As was the case with Hatchet, this unique enclave on St George Cay at the top of Eleuthera had undergone positive growth over the two years since our last visit. The difference is that Spanish Wells was already affluent, by Bahamian standard. Now it is a well polished gem…similar in some ways to early Bermuda. We immediately noticed the considerable growth along the waterfront. New piers supported an expanded lobster fleet. In the interim, we are told that they won a sizeable contract with the US chain of Red Lobster restaurants. That contract alone has spawned other marine support facilities, sophisticated shops and well maintained residences.
Still in all, the inhabitants cling to their roots. The island is dry of all alcohol, free of crime and the public school seems to have mostly blond, blue eyed white children. These children are called Spanish Wellsian while all others are considered Haitian. Early descendants were Loyalists or English Puritans and the principal religion is Methodist; setting them apart from the rest of the Bahamas. All stores close from noon until 1330 daily and the town closes down shortly after dark. The local accent is a mix of old english, bahamian, american and very hard to place. Major transport comes in the form of a golf cart and the kids are picked up and returned to school for the lunch break. Most male children quit school at 14 and become lobster fisherman. Almost none of the children move away from Spanish Wells.
We made a couple of trips to the well stocked supermarket. The nicest we’ve seen since leaving Nassau but still very expensive. Each of the three days we rode our bikes around the neighborhoods of colorfully painted homes and beautifully landscaped yards. Jean continued her search for a working Batelco phone so she could call home. On the first evening there we had nine over for cocktail hour, including a young man from Charleston who was single-handing around in 30 foot sailboat. On Tuesday the 20th of January we all watched CNN from the dockmaster’s office and Barak Obama become our 44th president of the United States. We had been feeling the excitement throughout the Bahamas of his presidency. So, this day was nothing short of history in the making and the emotions ran high with the local black community.