Cruising World - - Underway - — Jen Brett

Some­times, you just need a day off the boat. My fam­ily loves a good road trip, and at more than 110 miles long, Eleuthera, in the cen­tral Ba­hamas, def­i­nitely qual­i­fies as a road-trip-wor­thy size. With our boat, Lyra, safely an­chored in Rock Sound on the south­ern end of the is­land, we thought it was the per­fect time to rent a car and drive the Queen’s High­way.

Hav­ing spent time on quite a few is­lands in the Ba­hamas, I thought I knew what the land­scape would be like — plenty of lime­stone and scrub bushes — and there was that, but there was so much more. Rolling hills, huge trees that arched over the road, and pe­ri­odic views of both the At­lantic and Great Ba­hama Bank made it like no other Ba­hamian road I’d ever been down. Here were our fa­vorite stops along the way:

Glass Win­dow Bridge This one-lane bridge re­places a nar­row piece of land that was washed out in a hur­ri­cane. The view was in­cred­i­ble with the rough, deep­blue At­lantic waves crash­ing on the east side and the placid turquoise of the banks on the other.

The Queen’s Bath We spot­ted the sign about a half mile south of the Glass Win­dow Bridge. In­trigued, we pulled over to check it out. A short hike to­ward the wa­ter brought us to a col­lec­tion of nat­u­ral tide pools within the lime­stone ledges. The wind and tide were up dur­ing our visit, which made for some im­pres­sive wave ac­tion. In more-set­tled weather, you can go down to the pools and have a nat­u­ral whirlpool to your­self.

Hatchet Bay Cave If you have time for only one field trip while cruis­ing Eleuthera, con­sider the Hatchet Bay Cave. It is just north of Alice Town and the pro­tected Hatchet Bay anchorage. Bring some flash­lights, wear sturdy shoes and en­joy check­ing out the im­pres­sive sta­lac­tite and sta­lag­mite for­ma­tions in this mile-long cave sys­tem.

More Eleuthera high­lights: • Pick up fresh lo­cal fruits and veg­gies at the Hearty Mow Farm­lands road­side stand, south of Hatchet Bay. • Take in a movie, visit the li­brary or check out the Fri­day-night Fish Fry in Gov­er­nor’s Har­bour. • Pro­vi­sion at the Mar­ket Place in Rock Sound — eas­ily the most well-stocked gro­cery store out­side of Nas­sau — and then go for a swim at the Ocean Hole. • Need to catch a flight? The Rock Sound air­port has a dinghy dock, mak­ing it sim­ple for pick­ups and drop-offs.

Once past the en­trance to the Hatchet Bay Cave (left) the light quickly goes away — bring sev­eral flash­lights. There is a string stretched through the cave to mark the path­way through. Im­pres­sive waves filled the tide pools at the Queen’s Bath (right).

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