Week 17: Exploring Long Island

Long Island is likely our last Bahamanian island, and we have explored it more thoroughly than any other in this chain of 700.

A daily ritual: Allan blows his conch horn as the sun sets in Thompson Bay, Long Island.

We’ve meant to rent a car for a day and explore on other islands, but for one reason or another didn’t. We finally rented some wheels here, stopping for lunch at the Green Leaf Restaurant a few miles north of our Thompson Bay anchorage.

We were the only customers eating in while they did a brisk takeout business, loading box after box of food for delivery to a nearby school. We opted for what the cook had “ready” and devoured plates loaded with stewed chicken, rice with pigeon peas, potato salad and fried sweet plantains while watching a Bahamanian TV news show with a local doctor talking about the Coronavirus and how cruise ships and travelers are being impacted.

As we prepare to depart for Jamaica and Panama, we are monitoring the news for any changes preventing small cruising vessels, like our sailboat, from moving freely between countries due to Covid-19. Crazy times, it so often seems…

After lunch, we continued down the Queen’s Highway until the turnoff for Cape Santa Maria, which claims to have one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The beach is lined by a resort on one side, and large mansions on the other. We found our way to a discreet public access point on the residential side, with gazebos and hammocks for use between the hours of 9 to 5. The turquoise water, sandy beach and rocky ledges offered a stunning vista.

One of the gazebos at Cape Santa Maria, available for public day use.
Driftwood against a turquoise sea at Cape Santa Maria.

After relaxing in a hammock for a bit, we headed out to the Queen’s Highway once more, making a left turn at a sign for the Columbus Monument. The dirt road to the monument had recently been widened, and a major renovation project was underway.

The newly widened dirt road leading to the Columbus monument on Long Island.
The new steps to the monument are still being finished, but we made it to the top as no work was underway when we visited on a Friday afternoon.

The sweeping view from the top was magnificent: deep blue Atlantic waters and reefs on one side, and calm turquoise bays on the other.

The view looking east from the Columbus monument.

After admiring the views from the monument we made our way down and explored the rocky side beach to get a different perspective of the area. In Allan’s book the area competes with Warderick Wells for “most majestically beautiful” spot in The Bahamas.

Another view of the Columbus monument.

Eventually, we followed the highway to its very end at the charming Busted Bridge Bar. Is a name change coming now that it is flanked by a brand new footbridge, which has replaced a decrepit predecessor? The bar was closed, so we couldn’t ask.

The new foot bridge frames a view of the charming Busted Bridge Bar, which was closed when we stopped by.

Heading home to Thompson Bay, we explored narrow side roads and beaches on the Atlantic side of the island.

An interesting rock formation on the Atlantic side of Long Island.

We stopped to take a photo at the sign marking the Tropic of Cancer, after breezing by on our way north.

The sign speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Over the weekend, we went south to Mangrove Bush for the Mack Knowles Junior Sailing Club’s fundraiser, tagging along with Susan Koster, who had volunteered to photograph the event.

Coach Zoe Cartwright getting the boys ready to race the team’s new Optimists.
The new Optimist dinghies underway.
Watching the junior
racers as the sun arcs toward the horizon.

We met Susan through her daughter Capt. Tatiana “Tanja” Koster, a well-regarded offshore sail instructor who will be sailing with Allan and me to Jamaica and Panama.

Capt. Tatiana and Allan as we explored one the seven Love Beaches near Stella Maris.
A colorful crab tucked into the coral ledge along Love Beach.

In Thompson Bay, we also met Jan and Scott, who are cruising on SV Tortuga, a Catalina Morgan 440 sister ship. We connected with them after hearing their introduction on the morning Cruisers’ Net, and have really enjoyed getting to know them.

Allan, Jan, and Scott on SV Tortuga. If the sun is about to set, the conch horns are out and ready!

The week also included a beachside cruisers’ potluck and music jam, and repeat visits to Tiny’s Hurricane Hole.

Cruisers making music, with crew from SV Salty Paws, SV Tortuga and others.

We still have a few more days on Long Island as we wait for a good weather window to head further south. More about that, next week.

4 thoughts on “Week 17: Exploring Long Island”

    1. We were commenting on how much we enjoy the balmy evening temperatures when we were out on the dinghy tonight 🙂

      Wish you two were here!

      XO

  1. So, excited for you guys and can’t wait to follow your adventures to the Sea of Cortez! One of our favorites spots in the world! Fair winds…

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