“Sayle, in his dream of unbounded liberty, renamed it Eleutheria or freedom.”
Henry C. Wilkinson
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Along with the island of Eleuthera, Preacher's Cave was discovered in the 1600s by Captain William Sayles. The placard at the entrance of the cave says “William Sayle shipwrecked at Devil Backbone found refuge here. Sermons held 100 years.” The cave is located approximately 10 miles from North Eleuthera Airport and is on the north shores of Eleuthera adjoining a long and broad sweeping beach called Tay Bay Beach.
We can visualize the first discovery of Preacher's Cave from Everild Young's book Eleuthera: “One can imagine the two tiny ships feeling their way southward with their cargoes of hopes and aspirations, the sea bright, sparkling in the sunshine, and then all of a sudden producing one of those appalling storms that the islanders today call “a rage”. They must have sailed too close to the reefs bounding the northern tip of Eleuthera on the Atlantic side of the island, and been caught by a sudden change of weather.”
Whether the quarrelling on board had an effect in disturbing the navigation of the ships, we do not know, nor is it certain where, exactly, the wreck took place. But it cannot have been far from the northernmost point, now called Ridley's Head , as the castaways are said to have sheltered in a large cave in a bluff near the shore, a little way down the coast, known as Preacher's Cave.”
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