Crossing the Sound

What a sail across Exuma Sound! Further LOVED racing along on the deep, blue water before the southeasterly winds

After the front that rolled over us at Cambridge Cay, we had almost a week until the next front was expected to arrive. And our plan over that time was to head across Exuma Sound to the island of Eleuthera, where we’d work our way to the northern end of the island. Our ultimate goal was to be in the Spanish Wells/Harbour Island area in order for my crew to catch a plane out on April 9. Pretty straightforward, right?

Well, the thing about Eleuthera is that there’s only one spot on the west coast of the island to hide from inclement weather, a place called Hatchet Bay at the little settlement of Alice Town. It’s a decent-sized cove accessed through a narrow slot that must have been cut and blasted through the wall of rock that forms the island’s shore at that spot. Once through the slot, you’re protected from pretty much every direction, and as such, it’s the place every boat on that side of the island heads to when there’s weather out of the south and west.

Which is what was in the forecast. With that forecast in mind, and with a fervent desire to hit the good grocery store in Rock Sound and stock up on some provisions, I made the call to forgo another couple of days in the Exumas and take advantage of the southeasterly winds blowing up the Exuma Sound on Easter Sunday. The plan now was to get over to Eleuthera on Sunday, hit Rock Sound and the supermarket on Monday, and then get into Hatchet Bay early enough on Tuesday that we could carve out a spot before it got too crowded. So after tidying everything up, I guided Further back out Bell Cut and pointed her to the north-northeast and the tip of Cape Eleuthera, about thirty-three miles over the horizon.

And, ahhh…what a wonderful sail it was. The wind was a little fluky, gusting at times and sinking into lulls at others, but we made great time, bopping along on anywhere from a reach to a close haul under full sail all the way up to the tip of the cape and the entrance to Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina. Just outside the jetties protecting the inlet, we fired up the diesel, furled the sails and tucked into a slip.

Yet another Bahamas sunset, this one from the bar at the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina

It’s appropriate that the “resort” comes before the “marina” in the establishment’s name. It’s definitely a resort: a nice facility with several beaches, a pool, amenities like showers and laundry and beach-cruiser bicycles. There’s an on-site restaurant, too, that featured good food, good drinks and good service from the young staff. The restaurant, located on the second floor of the building on one side of the marina entrance, also afforded a nice view of the sunset. (I know, I know…enough with the sunsets. Sorry, but I can’t. They’re just too lovely in the Bahamas.) The marina was good too, although the finger piers were pretty short, which meant we backed Further into her slip and had to climb over the lifelines to get on and off the boat.

But again, it’s definitely a resort—with resort prices to match, so I think this will only be a one-night visit. Though I could definitely see settling in here for a longer stay though, as I said in Port Lucaya, I didn’t (and won’t) come to the Bahamas to be in a marina. Not when there are places like Cambridge Cay out there.

Still, Cape Eleuthera Marina was definitely what the doctor ordered. I took a long, luxurious shower—my first real shower since leaving Grand Bahama Yacht Club—and did a laundry. I topped off the diesel tank and bought a few Coca-Colas. And late in the morning on Monday, I exited between the jetties and turned north and east, into the Bight of Eleuthera.



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