E is for Eleuthera
When you mention the Bahamas to most people, they immediately think of Nassau which they have visited for the day on a three or four day cruise from Miami or Port Canaveral. They might have taken a ship's tour around New Providence and gone over to Paradise Island for a visit to the Atlantis Hotel to see its aquarium and to do a little gambling. When asked about the other islands of the Bahamas, they seldom can name any. While Nassau and Paradise Island have their lures, I fell in love with the island of Eleuthera during a four day visit over twenty years ago and have wanted to return ever since.
For a number of years in my past, I was actively involved in the northern California chapter of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Most of my travel involved trips to that part of the world and I always attended their annual conference which was usually held on one of their larger islands, capable of accomodating the larger numbers, tourism heads, and ministries that attended such events. One year, the conference was held in Nassau. Our San Francisco group had a wonderful time and we met a representative from the Windemere Island Club in Eleuthera. He issued an invitation to us and to our local Bahamian representative to visit and, with a little help from our friends at American Airlines, that trip became a reality. For a ridiiculously small fee, our group of ten headed to the Bahamas, via Miami, flying first class. From there, we took a small plane into Governor's Harbor Airport where a driver picked us up to take us to Windermere Island, only five miles long. Our driver told us that this island was a mecca for the rich and famous, even royalty, most of whom had villas at Windermere ( even with its remote location, Diana, Princess of Wales, pregnant, was not able to escape the paparazzi when sunning at Savannah Sound ). During our stay, we were housed at two of the villas which were available for rentals.
We spent our days in total relaxation, enjoying its five-mile long beach which Jacques-Yves Cousteau ( who had a home on Windermere ) considered to be one of the two most beautiful in the world. The beach, protected by a five-mile long reef is a haven for fish and underwater flora and is a snorkeler's paradise. There was a sense of time at a standstill.
We often crossed the bridge to the island of Eleuthera to enjoy its white and pink sand beaches. We went from one end of the island - a hundred and ten miles long - to the other and laughed at it width, only a little over a mile! We feasted on Bahamian cuisine - my favorite, conch of every single kind from raw, to conch salad, in fritters, conch chowder, cracked conch,
rock lobster, fried fish, pigeon peas and rice, and guava duff, the most incredible dessert. Of course, fabulous rum concoctions such as the famed "Bahama Mama" and "Goombay Smash"
were always on the menu. At night, there were casual venues with fun Bahamian music most of it with African roots, stemming from junkanoo, calypso and soca.
If you're constantly obsessed with the internet, cell phones and a fast paced way of life, Eleuthera might not be the place for you. If you REALLY want to escape from the world for a few days and would like to be in a paradise with someone you love and rediscover what is important in life, Eleuthera is the place for you!
House, photo credit by Alain76
Snail meal, photo credit mfrascella
Pink Sand Beach, Harbor Island, Photo Credit New Jersey Birds
Island resident, photo credit by teddyb
Man's sad presence in paradise, photo credit mfrascella