Enjoying Spanish Wells

Beach at the north end of Spanish Wells (St. George’s Cay)

“A person’s character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of the things about them.”
—Fredrick Douglas

Whenever I read a quote from the past that refers to the masculine, I like to think that—today—the person would have phrased the quote more gender-neutral. I hope Fredrick Douglas won’t mind my substitutions.

I’m thinking that perhaps his observation is as true for collections of people and villages as it is for individuals. The colors that Spanish Wells’ residents paint their houses reflect the hues of the sea that surrounds them.

It’s a beautiful and prosperous village. The fact that fishing makes up such a large part of its economy gives it a much less touristy feel. It also helps that we’re in the eastern Bahamas—more “out island” than a Bimini that is a lot closer to the US. While Spanish Wells is the village name, it’s located on St. George’s Cay. However, since the village takes up most of the cay, the names are synonymous at this point.

I walked on the beach above yesterday and then later kayaked around it. If you’re looking for a peaceful island get away not too far from the US mainland, I’d recommend looking at the cottages for rent that are right on this north beach. It would be a wonderful place to spend a quiet week and features an excellent “kid beach”. It’s got a quarter to half-mile of knee deep water right off the beach. While you’re not going to surf here, young kids could explore in safety for hours.

Here are some pictures of the town…

The waterfront
Looking south
Residents take great pride in their dwellings, beautiful colors
More colors
And yet, more colors
I cried a bit looking at this frontyard sculpture
Golf carts are the primary mode of mechanized transport (and yes, it is an international Steelers Nation out there)
Conch shells
Baby barracuda (about 12”) patrolling the clear waters (this shot was taken from land, not snorkeling, looking down into the water)
Sunset from the inflatable kayak off the aforementioned beach
More of the north beach
No Starbuck’s here
Nice talk with Ernie at The Lazy Pot

Many of you know that, among many other things, my son is a commercial fisherman. His target species is swordfish. I’m proud to say that I first took him walleye fishing in Chautauqua Lake when he was 3 or 4 and he never looked back.

As such, he and I are great connoisseurs of fishing fleets. The way others might revel in the nuance and subtlety of wine or coffee, we do for working boats. The local fisherman take the same pride in their vessels as they do in their residences.

These vessels are set-up for spiny lobster fishing. When they go out, they tow 3-5 small outboard skiffs and anchor-up offshore. The crew dons scuba gear and venture out in the skiffs and dive and spear lobsters. 75% of the exported lobsters from the Bahamas are offloaded from the Spanish Wells fleet.

These are steel hulls without a spec of visible rust. That takes work, and pride.

At noon today, I am embarking and leaving Spanish Wells for Harbour Island and Dunmore Town. To get from here to there, I’ll need to transit the Devil’s Backbone. As it’s name suggests, it’s no place for a newbie captain to the area like me to be alone. Thus, I’ve hired a “pilot” to guide me. In nautical parlance, a pilot is a capitan with local experience and knowledge. If you’ve ever been on a cruise and seen a small, stout boat dropping-off someone on a cruise ship before it enters port, or picking-up someone off the cruise ship after it’s exited the port and is in safe and deep water, that would have been a “harbor pilot” doing the same job on a much bigger scale.

Thanks as always for support and updates to come from Dunmore Town. Hazel James out.

3 thoughts on “Enjoying Spanish Wells

  1. Beautiful colours, equally beautiful emotions – thank you Dan for the pictures. Your schedule next seems to be exciting. Look forward to your notes. Best,

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