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I cant believe it is our last full day on Eleuthera. After 3 weeks this feels like our life now. We feel like we belong, and are destined to be here. The thought of going back to dreary spring in Montana is utterly depressing. I know we live in a spectacularly beautiful place, it just kind of sucks during the shoulder seasons. I should be looking forward to planting my garden, but instead I am wishing we lived on Eleuthera and I could just plant a garden here.
It was a pretty grey cloudy morning so the sunrise was nothing to write home about. We watched it anyway, and did our usual morning routine, then went about making the most of our day. We started off with a beach walk toward Airport Beach. J brought his pole with him, hoping to get in a little more fishing in, but had no luck.
After our long walk the weather cleared a little bit so we figured we better jump on the chance to get one last snorkel in. We decided to head to the southern end of DaVilla's little beach this time. There are remains of an old sea wall there and out from it is a nice reef that starts at the shoreline and extends out about 400 yards. It is not the easiest spot to get in and out of but it was well worth it. Despite the water being churned up a little, it was great snorkeling. The farther out we went the more fish we saw and the bigger they got. It is hard to tell from the photos but there were some really big fish out there. The grouper is one of the biggest we have seen. If you look at the yellowtail snapper, they were large, maybe 18" or so, so you can imagine the size of the grouper in front of them.
We got so caught up in our snorkeling and watching all the beautiful fish, that none of us looked up to check to see what the weather was doing till we started to hear distant rumbling and noticed it was getting darker out. Finally when we popped our heads out of the water we realized there were ominous black clouds all around us. It was an immediate consensus among the four of us that we need to get to shore ASAP. We quickly worked our way back in and by the time we mad it to shore it was just starting to rain. We quickly headed back up to the house as the rain started picking up, getting a nice freshwater shower along the way.
It was still raining pretty steadily after we got home and dried off so we decide we might as well head to Ronnies, rather than sit around the house. It was really dumping by the time we got to Ronnie's and we made a mad dash from the car, but even in that short distance we were completely drenched, again. We ordered up some 2 for $5 beers and parked ourselves for a while. The rain never did let up while we were there but we figured we better get out of there before we got in too much trouble, so we headed back home.
By the time we got back the rain had finally stopped, so the guys grabbed their sopping wet gear and headed out for another snorkel. S and I said it was a bad idea as it seemed like the storm was not quite over and we could still hear thunder and see lightning off in the distance. They insisted it quite a ways off and we were being overly cautious so we lost that one, at first...
Less than 5 minutes in the thunder really started booming, so they came running back up to DaVilla and decided to continue on with cocktail hour instead.
We still did not want to sit around so we took our drinks "to go" and headed out for another beach walk. This time we headed south toward the old sea wall. On the top of the cliff above it is an old abandoned house. It looks like it was a really nice place back in the day, but now it pretty dilapidated, with broken or boarded up windows and pieces of the roof missing. D and J decided to climb up the rotten old stairs to the top of the bluff and check it out. It was in compete disrepair, but the front door was open so they went in to check it out. They saw clothes strewn about and a pile of trash as if someone had recently been squatting there. As they were getting that uneasy feeling that maybe they should not be there since someone could possibly be living there one of them accidentally kicked a can. The sound echoed just like a horror film and they both came running out of the house and tore back down to the beach full speed. It was hilarious, especially watching J, who is afraid of nothing run away like a scared child. S and I just sat on the beach laughing and watched them run back down the stairs. Once they caught their breath we continued on our long beach walk. On the way back the front door was closed, and it was not by D or J on their mad dash out of the house.
Well we stayed up as late as we could, making sure to finish off the last of our food and drink, before we finally had to call it a night. Sometime around 2am we all woke up to a massive thunderstorm. It must have been centered right over DaVilla. The thunder and lighting were simultaneous and so forceful that I was afraid to get to close to the windows to watch it. The windows would shake from the thunder and the entire house would light up from the lightning. It was amazing, and frightening all at the same time. You could see streaks of lighting hitting the water right in front of the house. I have never experienced a storm quite like that. I definitely would not have wanted to be out on a sailboat that night. It kept up for quite some time, but eventually passed far enough away that we were able to get a few hours of sleep. We took it as a sign that Eleuthera really did not want us to leave, or maybe it was just trying to scare us away.
If any of you have read this blog before you know exactly what we did this morning. If not here is a quick re-cap, sunrise, coffee, breakfast & fun, the same as each and every morning on Eleuthera. Although D and J were moving a little slower than usual after their late night around the beach bonfire last night.
After breakfast we decided we needed one more beach outing before our trip was over. We packed up the cooler and all our gear and hopped in the car and headed to one of our favorite beaches. No we won't tell you which one, as I said before discovering them on your own in half the fun!!
We had gone to this particular beach once already this trip, but it was during the cold front so we were not able to spend as much time as we would have liked in the water. Today was absolutely perfect, it was calm and sunny, and the water temperature seemed a lot more comfortable than it had just a week or so prior.
We spent a leisurely two+ hours snorkeling about, taking it all in. This was the longest non-stop snorkel trip for S and I so far. The boys brought their spears just in case, but they were not entirely fixated on spearing like usual. It was a good thing they did though, as D got a nice schoolmaster and J a large Margate. We had been seeing a lot of Margate's this trip, but had not been able to get very close to them and we were unsure if they were good eating or not. After our last sighting I Google searched them and found they were perfectly edible. When J finally got close enough to one he jumped on the opportunity to spear it for dinner. It wound up tasting very similar to crab.
As we were just starting to tucker out and work our way to shore a small barracuda showed up and starting pestering me. I had forgot to wear my dive gloves so it is possible it was attracted to my ring or maybe just my feminine whiles, but it was definitely getting way to close for comfort. D and S love barracuda and it was a small enough one to be safe to eat (according to a local guide) so J asked if he could spear it. I gave him the go ahead, since it was down to spear it or I desperately flee to the kayak, before I lost a finger. He quickly snuck in and rescued me from the pesky barracuda. We all decided to call it quits after that and worked our way back to shore.
We were all pretty tuckered out by the time we got to shore, and getting sick of sick of salami and turkey sandwiches so we decided to pack up for the day and head to the Beach House for a little late lunch. It was perfect timing as the clouds just started rolling in as we were leaving the beach. We made a quick run to Burrows for some ice to keep our fish cool and a few more provisions to get us through our last couple of days then we jotted off to the Beach House. We all had grouper sandwiches, which were excellent and S and I had their signature margaritas which were also delicious.
After a huge late lunch we all waddled our way back to the car, and headed back to DaVilla. We took it pretty easy for the next few hours, then at sunset decided to grab a bottle of wine and out towels and head across the road to Alabaster Beach to watch the sunset. It was a serenely quiet and calm evening. So calm that we had forgotten about our little no-seeum friends. As soon as we parked ourselves on or towels they began eating us alive. Suddenly an evening swim seemed like a great idea. Even with the dimming light you could see way out into the shallow water. It looked clear of critters so we went for it. It was a fantastic swim, there is just something amazing about swimming in that low light. Luckily none of us became shark bait and we had a fantastic time.
Once we left the water the no-seems went after us with a vengeance, so we grabbed the wine and hightailed it back to DaVilla. D cooked us up the Margate and Barracuda for dinner with yellow rice and salad. I had reached my maximum fish intake for the trip and could not even bare to take another bite. I guess that is a good sign right, ate so much of a good thing you just don't want anymore. I wish I could say the same about spending time on Eleuthera, but I will always want more.
Sorry I really dropped the ball on finishing the last few days of our trip reports. We had a catastrophic hard drive crash and I lost all of our GoPro videos from this last trip. I was in the process of saving a time-lapse Eleuthera sunrise video, then planning back everything up as soon as it was done. The drive just froze midway through the saving process and went into the broken hard drive land of no return. I was so bummed it took me months to get up the motivation to write about our trip again. Luckily I was able to salvage most of the photos, so I am very grateful for that. Sorry I will try to get the last of them finished up, before an entire year passes by.
Normally by this far into a trip we would have taken a day to wander around Governor Harbour to do a little gift shopping or we would have headed north and stopped by Pam's Island Made. I really wanted a new Eleuthera hat as mine was getting pretty rough around the edges. But so far we had not been willing to take the time out of our "busy" days of non-stop fun to do any shopping. We were done to the last couple of days and I really wanted to get it done, and finally I had whined at J enough that he decided today would be the day to get it over with. The plan was the boys would go fishing in the morning and then come back around lunch and we would go shopping.
The boys took off right after breakfast and made it back around one or two. They had very successful morning, 2 grouper, a hogfish, a lionfish and a mackerel. That solved the problem of figuring out what to have for dinner. We joke that our goal was mercury poisoning before we go back to MT, the land of old frozen seafood. I think we came close, I definitely had my fill by the time our trip was over.
After a quick lunch J cleaned up and we hopped back in the car to head north. It had been pretty choppy on the Atlantic (ocean) side, but the Caribbean (sea or Exuma sound) side was just beautiful. We enjoyed the drive up to Pam's and I picked out a few gifts for our friends and family, and got J a sweet Eleuthera hat, but could not find a good replacement for myself so splurged on some locally made earrings instead. After our shopping was done we hopped back in the car to go check out Gaulding Cay and the Glass Window Bridge.
It was really a beautiful day on the sea side and it was nice to get a little sight seeing in before our trip was over. We had brought our snorkel gear just in case, thinking it would be nice to snorkel around Gaulding Cay, but by the time we got there it was low tide and the water looked pretty shallow, plus it was getting late in the day so we decided to pass.
After our little sight seeing trip we headed back home to DaVilla. On the way back we made a quick stop at Hearty Mow and picked up some mango's and bananas as a little treat.
When we got back to DaVilla the wind had calmed down quite a bit. We had been talking about having a beach bonfire since we had arrived, but it had been to windy up to this point so we decided to take advantage of the calm and make this our bonfire night. Before the sun went all the way down we took our cocktails down to the beach and gathered driftwood for our bonfire. Once we had a nice pile going we went back up to the house for dinner.
We devoured a the majority of the boys catch of the day, which D wonderfully prepared as usual, then headed back down to the water for our bonfire. D had started getting the longs ready and pointed out that he had found a small scorpion on one of them. It was one of the logs that I had gathered and carried quite a ways too. The realization that I had a scorpion riding along the entire time was really fraying my nerves. D said he smashed it into the sand and it was long gone. I know he was trying to make me feel better but I was very doubtful that squishing a scorpion into the sand would kill it. More like piss it off so it would want to come back and sting us and I said as much. Now I try not to be one of those skittish girls, but sometimes I admit my fears can really get the best of me. Turns out they were getting the best of S too. The logs were also full of termites and you could occasional see them try to escape the fire, something that freaked her out just as much as the scorpion freaked me out.
We put tried to put our termite and scorpion fears out of our minds and piled in around the bonfire. I pulled up a lawn chair, D and J split a lounge chair and S sat in the sand. S and I sipped our wine while J and D decided a little Glenfiddich was on the menu for the evening. We hooked up the ipod to the portable mini speaker and threw on a little reggae enjoying the flames and the night air. J dragged over one of the logs to use as a stand for the ipod, and it turned out to be the same one I had hauled over with the scorpion in it. They assured me it was long gone and not to worry. A few minutes later, J decided he did not like the song that was playing and went to change it. He reached for the ipod then stopped and said, ha ha that kind of looks like a scorpion on the ipod. It was our little friend, returned from the depths of the sand, or one of his relatives still clinging to the log. J smashed it into the sand with the log again. The set his chair on top of the area where he smashed the scorpion. I don't know why he thought this would keep it from re-surfacing but he did. Meanwhile S kept thinking she was getting bit by something, probably no-seeums but the thought of the escaping termites crawling up her jeans, was becoming a little to much. We stuck it out as long as we could but S and I decided we had enough of the creepy crawlies and abruptly called it a night, dealing with a serious amount of ridicule from J and D. We both did a bit of a speedwalk back up to the house, walked in the door and stripped off all our clothes that we swore were covered in termites and scorpions, tossed them in the washing machine. Then we pretended like the whole incident never happened and went to our perspective bedrooms to read.
D and J fearless men that they are, stayed up having a great old time, finishing off the bottle of Glenfiddich by the bonfire. They finally stumbled into the house many hours later, free of any termite bites or scorpion stings. I awoke to them rustling in the kitchen as they were preparing themselves a post-midnight snack before bed.
I think we may need to have a new beach bonfire experience next time, sans termites and scorpions.
Finally, after 3 full days of steady breeze at DaVilla, we got a nice calm day and it was perfect. I had my typical zen morning sipping coffee and watching the sunrise. If you have not figured it out yet, this is my favorite pastime.
As soon as it started to warm up the boys headed out to the outer reef with the kayak and their spears. S went on her daily trek to the far end of Airport beach and back and I lounged on the beach reading my book.
J and D returned a few hours later with a strawberry grouper and right about the same time S returned from her lengthy beach walk. We all lounged around for a while, then J and I decided to head out for another snorkel.
Earlier D had been going on about these huge parrotfish he had been seeing. We were all thinking they were probably the same size as the parrotfish we had been seeing at parrotfish beach, maybe around 2-3 ft tops. After about an hour or so of snorkeling around I spotted a nice sized lobster. We were seeing them quite frequently now that lobster season had ended. They seemed like they somehow knew that they could safely roam once again, without the constant fear of spear-fishermen. I pointed it out to J, chuckling at him how he could not shoot it. Suddenly I saw these giant blue lips poke out of the reef going straight for the lobster. It was one of the parrotfish D had seen earlier, and it was HUGE. I had grossly underestimated D's description. This fish was definitely closer to 4 feet long. It popped out of the reef just for a second, looking like it was going to have a nice lobster lunch, then it spotted J and I and darted back into the reef. I managed to snap one picture, and J got a choppy little video, but neither gives you a really clear estimate of size. For scale the lobster was a good sized one, from tail to the tip of it's antenna was surely longer than my arm. The parrotfish is on the left, and you can see it start to come out of the reef about 6 seconds into the video. I would estimate it's length to be at least twice that of the lobster. J says it was big enough to eat me, ha ha, probably not THAT big.
We snorkeled around for a while longer, hoping to see the parrotfish again but never did. Finally we gave up and slowly worked our way back to shore. After enjoying a little afternoon snack D and J headed back out for the 3rd snorkel of the day and S and I chilled in the cabana with our books.
D sautéed up the grouper for dinner, will salad and yellow rice on the side. After dinner we lounged on the deck, sipping vino and watching the stars, soaking in the last of another perfect day.
It was a lovely second morning at DaVilla. J and I woke up early and leisurely sipped our coffee while enjoying yet another spectacular sunrise. We knew it was our last week so we were doing our best to slow time and savor each and every moment.
After a pretty relaxing morning J and D headed out with the kayak to the other reef for a little spearfishing while S and I each chose opposite directions went on our own little private beach walk. The nice thing about the location of DaVilla is you can walk unimpeded for miles in either direction. It was really just a nice mellow, relaxing morning on Eleuthera. Even the human hummingbird (J) had soaked in so much of that Eleuthera feeling that he was relaxed enough to take a mid day nap in the hammock. Look I have evidence...
After his nap J was fully recharged, so we decided to head out for a little adventure before our evening dinner reservations at the Front Porch. D and S had chosen to have an at home date that evening while J and I decided to go out on the town.
Our first stop was Ronnie's to check J's numbers. He lost, but we still had a fun trying to learn the game. We ran into Shauna Knowles, who had catered our wedding 3 years prior. We caught up with her for a little while, learning how busy her catering business has become. If you get a chance stop by her restaurant for lunch, The Harbour Inn on Cupids Cay. Great spot to get some take-a-way. She has daily specials and lots of choices. You pick your meats and sides then pay by the scoop. It is really good and super affordable.
Well anyway Ronnie's was hopping with people dropping in grabbing a few beers to go, for the Easter Monday beach celebrations scattered along the island. Shauna, along with many other Ronnie's patrons told us to head down to Alabaster beach and check it out, so we did.
The entire beach from one end to the other was full of families celebrating the Easter holiday. There were multiple BBQ areas set up offering food to all the families, I am assuming they were set up by the local churches. J and I went for a walk up and down the beach checking out the festivities and exchanging friendly greeting with many of the families. It was obviously still family hour while we were there, but I heard that it turns into a big party in the evening after all the children go home.
As we were walking back to the car we ran into another group of visitors who had spotted the Kalik bottles in our hands. They had arrived on Easter Sunday and were having trouble finding food and drink since almost everywhere was closed on Sunday and Monday for the Easter holiday. We gave them a few pointers on places that might still be open, then headed on our way.
We thought that we would spend more time at Alabaster than we actually did so we arrived in Hatchet Bay about an hour or so before our dinner reservation. We had not spent much time in Hatchet Bay before so we decided to explore a little. We slowly cruised through town and wound up at the Hatchet Bay Easter Monday celebration. The people of Hatchet Bay were even more welcoming than the ones at Alabaster. Despite the smaller community and smaller beach it seemed to be a much livelier celebration. They had the music bumping and everyone was super friendly and waved and said hello as we passed by.
After a quick stop at the beach we headed to Da Spott, a great little local bar in Hatchet Bay. We sat around chatting with the bartender and patrons hearing all sorts of fascinating stories about the portraits above the bar and all the Spots that have come and gone. Spot is the the resident potcake and we met Spot #3, or maybe Spot #4. The latest Spot was just a few months old and absolutely adorable. After a couple of cocktails and lots of puppy love from Spot we were famished and definitely ready for our highly anticipated dinner at The Front Porch.
It was the waitress's first night ever, so I cannot say the service was that great but she was a sweetheart and the food was AMAZING!! We sat out on the deck and watched the sunset, then the distant lightning after the sun had gone down, while Francis serenaded us with Bob Marley songs from the kitchen.
We had an appetizer of conch and grouper and then crab legs for our entree. It was hands down the best meal we have ever had on Eleuthera, if not the best meal we have ever had. The conch was cooked like I had never seen before, it was sauteed in a mild almost citrucy tasting sauce. It was so tender and delicious, I don't think I have ever eaten anything so divine.
As we were getting ready to leave our new friends from the beach came in for dinner. They had managed to squeeze in at the last minute and we were very pleased to see that they had not only found someplace open for dinner, but that they had made such a fabulous choice. We highly recommended the conch and crab legs, of course. I really hope they enjoyed their meal as much as we did.
After we paid J popped his head into the kitchen to commend Francis on the excellent meal and his superb singing skills. He is a genuinely friendly guy and we chatted for a while till he had to get back to the kitchen and cook for the large group that just arrived (our friends from the beach).
As we drove home a huge thunderstorm passed over the top of us. There is something about the storms on Eleuthera. There is no light pollution and it gets so dark that the lightning is just amazing to see. It's like there is nothing else out there but these giant streaks of light over the ocean. I was really glad I was not driving so I could enjoy the show.
J and I returned to DaVilla with an absolutely blissful feeling. It was such an amazing day, we really had a little taste of everything that makes Eleuthera so special. The warm, welcoming, amazing people along with mother nature in all it's glory. We could not have asked for anything more.
We fell in love with Eleuthera in 2010 when we went there for the first time to get married. We have been trying to make it back for our Anniversary every year since. We created this site as a labor of love while planning our most recent trip. We hope you enjoy and find the information we have compiled helpful.