Lovely Long Island
After spending so much time spent in Georgetown, we got to the point where we were itching to get underway again. We talked with our frequent buddy boats, Gypsy III and Outlandish, and made the plan to head over to Long Island for a bit and see where to go from there. The three of us set out with a light wind from the southeast and were able to motorsail most of the way across to the northern end of Long Island.
We arrived around 1:30pm and anchored in Calabash Bay. Once we dropped anchor, we all dinghyed to shore and trekked to the Columbus Monument. We had grossly misunderestimated how far away it was since Google Maps only really counted the real road and other cruisers had mentioned it may be 2 miles. It was very hot because there was little wind, and ended up being about 3.5 miles each way. We did get lifts from locals for a couple short stints, but boy was it an adventure!
From where we beached the dinghies, we walked through a resort and down their winding dirt (mud) road to the main, paved road. After following that for a ways, we turned on to another dirt road that led to the monument.
We arrived, sweaty and tired, but the view was instantly worth it. After checking out the panoramic scene and the monument, we hopped in the crystal clear water for a swim and a cool down, before beginning the reverse journey.
The next day, we sailed south to Thompson's Bay and the settlement of Salt Pond, where we anchored for the remainder of our time on the island. Salt Pond has a fantastic grocery store (which we went a little crazy in) and very nice locals. A couple of days in to our stay, after waiting out some rain, the 6 of us rented a van for the day and set out to explore the island properly.
We headed south first to Clarence Town, the capital of the island located on it's eastern side. The waves were crashing over the jetty and we were very happy to be in the relative calm of Thompson's Bay. After getting breakfast at a delicious bakery (banana bread, rum cake, and 'crack' cake), we wandered through some of the churches.
Leaving Clarence Town and making our way back north, our first stop was Dean's Blue Hole. Purported to be the second deepest blue hole in the world at 663 feet, it was shockingly close to shore and the drop off was almost instantaneous. We didn't see a ton of life in the hole, near the surface anyway, but it was a pretty eerie experience swimming over 2 feet of sand and then suddenly swimming over a dark hole which felt like it could swallow you up.
After we dried off, we stopped in at Hamilton's Cave for a guided tour offered by Leonard Cartwright, owner of the cave system. He showed us bats, fresh water springs, graffiti from the 1800s, and taught us all about the history of the cave. It was really fascinating and definitely a beautiful spot.
By now we were famished so after checking out another church along the way, we stopped in at Max's Conch Bar for a bite to eat before continuing on.
St. Mary's stands next to the road, derelict, but still holds a certain charm. A meandering path behind the church leads to the Shrimp Hole, an inland water hole (think cenote) filled with bright red shrimp.
Passing our anchorage and Salt Pond, we accomplished our mission of finding $3 ice cream (thanks Pelagic Explorers!) and then wandered around the Adderley's Plantation's ruins.
We returned home to a setting sun after a fabulous day. We ended up staying in Thompson's Bay for a couple more days, visiting the Farmer's Market and exploring some of the cays in the Bay, before departing from our buddy boats and heading back to Georgetown to begin our proper exploration of The Exumas.
One final note about Long Island: the sunrises and sunsets were absolutely stunning!