We missed the ferry on Sunday for Harbour Island, plus it rained most of the day, so we decided to go today. The ferry was nice. It was a high speed, high tech catamaran and for $20 each round trip we got there in about twenty minutes. Harbour Island is totally different than Spanish Wells. This was the laid back Bahamian islands we love so well. The town was much poorer than Spanish Wells, but had some beautiful and expensive resorts and marinas.
It was a short walk from the harbor to the beach. Dan, having missed breakfast, was starving as soon as we got there, but it was too early for lunch and I was not interested in breakfast. We decided to walk along the beach and let the kids play for awhile. One of Harbour Island’s big claims to fame is its beautiful pink sand beaches. The beaches were beautiful, with soft sand, but the pink was a bit of a stretch. There were some very fine red coral pieces in the sand that if you looked close enough may have given the illusion of pink, but it was pretty. The beaches were quiet when we first got there so we sat on some beach chairs outside a private residence while Tristan and Tessa played in the sand. As were sitting there I happen to look to my right and saw some horses coming down the sand dune onto the beach in front of me. This was a surprise. The horses weren’t being ridden and it wasn’t until about the 4th horse came by that I saw a guy in back with his dog herding the horses. I am sure he was taking them someplace where you could rent them for horseback riding. It was great advertising to see them on the beach. It made me wish we could get a quick ride.
I had held off Dan from eating as long as I could. Now he was starving. We decided to eat at Ma Ruby’s for her famous Jimmy Buffett Cheeseburger in Paradise. It was a hamburger patty with a mixture of some type of bread crumbs and maybe an egg? It was more meatloaf like than burger. It was served on thick toast and I thought it was really good, but Dan and Tristan thought it was just ok. Ruby’s did make a delicious rum punch and I served myself free refills. We all agreed with BonApetit magazine that the Key Lime pie was the best.
Ma Ruby holds court in a chair by the door and wishes you a “Welcome Home!” as you enter her restaurant. On the walls around the bar are her accolades for her community service. She was even awarded some kind of distinguished service award from England and was flown to Buckingham Palace. There is a nice plaque with a picture of her receiving the award from Prince Charles. She has even been recognized by Spain and was flown to Madrid to receive a Good Samaritan award, though she tells you she has no idea how she got that. Mostly what she does is work hard, make excellent food and help others whenever she can. I think we all agree that’s more than enough.
As we left the restaurant to head back to the ferry, we passed by some girls climbing a huge tree and swinging down from the vines. It looked like fun so I encouraged Tessa and Tristan to join in. That’s the great thing about kids. If they see someone having fun, they will just go join in and the other kids will let them. On the way back to the ferry we enjoyed looking at the historic churches and houses on the island. We really liked Harbour Island. The beaches are beautiful, the people friendly and the feeling is like an island paradise. I could have stayed there longer, but we knew we had to keep moving.
It is said that in 1648, English Puritans looking for freedom to work and worship their God as they saw fit, came ashore after crashing their ship on Devil’s Backbone. They lived in caves for 2 years before 57 went to Spanish Wells and 100 went to Harbour Island. I would have chosen Harbour Island.