Saturday, June 6, 2015

Loving Long Island

Once we got to Long Island on May 29th, we anchored out by the settlement of Salt Pond in Thompson Bay and decided to stay the week so we could attend the Annual Long Island Regatta. It is the second largest sailing regatta in the Bahamas, and the skippers compete for cash prizes and trophies.

Since we had a lot of time to kill before the regatta, we rented a car for a day to explore the 80-mile long island. We woke up early, picked up the car, and headed south towards Clarence Town, the capital of Long Island. The main attraction in CT is St. Peter’s and Paul’s Catholic Church, which sits on a high hill that overlooks the harbor. It has 40 foot twin towers that can supposedly by climbed to get a 360 degree view, but unfortunately for us, the door was locked. We stopped for a quick breakfast at Rowdy Boys before heading out to Dean’s Blue Hole. Dean’s Blue Hole is located right by the shore and is 663 feet deep, making it the deepest salt water blue hole in the world. We walked up the cliffs to snap a few pictures and then went snorkeling to check it out. There is a platform located in the center of the hole, and it has a weighted line attached to it, which you can use to dive down as deep as your lungs will let you. There wasn’t a lot of sea life by the hole so I ventured out farther away from shore while David worked on his diving skills. That is until I saw what I think was a 3-4 foot barracuda, and then I high tailed it back to the beach. Barracuda are known to be extremely curious with snorkelers, and I didn’t want to be out there by myself with one so big!

The Columbus Monument was next on our list of things to see so we headed up north. We found the sign that pointed to the monument and started our very bumpy and rough ride up the dirt road to see it. At one point, we had to get out and do some road re-construction so the car would make it past a hole in the road. After about 15 minutes, we got to the end of the road and walked the rest of the way up to the monument, which is a 18.5 ft tall stone obelisk that is located about 70 feet above sea level. It was dedicated to the Lucayans (people who first lived on the island) that Columbus met when he landed there in 1492. The monument was nothing to write home about, but the view of the Atlantic Ocean and the cliffs was spectacular!

We had planned on going snorkeling in Columbus Harbor, but the sky had become overcast so we headed back south to eat at Maxx’s Conch Bar to try their reportedly amazing conch salad. I really loved the restaurant – it was a small tiki hut with a lot of character just off the roadside, and it was full of patrons. People were starting to trickle in from nearby islands for the regatta, and we met some really nice guys that lived in George Town and Nassau. Oh that was another thing I wanted to mention! The people on this island are so friendly and helpful. It reminded me of growing up in Penelope because everybody waves at you as they drive by. There is a definite small town feel to this place.
Here is a video that I put together of our road trip.
On Thursday, we stopped by s/v Skybird in the dinghy to pick up Rick, Barbi, and Bacon and went to the Regatta. It was lunchtime so we grabbed some food from the stalls set up in front of the beach at the park. It was almost like a mini fair…there were games for kids, a straw market (they made beautiful purses), a bouncy house, fair food (cotton candy, nachos, ice cream), Bahamian food, and a rake and scrape band. We watched a few sailing races, and then David grabbed me by the hand to go dance. We danced one song, and then a lady grabbed me by the hand and I ended up in a circle of people dancing and laughing. I so much fun on the dance floor!!!

Our boat was right in the middle of the races!

We left Thompson Bay this morning and are headed to Calabash Bay to anchor by Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort, which has been featured in travel magazines as having one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. I can’t wait to get there! There is hardly any wind today which makes it a motoring day instead of sailing, but it also means that we can see clearly all the way to the bottom in the 12-14 foot water since there are no ripples. We’ve seen big starfish (like the picture I posted in a previous entry) and rays laying on the floor. Very cool!

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