Monday 13 Jan, BHS day 14: Touring Spanish Wells by golf cart.
For some reason we are very sluggish this morning. We don’t get off the boat till gone 11. Then, having gone the half a mile to the marina and tied up the dinghy, my flip-flop decided to break on my first step ashore. So back we go to Cloudy Bay for another pair. Finally, we have a golf cart rented by midday, so we can explore both George Island (Spanish Wells) and adjoining Russel Island.
But we’ve heard it’s a good idea to get to the super market early before the fresh produce shelves are emptied, so food shopping comes first. Nice little supermarket, selling most things, but indeed the fresh produce is rather thin. As in more than half the shelves empty. We do manage to buy some apples and veggies, but no fresh meats. After yet another one mile round trip in the dinghy to get all the cold food into Cloudy’s fridge and freezer, we finally start our tour of the islands.
From Spanish Wells to Russel Island there is a short rickety bridge. Russel Island is not quite as immaculately tidy as Spanish Wells but still has a nice feel to it. We drive along the only road down it’s center. We do note there are numerous real estate signs. Lots for plots of land to build on and also about 30% of the houses seem to be for sale. Looks like the whole population is trying to sell property. It’s a bit weird for a place that seems to have such a stable population.
At the far end of Russel Island is The Sandbar, a bar and restaurant. We heard it’s very lively on Sundays. And as usual, of course, we just missed that! The “party” always seems to have happened the day before we arrive anywhere! Today, Monday, it’s closed. Apparently each bar/restaurant has “its day” in Spanish Wells. Pretty good idea really; so they share the customers, and when open they get a good crowd.
Back on George Island we visit the Buddha Bar for early afternoon refreshments. Compared to the marina bar we find it a bit tacky. There is a brightly painted converted bus in front of it emitting deep-fat-frier smells. This is their kitchen. With our beer we sample some of their appetizers and sure enough, all deep fried. Bleah!
Next stop is the beach again. The tide is out like yesterday and several people are learning to kitesurf. It’s an ideal place. They can stand in the shallow water all the way across to a long sand bar, making it like a secure shallow pond. We walk along the beach then out on that sandbar. A very nice walk and view back to the town. But we don’t go all the way to the end for fear the incoming tide may cut us off.
After taking the dinghy fuel tank for a top-up it’s time for happy hour in the marina! It’s a wonderful place in the late afternoon. As the sun sets, it’s rays stream into the bar which stands out on pilings over the creek water. And once dark, they light the water under the building with blue underwater lights, which glows through the floor boards.
After our first cocktail we get joined by two couples that were here the night before. A bit of an odd situation that we can’t quite work out the dynamics of. The older couple, who are on their big luxurious motor yacht, appear to have adopted this very young couple from the other end of the spectrum. They are on a very small 22ft boat with a single outboard engine. A tiny cabin just enough to sleep in. No galley and no toilet. They trailed it from Michigan to Florida then set off across the gulf stream to have the winter season in Bahamas. They are both in their early twenties. For the second night running, the older couple are plying them with drinks and food like they are their own children. But they are all good fun and enjoyable company, especially the older couple.
We enjoy another cocktail and again order their amazing Saganaki (Greek cheese) dish which they bring out and flambé in front of us. Such nice food here, and reasonable prices too.
Mid evening we follow the pair of couples back to the Buddha Bar. It’s quite animated in there now. Lots of locals and many already having drunk too much. In fact we learn this Island was deemed a dry Island up to only a few years ago. It seems they are all making up for lost time!
By 10pm we are back on Cloudy Bay. It’s been another lovely day in Spanish Wells. Of all the places we have visited in the Caribbean, this is the one place I could see myself living (excepting maybe Nevis). Oana says we would get bored, but when we discuss it as a winter-only home (having our summers in Europe) she is quite taken with the idea. Let’s see how we feel once we have left the place.
So what’s so attractive about it? Well, despite its isolation it feels very civilized. The people are super friendly and you get that “they’ll do anything for each other” community feeling. The climate is obviously wonderful and the environment extremely neat and tidy. No crime. Lovely sailing, fishing and diving area. And only one hour flight to Miami – easy to get to Europe. Hmmm, nice thoughts for our life after Cloudy Bay 🙂