Royal Island and Spanish Wells

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We’ve been without Internet since we left Little Harbour Sunday morning, so let me fill you in on our journey.

Plans are made to be broken I guess, we planned on making the crossing on Monday at first light. In hindsight we should have followed thru on those plans. But… When we left Little Harbour on Sunday at 11:30, to catch the high tide, we headed over to the byte where excellent snorkeling and turtle watching was suppose to be excellent. But the strong current and rolling swells from the ocean told us this would be no place to anchor, I would get zero sleep and with plans to sail all the next day that was not a good choice. So we headed over to Lynyard Cay, on most any day this would have been a great place to find shells on the deserted beach or snorkel or do nothing, but we had those north winds howling with absolutely no protection from north wind. Once again I had a dilemma, where to spend the rest of the day and anchor for the night. Another boat (Dixie Chicken) said they were leaving at noon to make the crossing on Sunday, putting them at Royal Island in the dark around 9PM. So we weighted options and decided it would be nice to have some company crossing so we gave up on Lynyard Cay and went out in the bluest of blue water of the Atlantic. We were motor sailing initially, the west winds were light, but an hour later they filled in and we turned off the motor for a really wonderful sail, until the sun started going down and wind shifted to the north. We started seeing larger and larger sea swells coming behind us and the wind continued to build, finally we were almost across and we hadn’t heard from Dixie Chicken for a while so we called them on the VHF radio. They were having engine problems it seems the large swells coming up behind filled the engine with water then when they tried to start it they had issues. They continued sailing and after awhile they get the engine running on 2 cylinders, at that point we pulled into Royal Harbour and anchored. About an hour or so later they came in and anchored, Virginia made some extra food for them but they were afraid to raft up with us because of the engine problems. Monday morning they limped over to Spanish Wells to find out their engine was destroyed, that’s a pretty expensive repair especially in a foreign country.

We stayed in Royal Harbour for the day, this is a perfectly protected harbor with no facilities. During the boom of 2004-7 they were going to turn this into a fancy resort. Then the big money dried up and tourist interest went away and so they just walked away from it. You see a lot of started projects that don’t get finished here in the Bahamas.

Sandy beach Spanish Wells

Sandy beach Spanish Wells

Spanish Wells is actually not Spanish at all, named when they found water on the island. It was where in the 17th century Eleutheran Adventurers looking for religious freedom left England and settled here. Most are descendants of those folks from England and yes they speak English, well sort of. We picked up a mooring and headed to town to the large grocery store and to do laundry. Tomorrow we need to get some water our tanks are running low and continue our track south. If the plan works we should be in Current Island at the tip of Eleuthera tomorrow and one of the upper Exuma islands on Thursday, but then again plans are made…

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