Located 165 miles from New Providence (Nassau) lies Long Island. Originally known as “Yuma” by the native Lucayan (Lue-ki-an) Indians who inhabited here. In 1492, Columbus changed the name to “Fernandina” after the King of Spain. It’s unknown how it inherited its current name but it’s believed to have come from sailors as they travelled offshore this 80 mile “Long Island”.
Sailing the 30 mile route from Georgetown with the first favorable winds in weeks, we arrived January 30th. We anchored at the north end of Thompson Bay near the settlement of Salt Ponds, with 25 other boats.
The following morning at 0815, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the local cruisers net, on VHF Channel 18. Every island has its own customs and Long Island is no different. We received a quick introduction on were to deposit trash, buy water, and tie up the dinghy.
There is one walkable grocery, gas station, bar & grill, and it is far from the “Adult Daycare” atmosphere of Georgetown, we instantly felt that here the pace of life slows.
The friendly nature of local people is infectious. Walking along “the” road, Queens Highway” we always got a wave, a honk, or the offer of a ride.
A resident allows cruisers to use his family’s dock as a dinghy dock because it’s more convenient than the Government Dock a mile away.
A lot of produce is grown on the island. Saturday’s Farmers Market is the time to get fresh, local, eggs, crafts, & veggies. It’s also the best place to find information on events like the cookout fundraisers we attended to support the youth sailing team.
Sailing is BIG! Every year, in June, The Long Island Regatta brings competitors from all over the Bahamas.
We rented a car with a cruising couple that knew the island. We were on our way to deliver the School & Art Supplies donated by the members of the Hancock Yacht Club. With plenty of time, and our knowledgeable guides we were able to take in some additional sightseeing.
Traveling south, we stopped to look at St. Paul, Anglican Church. Overlooking the island’s capital, Clarence Town, it was designed and built by Father Jerome Hawes, in 1884. He came to Long Island after the then existing church was devastated by a hurricane.
Then on to Dean’s Blue Hole. At 663 feet it is said to be the deepest blue hole in the region. Every year free divers flock here for an international competition. In 2008, the Guinness Book World Record for free diving was set here.
Traveling north the next day we were off to see the Columbus Monument at Cape Santa Maria. Unveiled in 1989 and standing 71 feet above the rocky coast, it’s dedicated to the Aboriginal People of Long Island.
The view from here is breathtaking ....
...but on further examination of the eroded sandstone cliff we see a face. Is this Columbus watching over the spot were the Santa Maria ran aground or is it an ancient Lucayan guarding this wonderful island? Spooky!
Long Island’s nearly 1000 students are renowned for great academic achievement. They are very well mannered and they’re teachers take great pride in what they do. That said, some items, like globes, flash drives, and art supplies, are either scarce or prohibitively expensive.
We have been very fortunate to be given the opportunity meet some of these great people, explore their wonderful island home and offer them some help.
Enjoy the YouTube...;)
Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff