Exploring Long Island
08 April 2011 | Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas
Most of the places we've gone have been pretty small islands, or islands with limited settlements and so far we have only explored by dinghy and by foot. All the guidebooks said you really should explore Long Island by car, so we sprang for a rental today and did the official tourist thing.
First we drove down to Clarence Town, the only harbor town on the Atlantic side. On the way down we stopped at the ruin of an old Spanish Church, thought to be from the 1600's. We had lunch in Clarence Town at the Flying Fish Marina and checked out the harbor, in case we ever come down that way. It doesn't look too bad to get in to, but there isn't a lot of room for very secure anchoring. There's supposed to be another harbor that's more secure further south, but no settlement and no supplies there. That one also has a shallow bar at the entrance, so you're not supposed to try it with large Atlantic swells.
After lunch we went back up to Dean's Blue Hole. This is the deepest blue hole in the world, 663 feet deep. It's situated right on the edge of a little cove. There is a beach and then suddenly, a hole. The photo is from about 40 feet above the hole. For the next 10 days they are holding free diving championships there. We found the road back to the hole, which was only partially paved. When we got back there, there was one other car, a small tent with a few lawn chairs and a table under it, the blue hole with a raft and a PVC pipe square to mark the dive area. Bud went snorkeling while I stayed with Fuzzy. He snorkeled way out to the entrance to the cove and then back along the edge and into the blue hole. There were no fish anywhere but along a shelf he thought was about 35 feet deep on the edge of the hole. The water there was cold, Bud thought about 15 degrees colder than the area around it. I decided that was too cold for me, so I didn't go in. I did talk to a young woman who came while I was waiting. She was a judge for the event. She explained that they were doing championships for only three of the five types of free diving: diving with weights and fins, diving with weights, and diving by pulling yourself down a line with your hands. We saw some folks come with the fins they use. It's a single, huge fin with places for both feet in the one fin. T looks like a mermaid tail. She said in that category people would get about 400 feet down on a single breath! Today while we were there they were only practicing, but it was interesting.
We made one more stop on our way back. We drove down a little side road back to the Atlantic side again where the chart said there were white cliffs. It was beautiful there. I've put more pictures of what we saw in the gallery.
Now we're back at Long Island Breeze and we're going to have dinner here. We ordered before we left on our tour because they like to know how much to prepare. They're having a meeting (along with a happy hour) upstairs here to talk about bringing scheduled flights to Long Island. I think representatives from a small airline are here. They would rather not serve us during the meeting, so I'm taking the time to write and post the blog.