Ahoy from Harbour Island, Bahamas!
We're really not at Harbour Island, but we spent yesterday touring the island and I thought that I'd provide a report on it. Harbour Island is one of the oldest settlements in the Bahamas and is only located about 6 miles from Spanish Wells. The biggest issue is getting there with your boat as the route between the two islands is known as "The Devil's Backbone" and that's an appropriate name. The Devil's backbone winds through a maze of patch reefs and is extremely shallow. Any straying from the route and you'll end up in trouble. You need good light, calm seas and a pilot to get you there. You can hire pilots in Spanish Wells for about $90 to guide you there. The alternative is to take the high speed ferry from Spanish Wells to Harbour Island which costs $25 round trip. It leaves Spanish Wells at 9:45, returns at 3:45 and it takes about 30 minutes. We chose the later option and we're glad that we did.
One of the things that amazed me most was how many turns the ferry made and how close we ran to the shore at various points. The ferry only draws 1.1 meters (3'7") but you could see tracks made by the ferry in the sand. They clearly take a different route, but it shows how shallow it is.
The ferry docks at Dunmore Town which is the only settlement on the island, but the rest of the island is covered with boutique hotels and large houses. The town is fairly large and has lots of full of shops and restaurants. Many of the older homes have been restored to their former grandeur and are beautifully painted and landscaped. On the N side of the island you'll find a pink sand beach (less the sand that Sue absconded with).
The island is about 2.5 miles long by less than half of a mile wide. You can rent golf carts for $50/day, but Sue and I figured that most of what we wanted to see was in Dunmore Town and decided to hoof it. I've found that when you're driving a golf cart, you have to spend so much time driving that you often miss what you're there to see. And believe me, you have plenty of time to see the entire town by foot while the ferry is there. We even walked up to the "historic water tower" thinking that it was either historic or would provide sweeping views of the area. It did neither!
We didn't leave the town, but we've been told that Harbour Island has become a highly desirable destination and the houses that are going up on the outskirts of town are testaments to the owner's wealth. We checked out the housing prices at a local real estate office and the prices started at $4.5M and went quickly up. Land was available for $600K for a 100x100 lot! I guess that we can cross Harbour Island off of our list!
We had a very nice, relaxed lunch at Harbour Island Lounge which overlooks the harbor. The hot smoked Dolphin dip (the fish, not Flipper) was excellent! We also found excellent raw beef and seafood at Captain Bob's Seafood and Meat Market and we restocked the freezer with cuts of meat that we haven't seen since leaving the States.
Today we're really pulling out of marina and will move a couple of miles away in preparation for the jump to the Berry Islands.
-- Geoff and Sue
For the cruiser:
Valentines Marina is $2.50/ft, water is $20/day, power is metered and they didn't even give us the cost. There were no sailboats there and there was only 1 catamaran at anchor in the harbor.
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