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Bahamas: Preacher's Cave

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Preacher's Cave > Bahamas > Americas

[Visited: June 2014]

With some time on my sleeve, I decided to drive all the way to the far north of Eleuthera Island to see something different, after enjoying the landscapes, beaches, views, and picturesque towns. According to my information, Preacher's Cave was supposed to be difficult to find, but now that I am on my way to this historic place, it turns out things have improved. A small grassy field provides a spot to park, even in the shade of a tree, and from here, a very short walk takes me to the cave I am looking for. A large cave, with surprisingly much daylight inside, several boulders, and a sign marking the spot. It is a beautiful, sunny day, and the place looks very peaceful. But it is richer in history than you might think.

Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): View from within Preachers Cave

It was here, in this very cave, that a group of people arrived in 1648, after shipwrecking on the reef off the coast, which later would be called the Devil's Backbone. A sinister name indeed, and a reef that caused many ships to sink. The group of puritans had fled Bermuda because of religious strife at home, in search of religious freedom that they did not enjoy at home. The cave in which I am standing now, served as their initial shelter, and, according to a sign at the entrance, was used for 100 years for sermons. A large boulder inside was used as an altar. This was the first attempt to colonize the island, which the puritans named Eleuthera, after the Greek word Eleutheria for freedom. The Eleutherian Adventurers were the first European settlers on the island. Captain William Sayles, the leader of the puritans, sailed to the American colonies in search of food supplies which were hard to come by on the island. From here, Harbour Island was settled, which was easier to defend against the Spanish.

Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): Another deserted beach on Eleuthera: Tay Bay Beach can be found close to Preachers Cave

Walking around the cave revealed why it appeared so light from a distance: there are many holes in the rocky ceiling. Some of them are almost perfectly circular, while there are even two holes right next to each other, nicknamed the Binoculars. Bright sunlight shines right into the cave, making it a pleasant place to stay and seek shelter from the subtropical warmth of the sun. Research has found that the cave was used long before the European settlers arrived: the local Lucayans used it as a burial ground and lived in the cave, as early as the 8th century. After exploring the inside of the cave, a two minute walk took me to deserted Tay Bay Beach, where I cannot resist the temptation to dip into the inviting Atlantic waters. After a short refreshing swim, I realize it was my last dip on this trip: I now head back to the airport to drop off my car, and walk to the water taxis to Harbour Island once more.

Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): View of Preachers Cave on the north side of Eleuthera
Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): Looking up the Binoculars: two circular holes in the Preachers Cave
Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): Several holes in the ceiling of Preachers Cave provide light inside
Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): Close-up of the rocks inside Preachers Cave
Picture of Preacher's Cave (Bahamas): One of the holes in the ceiling of Preachers Cave

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