Long Island

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Long Island
Nassau Revisited
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Long Island Revisited
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Long Island

Long Island

We had an enjoyable sail from George Town to Long Island on 30th March. The weather was fine, the sea calm with just enough wind for a leisurely sail. We anchored in Thompson's Bay on the west coast, close to Salt Pond, one of the major settlements on Long Island.


Long Island is 76 miles long and 4 miles wide at its widest point. It is not part of the Exumas and has a completely different atmosphere. The Long Islanders are extremely friendly and helpful, differ in appearance from the Exuma population and and appear to be more industrious. Long Island is also cleaner than the inhabited islands of the Exumas. The houses along the road are better built, better cared for and usually with some landscaping.


On the way across from George Town, we caught the largest barracuda so far. This was not what we intended to catch, nor could we safely retrieve our lure and release the fish as hoped due to the size of his teeth. As the Bahamians will eat barracuda, we set off for the beach as soon as we had anchored and walked through to the main, (only) road. We flagged down the first vehicle we saw and presented the driver with his supper in return for some local fishing advice.


We had been advised by many cruisers to visit Long Island but we were specifically encouraged by Harold Hutton on Moomba to come to Thompson's Bay. Harold also advised us to contact Alice Miller in Salt Pond who would do our laundry for a reasonable fee.


As Long Island was so long, we decided to rent a car on our second day there. As we reached the dinghy dock on the way to the car rental garage, we met two other cruisers, Paul and Leanne from Texas, aboard the yacht Otra Mundo. They were heading to the main, (only) road, (the Queen's Highway) to get a lift to a bank, well down the island. As we walked to the road, we agreed to share the car rental and make a day of it. This was a great arrangement. We travelled as far south as Clarence Town, the major town of Long Island and Little Harbour on the west coast and as far north as one can go, Cape Santa Maria, the very dangerous northern tip where one of Columbus' ships went aground. The scenery there was fantastic.


Long Island seems to have a two or three churches in every small settlement along the way. Some date from early Spanish times. Some were built by the revered Father Jerome, who started his preaching in the Bahamas as an Anglican Priest, went away for a period and later returned as a Catholic Priest. He built both Anglican and Catholic churches. John Cecil Hawes, who became Father Jerome is also responsible for building the Benedictine Monastery in Nassau and the Hermitage on Cat Island where he finally lived in retirement.


We visited the stunning Blue Hole at Turtle Bay on the west coast. It is claimed that this is the deepest blue hole on the world. We were not able to prove or dispute that claim!


We discovered during our tour that every governmental establishment, such as the electricity company or the local administrator's office is painted pink. All police buildings are painted green and all schools are painted yellow. We are not yet sure whether this regime is just Long Island or extends to other islands.


We very much enjoyed the company of Paul & Leanne for the few days we were at Thompson's Bay. They are heading south to Puerto Rico, so our paths may not cross again this season.


While at Thompson's Bay, Breathless came across from George Town to Long Island. They stayed in a marina further up the coast as yet another cold front was due, so we communicated by radio. They were on their way south to the Turks & Caicos and we were very temped to join them. However, this meant a change in our insurance policy and we also did not have the right charts, so decided to continue on our own down to the Jumentos and Ragged Islands.


We left Thompson's Bay on 4th April to head for the Jumentos and Ragged Islands.

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