Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Long Island, Bahamas

Cape Santa Maria, Long Island, Bahamas
Photo by Joe Boulay
      Long Island's prominent white cliffs and often turbulent seas at Cape Santa Maria in the north are in sharp contrast to its tranquil, shallow bays along its western shoreline at the Thompson Bay and Salt Pond anchorages. Areas south of the Salt Pond settlement are typically lower lying hills descending to mangroves and salt marshes.

Simple Life at anchor St. Peter's Point near Cape Santa Maria


The world's deepest blue hole at Deans, Long Island

     The world's deepest blue hole at Deans on the eastern shore plunges to a depth of 663 feet and leads to the eighth largest underwater cavern. Next November an international free diving competition has been scheduled at the site where elite free divers will gather to test their mettle for large cash prizes.


      Not all contrasts on Long Island are topographical. Some happen to be a bit more subtle such as an ad placed by a local business in the island's Ministry of Tourism map. It read, Treco's Meat Mart and Building Supplies, Hamilton, Long Island. Specializing in Meats, Produce, Grocery, Soft Drinks, Lumber, Cement, Plumbing & Hardware. I found it interesting that meat could be sold alongside plumbing supplies. Evidently, Long Islanders know the meaning of diversification when it comes to making ends meet, no pun intended.
     Thompson Bay and Salt Pond are both centrally located anchorages. For those cruisers who don't mind the inconvenience of moving to more protected areas in the harbor these anchorages offer the  opportunity to make Long Island a winter base. Most shuffle from the shallower Salt Pond anchorage to Thompson Bay as the wind clocks around.

Three "girls" Julie, Michele and Diane at Long Island Breeze
jam session
    The relatively new upscale, Long Island Breeze Resort on the waterfront at Salt Pond is a hub for cruiser get togethers. The owners Mike and Jackie run a daily informational cruiser's net on VHF channel 18, provide a dinghy dock for shoreside access, organize Friday night happy hours with music jams, offer Wifi and an onsite laundry. I managed to get two loads of laundry done in the nick of time before the island's water supply truck broke down. There's no RO (reverse osmosis) water on the island. The water supply is rainwater that is collected from roof and stored in cisterns. Since it rarely rains during winter water for the resort's cisterns are trucked to the site. As of press time, the truck won't be repaired until parts arrive from the States. That could take awhile.

Pearl simple life email
Photo at Long Island Breeze by Jim Austin
     While spending more than a week at Long Island we caught up with cruising friends Jim and Bentley from Salty Paws, Mark and Julie aboard Rachel and Pete and Diane from Pearl whom we met while cruising the Bahamas ten years ago. With friends nearby in the anchorage cruising takes on another dimension. We get together to play music, share impromptu beach happy hours, share stories and always a few laughs.

Beach party with "repurposed" plastic flotsam and jetsam
found washed ashore on north side of the beach


      Now that we have the magic of the internet once again I'll be posting a follow up blog on Long Island in a few days featuring the Friday night music jam and a road trip to the blue hole at Deans. Be sure to check it out.