“I’ve been coming to this sandbar my whole life.”
Chris Morris has been coming to this sandbar off the edge of Cape Eleuthera since he was four years old, since the days when Cape Eleuthera was the “finest resort in the Bahamas without a casino,” when Billy Jean King was the tennis pro and Arnold Palmer used to play nearby at Cotton Bay.
“It doesn’t have a name,” he says, piloting the boat on the five-minute trip in the late afternoon. “We’ve named it 100 things. It’s just The Sandbar.”
Cape Eleuthera is just about the entirety of the southwestern tail fin of Eleuthera in The Bahamas, a massive 4,500-acre compound that is one of the largest resort properties in the Caribbean – and one of its most storied.
It was once the envy of the region, until one day in 1983 when the lights went off and it would be decades before the resort truly returned.
Morris, who left a career on Wall Street and came here for good in 2017, is working to lead its renaissance.
Today, Cape Eleuthera is one of the Bahamas’ adventure Meccas, home to arguably the best deep sea fishing in the country, spectacular diving, and a triad of gorgeous beaches that would make it a must-visit beach resort all on their own.
It’s a new life for Cape Eleuthera, the heart and soul of south Eleuthera, an island that, despite its immense beauty (and three international airports) somehow remains a bit under the radar of most travelers.
The resort, which has also launched sales (and sold two dozen lots) for a burgeoning real estate component on its prime beachfront areas, has a mix of 13 marina-front villas and 18 bungalow-style cottages, with amenities ranging from a full-service dive shop to a beachfront pool to what is one of the best places to eat in Eleuthera, the two-story Harbour Pointe seafood restaurant. (Make sure you get the Grouper Picatta)
The hub of everything here is the marina, one of the most important – and popular – maritime stops in The Bahamas, taking boats as large as 200 feet, and soon set to debut a cliffsude beach bar called Friendly Bob’s that will likely become a must-visit outpost on the beach bar circuit.
The resort is about 30 minutes’ drive from Rock Sound airport, from which Morris said he soon planned to launch water taxi service directly from the airport to the resort that will get you there in about half that time.
And the longer you’re here the more you realize just how truly large this peninsula is, where you can get lost among the casuarina trees as you make your way back from Fourth Hole Beach.
It’s big enough that the compound is also home to the Island School, the famous semester program that brings down high school sophomores and juniors for half the school year (or the summer) and immerse themselves in nature, in the beauty of The Bahamas, in conservation and marine education.
Because Cape Eleuthera is a destination on its own, making you feel as though you’re on your own private island, with your own private beaches, an endless country of sand and pines and Kalik-flavored afternoons.
It’s Eleuthera but it’s also something else entirely.
“I’ve been coming to this sandbar my whole life,” Morris says, pledging to soon launch regular shuttles for guests here at high tide.
Chris flew down here every year for four decades with his father, a man who was a beloved figure in South Eleuthera, who used to fly his plane on Christmas Eve down to the island dressed as Santa Claus to deliver gifts.
This is one sandbar in a xylophone of them off the Cape, the kind that appear for just a few hours a day at low tide and then disappear just before twilight.
Cape Eleuthera has been rising and falling with the tide for more than 60 years, through the beginning of tourism in The Bahamas, through the jetset age, through different owners and different eras.
Today, It’s the diving and the fishing and the water, that make this a cherished address among adventurers, for big game sport fishermen and advanced divers, for yachters journeying down the varying blues of the Bahama Bank. (The marina will also see the addition of a pair of new jetties).
“I have a passion to bring this place back,” Morris says, pointing to the interior of the harbor where he first learned how to scuba dive.
And as you look around at the turquoise waves of Sunset Beach and the palapas and the tall, thin palm trees straight out of a Corona commercial, Cape Eleuthera is already there.
For more, visit Cape Eleuthera.