Rock Sound, Eleuthera

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

024-51.840 N
076-9.660 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from Rock Sound, Eleuthera!

We've been moving the boat N and are now in Rock Sound on the island of Eleuthera. We had a great trip here yesterday. Well, let me rephrase that: While I think that we had a great trip here, everyone else may not agree. We left Little San Salvador at 7 after a night of rolling. The seas just seem to wrap around the island and at about 2:30 the swells got pretty strong and I think that everyone was awake. I was up at 6:30 collecting weather. It was pretty much the same as it had been: 15-20 kts out of the ENE and gusting to 25. We certainly weren't going to stick around there, so after I gave my weather report on the SSB we headed out of the anchorage.

Govt BldgOnce again we threw in a double reef in the main and were quickly doing 7 kts. The 11 mile stretch between Little San Salvador and the SW tip of Eleuthera is open to the ocean and the seas had built up quite a bit with the high winds that we've been having. We had solid 6' seas with the occasional 8 footer thrown in and these always tried to yaw the boat around. When you got the combination of 8' seas and 30 kts of wind, the ride got more exciting than some people liked. I was sitting by the wheel reading a book while the auto pilot was doing a great job of handling the boat. BJ had to hand steer, so I can see why he wasn't too happy.

Once we hit the end of Eleuthera the seas died down, but the wind was running parallel to the land which was compressing the wind resulting in even higher winds. We were flying, making a steady 8-9 kts. That 15 mile stretch really disappeared quickly. Then we got to the Davis Channel and had to drop the sails so that we weren't close-hauled in 20-30 kts of wind. The Davis Channel is a 1/4 mile wide channel that goes between shallow sand bars for miles. The last time that I went through this was 7 years ago while moving the boat back from the BVIs and I sailed through it at night completely trusting the charts. Man, that was faith, but the charts are good! We then motored another 15 miles into the wind to Rock Sound.

If you have an aversion to skinny water or draw more than 6', forget about Rock Sound. It's shallow, shallow, shallow, but had very consistent depths. We motored for miles in 7' of water and that sure doesn't leave a lot of margin for error. But we never bumped and we anchored in 7' of water just to the S of the town. Even though it was a holiday and we knew that everything would be closed, Sue and I headed in to explore the town as the guide book made it sound like Rock Sound was a mecca for cruisers. Well, I suspect that the guide book was written by the Chamber of Commerce and certainly doesn't reflect today's reality.

There's no doubt in my mind how Rock Sound got it's name as the shore line is solid rock, which makes landing a dinghy a problem. The only dinghy dock which is in good shape is by the Dingle Esso station and that's almost dry at low tide. The Four Points restaurant is out of business and their dinghy dock needs help. We pulled into it at low tide and I had to walk through sticky muck to get to the dock. From there we explored the town.

Ocean Hole"Quiet" is the first adjective that springs to mind when describing Rock Sound, especially on a holiday. Other than cars transiting though, there was no activity. The settlement is one of the largest that we've been in with rows of streets with quaint houses and many small businesses. We found the Ocean Hole, which resembles a round rock quarry to me. It's 360' in diameter, has an unknown depth, and is rumored to connect to the ocean by underwater caves. There's a nice stairway leading to it and the locals enjoy playing in it's waters.

The 2006 Guide to the Bahamas talks about a new laundromat next to Elite Auto Services. Sue was looking forward to doing laundry, but alas, it is no more. She was not a happy camper, but a batch of margaritas solved that!

The next morning Bj, Sue and I headed into the grocery store, which is located about 1/4 of a mile N of the Four Points restaurant. It's the largest grocery store on Eleuthera and Sue said that it was well stocked. Next to it you'll find a large, poorly organized, hardware store, a liquor store and a Napa Auto Parts store.

Right now we're underway to Governor's Harbor, which is about 22 miles N of Rock Sound. We're motor sailing into 25 kts of wind with just the jib up and we're still heeled over 15 degrees! I'm glad that I don't have the main up.

-- Geoff and Sue
Log ID: 966

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