Position: N25 25.759 W076 36.142
We leave the Abacos at 2:30am on Friday January 9th bound for Royal Island just north of Eleuthera with a nearly full moon as our “third crew member”. A northeasterly wind blows us about 50 miles south and we arrive at Royal Island at 1:00 pm on the same day. Our friends on Barefootin’ and Diva arrive later in the afternoon having delayed their departures until dawn.
In company with Barefootin’ and Diva, we leave Royal Island on the 10th. The challenge of the day is to negotiate Current Cut at the north end of Eleuthera. It’s a narrow cut with a vicious current – hence the name. After going through the actual cut, we have to negotiate a 100 degree turn to starboard, close but not too close to the rocks, and avoid being pushed by the current onto the shoal to port. Or, to paraphrase Jimmy Buffet, “Shoals on the left, rocks on the right, and you’re the only boat in town.”
Last year when we came north we went through Current Cut about 1.5 hours after high tide in Nassau – that’s the closest tide station we had – and saw less than a knot of current. So we time it the same today. Another boat makes it through about a half hour ahead of us and sees 3 knots. By the time we get there it’s down to less than a knot and we make it through with no excitement, thank goodness.
Our destination today is The Glass Window. The island of Eleuthera squeezes down to a narrow, rocky waist about two thirds of the way up its length. There used to be a natural bridge at this point that was captured by American painter Winslow Homer. In 1872 an enormous wave washed away several couples who were picnicking there. The 85’ high natural span was subsequently washed away during a hurricane in 1926. A bridge was built across the opening in 1960. Then on Halloween Day, 1991, a rage spawned a huge rogue wave that knocked the northern end of the bridge 7 feet to the west. It has since been repaired by closing opposite lanes at each end of the bridge allowing traffic to pass via a single lane that runs catty-corner from one side of the bridge to the other. In March of 1996 two people were washed off the bridge by another wave – by some miracle one of them survived.
On top of the bridge looking out to the East we see the rich, deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean. To the West, the various shades of emerald and turquoise of the Bight of Eleuthera provide a stunning contrast. We’re way above the water – the wave that reached up here and slapped the bridge around must have been absolutely monstrous. We stand in awe of the forces Mother Nature can bring to bear and hope we never see a wave that size – at least not from the vantage point of our Rachel.
That evening we had a happy hour and bonfire on the beach with 4 other couples and a beautiful sunset. Life doesn’t get much better.