Mailboats in an around the bahamas are not for the faint of heart. They are not really made for passengers, and are not very comfortable (especially for women, since the bathroom usually is broken or overflowing within an hour or so).
Depending on the trip, you can share you trip with goats and chickens, cages of crabs, tons of fish or any combination of these things.
Mailboats are usually delayed due to loading schedules, tides and quite frankly, the mood of the captain.
Novembers waters can be stormy, so swells would be common.
There is, however, the fast ferries to Northern Eleuthera. This is a much more comfortable and recommended mode of transportation. www.bahamasferries.com
Scubagirrl, Thank you so much for your information; we will adjust our planning accordingly. This will be our first visit to Eleuthera and would appreciate if you you could suggest which side of the island we should be focusing on for rentals-Atlantic or Caribbean? Have been looking primarily around Governors Harbour and Palmetto Point as it is central and seems to be less populated than the north end of the island. We are looking for reef snorkeling, limited undertow and attractive vista from the deck in the evening. Again, thanks for your input.
linward, scubagirl is right. Don't do the mail boat unless its an emergency and you have your seasick pills.
The least stress would be to fly from Oregon to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and change planes for one of the Eleuthera airports. Bypass Nassau unless you want to spend time there.
Most of Andros (ie. North Andros) is jungle or undeveloped land and there isn't much to do there. The best way to get there is by plane.
linward, regarding which side of Eleuthera...it doesn't matter much in November because it is cooler then. In the summer, the west side (Caribbean) side of the island has little breeze and tends to swelter a little in July-August. The Atlantic side is always breezy year-round. There are reefs everywhere on both sides of the island. We prefer the Atlantic side because of the breeze, the beautiful views, more reefs (the coral is red and provides the color that causes the beaches on the east side (Atlantic) to be pink). Also many of the houses on the Atlantic side are more elevated than those on the Caribbean side, so the views are better and more scenic to some people. Having said that, you can drive to hundreds of spots on the island for snorkeling to suit your preferences, and the views and beaches on the Caribbean side are pretty darn beautiful also.
Richard, Appreciate your response and input. I have read many on your posts and respect your knowledge and unbiased reporting on the island and the rental houses. The agenda that we are looking at entails flying from Portland Oregon to Nassau overnight, arriving at 2:45 pm, then catching the Bahamasair 5pm flight to Rock Sound where we are looking to rent a house on Winding Bay called Stella di Mare. After a week there, we will return to Nassau on the 8 am flight and do what? until taking Western Air's 4:30 pm flight to North Andros for a 2nd weeks stay there. Are you familiar with Andros Island as well? Linward