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May 18, 2013

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Page 4

ANDROS ISLAND, only 15 miles south of Chub Cay and 20 miles west of New Providence Island, is the largest of the Bahamian islands and offers much to anglers and divers but little to cruisers. There are ports of entry, but none convenient if arriving from Florida. Low, swampy and heavily forested, the island’s interior and west shore are largely uninhabited, but its east shore provides out-island coastal cruising for shallow-draft boats and wonderful fishing for everything from bonefish on the extensive flats to blue-water billfish a short run offshore.

Limited facilities are in the small settlements down the east shore of the island, from Morgan’s Bluff and Nicholl’s Town on the north to Andros Town farther south.

Approaching Andros requires careful attention and caution because the entire east coast is paralleled by a barrier reef. Over 140 miles in length, it has few openings that are not also blocked by an inner reef.

There is no continuous reef off Morgan's Bluff, and the entrance channel is marked (red right returning), but the available dockage is rough and limited. Fuel and water are available as are nearby supplies. There is also room to anchor, but do so on the east side of the bay where holding is reasonable; the west side has a smooth rock bottom with occasional patches of sand. At any rate, Morgan's Bluff could prove helpful in a pinch. Better (though still  limited) facilities and supplies await in Nicholl's Town and Andros Town (at Lighthouse YC) but approaches require caution.

At Staniard Creek the Kamalame Cay Marina offers limited dockage, but again, use care in approaching.

South of Andros Town, settlements are small and facilities are even more limited, but the people are hospitable and there are many anchorages in the bights and creek mouths. The three bights, cuts that bisect the island from east to west, offer ultimate gunkholing for shallow-draft boats, but you need local knowledge.

ELEUTHERA lies northeast of New Providence Island up a 30-mile chain of small cays from the justly popular winter resorts of Spanish Wells and Harbour Island on the north end. Facilities include Spanish Wells Yacht Haven on Spanish Wells, and Valentine’s and the Harbour Island Club on Harbour Island farther east. The run from Spanish Wells to Harbour Island is tricky and involves circuiting the dreaded Devil's Backbone (the reef upon which the very first Eleutheran Adventurers were probably shipwrecked). Fortunately, experienced local pilots are available to guide you through. We strongly suggest you should attempt this passage unassisted only if you have recently made the trip with a pilot. Our Editor/Captain John Yeager, suggests calling Little Woody, A-1 (Broadshad) and/or Bandit (Jock Morgan). Try to reach them on VHF 16.

Ninety miles long and often as little as half a mile wide, Eleuthera is beautiful, fertile and prosperous by Bahamian standards, and offers wonderful cruising down Eleuthera Bight and along the west shore, where the settlements and harbors are located. The east shore faces the open Atlantic.  Captain Frank Papy suggests waiting for slack tide to go through Current Cut and some insurance companies require a pilot in this area. Southward, settlements are spaced at Gregory Town, Hatchet Bay, Governor’s Harbour and Rock Sound. (Continue...)

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