Sunday, May 25, 2014

The One Finger Wave

After Warderick Wells Cay and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park we move north to Highborne Cay where we anchored for a couple of nights to wait for the wind to die down a little.  Highborne Cay is a popular jumping off point from the Exumas to Nassau or the Eleuthera Islands.  Motivator was headed for Spanish Wells north of Eleuthera.

The most direct way to Spanish Wells is through Current Cut.  The guidebooks do a good job of scaring many cruisers away from this route, but it is actually very easy to predict the current.  When the tide is flowing on to the banks, the current is east bound.  An ebb tide produces a west bound current.  Motivator picked up 5 knots through the cut!

Spanish Wells inhabitants are descendants of Loyalist who fled the colonies during the American Revolution and English puritans who arrived in 1648.  Their accent is unique to the island, not quite British, Bahamian, or American.  They have been quite successful at fishing.  If you go to a Red Lobster Restaurant in the US, you are probably eating a lobster tail shipped from Spanish Wells.

Spanish Wells is the only Methodist island in the Bahamas.  Due to the Methodist influence, it was a “dry island” for years.  That policy is slowly eroding and now Budda, proprietor of Budda’s Liquor Store, actually has a license to sell alcohol from the tiny room on the side of his house.

Out on the point at the eastern cut there is a new restaurant/bar that opened within the last year.  Shipyard was doing a booming business the night we had dinner there.  Talking to Jay, the bartender, we learned that as a new establishment they are being very careful so as not to give the more conservative residents a reason to complain.  

Spanish Wellsians, while a very independent lot, band together for the common good.  When they wanted a better grocery store and pharmacy they combined resources to build Food Fair, one of the better grocery stores in the Bahamas.

Cruiser friends invited us to join them for dinner on the front porch of one of the local homes.  It turned out the chef was the part owner and chef on a lobster boat, the Cracker Prince.  Thursday evenings, when he is not lobstering, he cooks for guests.

For more casual dining there is Budda’s Snack Shack.  It is a bus converted to a kitchen that turns out one of the better hamburgers I have ever had.  Fast food restaurants will have a difficult time making inroads on Spanish Wells.

 Golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation on the island.  Everyone seems to have one.  The golf cart repair shop is a thriving business.

Bicycles and scooters run a close second to golf carts, however our circus bikes still received stares.  At The Gap, our favorite breakfast place, I started to lock our bicycles but then notice that the mopeds and golf carts all had the keys left in the ignition.

Spanish Wells is probably the most crime free place on the planet.  Building materials are left unlocked at the hardware store.  When I asked locals about crime, they all said my house is not locked and you can leave your wallet on the street and someone will return it to you. 

 Rental cottage on the beach

Tourism has not found Spanish Wells.  Yes, there are a few rentals and a limited number of cruisers find their way to the island, but the locals still outnumber the tourists.  That is not to say the residents are not friendly.  Almost every passing golf cart driver raised their index finger to wave at us.

By the time we left, Pollie said I had perfected the Spanish Wells one finger wave.


  1. We really enjoy Spanish Wells and spent three weeks there last year. VERY industrious people, clean island, and friendly. Apropos your comment re crime, we left a backpack at Bernard's Fish Market and his wife flagged us down from shore the next day and we retrieved it, only to be met by Bernard on the way back in on his boat and he flagged us down to tell us where it was. Great fish too!

  2. We went by Bernard's twice this trip and he wasn't there. The first time we were at Spanish Wells Bernard served me "refreshments" while I was waiting for fish. By the time Pollie found me, I was over served.