BB and crew left George Town after a bitter sweet, aka windy, visit that left us disappointed in our weather limitations. The cruise to Long Island was on a beautiful day and we cruised with new sail boating friends that also found that it was time to move on. The plan for Long Island was to go to a central location and rent a car to see the sights to the north and to the south. The Island is about 90 miles long with only a few towns / settlements, and many exquisite sights that included beaches, caves, harbors, marinas, resorts, churches, and restaurants. We arrived Rock Sound, Long Island about 4:00 PM on March 31st, and hoped for an extended easterly wind direction that would be comfortable onboard the boat, and not too difficult of a dinghy ride to get to shore. Our chosen, safe anchorage was in the north end of Thompson Bay which was about one and a half miles to town to tie up at Long Island Breeze Marina – also the source for the daily cruiser’s net info at 8:30 AM on VHF Ch 16, and good food and drinks.
Our catamaran friends from “Pretty Penny”, Bob and Penny Kingsbury, were already at Rock Sound, and were looking for a couple to join them on a tour to the north of the island via rental car. We agreed to meet the next morning at Long Island Breeze at 9:00 AM, and hoped to make a day of it touring the north half of Long Island. No one came away from our day of touring the least disappointed. The sights were among the most beautiful in all The Bahamas. The beach combing, food and drinks were perfect for a lasting friendship, and to looking forward to a return visit
Our fourth day was spent tidying up BB as best we could with a salt water washdown of the decks, and a good sweeping and dusting of the inside. We left time for an evening of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker with a makeshift arrangement of experienced card players, “what is poker” kind of card players, and a couple of guys that just got off their boat after sailing in from Grenada. It was all just for fun, and was our first experience with an organized poker game that finds the real players in the end that might bluff a little, but certainly know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Engr Wally and Capt Mary came in last and next to last.
Our fifth day on Long Island was organized by new sail boating friends – Val and Lisa Tisdale onboard Rising Star that anchored near Beulah Belle in George Town. We had a total of 10 boaters in a van and compact car that headed south with a sketch of the island, and hopes to see the sights, but no map to guide us. Everyone had a particular sight that they wanted to see. So, once we found the first one we just asked where the next one was and kept driving south. You have to understand that most of the islands here are long and skinny, and the main north – south road is always named “Queens Highway”. Long Island has a fat top and bottom, but most of the 90 miles in between is less than three miles wide. We stopped at Dean’s Blue Hole first – one of many deep water spots that might be more than 600′ deep that happen along the sea shores or even inland. This particular blue hole holds world championship free diving events each year. It is a crazy, dangerous sport that kills people every year trying to hold their breath for more than four minutes and see how deep they can go before coming back to the surface alive. I think the record is around 240′! Our second stop was in Clarence Town to visit two churches built by Father Jerome. The first church we visited was his last Anglican Church before he converted to Catholicism. The second was the first Catholic Church that he built.
After lunch at the Flying Fish Marina in Clarence Town we turned the vehicles around and headed back north. There are still about 30 miles to go south of Clarence Town to reach the southern tip of Long Island, but it is pretty desolate, and not very attractive. After a few phone calls and a couple of stops on our return north to Rock sound we found Hamilton’s Cave. We weren’t overly anxious to visit the cave, but it turned out to be spectacular, and especially interesting because of the local guide we hired, Leonard Cartwright. The history of the cave goes back a couple of hundred years, and the pictures from inside were awesome because of natural lighting coming from cave openings to the outside every few hundred yards or so.
Our final stop of the day was at the internationally known “Max’s Conch Bar”. A perfect place for us to sit back, order some local delicacies (conch salad with bread fruit chips is awesome!), and share memories with new friends.
We’ll be on our way to Cat Island tomorrow for a quick stop before going on to Eleuthra and then back to Nassau. Hope you enjoy some of the prettiest pictures yet from our winter in The Bahamas.
- I am most pleased to introduce you to Bob and Penny Kingsbury. Their Catamaran is named “Pretty Penny”. Penny, amazingly, found me at Big Majors while onboard “No Agenda” watching the first Denver Broncos playoff game (we won that one against San Diego). Well, Penny and I found out that we were class-mates from Howe HS in Indianapolis graduating together in 1965! The four of us touring the north end of Long Island had a great day together. This pic is taken at Stella Maris Resort on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Long Island. The resort if first class and worthy of a stay if you have the time and dollars.
- Penny is an expert beachcomber, with a special eye for “sea glass” that she uses to make custom jewelry. The picture is of a piece of good quality sea glass that has been “naturally” roughened by the beach sand in the surf. It is less than an inch long, a nice irregular shape, and a pretty aquamarine color (not a piece from a broken Heinekin bottle).
- I apologize a bit for the not so great quality of this picture, but I wanted to mention the amazing dinner we had with Bob and Penny Kingsbury at Chez Pierre. Why there is such a high quality resort and restaurant in a remote area on the west coast of northern Long Island – I don’t know. But, please write this place down as a must see when you come to Long Island.