to the government dock, to allow the dogs and us to stretch out after the cruise. The following morning, we dinghied in to the opposite side of the harbor, and tied up to a couple of old pilings with some derelict concrete stairs- the dinghy dock! Governor’s Harbor is a busy place, it is fairly central to Eleuthera, so folks come from both N and S to do business. We spent Wednesday morning walking around the island, which is surprisingly hilly, in contrast to what we had seen before. It dates back to early days, and for some time was home to the well-known Club Med resort, so there are many old buildings, some in good repair, most are not. Lots of closed up businesses. A very dramatic change from the neat and tidy homes lining the trash-free streets of Spanish Wells! We were back to the run-down look, with lots of businesses closed up, and many buildings in various states of disrepair, or abandonment, and lots and lots of junk and trash. We saw more stray dogs, the typical “potcake” Bahamas mix of perhaps some shepherd, spitz, and maybe some pit bull in the mix. Who knows?! People were universally friendly, with everyone we passed offering a wave from the car, or a greeting if walking. This was the first community outside Nassau where we saw firefighting apparatus, there was a fire truck sitting in what had to have been a firehouse. At the ready, if it runs!


The fast ferry from Nassau came in just after noon (Wed) while we were anchored, and it was interesting to see them dock in 25 kts of wind! They set their bow anchor to keep the wind from dragging the bow sideways, and their anchor chain jammed, so he had to make a second approach! Since we had begun to drag our anchor in the direction of where they were maneuvering, we decided to pull it and move, anchoring closer to shore and other boats in the harbor.
Anchoring in marl
We must have revived the anchoring curse, since after 3 hours of different attempts all afternoon,  we finally gave up, and stowed anchor and dink and left in frustration. Between the wind howling at 25 kts for the past week, and not being able to get an anchor to set, we had enough! The bottom is a light layer of sand over marl, or old dead coral reef, and is impenetrable. With the clear water, we could look down 12 ft and see the anchor, about half in sand, but it simply dragged across the rock-hard bottom. The cruising guides note that this anchorage has poor holding, they’re not wrong! We could have moved much closer to shore where the sand would have been deeper and would have afforded a better set, but also shallower, so we decided to err on the side of caution, and headed further south where we could get securely anchored for the night.
We arrived at Palmetto Point close to 5PM, and were able to get a good set on the first try. Success! We anticipate a restful night, in spite the wind wailing!

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