Since we did not want to get to the Abaco’s until at least April 1st and heard good things about Long Island, we decided to make a U-Turn and head south again. Sadly, So Far So Good and Cantabile (two of our buddy boats) had schedule commitments and needed to push on up to the Abaco’s. We hope to be able to rejoin them sometime in April. We made a short stop in Georgetown on our way to Long Island and hiked many of the trails.

The main anchorage in Long Island is Thompson Bay, it is a large bay with protection from both the North and East and has good holding. Long Island is 88 miles long and only 4 miles at its widest point with the Tropic of Cancer running through the northern quarter of the island. We met Penny and John who are part time ExPats that live on Long Island seasonally. Penny runs the Cruiser’s Net in the mornings and they both really go out of their way to help out cruisers anyway the can. They provide weather updates, local knowledge and give you rides when they can. We consider them friends and hope to meet again in the future. We also met Bob traveling solo on Dragonfly who decided to join us for the trip back north. For those who have not cruised before, while cruising you meet the same people at different islands as you travel. It is awesome to see new friends and find out where they have been and where they are heading. You never really say good-bye, just can’t wait to see you again!

The dingy and Government docks as well as Tiny’s Hurricane hole are just a short dingy ride from the anchorage. Tiny’s is not only a restaurant, but they rent cottages and have a couple of washers/dryers where you can do your laundry.

Partly because we were in no hurry and the fact that another weather front bringing high winds was scheduled, we stayed in Long Island 23 days. This is the longest we have stayed in one anchorage thus far. We arranged for group car rentals to share in the expense and wound up traveling all the way north to the Columbus Monument in Stella Maris and as far south as Clarence Town which is home to Dean’s Blue Hole. Dean’s Blue Hole is the second deepest underwater cave at a depth of 660 feet. Champion free divers come to compete to see who can go the deepest without aided by air, not on my bucket list!

Long Island is believed to be the third stop for Christopher Columbus after San Salvador and Rum Cay to the east. It is hard to imagine just what the early explorers might have thought when they first saw how beautiful the water is and also how difficult it must have been to navigate back in the 1400’s without the aid of charts or chart plotter (GPS). You can be in 30 feet of water and in just a short distance be in only 3 feet. The water is so clear that depth is deceiving because we have been able to see bottom in as much as 60 feet. No wonder there were so many ship wrecks back then. The area around the monument is absolutely stunning.

Long Island is also famous for the numerous caves that can be found all over the island. They vary in size, shape and wether they contain water or not. Can you guess what the one thing all the caves we visited have in common? They are all inhabited by colonies of bats! We spent hours walking through and swimming in some of the caves.

Clarence Town is a beautiful harbor town and is one of the largest settlements. It is famous for its beautiful twin churches, St. Peter & St. Paul’s Catholic Church and St. Paul’s Anglican. Each is situated on hilltops in Clarence Town. The Catholic church has 40ft towers that we climbed to be rewarded by 360 degree views of the town and its harbors.

While traveling south, whether to do laundry, get water or just sight seeing, it is always a treat to have lunch at Max’s Conch Shack whenever passing through the Hamilton Settlement.

During one particularly calm morning I decided to go up the mast to see why are Steamer light wasn’t working. It hadn’t worked in quite awhile but figured it was time especially because our friend Tim had a Bosuns chair and was willing to hoist me up the mast. The first trip was to take a look at the bulb and determine wether we had power to the light. Yes we had power and the bulb didn’t look bad. Once down we checked the bulb and it worked. So back up the mast to try the bulb again. It would work but only if I shorted the bulb to make better contact. Just replace the bulb right? That is only possible if you had another bulb. So back down, take the dingy to shore,  off to the marine store and then repeat process back to the boat. By this time the wind was blowing and the seas were not calm like the first time up. Maybe Renee should go up this time? I manned up and went up for a third time, this time with two new bulbs. Viola, insert new bulb, problem fixed. As it turned out, the three trips up the mast was really not that bad. That said, I only had to go up to the first set of spreaders and not the mast head.

Our friend Tim on Belle Marie, had been claiming to be solo sailing all this time. One evening he invited us over for dinner and confessed that he has had a guest on board the whole time and his name was Freedman. Tim warned us that Freedman wasn’t very social and didn’t talk much. He also mentioned that he didn’t like wearing clothes. Renee said we were not coming unless Freedman puts some clothes on. Tim was successful in convincing Freedman to at least put some pants on. We all had a good evening, including Freedman.