From Rock Sound on the west side of Eleuthera, there are any number of great anchorage stops, including Ten Bay and South Palmetto Point, Governors Harbour, Hatchet Bay (360 protection), Rainbow Bay, Current Cut Settlement and Spanish Wells. None of the anchorages are more than 20 or 30 miles apart, making for easy daily runs. The area around Spanish Wells is deserving of a few days at least of exploration due to its interesting past. Take the ferry to Harbour Island to explore Dunmore Town.
From Spanish Wells or Royal Island, you’ll then make your way north to the Abacos to wrap up your winter excursion through the Bahamas. The crossing to Little Harbor from either Spanish Wells or Egg Island ranges from 45 to 50 NM. This may be one of the longest crossings you’ll have to make during your stay in the Bahamas. Make sure you have a very good weather window for this crossing. After crossing, enter through the reef between Little Harbour and Lynyard Cay and head north for the anchorage behind Lynyard, or west and south to the wonderful little harbor at, you guessed it, Little Harbour if your draft will allow. The harbor will be for shoal-draft vessels only and will be your key to rich Abaco history and the history of the Johnston family who settled this area. The Lynyard Cay anchorage is close enough to anchor and dinghy to Little Harbour and provides good holding and protection from prevailing easterlies.
Wherever your destination in the Bahamas might be this time around, there will always be more anchorages to explore on your next trip. You can find all of these anchorages and many more with complete details in The Great Book Of Anchorages, The Bahamas. Order your copy today.
Anchoring Side Notes
During our last journey through the Bahamas the “Next Generation” anchor has proved itself to be the best all around anchor we have used. Our choice is the Manson Supreme, but there are others with very similar designs and characteristics that will do as well. The prudent skipper will carry a second anchor for those severe weather conditions and the few times a second anchor is needed to deploy a Bahamian Moor. The Bahamian Moor is two anchors set off the bow at a 180° angle from each other, used to keep the boat’s swinging circle limited to a small area. It’s good for strong reversing currents, like those found in cuts, or where there is limited space.
Finding the Right Spot
Anchoring in the Bahamas offers some unique challenges. Often heavy grass will blanket large sections of some of the better anchorages, which prevents the anchor from setting properly. Look for sandy patches, seen as white patches within the grass. Pull forward to the edge of the sandy patch, drop the anchor and back down slowly until the anchor has set about in the center of the patch. Once the anchor rode is stretched out, back down slowly until you are comfortable the anchor has set. It’s a wise idea to snorkel over the anchor to be sure it is indeed set.
Beware of what might look like a sandy bottom but is actually a thin layer of sand over rock or coral. If the anchor appears to be set, it may only be in a narrow crevice and will release as soon as the boat shifts on the rode. Many times the anchor will simply skip across the bottom. In this situation, it’s often best to try and relocate to another spot.
In many of our anchorages, good holding in deep sand is the norm. Even in a sandy bottom, small patches of rock and coral are often present. Boats going to the Bahamas should have sufficient amount of the correct size chain as a primary part of the anchor rode. Most anchoring will be done in 10 feet or less, so a minimum of 100 feet is recommended. The more, the better. Nylon anchor rode can and will chafe through very quickly rubbing back and forth on a piece of rock or coral. Weather conditions and wind strength and direction will play a very important role in where to safely anchor. Make monitoring the weather and knowing what conditions to expect part of your regular anchoring routine. Most of all, enjoy, be safe and have fun.
Chuck Baier and Susan Landry have been cruising together as a couple for almost 25 years, first on their Mariner 40 Ketch, Sea Trek, and currently on their Marine Trader trawler Beach House. Chuck and Susan are owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of The Great Book Of Anchorages series of anchorageguides. The Guides cover the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic ICW from Hampton Roads/Norfolk to Key West and include the St. Johns River, the Bahamas – The Route Most Traveled and the Gulf Coast from Cape Sable to Mobile, including the Okeechobee Waterway. Chuck and Susan have been freelance writers for over 15 years and have written for almost every major boating publication and many online boating sites. The duo have cruised the Atlantic and Gulf coast of the U.S., the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the northern and western Caribbean. Chuck is former GM and Susan is former Editor of Waterway Guide.