On Incest, Pretty Beaches and Extremely Nice People

Ocean side of Spanish Wells at low tide

Spanish Wells was a very strange place for us. For many people, really. Spanish Wells is where I spent 3 weeks before I headed back to NYC and Jason spent 5 weeks all in the name of waiting for engine parts to arrive from the good ‘ole U S of A. Anyone who has visited Spanish Wells for any length of time will echo our feelings that there is just something strange in the air.

Spanish Wellians, and Bahamians in general, pride themselves on being able to trace their families all the way back to their island’s original settlers. “I’m a 5th generation Bahamian!,” they share with me with a huge grin spreading across their face, proud their family was the first to settle on this island. But, on an island made up of maybe a couple hundred people everyone can easily trace their roots back to the original family. What is even stranger is that no one sees the problem with that. When 75% of the island has the last name Pinder, something isn’t right. Jason and I even questioned one guy we met and he said that there are actually two Pinder families, one from the US and one from Britain and both just happened to pick the same island out of all 720 islands in the Bahamas to settle on. Seems likely, no? Just talk to any of the originals and their slow British/Southern drawl is sure to confirm any suspicions that there is most definitely something going on behind closed doors.

Despite all the family loving going on, Spanish Wells is full of some of the nicest people we’ve encountered. Both from the originals and the transplants. People went out of their way to help us, something these New Yorkers are not used to. During a short walk from the dinghy dock to the grocery store I had 3 people stop and ask if I needed a ride. We were invited to dinner at multiple peoples’ houses, and when Jason was frantically running around town trying to find parts to fix our backstay a guy he just met lent him a bike to make his search easier. Every time someone saw us they’d ask us if our engine parts had come in, appearing generally concerned. Another guy we met randomly had an old Atomic 4 engine lying around and let Jason come and strip it of the parts he wanted. Score!

I know I’ve posted this picture before, but come on, how could I not share it again!? North side of Spanish Wells at low tide. Stunning.
Farm fresh eggs from the local dive shop tucked neatly inside my Lock&Lock egg carton.

Spanish Wells also has some of the most insanely beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The trick is to visit at low tide. They go on for miles! You can catch the beaches on the ocean side of the island, but my favorite spot is at the north side of the island where a little bridge connects Spanish Wells and Russell Island. It is breathtaking. You can get a good view of how well the reefs of Egg Reef and Devil’s Backbone are really doing their jobs. I easily saw 10 – 15 ft breakers out there, but it was really calm where I was! Other points of interest on the island are the cruiser’s happy hour and book exchange at Tom and Jean’s house on 1st Street (right near the dinghy dock from the moorings); Budda’s where you can order food from an old bus turned food truck, stock up on beer/liquor, get your hair cut, and watch Lobster Pirates with the locals featured in the show; and the Dive Shop where you can get local farm fresh eggs for $3/dozen. The island also has plenty of grocery stores, hardware stores and marine parts. There is a shipping company that only charges you $5/box plus a small percentage of the price of the good you are having shipped in if you need to order parts from the states.

In summary:

Days Kelley Spent in Spanish Wells: 22 days
Days Jason Spent in Spanish Wells: 36 days
Cost per gallon of Drinking Water (DONT EVER drink the city water): $0.50 if you order over 50 gallons
Nightly Mooring Fee: $20.00
Best Bahama Bread on the Island: Aunt Joe’s sold at Food Fair
Cheapest Gas: On Site Marine
Best places for Wifi: Budda’s and the smoothie/coffee shop on Russell Island

Budda’s, the island’s one-stop shop! Seriously, you can get your hair cut, stock up on alcohol, check your email, and order a pretty tasty. burger. 
Budda’s takes the food truck to a whole new level, a food bus! 
Cotton plants!

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/customer/www/sailingchance.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/Newspaper/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353


    • Hi J, there were a bunch of groups there in vacation, but I would recommend Hopetown in the Abacos as an alternative. It’s much more “developed” in the fact that there are more restaurants, a coffee shop and very easy to get to via Marsh Harbour. It’s still secluded enough so you get your escape feeling 😁 I wrote a post on it, but just know it’s still a lot of fun for adults only, too! https://www.sailingchance.com/bahamas-with-kids/

  1. We visited about 4 times back in the 1990’s, always had a great time although after 10 dats I was ready to build a raft…..one time we took our bikes over to Eleuthera and biked the length, then another ferry over to Harbour island. Happy days