January 15, 2010
Anchored at Meek’s Patch
We picked up the hook this morning from Man Island (and we had to skirt Girls Bank (the sand kind, not the money kind) to get there!) and wound our way back through the Devil’s Backbone, through Spanish Wells (you actually go directly through the harbor there) and on to Meek’s Patch, a small island south of Royal Island. We’ll head back to Royal tomorrow to be tucked in for the wind that is supposed to blow Saturday night and Sunday.
Harbour Island was not quite what we had expected. We had heard so much about how unique it is, and how much of a serious resort community it is. Hmm. I am not sure we would describe it as such. From sea, the settlement of Dunmore Town has the appearance of a small Caribbean village. The water front is a bit run down, though the backdrop of pastel-colored houses on the shallow hill are a sunny sight. After anchoring in the silty water, we zipped in to explore. Up close, the water front is no less unkempt. The main place to take the dinghy is the beach to the left of the government dock. We wandered through the island, headed to the ocean-side beach.
The beach has to be where Harbour Island gets its reputation. It is stunning, a wide, gentle, three-mile-long stretch of pink sand. There are more rental chairs and umbrellas (and maybe a 1% occupancy rate – perhaps a result of a cool day, perhaps the rotten world economy?) than I have seen in the past 20 years all together. There is evidence of upscale hotels on the beach front. I would imagine that if you were staying in such a hotel/resort, you’d have a very structured experience.
Our take on Harbour Island – a pretty neat place, definitely unique in the Bahamas. It reminds us of a combination of Dominica and St. Thomas – wonderful little bodega-style veggie and fruit stores, upscale boutiques, more chickens running around than you can believe, rastas and domino-playing men, drunks weaving around the stores, houses (and streets) that have seen better days in terms of upkeep, and friendly people. Maybe we didn’t find the “resort community” part of the town. Maybe we didn’t want to!
We are a bit surprised at the lack of cruisers in the Harbour Island area (we were the ONLY ones). Yes, the navigation required to get here is daunting, particularly if you focus on the scary write-ups in the cruising guides. But there is a beautiful huge harbor with many different anchorages available (Man Island is a pristine beach anchorage, for example), a neat town to keep you provisioned and laundry-ed. Glad we are that we went, for sure.
Onward (after the next cold front) to more areas none of us have seen yet. The Bight of Eleuthera invites exploring, especially (and really only) in prevailing conditions (a fancy term for easterly winds), which luckily we are expecting for about a week. Yippee!