[ Eleuthera ] • Glass Window Bridge
The island of Eleuthera is the longest island in The Bahamas and its roads seem to never end when driving.
Eleuthera is also the narrowest island within our archipelago. At its widest point, the island stretches for no more than one mile in distance. At its narrowest point, the island spans a distance of but a mere 30 feet.
This narrow piece of land is what is known as Glass Window. One can not have a conversation about the island, without mentioning Glass Window. Glass Window and its bridge, the Glass Window Bridge, connect the northern extremities of Eleuthera to the remainder of the island and is a vital link between the settlements of Upper Bogue, north of the bridge and Gregory Town, south of the bridge. The land on either side is rather elevated, up to 80 feet steep cliffs, and this is contrasted (drastically) by the drop in height at the point of the land at Glass Window. It is a little above sea level and this feature makes it a natural wonder. Because of this, it separates the ever-raging waters of the deep Atlantic Ocean from the calm and shallow waters of the Exuma Sound, specifically the Bight of Eleuthera.
Are you surprised that I said Exuma Sound & Bight of Eleuthera as opposed to the Caribbean Sea? Well, that’s okay. The Bahamas, while a Caribbean country, is not in nor does it border the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean Sea is separated from the islands of The Bahamas by the islands of the Greater Antilles. So, while it is commonly said that Glass Window separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea, this is wrong. Still, don’t believe me? Let’s look at a map of the Caribbean.
Now that that’s settled...
Originally there was a naturally formed bridge and arch connecting the island at both sea level and at the elevated land. During the 19th Century, the top ledge and natural bridge gave the impression of a clear glass window allowing persons to see straight through the island. This is how the area got its name.
Today, the natural bridge has been destroyed by a hurricane. In fact, the manmade bridge has also, on occasion, been completely rendered impassable due to the forces of hurricanes. Because of the geographic nature of the Glass Window Bridge, it is highly susceptible to massive waves. The periods of time when crashing waves make crossing the bridge impossible are known as, “rage”. Most recently, the Glass Window Bridge made headlines when massive swells claimed the life of a tourist hiking in the area, while also sweeping his brother-in-law away who was luckily able to hang onto the cliffs. I was able to safely visit the area just two days prior to this happening. During those times, the area is unsafe and should be avoided. Oddly enough, waves, sometimes even higher than the land itself, are not always a result of bad weather. There are times when skies may be clear and blue above, but the rogue waves still batter the area.