First published in The Eleutheran, January 2008
On the Queen’s Highway a few miles north of Gregory Town, about 300 yards before the Glass Window bridge, pull off the road across from a sandy track leading up the hill toward the Atlantic on your right. You can’t miss it: the Ministry of Tourism has recently erected a small curved stone entry to mark a place of special interest.
Walk up toward the Atlantic as the bush thins out and the sand takes over. Soon the sand thins and you’re walking on bare coral. Watch your step to avoid the uneven surface and pockmarked holes. As you approach the ocean, work your way to the left (north), keeping Harbour Island on the horizon ahead of you. You will come to a small cut in the rock where the waves sweep into shore. Descend into this little cove and you have arrived at what locals call the “Queen’s Baths.”
The Baths, none of them more than a couple feet deep, are in a unique formation of tidal pools, regularly replenished with water from the Atlantic. Here is the most exquisite coloured water you have ever seen: crystalline, light turquoise, gin-clear pools that sparkle in the light. Baked by the sun, they are as warm as a bathtub and alive with tiny, colourful fish and crustaceans. Behind them is a large cavern cut into the coastline by centuries of wave action.
You can while away hours or an afternoon here, usually all by yourself. Shellers will find small, jewel-like specimens in the nearby pockets of sand, a new assortment delivered with every good surf. You can wade or bathe in 85-degree water, a cold drink in hand. Exploring the pools for sea life, you can be mesmerized by the surf and may get doused by a stray wave.
Warning: don’t get too close to the surf. The ocean waters here are deep and the currents powerful; people walking around Glass Window have been knocked down by the powerful waters that can quickly carry them out out to sea. Rescue has to come from Harbour Island—assuming anybody has seen you fall in!
Ask even Eleuthera-born residents about the Queen’s Baths and you may draw a blank. But don’t miss this special gem on our Atlantic coast.