Do you play Scrabble? - Eleuthera, Bahamas

Mon, Nov 19, 2007 3-minute read

I escaped the clutches of New York and continued my voyage and now find myself on a beautiful island in the Bahamas - I know, it’s a tough life. The journey here was eventful to.say the least and started early in the morning with a flight out of JFK on JetBlue to Nassau ($45 flying standby - thanks Leo) arriving in around 1030am. I had no intention of staying in Nassau and booked myself on the next BahamasAir flight to Eleuthera ($160 open return) which meant a 7 hour wait in Nassau airport, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Fortunately I found an open wireless access point so I was able to pass the time, albeit slowly. Then the drama began. Thick fog an heavy rain had encircled the airport which meant a 40 minute wait on the runway, fearful that we might not leave. We did and the short flight was fine, except for landing in the northerly airport and getting the news that the flight woild no longer be connecting to the central airport at Govenors Harbour. That was no major problem for me as my hostel was roughly in the middle of the two, but it did mean there was an entire Dash-8’s worth of people fighting over the short supply of taxis, in the wind and rain. Worse still the weather, not to mention the impact of Hurricane Noel which had passed over two weeks previous meant many of the small roads had been obliterated. Anyway, a couple of hours later and I was at my destination - Surfer’s Haven - and met by my hosts Tom (a burly Bahamian) and Diesel (a burly Bahamian pit bull terrier.)

In my estimation, the Haven is a typical surf lodge - simple, clean and basic with a shared kitchen (if you’re not in the self-contained flat) and a culture of everyone mucks in together, which suits me down to the ground. My double room is equipped with fridge and the odd bug and opens out to a deck with a great view of the environs. World famous reef break Surfer’s Beach is but a 5 minute walk away. Sadly I haven’t seen the break truly going off but it’s still a real pleasure to surf the tropical waters in shorts and a rash vest made sweeter by pretty much having the break to myself. There is a Pipeline-esque shore dump which can make for some fun body surfing. The biggest killer here is the wind, which can turn even the best swell into frantic windy mess.

It’s impossible to fault the hospitality of the locals here, although it’s easy to misinterpret the laid back way as standoff-ish or rude. From the communal Scrabble games to being able to hitchhike anywhere to the random bbq-cum-house parties, it’s a truly tranquil place unspoilt by the hordes of tourists that afflict some of the other Bahamian islands.

There are two other guests at the Haven - Nick and Tara - a fun-loving young couple from Canada who have randomly made Eleuthera their home for a month. Tomorrow I’m jamming with the local band at Elvinas in Gregory Town, before heading north to Harbour Island - famous for Victoria’s Secrets photoshoots - for a day or two, before catching a flight out to my next destination - Cuba.

If you’re looking for a mellow island retreat free of the usual tourist traps then Eleuthera could be for you. And remember “In these isles of sun and fun, we don’t flush for number 1.”


Update: link to some photos over there ->