(Eleuthera, Bahamas) The north shores of Eleuthera have long been the recipients of transatlantic visitors of historic proportions. More recently, we were reminded in 2011/2012 by 85 year old, Anthony Smith (captain of the Antiki raft) of the landing of the Jolly Boat – a life boat from a British Merchant Ship sunk by Germans, that ended up on the Atlantic coast of Central Eleuthera in 1940 with two survivors on board. Mr. Smith, a former BBC Correspondent, was so enamoured by the story that he built a raft and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2011 destined for Eleuthera, to replicate the journey. He had an unscheduled stop in St. Maarten/St. Martin, and a bit of delay there but in April of 2012, arrived on a beach between Governor’s and James’ Cistern at about midnight on a somewhat stormy evening. The Antiki raft is anchored currently in Governor’s Harbour, at the Bay in front of historic Haynes Library (Read More about that here).
Antiki raft in the harbour.
Not as historic but truly amazing was the story of “Henry”, a racing pigeon that in June of 2012 flew into a boat house at Cape Eleuthera. Henry, it was discovered, had travelled across the Atlantic from France, where four weeks earlier he was one of eight pigeons that had set off from Lille, France to race home to Yorkshire in England (286 miles apart). Seven birds completed the short trip but Henry somehow arrived here in Eleuthera, almost 4,500 miles away.
(L-R) Ann, Clayton and Jim Matheson enjoying the waters and cays around Cape Eleuthera.
Perhaps not as amazing but certainly as intriguing is the story shared by a Canadian family – part time residents of Rock Sound in South Eleuthera. It’s of a corked bottle that at the end of August 2013 was found on the north side beach in the settlement, while taking one of their regular walks.
Ann and Jim Matheson arrived back on Eleuthera from Nova Scotia on August 26th and four days later found the washed up bottle with a message on the inside.
This “message in a bottle” was launched off the coast of Madeira (Portuguese Island) on …. (words washed away)
If you find it I would greatly appreciate it if you could let….(words washed away)
where and when you found it.
You can reach me at: …..(words washed away)
Obviously not completely sealed, the message lost some of its words but none of its intrigue. It too travelled across the Atlantic and found the north shores of Eleuthera – a distance of over 3500 miles, embarking not too far from the Canary Islands where the Antiki raft started its journey.
The other side of the bottled message, contains a map – a virtual guide to its home town.
The Mathesons who started their move to Eleuthera in 2009, own a home here. They discovered Eleuthera after searching for second home options in Florida, and opting to look closer at the Islands of the Bahamas instead. Ann shared that when they arrived in Eleuthera, they felt that, “this was it”, falling in love with the natural beauty, the feeling of being welcomed, and the wonderful warmth and hospitality of the people.
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File Photo by The Eleutheran Newspaper.
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