Bannerman Town & South Eleuthera
Boldly Go Where Few Have Gone Before...South Eleuthera Bannerman Town Island Page Home Page
South Eleuthera (the area south of Rock Sound) is generally not on the tour maps for Eleuthera. This can be a good thing, because there is plenty to see and do here if you're a little adventurous. Seldom visited by tourists, except as a short cruise line stop-off point, this area is otherwise dotted with small townships. The settlements of Greencastle, Weymss Bight, Waterford, Deep Creek, the Village, Millars, and Dancey Town are considered drive-through settlements populated by a few dozen people, goats, chickens, and kids who like to play in the seldom-used roads. Around Greencastle, the road splits into two different directions - one headed west along the Cape Eleuthera peninsula in the Caribbean, and the other headed due south towards Eleuthera Point and the turbulent Atlanta/Caribbean meeting place.
The good news is that - with a few exceptions - you're likely to have any beach you discover all to yourself. For a little "action," you can drive west to Cape Eleuthera and visit or stay at the Island School, which offers an aquaculture outreach program for high school students and can provide a guide and scuba rentals. See Island's Diving section for more details of a fantastic dive there. If you head due south towards Eleuthera Point, you will pass a couple of townships, Weymss Bight, and Bannerman Town.
WEYMSS BIGHT doesn't have a lot to offer for tourists. As with Greencastle, Delancey Town and other settlements, there's not much to do or see here except watch the goat herds, which I noticed were more plentiful here than at any other place on the island. I also asked the meaning of "Bight" and was told it is a small creek or canal. . . apparently belonging to Mr. Weyms so long ago, no one remembers him. Ah, well, the town's history museum was closed the day I visited, so we'll have to wait until future web updates to find the key to this mystery . . .
The Cotton Bay Club and Golf Course is nearby, however, so head towards the Atlantic side if you're inclined to tee up. This area also has a great beach. (See island page for details and more pictures). A little further north of Greencastle, there is another Atlantic beach called Jack's Bay which, I hear is marvelous for snorkeling and sunbathing.
And don't miss a visit to The Island School on the Cape Peninsula. Students from around the world come here to study the Caribbean ecosystem.
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BANNERMAN TOWN. Island slave auctions were held here in the late 1700's and early 1800's until slavery was abolished on the islands in 1838 (you can still the ruins of the auction house). Because much of the slim agriculture on the island depended on controlled labor, many British Loyalists left their homes to seek their fortunes elsewhere and their properties were abandoned. Some of these stone fences and building ruins can still be seen today amid the dense overgrowth. The township is primarily known, however, as the gateway to the fabulous Lighthouse Beach at the southernmost tip of the island. Bannerman Town is also the terminal point for the Princess Cay Cruise Lines (who has a visitor compound there), and a great beach on the Caribbean side. To find the smaller beach, continue through town and follow the best road until it suddenly appears. If you go a little further north along the coast, you'll also come across a nice fishing lagoon. Click on the pictures below to enlarge:
LIGHTHOUSE BEACH. The southernmost tip of the island has what many consider to be the nicest beach on Eleuthera, but it's a little hard to get to. Unless you're blessed with a high-clearance car with great tires, or 4-wheel drive vehicle and lots of patience, I would suggest you look for other beaches. If you have a bit of adventure in you, however, a journey to Eleuthera Point - or Lighthouse Beach - will reward you handsomely. This beach is the meeting point of the Atlantic and Caribbean and has some strong undercurrents, however, so be careful.
TO FIND IT, go straight when you see the road split at the Bannerman Town sign for a little over 2 miles. You will pass by a large lagoon on your left and many gullies and washed out areas of the road. Before you get to the beach, you will see the lighthouse on the hill in the distance and Lighthouse Bay to the right, a nice beach itself. When you come to the sand dune area by the bay, you need to make a decision about crossing the dunes in your car. My suggestion is to park the car or jeep and take the short walk over the dunes. It's not far and will save you lots of headaches later if, in fact, your car gets stuck.
THE LIGHTHOUSE is one of the interesting features of this beach. Overlooking both the Lighthouse Bay and Beach, it is a weather-worn artifact. . . a survivor of many hurricanes, the most recent ones being Andrew and Floyd in the 1990's, and a downsized Hurricane Frances and erratic Jeanne. To get there, just follow the beach to the southern tip until you see a place to climb the rocks. You can go inside and climb to the lookout, but be careful! There are no safety ropes or warning signs. The floors appeared to be solid enough when we were there, however.
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