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
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
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