Week 11: Spanish Wells to Hatchet Bay

The allure of cruising on a sailboat, for us, is all about slowly exploring new places.

We didn’t know what to expect of Spanish Wells, and were ever so pleasantly surprised. Its turquoise waters were inviting, folks around town friendly, it had restaurants to choose from and a nearby supermarket for provisioning. Plus the marina was lovely, and we made new friends on our dock.

Fishing boat docked in Spanish Wells
One of the many fishing boats in Spanish Wells.
Allan entering boat shop
Allan is always on the quest for one boat bit or another.

Allan had been hunting for a conch horn since St. Augustine, and he finally found one at Ponderosa Shell Shop, which like many other businesses in Spanish Wells is run out of someone’s home. He replenished fishing lures at Island Custom Rod and Tackle, another home-based enterprise.

On Friday, we rented a golf cart for the day to further explore St. George Cay and its adjacent Russell Island.

We lost count of the “For Sale” signs on properties as we drove around. The vistas lush and beautiful.

House on Russell Island
One of the many lush side roads on Russell Island.

Since we had use of the golf cart, we decided to “top off” a propane tank. On Spanish Wells, propane can only be procured on weekdays from 5:30-6:30 pm at someone’s house. Our eyebrows soared as we smelled propane wafting our way as the guy tried and tried and tried to fill the tank. The process took a long time, and cost more than we expected for the quantity needed. Next time, we’ll wait until the tank is fully empty (we have two) before taking a tank in for a refill.

Alas, that night a respiratory virus trumpeted its arrival with severe throat pain and much coughing, cutting short the walks I’d planned to take around town.

The medical clinic on Spanish Wells is closed on weekends, so on Sunday I opted for a Doctor on Demand video consult via our GoogleFi phone. We’d downloaded the app and created Doctor on Demand accounts a couple of years ago, but hadn’t used the service. We had a moment or two where the video froze and we lost sound, but for the most part, the technology worked as expected. As soon as we connected, the doctor let me know that she couldn’t prescribe in The Bahamas. We expected that, and proceeded with the consult which was helpful.

We shoved off from our dock first thing on Monday, stopped at Pinder’s Grocery to fill up Vinyasa’s diesel tank, and headed south to Hatchet Bay, happy to have good wind to fill our sails.

Ten nautical miles away, we approached the Current Cut with caution, and were glad to get through uneventfully.

The charts note it is best passed at slack tide; info from a knowledgeable admin on a Bahamas sailing group added that a bit of flood tide could help transits in the direction of Hatchet Bay.

Center Cut with sailboat in distance
SV Temptress in the distance, after clearing the Current Cut.

Our confidence to enter was further boosted by SV Temptress who went through ahead of us under full sail. We furled Vinyasa’s sails to pass, and unfurled on the other side.

A few hours later, we had an even narrower cut to traverse to enter Hatchet Bay, fortunately lacking the strong tidal currents of the Current Cut.

Narrow entrance to Hatchet Bay
The entrance to Hatchet Bay is quite narrow.

Hatchet Bay provides good protection from strong winds, and we anchored expecting strong gusts from a coming cold front. The wind picked up on Tuesday night and continued to whip for the next 48 hours or so.

Strong winds make for wet dinghy rides, and increase the likelihood of boats dragging on anchor. Both good reasons to stay onboard Vinyasa until the system blew through. I slept a lot, feeling a little better with each passing day. Allan kept busy with his projects.

A dinghy zipping to its boat in the Hatchet Bay anchorage.

Today we’ll sail a few miles south and anchor elsewhere in Eleuthera, and possibly the Exumas. More about that next week.

3 thoughts on “Week 11: Spanish Wells to Hatchet Bay”

  1. I am enjoying reading about your adventures! It sounds like a dream come true for both of you! God bless you as you continue your fantastic voyage!

  2. Glad you are starting to feel better. We had strong winds for a couple days from the same front. We’ll have to stop at the same vendors and say, “Vinyasa sent us”. Keep up the great posts. (Makes me feel guilty- more updates soon to our blog)

    1. The wind has been so extreme this month, as in too much or not enough for sailing. Hoping the pattern shifts in February!

      Big hugs!

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