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We are interested in cruising down to either Spanish Wells or Harbour Island. Currently we are keeping our 37' sailboat in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.

Anyone have experience on how/where to navigate into protected water?
Do we really have to cross the Devils Backbone? That sounds pretty intimidating to a bunch of rookies like us.

Also is there a marina at which we could leave our boat dockside for a month at either Spanish Wells or Harbour Island?

Thanks.
 

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We've left from Little Harbor and left Royal Island well to port, entering between Egg & Little Egg Islands, and anchoring in the protected cove on the south side of Royal Island. The deep water entrance to this anchorage is leaving the center rock to starboard. Maptech doesn't make that clear,-'highly recommend Explorer charts. From here it's an easy entrance to Spanish Wells and a marina choice or moorings. We don't feel confident about the passage by Ridley Head without local knowledge. If you plan on Harbour Island I'd take the outside and enter East Passage from the easrt. Current Cut is not a problem if you choose your time. We enjoyed Governors Harbour. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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Made the trip from Spanish Wells to Little Harbour back in 2004. Uneventful crossing until a nasty frontal system came out of the west and passed directly in front of me about 10 miles short of Little Harbour. Changed course to due west in hopes of working my way around it, but it seemed to go on forever. Ended up anchoring overnight off Crossing Rocks and entered the Sea of Abaco the next day.

I found entering and leaving Spanish Wells no big deal. Pay attention to your charts, your gps coordinates, and the water color.

Steve Palvidis has a big section on Eleuthera in his new "Cruising Guide to the Northern Bahamas". You may wish to pickup a copy.

As far as the Devil's Backbone goes, he offers a detailed description of the passage. It is certainly a tricky place to transit, but if you are experienced reading Bahamas water colors and the weather cooperates, you shouldn't have too much difficulty.

There is a marina in Spanish Wells, Spanish Wells Yacht Haven Marina. However, if you wish to pick up a mooring ball, there are a few of them at the east end of the harbor.

If you want a first-hand description of Spanish Wells, the Devils Backbone, and Harbour Island, go to the Knotty Dog website. They toured this area a couple years ago in their 57' Nordhaven.

Good luck and have fun!
 
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