Apr 18, 2009

Sailing to Eleuthera, Alice Town, Hatchet Bay Caves

We left the Exumas and sailed to Rock Sound in Eleuthera. Stayed one night and then left for Alice Town to catch up with Lee.

The sail to Alice Town was really rough. Very large, very steep waves. Too big for the autopilot so I steered by hand the whole way. I was really impressed with how we handled the conditions. Being in waves this large in 2007 would have terrified us. We’ve come a long way.

We entrance to Alice Town/Hatchet Bay is really narrow, and very tall. As we approached the waypoint for the entrance, I couldn’t see any gap in the rock cliff. We had strong winds and large following seas, and I started to get really nervous. Closer and closer, but no gap.

I started thinking about back up plans. Where else we could go. Then finally I saw a gap. The waves rocked us far over from side to side. We felt nervous that the mast was going to hit the rock cliff. But really it wasn’t as close as it looked.

Once through the cut, the weather was completely different. We were protected from both the wind and the waves behind the high rock cliff. It was a beautiful day.

We rafted up to Lee, met his friend/crew who had flown in to help sail his boat. Then we set about cleaning up our boat. A lot of things had fallen during out bumpy ride from Rock Sound. We told Lee and Trey how rough it was outside. They found it hard to believe. It was so calm in the anchorage.

Lee told us about some caves he wanted to visit. Sounded cool. We didn’t really know where they were. Eleuthera is really narrow, so we really only had to options when in comes to directions to travel in.

We walked and walked, and then came to this two track with a broken down sign. We walked down the two track and then found a hole in the ground, with some steps carved out of the rock. There was nothing really official about it.

These caves were totally awesome. Like nothing we’d ever seen before. The caves have at least two exits with over a mile of twisting passages that span at least three levels. The lowest level is full of water, deep mud, pits, fragile formations, and low passages which barely clear the surface of the water which rises and falls with the tides.

There is no way I would get in that water. Who know what kind of creepy sea monster is lurking down there. In fact, the water is home to several tiny sea creatures which are found nowhere else on earth. Including the ostracods Danielopolina bahamensis and Deeveya jillae, the copepods Speleoithona eleutherensis, and Troglocyclops janstocki. There were also hundreds of bats.

We took our time walking through the cave. Taking pictures. Carefully exploring little offshoots. And then we came to the other entrance where we climbed out and walked back home. 



  1. Holy batcave Robin, that looks scary to me!

  2. Glad you didn't get lost.

    Dad Dale

  3. Very cool! As your Aunt however, I have to discourage the hitchhiking. :)

    XXOO Aunt Joni

  4. Is that a mango tree LeeAnn is standing under?
    That thing is huge!

    I bet it was not only cool in the caves but I bet it was cool too.

    Watch out for the guano!

  5. The caves were a nice break from the heat!

    Hitch hiking is a common thing down here. Even cops will pick people up.

    The caves weren't so scary, but all the bones scattered on the floor kinda freaked us out.

    It's a coconut tree she is sitting on!

  6. Uh yep, she is sitting ON a coconut tree.

    My question was what kind of tree is LeeAnn standing under?

    Maybe it's not a tree? And that's why you didn't answer my question because it wasn't a real question but just an inaccurate observation on my part that you kindly ignored?

    Well....EXCUSE ME!!

  7. Mike your kindly father asked what kind of tree LeeAnn is under. Me your father-in- law is asking the same. I'm thinking you don't know, leading me to believe that you don't know it all. Dad Dale

  8. Nope, I have no idea what kind of tree LeeAnn was standing under. I know that she was standing NEXT to it's roots, which I thought was totally cool.

  9. Way to handle the "Dad's" Chad!! You rock :)

    Aunt Joni

  10. you are so lucky.....the world is going to hell in a hen basket and you two are haveing the trip of a life time....I hope you keep posting...I stumbled onto you somhow now I check on your trip every cople of days....keep it up,

  11. In case anyone still wants to know, I think it's a banyan tree that LeeAnn is standing under.