Eleuthera Bahamas - Nice and Skinny
By Perry Joseph
Of the many Caribbean and Bahamian islands my wife and I have visited, Eleuthera Bahamas is by far the longest and skinniest island we have seen -- it is also one of the nicest. At approximately 100 miles long and a several miles wide, Eleuthera offers a rare combination of beauty, charm, ruggedness and tranquility. Within an hour's time, you can view the deep blue color of the Atlantic from towering coral cliffs, wade in the rich turquoise waters looking for seashells, or go spelunking in a cave filled with multicolored stalactites and stalagmites.
Even better, Eleuthera has miles and miles of pink sand beaches that will simply knock your eyes out. Does this sound like an exaggeration? Trust me, it's not. These are the same type of pink sand beaches you would find at the fabled, and expensive, Harbour Island which is located just off the northeast tip of Eleuthera. These beaches were also good enough for Club Med at one time -- that was until hurricane Floyd in 1999 destroyed the facilities. Club Med chose not to rebuild and packed their bags. The nice thing is the beach is still there and is as gorgeous as ever. Even nicer is the fact there are so few people there making it by far one of the most pristine and tranquil beaches we have seen.
And then there is the charm of Eleuthera. Unlike some of the Bahamian islands we have seen, Eleuthera is not over developed -- if anything it is underdeveloped. You get the feeling of time and endurance as you tour the island. One of the more historical places to visit is Preacher's Cave on the north end of Eleuthera. This cave is where Captain William Sayles and a group of Puritans sought shelter after finding the island. The cave and surrounding area is currently being turned into a historical park. At the entrance of the old cave is a large rock with a plaque that says "William Sayle ship wrecked at Devil's Backbone found refuge here. Sermons held 100 years." When standing in the cave, the presence of the adventurers' spirits is palatable.
With any number of the towns on Eleuthera, such as Governor's Harbour, you can see the effect the ocean has had on so many of the historical homes and buildings. It kind of reminds you of what it is like to walk down the street of an old Western town; only the motif is stone and sand surrounded by water. Of course, there are some more modern facilities, but not near enough to take away from the overall atmosphere. You definitely won't find Whoppers being served here.
From the quaint Bahamian towns to the hard packed pink sand beaches, we then visit "The Cliffs" of Eleuthera and we learn a new term: "rogue waves". Imagine standing on a virtually sheer cliff a hundred plus feet above the ocean and watching the water pound on the rock face below. You feel perfectly safe and removed from the ocean's display of brute force... that is until a rogue wave hits the cliff wall and jumps up over your head dumping hundreds of gallons of sea water on you and your poor camera. This is immediately followed with a scream "What was that?" Since there are no reefs to break the water coming into the cliffs, the right wave breaking at the right angle produces a water show that even the Bellagio can not match.
When staying on an island like Eleuthera, we prefer renting vacation homes or villas. There is a wide variety of vacation rentals; some considered "luxury" while others are "basic and affordable". Many of these house and villa rentals can be rented directly from their property owners -- a number of which have their own websites on the internet. You may also seek the assistance of a local real estate agent. When looking for that perfect rental home, it is a good idea to ask to see photos, get a detailed description of the rental property, and find out exactly where it is located so you know what is in its proximity. Be sure to ask about their deposit and refund policies.
Eleuthera Island is ideal for any number of typical island activities including fishing for bonefish, surfing, shelling, kayaking, boating, diving, snorkeling and swimming. Did I forget to mention lying in a lounge chair sitting under a beach umbrella and sipping a cold Kalik? Make mine Eleuthera, please.
Perry Joseph is a freelance writer, photographer, website developer and frequent visitor to the Bahamas. For more information on Eleuthera, visit his website: Eleuthera Bahamas.
Copyright © 2006 Perry Joseph
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.