sailing bahamas

Sailing to Eleuthera – A Beautiful Day and Sleepless Night

A blow forces us out of JAWS beach a little earlier than expected.  We had planned to move around to the anchorage near downtown Nassau so we could visit the city for a day or two. But after looking at the charts, and reading the Active Captain reviews on Nassau Harbour, it seemed the holding wasn’t optimal for a big westerly blow.

So, we haul in the anchor and set sail for Eleuthera.  We weren’t too bummed about it as there’s a high probability we’ll swing back through Nassau while sailing about the Bahamas.

If you’re wondering why we decided to travel so far to escape the blow, well, it’s simple.  There are a limited number of anchorages within a day’s sail that protect from a South-to-West-to North blow.  Pretty crazy wind shifts, right?  Our best choices were to head for Harbour Island or Rock Sound (or stay at a marina which would easily be $100+ per night).  Since Nikki’s birthday is around the corner I figured why not spend it in Harbour Town, we’ve been told its the gem of the Bahamas.

Nikki is super excited about the pink sand beaches!  They are supposed to be gorgeous and from the photos I’ve seen online they look amazingly pink.  The town is apparently littered with great restaurants and beautiful scenery.  I don’t think we’ve spoken with a single person that had anything bad to say about Harbour Island and Dunmore Town…except maybe for the “certain death” entrance through the Devils Backbone.

We chose to sail around the outside and not hire a pilot to go through Devils Backbone.  It just didn’t seem right to let a guy come on board, who is unfamiliar with our vessel, and let him motor through the narrow entrance and 4 nautical mile reef lined corridor. Our thinking was simple: we’ll stay outside to avoid the dangerous reefs, we’ll be able to sail instead of motor which will save on fuel, we won’t have to pay the pilot fee and maybe we’ll snag a fish!  With the money we save it should afford us a little more luxury for the birthday celebration!

Should you decide to hire a pilot for your trip every listing we found mentions Devils Backbone Passage Pilots (and a guy named Bandit) 242-333-4695.  It’s about $100 for a 40ish foot catamaran and includes the return trip.  You will have to meet in Spanish Wells which means you’ll be motoring the full 10-15 nautical miles through Ridley Head Channel and Devil’s Backbone Passage.

We have a friend who hired Bandit and said he was very friendly and brought homemade bread baked by his wife.  So, they sat back, watched the show and chowed down.  Since their GPS tracked the route they did not bother bringing bandit back on board for the return trip as they had the exact route to follow out.  I asked him if he thought it was worth it and he says “Yes, sorta.  The conditions were perfect so I could have done it myself, but hindsight is 20/20 and I guess it’s better safe than sorry.”  We certainly can’t argue with that!

Our anchorage in Cistern Bay was perfect for the big blow, in fact we couldn’t have planned a better spot.  It gave us the protection we needed for the 40+ knots of wind howling outside.  It still blows my mind that just six months ago we had no idea how to read a chart or how to locate a safe anchorage.  Now we’re sailing nearly 100 nautical miles to get the best anchorage!  All our successes and failures over these past few months have taught us a boatload!

Although, I have to mention…our Mantus anchor has been a big part of our anchoring success.  It saves our hulls and gives us huge piece of mind in these high wind blows that seem to hit the Bahamas every week or two.  Our anchor has easily become one of our favorite sailboat upgrades, and it was well worth the slightly painful install process.

rain on sailboat means free wash

Rain on sailboat is like getting free popcorn at the movies.  We’ve only had a few good rain showers during the daylight hours where we could take advantage of the free water.  So, we still get pretty stoked about it.  I know some of you will want to know about our washing supplies.  We have started out with some standard marine friendly, biodegradable products. If we come across any of it we think is superior and worth recommending, we will 100% let you know.

Sailing Report

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:

sailing from nassau to eleuthera bahamasDates: January 21-24, 2017
Nautical Miles Sailed: 75
Anchorage: First Night was Egg Island and would have been great if the wind would have been blowing from the east.  It was blowing south at 20+ knots and was too rolly to sleep.  Our second spot was Cistern Bay and it was a great anchorage with good holding.
Cell & WiFi: Our BTC signal was good both places.

Gear Used In This Video

Cameras Used to Capture This Video:

Thanks for being a part of our journey!  If you enjoy what we do and you want to help us keep the videos and posts flowing, check out our Say Thanks page. It lists out some ways you can show us some digital love and most won’t cost you a penny.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (34)

  • Glenn L

    Hi Jason and Nikki! Question: Do you harvest any rainwater and if you do, how do you use it? Safe travels to you both!

    • Curious Minion

      They do not. Curiosity has a watermaker that provides clean RO water (RO takes out bacteria, viruses & bad tastes). Collecting rainwater is a pretty big hassle since you have to get it into the freshwater tank somehow and you also need to disinfect it if it’s coming off sails & such.

  • Roger B

    Happy belated Birthday as we just arrived back from RVing in Furnace Creek, Death Valley. We also enjoy all the videos and adventures you two have given us.

  • Deborah Kerr

    Beautiful sunrise! That was a nice, gentle, relaxing rain (well, after you cleaned the sailboat anyhow) ….. Happy Birthday Nikki 🙂

  • Mike

    Happy Birthday Nikki
    I can’t think of a better place to enjoy it than where you are right now.

  • Gina Davis

    Happy Birthday Nikki. I just love watching your sailing adventures!

  • Happy Bday Nikki, your pics are breathtaking and calming. I never wanted to sail but through your videos I am excited to see your adventures. Thank you for taking me on your trip, (somewhat). Learned a lot about the solar as well to help us with our upgrades for tbe solar installation on our RV.

    • Thanks Sherry and good luck with the solar install on the RV. It will make such a difference in how much wild camping you do. Safe travels!

  • Jason,

    Several years ago I was sailing in Little Dix Bay British Virgin Islands and a squall came up and broke the mast into before the yatch could get into an inlet The boat held 20 people and I was at the top looking straight into the ocean and I thought well this is it but we were fortunate and got to the inlet and waited out the storm Roy

  • Deborah Sutliff

    Happy Birthday Nikki! We love coming on your adventure through your videos and posts. Many happy returns!

  • Joanie

    Happy birthday Nikki. Enjoy your day.

  • Ken Alberta Canada

    It’s fun to watch your blogs.
    Happy birthday. What is the actual date?

  • Happy Birthday Nikki! We really enjoy your adventures and seeing your experience broaden. You both are a breath of fresh air in the video world. Your love for each other and enthusiasm for life really shines through. Keep Sailing!

  • Richard

    Just curious. Did your mail ever catch up to you two with the Caribbean Soul CD I mailed to you a few months ago? If yes, how did you like it? I trust you have a way to play a CD while on board. Happy Birthday!

  • Brian

    Happy Birthday cutie pie Nikki………….Keep them videos coming, really enjoy them. I have to admit, that I think I’m going to remain a land lover and stick with RVing though. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching your adventures on the high seas…………but I don’t think I’d like all that rocking and rolling, and then that noise at night, I need my beauty sleep. wow, do I ever. I’m not sure I could adjust to traveling for 8 hours and only covering 50 miles and then staring at water all day long, although I do love the ocean. I love the change of scenery as I’m driving my motor home. Your new found German friends boat looked really huge, how big of a boat was that? Looking forward to your next video, thanks for sharing.

  • Kimberly Watwood

    Oh, yes! Happy Birthday, Nikki

  • Kimberly Watwood

    I love your videos! The only part I don’t like is when they end! I look forward to each and every one of them.

  • John Schretlen

    Refreshing video: Glad you got free rain to wash off the layer of salt. Much easier to get crud off before it bakes on nice and thick.

    I knew a good anchor is well worth the cost and (like others) may have mentioned it in previous posts. I’m so glad you made the decision to get $$$ one $$$ that you are pleased with.

    Smile of the video: you mention the wind blowing straight on. When you are at anchor if the wind is NOT blowing straight on you are in trouble.

  • Happy Birthday, Nikki! Good job getting through that night… this one stressed me out a bit but I’m so glad you two are so tuned in, prepared, and careful. I don’t think I could sleep through that even with ear plugs as mentioned in an earlier comment! Keep having a great time!

  • Guy Owen

    Happy Birthday! I have not checked-in since you were RV-ing and I was following those adventures. Been watching many of your sailing videos, but I bought that Leisure Travel Vans “Unity” Murphy Bed in December, and have arrangements with my employer which allows me to travel one month, work the following month. So I travel every even-numbered month. I left the RV in California and flew home to Maryland to be back on March 1st. Heading back to California on April 3rd.

    Anyway, just wanted to wish you both the best. And those gorgeous cats, too! Your adventures are fun for everyone, and you do such a great job producing the videos. You inspired me to drag out at least 3 of the cameras I bought and never used — two by Panasonic (Lumix Bridge Cameras, FZ200 and FZ1000), and one Sony pocketable (RX100 III). Such fun!

    But I really miss your insights into the RV experience. I was so looking forward to your Secrets of RVs, Part 2. Oh, well. ENJOY that new lifestyle. I’m not a water person (ever since Jaws), but you make it look like fun. Although I know there’s work involved, too.

  • Hector Campos

    A Very Happy B’day to you Nikki!. Looks like you two are doing great and learning a lot. Stay cool, you guys are fun to watch.

  • Warren

    Happy Birthday Nikki. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

  • Michael Fox

    Nikki, when was your birthday? Mine was Jan 24.
    Love the videos and your travels. We have a 32′ Keystone TT and your land ventures are missed. Best of luck and belated happy birthday.
    Mike & Karrie

  • Jim

    Happy Birthday Nikki you don’t look a day over 30!! Must be all of that salt water spray 🙂

  • Vince

    Two words … ear plugs … for things that go bump in the night.

  • Jim Deatsch

    Wait, wait. Nikki just HAD a birthday. Hardly seems fair.

  • Randy

    Would have loved to be on the boat during the rain, it looked awesome. Thanks for all of your efforts and great videos, which are always too short. Very happy birthday Nikki.

  • Larry

    I’m really enjoying your writings and your videos! One request. Could you include GPS coordinates for your anchorages? It would really help those of us who are following your adventures from afar. Thanks!

  • I lived/worked at Club Med Eleuthera for a year in 1989/1990 and it was amazing. (Got ruined from a hurricane in the 90’s) I can’t wait for your photos to see how much it’s changed in almost 30 (holy smokes!) years. Be sure to see the Glass Window Bridge–the choppy, dark Atlantic on one side and the calm turquoise of the Caribbean on the other. Rent mopeds or bikes to go through the towns and down hidden paths to the beaches! Enjoy!

  • Connie

    Happy Birthday lovely lady❤????????? Hope your day was awesome!

  • John Brunson

    You’re the only girl I know to get excited about rain? Enjoy

  • Yay 🙂 Free fresh water wash down! Haha! Only a true Salty Dog can appreciate that! 🙂

  • michael robinson

    your sailing channel has had my attentions since the first refit waiting in the heat. since i have witnessed much growth and maturity with experience in your journey. i have enjoyed your rigid character because it is filled with flexability. talking about the costs of many decisions to buy or not to by helped me feel anxious yet your character traits i find enjoyable. so i raced a 19 foot flying scott on wednesdays and sundays as well as regattas in several locations as a teen ager,most of my sailing was wit my father whom i loved much, finishing that erra when i was 19 yrs of age, only having last sailed in hawaii of kona shores in a twenty six foot sailing boat in racing. i believe ocean sailing to being a whole different experience to sailing on lake erie. yet sailing none the less. at about sixty i believe ocean sailing could be for me in my near future. i live in meagerness yet the wealth of what is provided as riches not poverty. positive has been my name for most of my years and faith has been my journey fulfilled. blessings as you journey, may we cross one anothers path in real time, if it would, i hope i would offer you my stengths and may you give grace with boundries to share in what is truely good. if the seas and wht this life has to offer for the best benefit of all woild be good for all. please consider my note as a candadite for considerations that some day we would consider sailing onward in your journey of life knowing this sailor has humble degree, the master of the jack of all trades and the scars from a life lived and learned from my journey lived thus far. kindness can be a key principle for best living with boudries well expressed in sincerity of the best purpose for best living for each in community i believe…blessings as you jorney jason and nikki. my hope is you get to enjoy the crew made for yall’s the best boating expeience whom ever that might be at this time. and for your future growth in this experience of seas and oceans traveled…m nikki i write to communicate, spelling is an option i choose to get wron some times because i can please whom i have become by being the best me i will be today with no appologies…m

  • Martin

    You didn’t miss much at Atlantis. Been there and it is way, way overpriced for what’s there.


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