Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Long Island Part One

On the 25th we pulled anchor and headed down the channel making tracks to Long Island. This would be our first trip here as in the past we just never made it. After zigging and zagging our way through our way points we pointed the nose east, deployed the spinnaker, and settled in for a beautiful days sail.
Beautiful water and a beautiful sail

There were two boats ahead of us in the distance, us and s/v Triumph and s/v Glide pulling up the rear. As we were about an hour out Glide radioed us and said there was to be a gathering on the beach shortly after our arrival so I headed below to whip up an appetizer. We slipped into Thompson Bay and anchored in the north part of the anchorage along with several other boats. We had another boater calling us as we entered the harbor inviting us to the beach gathering before we even had the hook set. We had just enough time to clean ourselves up a bit, lower the dinghy and engine and head over to the beach gathering. Lots of folks we had never met before and what a spread they had laid out. It amazes me how boaters can throw together such great appetizers when several things are so hard to come by here in the Bahamas.

Cruisers get together on the beach

cruisers parking lot
We met several new people and had a great time heading back to the boat before dusk when the bugs would begin to take over. The following day we and Elaine & Bill from Triumph decided to hike to the beach and do some beach combing but first we had to wait for a front to pass as it was suppose to blow overnight. As you can see it was arriving while we were enjoying our morning coffee.

The morning front that came through

After the rain quit we waited till things calmed down and the sun returned then we set off. Everyone had said you have to go down to electrical pole 108, and hike the path to the beach. We found a little place to stow the dinghies and a path that led to a wall with a few stones missing that we were able to shimmy through.

just a cool old motor bike we saw sitting propped up on the trail, parked and forgotten about

We walked down Queens Highway for what seemed like forever counting the poles down as we did.

Thompson Bay with Renegade sitting under the arrow
Finally pole 108 sat before us and we hiked the path making tracks toward the Atlantic side. It was a beautiful beach if you could get past the sight of piles and piles of plastics littering it.

Anyone who can look at this sight and not believe that humans have a huge impact on our environment must be crazy. It’s a sad sight and to know this stuff isn’t going anywhere anytime soon is bothersome. This is the type of stuff that is thrown over, or falls off ships and boats only to find its way here. Fishing nets, water bottles, bottle caps, plastic buckets…….
This is all plastics that are littering the beach, all sizes and shapes
After digging around in the seaweed and plastic we found 5 heart sea beans to add to my collection and then we decided to make the trek back to the boats. We were in need of some wood pieces to do a temporary repair in our shower and came across what appeared to be an old abandoned falling down barn. Dirk & Bill went to scope it out as Elaine and I hung out on the road. The guys realizing that it was someone’s farm retreated only to have the owner drive up as they made it back out to the road. The gentleman was very nice and took us on a tour to show off his pigs and chickens and along the way gave us a lesson on the plants and medicinal purposes they use them for. Proud that they don’t need to run to the drugstore for what ails them. After him giving us the tour and pointers on where to go we started back again to the boat only to find what looked like a closed down business with the door open. Bill and Dirk poked their heads in and found it was actually an open bar & restaurant. Our throats were parched so we cozied up to the bar and ordered a round of cold beers. After talking to the bar tender we found that they did dinners there and arranged for the next evening to go in. We made it back to the boat after a long day and found that parked next to us was a boat we had been touching base with since Rock Sound. Dirk hopped over to talk to them and they agreed to join us for dinner along with a nice couple we met the first evening at the beach gathering on s/v Last Star. The final arrangements were made the following morning for eight of us to do an early dinner as the bartender was staying late to cook for us. Cracked lobster, peas & rice, Bahamian mac & cheese and salad was on the menu and we were all seated and served. Dinner was great along with great conversation.
Our travelling companions for several days
After dinner we all headed to s/v Triumph for sun downers and made our final plans for all of us to rent a van to sight see the island. Being there only a week doesn’t allow one to visit all the anchorages and see all there is to see. Long Island is just that, an island about 80 miles long and in order to see certain things one must have access to a vehicle. Hank & Patricia picked up the rental the following day and we found that it actually was a minivan so eight of us were a bit cozy. But we made it work and on the first day we decided to head south. Our first stop being a museum showing history of Long Island and good information from the caretaker was gotten. We headed down to Clarence Town and found a nice church to photograph and look at. It had a tower to go up into and as we wedged our way up one at a time we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the entire town and of the bay.

Clarence Town from atop the church

Look at the many colors of the water

Afterwards we ended up at the Flying Fish Marina where we found a nice cold beer to quench our thirst. Then it was onto Deans Blue Hole.
I have seen a special on Discovery Channel or something like it telling about it and thought it would be nice to see in person. World record free dives are set here. Free diving consists of a diver diving down on his own breath and returning to surface with no assistance or breath below. I have learned there are two types of free diving, one is assisted with weights and pulleys and the other is with no assistance. The hole is 663 feet deep and is the deepest seawater blue hole with the clearest water and a beautiful half moon beach surrounding it.

The gang at Deans Blue Hole
In all its beauty it’s hard to think that several people have lost their lives here. One such memorial shows three persons all in the same day.

Our crew took the hike up to the top of the cliff that overlooks the hole and Dirk of course saw a challenge there. It’s as high as I think a 10 meter board is all the way down to just a couple feet above the surface. Dirk opted for the middle ground going a bit higher on his second dive.

Dirk diving from the lower level

Yep, couldn’t do it just once….That’s my husband. After poking around Deans for a while we headed back up the road to find a cave to explore. There is one you can pay $10.00 per person and get a personal guide and we hear it is wonderful but we also hear it takes about 45 minutes. We had not eaten lunch yet and it was beginning to get late so we opted out to find our own. After talking to the lady in the museum we had stopped in at our first stop we learned of one, now, just to find it. Up the road, back down the road, uh stop, there it is. The road being partially hidden by shrubs we had missed it the first time. We all poked around the small caves not going inside the holes as it was pretty dark in there.

Boys will be boys
Before long the boys got bored and started throwing rocks at a couple bees nest they found. Ummmm time to go. On down the road we travelled till we came across a little place to eat that several people recommend called Forest One. We ordered and in no time we were all happily consuming our hamburgers, fish sandwiches and cracked chicken sandwiches. What a deal it was too at $5.00 with every side you order costing $1.00 extra. We all ate till we were stuffed then made our way back to Thompson Bay where we found a nice grocery store and I was able to restock on some basics and produce. We were all dropped off at the road that led to our trail through the brush that took us back to our dinghies. We all returned back to our boats so we could get an early start on seeing the north end of the island. That is where I will leave you till next time……

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