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Old 01-16-2016, 12:43 AM   #1
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Exploring Eleuthera

At the end of March we're planning to cruise down to Eleuthera. So far I found some basic info on the following ports:

Chub Cay,
Atlantis,
Spanish Wells,
Harbor Island (via Devil's Backbone),
Governor's Harbor,
Rock Sound,
Cape Eleuthera Resort,
Half Moon Bay on Little San Salvatore.

We have limited time, so I'll have to scale it dow to 4-5 ports. The following itinerary comes to mind:

FTL to Chub Cay (1 night)
Chub Cay to Spanish Wells (1 night)
SW to Harbor Isl (2 nights)
Harbor Isl to Little San Salvatore (1 night)
Little San Salvatore to Nassau (Atlantis) - (2 nights)
Nassau to Bimini (2 nights)
Bimini to FTL

Unfortunately, there isn't much detailed info in WW Cruising guide on Eleuthera. I'm hoping to get some tips in regards to anything along the way that I have missed and/or the ports I should include in my itinerary instead of those that made on my list.

I'm considering that Spanish Wells could be used as a passing by point to possibly (or most likely) picking up a pilot guiding us through Devil's Backbone, and head directly to the Harbor Island.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:24 AM   #2
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What is your boat speed and total time you have for the trip?

If you're at trawler speed, then I'd probably cut down a bit on the stops. Perhaps save Little San Salvador for next time.

You say how many nights at each location but not how many days. I would want at least a full day in addition to arrival day to justify any location. Otherwise it turns into a delivery trip, not a cruise.
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:41 AM   #3
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What is your boat speed and total time you have for the trip?

If you're at trawler speed, then I'd probably cut down a bit on the stops. Perhaps save Little San Salvador for next time.

You say how many nights at each location but not how many days. I would want at least a full day in addition to arrival day to justify any location. Otherwise it turns into a delivery trip, not a cruise.
On trips like this I go at planing speed of 20-21kts, mostly in the interest of time. I trawl when it makes sence and sometimes I mix few hrs of displacement speed and planing speed. I totally agree with your point on delivery trip feel, so that's the reason good 80-90% I go fast.

Little San Salvador seems to be the most remote port, but I heard it's beautiful. If I skeep Little San Salvador, then I don't know if I need to go to Cape Eleuthera either. I was using it as a fuel stop, and of course see what it has to offer, while I'm there.
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:46 AM   #4
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Do you want to stay at a dock each night?

For a pilot I use Jock Morgan AKA "Bandit" (242) 359-7403

Been going to Eleuthera since the 70s. But don't call HI Eleuthera. The locals on HI and Eleuthera make a distinction between the two islands. 😊
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:50 AM   #5
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Do you want to stay at a dock each night?

For a pilot I use Jock Morgan AKA "Bandit" (242) 359-7403

Been going to Eleuthera since the 70s. But don't call HI Eleuthera. The locals on HI and Eleuthera make a distinction between the two islands. ��
Usually I try mixing our stay between anchoring and marinas. So, in this case it will depend on the ports. Based on my previously posted itinerary, it looks like we'll be staying in marinas most of the time. Of course, if we go to Little San Salvator, we'll be staying on the hook.

Thanks for the tip on the pilot. I also wasn't aware of the islands distiction.
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Old 01-16-2016, 12:41 PM   #6
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Do you want to stay at a dock each night?

For a pilot I use Jock Morgan AKA "Bandit" (242) 359-7403

Been going to Eleuthera since the 70s. But don't call HI Eleuthera. The locals on HI and Eleuthera make a distinction between the two islands. 😊
You sure Bandit doesn't own the island? lol. We like Harbour Island and prefer Romora Bay.

Just tossing some ideas and thoughts.

It sounds like you've got 10 days total time? 9 nights and 10 days. I would select the 4 places I wanted to spend time. This would be based on previous trips and just interests.

Also, do you have a dinghy/tender? Can really be great around places like Harbour Island and Eleuthera.

Let's talk at least two full days at Harbour Island. One day get a golf cart and explore and the other day rent a boat if your dinghy isn't good for distance. Boat rentals are cheap there. 13' Whaler $100/day. 17' Whaler $175/day. Half Days available plus larger boats. Go explore Eleuthera by water.

Regardless I'd want two days at Harbour Island which would mean 3 nights.

You indicate you're on the East Coast but north or south. I ask because as a local South Floridian we don't use our long trips for Bimini but we use weekends and long weekends to run there. Now it might not be possible for you.

Is this a couple or family cruising? We love Atlantis, but we're not looking for a place to take kids. It's an incredible resort that could be anywhere in the world, but it's not seeing the Bahamas, nor really even seeing Nassau. We just left there yesterday. Casino, Spa, Great Restaurants.

You could explore Spanish Wells by dinghy or Whaler as well from Harbour Island. Or arrive there one day and leave the next just in time to make Harbour Island so it could be a one night stop since it wouldn't follow a long day.

I like the Berry Islands as something different. Great area to just cruise and enjoy, anchor and swim or fish. Personally, I'd add a day in that area and forego Bimini if it came to that.

Look at each destination and the things you'd like to do there. Perhaps look at Travel Advisor for activities. Then just decide what is most important. I will tell you what is most to be avoided. Exhaustion. You need to convert to Island Time to really appreciate the Bahamas. Linger a while longer here or there. Take time to do absolutely nothing.

So, back to my initial premise, if it's 10 days and 9 nights, I'd target 4 stops. They're all good so you can't go wrong.
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Old 01-16-2016, 03:23 PM   #7
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You sure Bandit doesn't own the island? lol. We like Harbour Island and prefer Romora Bay.

Just tossing some ideas and thoughts.

It sounds like you've got 10 days total time? 9 nights and 10 days. I would select the 4 places I wanted to spend time. This would be based on previous trips and just interests. ….
You’re correct, I have about 10 days, with about 1 day in reserve. This is our first visit to Eleuthera, but we’ve done Abacos last year.

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…Also, do you have a dinghy/tender? Can really be great around places like Harbour Island and Eleuthera.

Let's talk at least two full days at Harbour Island. One day get a golf cart and explore and the other day rent a boat if your dinghy isn't good for distance. Boat rentals are cheap there. 13' Whaler $100/day. 17' Whaler $175/day. Half Days available plus larger boats. Go explore Eleuthera by water.

Regardless I'd want two days at Harbour Island which would mean 3 nights. ….
Yes, we have an awesome Center Console tender with 40HP, so it’s perfect for zipping around and explore in relatively remote locations.


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….You indicate you're on the East Coast but north or south. I ask because as a local South Floridian we don't use our long trips for Bimini but we use weekends and long weekends to run there. Now it might not be possible for you. ….
The reason for very general description of our location, is b/c we keep the boat in Ft. Lauderdale in the winter and in CT during summer season. I guess we belong to the category of snowbirds.

I also considered Bimini as a long weekend trip, since it’s only about 50NM from FTL. But, I figured that it might be a great stop to break up the trip, before we make the final leg to FTL. Fuel is also one of the reasons for the stop. But, I would consider dropping it from the list, considering there’s a better option on our return trip. During the fast run from Nassau to FTL, is a bit too much for one day (~170NM or so) and I prefer to break it in to two legs.


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….Is this a couple or family cruising? We love Atlantis, but we're not looking for a place to take kids. It's an incredible resort that could be anywhere in the world, but it's not seeing the Bahamas, nor really even seeing Nassau. We just left there yesterday. Casino, Spa, Great Restaurants. ….
We’re crew of 4 (a couple with two kids)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
….You could explore Spanish Wells by dinghy or Whaler as well from Harbour Island. Or arrive there one day and leave the next just in time to make Harbour Island so it could be a one night stop since it wouldn't follow a long day.

I like the Berry Islands as something different. Great area to just cruise and enjoy, anchor and swim or fish. Personally, I'd add a day in that area and forego Bimini if it came to that.

Look at each destination and the things you'd like to do there. Perhaps look at Travel Advisor for activities. Then just decide what is most important. I will tell you what is most to be avoided. Exhaustion. You need to convert to Island Time to really appreciate the Bahamas. Linger a while longer here or there. Take time to do absolutely nothing.

So, back to my initial premise, if it's 10 days and 9 nights, I'd target 4 stops. They're all good so you can't go wrong.
Thanks for suggestions. I’ll look more into each port and overall breakdown of our itinerary and see what can be reworked.

It looks like Spanish Wells can be used just as a passing through and getting a pilot. So, dropping it off the list as an overnight stop, leaves me with 5 ports:

FTL to Chub Cay (1 night)
Chub Cay to Harbor Isl (2 nights)
Harbor Isl to Little San Salvatore (2 nights)
Little San Salvatore to Nassau (Atlantis) - (3 nights)
Nassau to Bimini (1 night)
Bimini to FTL

As we discussed above, leaving Bimini for another trip as a long weekend, I could use it as a fuel stop, and maybe one overnight, just to take a break.

Keep your suggestions coming...
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Old 01-16-2016, 04:09 PM   #8
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As I'm reviewing the overall itinerary, the obvious question comes to mind. Is it worth running all the way to Little San Salvador (~200NM round trip)? I originally thought that we'll stop at either Governor's Harbor and/or Rock Sound, or Cape Eleuthera. But, having limited time and after I started crossing "nice to see" ports from the list, it started to look like I'm doing the 200nm run just for one port. It doesn't make too much sense.

Thus, I'd like to ask, how is the Governor's Harbor or Cape Eleuthera? Is it worth the rework my itinerary and make sure to stop at least in one of them? I would probably need to get fuel and Cape Eleuthera would be the logical stop, so perhaps spending a night there would make sense.
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Old 01-16-2016, 04:26 PM   #9
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As I'm reviewing the overall itinerary, the obvious question comes to mind. Is it worth running all the way to Little San Salvador (~200NM round trip)? I originally thought that we'll stop at either Governor's Harbor and/or Rock Sound, or Cape Eleuthera. But, having limited time and after I started crossing "nice to see" ports from the list, it started to look like I'm doing the 200nm run just for one port. It doesn't make too much sense.

Thus, I'd like to ask, how is the Governor's Harbor or Cape Eleuthera? Is it worth the rework my itinerary and make sure to stop at least in one of them? I would probably need to get fuel and Cape Eleuthera would be the logical stop, so perhaps spending a night there would make sense.
I would for this trip choose Governor's Harbor or Cape Eleuthera over Little San Salvador. I just think there is so much you can do in Harbor Island and Eleuthera and even your tender to Spanish Wells. So much to enjoy that trying to fit Little San Salvador in would shortchange you. Now, you might plan both ways and if then you get partway through and see you don't mind leaving places earlier, then head for it.

It's trying to achieve a balance of boat riding and destination pleasure. You know your family. I don't. I know personally if I got to Harbour Island around 5 on Monday and had to leave early Wednesday for the next destination, I'd feel like "so soon?"

We're dealing with a similar decision right now. More time in a few places or more places.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:02 PM   #10
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Can't say much about Eleuthera having never been there, but I'll throw my 2 cents in on the Berry's. Skip Chub Cay entirely. Over priced, over rated and rude. Instead go to Great Harbor Cay, it's great.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:31 PM   #11
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Can't say much about Eleuthera having never been there, but I'll throw my 2 cents in on the Berry's. Skip Chub Cay entirely. Over priced, over rated and rude. Instead go to Great Harbor Cay, it's great.
He's just using Chub Cay as a place to spend the night on the way to Harbour Island I think. It's ok for that purpose. We use it as a stop on the way to explore the Berry Islands more. Our experience consistent with many in no dock hands at times, but we don't really need any. One of many resorts that over-estimated their market.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:55 PM   #12
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Weird when we go to Chub they're always happy and have positive attitudes. Expensive, yes. But it's nice place to take a break after hopping the bank.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:08 PM   #13
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Weird when we go to Chub they're always happy and have positive attitudes. Expensive, yes. But it's nice place to take a break after hopping the bank.
They've always been fine with us as well. However, some get upset they don't always run to the docks to assist you. Again, we've had no issues there.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:22 PM   #14
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Exploring Eleuthera

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They've always been fine with us as well. However, some get upset they don't always run to the docks to assist you. Again, we've had no issues there.

Yeah I guess they haven't been always there to help, but that's fine as the floating docks make life much easier for getting a line handler onto the dock.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:38 AM   #15
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I think I'd skip San Salvador. Not because it's not worth a look, just because of your short time frame. In fact I might just stay on HI and rent a car for the day, or get a driver, and drive to Govenors Harbour. Stop and get lunch at Tippy's or Sky Beach perhaps. See the caves at Hatchet Bay or spend a couple of hours exploring the old Navy base and the beautiful beach there. Stop at Pam's Island Made gift store in Gregorytown.

If you don't want to stop at Chub Cay go to the east end of Frazer's and check out The Berry Island Club.


The Berry Islands Club - Berry Islands Club

While on HI take your tender over to the beach at Bottom Harbour over at Whale Point. Nice beach with lots of baby turtles swimming around in the grass flats. Sometimes the Bottom Harbour Club is open and you can get a cold one and lunch there.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:48 AM   #16
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He's just using Chub Cay as a place to spend the night on the way to Harbour Island I think. It's ok for that purpose. We use it as a stop on the way to explore the Berry Islands more. Our experience consistent with many in no dock hands at times, but we don't really need any. One of many resorts that over-estimated their market.
Yes it's to bad they didn't just leave the place much like it was with some infrastructure improvements.

But it's still a nice place just to lay back and chill. With great diving and fishing.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:55 AM   #17
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A long time ago myself and three other (two where army pilots) guys island hopped in a very small plane thru the Bahamas.

One of the stops was Eleuthera/Spanish Wells. I remember a DC-3 had crashed on the island. Well not quite its was just offshore. Locals said it was running drugs.

Awesome place, great people. They were very leery of us at first. We found out later that if you weren't there to dive you must be involved in drug running. Since we didn't have any dive gear or interest in it, they assumed we ran drugs.

One family fed us one night and took us fishing the next day, I'm sure it's changed now, but it is one of my fondest memories of my youth.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:09 AM   #18
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Great suggestion, guys.

I will look in to Great HBR vs Chub, as well. BTW, I've heard that Chub had some financial issues and was in transitional period, when marina was closed and/or not pumping fuel. It should be under new management now. Does anyone know what's the latest on that info? Chances are either Chub or GH will be just a quick overnight stop to clear customs and get fuel.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:29 AM   #19
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Great suggestion, guys.

I will look in to Great HBR vs Chub, as well. BTW, I've heard that Chub had some financial issues and was in transitional period, when marina was closed and/or not pumping fuel. It should be under new management now. Does anyone know what's the latest on that info? Chances are either Chub or GH will be just a quick overnight stop to clear customs and get fuel.
Chub will be fine for quick stop and clearing customs, for your purposes.
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:57 AM   #20
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I was looking at Berry Islands and have noticed that Great Harbor Cay is where the "Coco Cay" (Royal Caribbean private island) is located. There are some mixed reviews on Active Captain about the anchorage. I've been there on a cruise ship (number of years ago) and recall only good things about the island, just in general. Obviously, it's very different when going to the same places on your own boat.

Do you guys have any recommendations if the Coco Cay worth the stop or should I save the night for more attractive place with more to offer?
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