Not all of our time was spent on the beach. Unfortunately, during our stay, we saw a bit of rain, but that’s a perfect time to get into town and take a look around. Join us on a walking tour of Governor’s Harbour!
The building which stands out most in Governor’s Harbour is the blue and yellow building with the Kalik logo which once housed Pyfrom’s Liquor. The store is closed and the building is now for sale, as you can see from the sign. I hope the new owner never changes the color, or I might just get lost in Governor’s Harbour. I suspect that it’s the starting point for many people giving directions in town.
To get your bearings, as you look into the photo above, you are facing north. Just beyond the edge of the building is a road which leads to the east up to Banks Road. That’s the road which will take you to The Beach House on French Leave Beach and Tippy’s. We found out by driving the wrong way one day that this is a one-way road. It goes up the hill to Banks Road. To come down, there is another road a bit farther north which travels west, down the hill to the point in the photo above. To our left as we look at the photo is a road which runs along the water towards Cupid’s Cay. Let’s stay on Queen’s Highway, turn around and head into town.
The main drag through Governor’s Harbour has all your really need for your stay. On your left, you will find Da Perk which not only offers coffee and breakfast items, but a full range of sandwiches and beverages, “and other tings!”
Our barrista, Allison, whipped up a mango smoothie which was delicious.
A bit farther down on the left is a series of shops, including Eleuthera Supply, with a wide range of provisions, and of course, a dive shop, Clear Water, which is a stop on every visit we make to a new place.
On the right side of the street, you’ll pass the police station, and walk past Pammy’s, a delicious takeout restaurant. You’ll hear more about Pammy’s in an upcoming trip report which will focus on local food.
Burrow’s grocery store, on the right side of the road, carries provisions, including a well-stocked liquor store. They boast the best prices on the “hard stuff.”
Just past Burrows, you will see a small sign that says “Bakery” and points to the right. Follow the little signs, and you will find your way to Governor’s Harbour Bakery.
We popped in for some patties (the last of the beef patties that day) and to continue our walk. The breads and the pastries were quite tempting, but we had walking to do!
We walked toward the water on the Caribbean side of the island, winding our way through a residential area.
We found our way to the waterfront. This pink building houses the Ministry of Public Works and other offices.
Outside was a plaque commemorating Bahamian Independence, 40 years ago in 1973.
We took a seat in the courtyard, and enjoyed our delicious meat patties from the bakery.
Next, we walked south along the waterfront, passing St. Patrick’s Anglican Church.
Then, we spotted Haynes Library, built in 1789. I was really excited to get to the library. In preparing for our trip, I read quite a bit of the history of the island. After the Spanish extinguished the native population of the island by slavery or disease, the island was sparsely populated until Captain William Sayles and a group of 70 fled persecution in Bermuda, and found refuge on the island when a treacherous reef damaged their ship. As a result of the wreck, their supplies were lost. Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts and two Boston churches, sympathetic of their plight, raised a relief fund, providing seven hundred pounds worth of provisions. In response, “to avoid that foule sin of ingratitude so abhorred of God, so hateful of all men,” the group of Eleutheran adventurers sent a return load of ten tons of Braziletto wood as a gift to the infant Harvard College. A plaque memorializing the gift was to be found at the public library in Governor’s Harbour. It was time to find the plaque!
I searched, but no plaque. The librarian was glad to offer her assistance, but told me that the plaque had been lost in the last hurricane. If any of the folks from Harvard are reading this, it might be a nice gesture to send a replacement!
We continued our walk along the waterfront and while walking, a car pulled up and the driver rolled down the window. The woman asked how we were enjoying our stay and we exchanged wishes for a little less rain and a bit more sunshine. I found it remarkable how many people greeted us and asked us about our stay. Eleuthera has to be the friendliest island!
We walked a little farther and came upon the place where the Friday Night Fish Fry was to be held. I really was looking forward to the fish fry. Every week, tourists and locals gather for food, drink, music and a bit of socializing. More on the Friday Night Fish Fry in our report on local food!
Continue walking along the waterfront, and you will enter Cupid’s Cay.
You can’t miss the Wesley Methodist Church with its Bahamian blue trim.
On a sunnier day, we returned to Governor’s Harbour in search of a spot of lunch, and I spied something familiar across the bay. It was a raft, but not just any raft. I pulled out my zoom lens to confirm – – this was An-Tiki!
If you haven’t heard about An-Tiki, it’s a great story. Inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 voyage from Peru to the Tuamotu Island on the Kon-Tiki, 86-year-0ld Anthony Smith proved that age doesn’t stop you from anything when he completed a trans-Atlantic crossing in his raft, An-Tiki. Captain Smith left the Canary Islands in January of 2011 on An-Tiki, destined for Eleuthera, raising money for the charity, WaterAid. Due to a scheduling issue of a crew member, An-Tiki was diverted to St. Martin, where they landed in April of 2011. Determined to make it to Eleuthera, Captain Smith set sail from St. Martin in April of 2012 to complete the journey, landing on Eleuthera on April 30, 2012. The landing place was historically significant, and one which Captain Smith wanted remembered. An-Tiki reached land on the Atlantic side just north of Governor’s Harbour, on the same beach upon which the “Jolly Boat” landed in 1940. The “Jolly Boat” was a lifeboat launched by the British Merchant ship, the SS Anglo Saxon, after the ship was sunk by the Widder, A German surface raider disguised as a neutral ship. The “Jolly Boat” landed on Eleuthera 77 days later. Of the 7 men in the lifeboat, only 2 survived the journey, although not for long. One died on his voyage back to England when his ship was torpedoed, and the other committed suicide. The Widder’s captain, Hellmuth von Ruckteschell, was eventually tried as a war criminal. Captain Smith’s voyage, 70 years later, was a remembrance of the sacrifices made by the Merchant Navy.
Captain Smith’s words about the voyage are inspiring to those who might think they are too old for certain things in life. “‘Old men ought to be explorers,’ wrote T.S. Eliot in his Four Quarters, and I took the hint.”
Old women too. This old woman isn’t done yet. Part 5 of our trip report takes us to Harbour Island. Just a 10-minute water taxi ride from Eleuthera is a unique place that you just have to see to believe.
Did you miss Parts 1 through 3 of our Eleuthera trip report? Get started here!
More Eleuthera and Harbour Island posts here:
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