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History of Spanish Wells
ACCORDING TO LEGEND, this old island village got its name from sixteenth-century Spanish galleons who filled their casks here before sailing back to Spain. Most of the people indeed are European - true blonde-haired, blue-eyed descendants of the original Eleutheran Adventurers who still draw sustenance from the sea the way their forefathers did over three hundred years ago. Some later residents arrived as British refugees fleeing the American revolution. Today, the island is the most prosperous of all the Bahamian islands outside New Providence. Their secret? A modern commercial fishing fleet specializing in Bahamian lobster for shipment to restaurants in Florida, Nassau, and Freeport. The Red Lobster chain is one of their biggest customers.
Things to Do
SPANISH WELLS is delightfully picturesque, particularly on the area closest to the docks. Rent a golf cart from Richard and Gemini Pinder (phone 242-333-5188, next to the ferry) and cruise down the narrow streets, stopping occasionally to admire the pristine beauty of the northernbeaches, some of the best beaches in the world.
The neat rows of pastel-colored homes, flowered lanes, and new construction greet you at every turn. The people of Spanish Wells are hard-working, creative, conservative, and very helpful to visitors. Check out the well-stocked central grocery store and some of the gift shops around. You can get some good deals on broad-brimmed straw hats, quilts, and other items hand-made by locals.
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SPANISH WELLS, like Harbour Island, is only accessible by a 15-minute boat ride. The ferry is government-run and reasonable ($4 round-trip). To get to the ferry: From North Eleuthera Airport (ELH) head west until you get to the gas station at the intersection, about 5 minutes away. Then turn right and head north. If you're coming from the south, follow the signs all the way to the final T-intersection in the north. Turn left for Spanish Wells and right for Preachers Cave.
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