Before leaving George Town, many cruisers told us it’s worth renting a car to see ALL that Long Island has to offer.
East of George Town and about 300 miles southeast of Florida, Long Island is one of the southernmost islands in the Bahamas’ chain. As its name implies, Long Island is indeed very long, stretching 80 miles with one continuous main road throughout the entire island and just four miles across at its widest point. It has a dramatically contrasting landscape of limestone cliffs, shallow water flats, and rolling hillsides. It’s graced with one of the world’s 10 best beaches and the world’s deepest blue hole (yes, we visited both).
On Monday, we and “Morning Glory” loaded up a rental car with snacks, swim suits and snorkel gear for a full day of touring the island. We pulled onto Queen’s Highway and our first sight was Matt learning to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road in the Bahamas and while the guys did well under these foreign guidelines, they did drift briefly a couple of times to the “wrong” side when wrapped up in conversation.
The entire day was a fun-filled adventure as we:
- Explored the ruins of St. Mary’s, an old Spanish Church from the 1500’s and hunted for a nearby cave. We didn’t find the cave but certainly met our hiking quota for the day.
- Drove south to Clarence Town and climbed up into the narrow spires of the Catholic church. From these heights, we were graced with a gorgeous view of the island and surrounding Atlantic ocean.
- Dined at the “Hot Spot,” a little out-of-the-way restaurant that had excellent grouper fingers, chicken and pot roast. Randomly chosen because of a sign on the road, we’re glad to have turned down the bumpy dirt road to get there.
- Swam and dove into Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world at over 660 feet. A few miles down a sandy road we pulled off just in front of the beach and donned our swimsuits. In front of us was shallow turquoise water and small reefs surrounding a dark blue circle. Able to wade through shallow water right up to the drop off, it only took seconds before Ted and Matt had swam to the center. About a 45 foot drop, Matt hollered victory cries as he plummeted into the abyss. We shell hunted the nearby beach and then, eager to see more of the island, jumped back into the car to continue on.
- Stopped at another Atlantic-side beach to search for sea beans. Christie won the prize by finding a Columbus Bean and soon thereafter it was off to dinner.
- Relished an authentic Bahamian meal, served family style, at Triphena’s Old Thompson Bay Inn. Every Monday night she cooks up a feast filled with robust portions of cracked lobster, conch, and grouper. Complimented by BBQ ribs, fried plantains, potato salad, cole slaw, peas ‘n rice, and Bahamian mac n’ cheese. We sat around the table enjoying the company of fellow cruisers and locals, dining like royalty, and sipping fruity rum drinks adorned with little brightly colored umbrellas. As delicious as the cuisine was, the conversation and unique experience made the night one of our most memorable.
Reflecting over such a wonderful day, we floated back to our boat appreciating the beauty and charm of Long Island.