On Sunday 18 January we departed Rock Sound at 0630. Of the 14 sailboats left there at anchor, fully half followed us out of the harbor. It was a good day to move; they were all headed south to Cat Island while we turned north. We crossed the Eleuthera Bight to Hatchet Bay Pond by noon, darted inside and grabbed a mooring. We had visited the nearby settlement of Alicetown on a previous trip and were not particularly impressed. The town had several hurricane hits in the last decade and was a bit down on it’s luck. The harbor proper is ideal with a 90 foot wide opening to the south and surrounded by high sandstone cliffs. On the last visit we judged that there were more bars than churches; usually a sign of moral decay. But this time we noticed a change. People were active, some houses were painted and a couple of the bars had apparently burned down.
On the first venture into town we stopped by a beautifully restored Ketch owned by a couple from California. They had been there for a month and would probably stay longer. We were told about the evening arrival of the Double Eagle with a boat full of stone crab. It was also explained that the government had taken over the harbor moorings and they were now free to visitors. After assurance that the moorings were anchored securely by old tractors and engine blocks, we figured we were safe for the night….praying that the tractors were big ones.
Before the sun set the high speed ferry from Nassau emerged from the cut on it’s once a week visit to the government dock. Once he had cleared, the noisy little Double Eagle entered the harbor. We had been instructed to wait a half hour for the crab claws to be cooked and then show up with a pail. On arrival at the outboard side of the boat, it was clear that the onboard propane stove was not cooperating. We wanted just ten dollars worth and handed up our bucket. The captain seemed embarrassed and in compensation kept filling the pail with some of the largest crab claws we had ever seen. These critters are very good, once you crack the ceramic-like shell. That night we feasted and still managed to freeze four large bags for later meals. What a deal.
We departed the next morning to catch the slack tide at the Current. The stay at Hatchet would have been longer were it not for another spell of wind and rain in the forecast. The Current is a cut thru the north Eleuthera Islands that shortens the run to Spanish Wells where we will wait for the next window in the weather. This cut boasts 5-6 knot current and is not a place to get stuck when the tide is running. We cleared without difficulty and called Yacht Haven Marina for a slip. On arrival we were met by Leroy and Treadwell, dock masters of long standing.