The Devils Backbone…

Many ships have run aground here

When transiting from Spanish Wells to Harbor Island (Dunmore town), we needed to cross the famous Devils Backbone.

.Devils backboneAccording to a Bahamas Out Islands promo site ” Eleuthera was first settled in the 1600’s by Bermudians seeking religious freedom (the Greek word eleutheria means freedom). The only problem was, before they found the island itself, they found the Devil’s Backbone an extensive shallow reef line bordering the north end of the island. It ripped open the bottom of their boats leaving them to settle amongst the sharp coral heads.”

As a result of having to transit between reefs like these, “wrecking” was a sustainable industry for local Bahamians, as they salvaged ships and rescued sailors until lighthouses and other navigational aids were installed and maintained.

How we roll

We do trend to the more cautious when we sail. So far we: never entered a new harbor at dusk and certainly never after dark.

Once we drop our anchor in a harbor, we generally “dive” for a visual check or use a “lookie” bucket from the dinghy to make sure it set properly.

We even choose to motor sail on lighter wind days versus only sail on higher wind days, because fun can quickly evaporate when the wind increases too quickly for the crew (us) to reef our sails.

Don and our local pilot



Not saying that we won’t push the envelope more over time, but this is where we feel comfortable now in our cruising adventure.

As a result, we’ve never felt unsafe this year.

So, we did take the recommendation to hire a local pilot to transit, and timed it during high tide.

We never sailed so close to the rocks

These pictures show how close we went between the coral reefs along side the land, and the coral reefs on the other side of the boat.

All in all, it was a fun crossing.  We arrived early enough to drop anchor in Lynyard Cay and join happy hour on the beach with our guests, Walter & Gail Lundstrom, and new and old cruising friends from Georgetown, Great Exhuma.

Happy hour on the Lynyard Cay beach

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