Monday, April 2, 2012

Long Island
13th –16th march 2012
After finally escaping  the clutches of George Town on Great Exuma Island, we made the move over to  Long Island, about 40 miles away. The breeze had piped in a bit and we had a good sail over with just the jib, arriving at Salt Pond late afternoon. Friends Barb and Jay from Jupiters Smile were already there and along with an assortment of others the tally for boats in the anchorage was about seven.

Salt pond is a pretty quite little place with the hub of action centering around the Long Island Breeze Resort. The place is run by a guy named Mike who has done an excellent job of developing the small resort to cater for landlubbers as well as the cruising community.
It boasts a very good laundry, restaurant, book exchange and internet service and a small pool, all of which,well maybe not the pool, are usually high on the priority list of those who live on yachts. The little town has quite a good small supermarket which comes alive on Thursdays, after the mail boat bringing fresh supplies arrives.
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We spent two days anchored here in only 6 feet of water, and together with Barb and Jay from Jupiters Smile, treated ourselves to lunch at a French restaurant named Chez Pierre. The food was excellent as was the setting, however getting there was a bit of a saga.
On the map it looked to be about  a 4 mile walk, not a problem we thought, but the day was hot so we decided to call a taxi, which never showed up. So the options were walk or hitch. We tried our hand at hitching and after a few knockbacks we got a ride with a lovely local lady, and and I can tell you that sitting in the back of her car  made us sure glad that we didn’t have a go at walking, it was a lot further than we had thought. She dropped us at the lane leading to Pierre's and told us it was still a fair walk, which is was!.With a lack of signposting we started to wonder if we were ever going to get there and by now we were over an hour late for our booking. After walking for what seemed an eternity past derelict houses and overgrown paddocks with the odd goat or sheep, we finally arrived at the restaurant with Pierre there to greet us. We were his only customers and he was marginally peeved at our late arrival, still he sat us down and we had a very enjoyable lunch. The ride home was a little bit easier as Pierre offered us a lift in his van to the main road and then once again we hitched back to the anchorage.Long Island is 80 miles in length and has quite a number of attractions,beautiful beaches, quaint historic churches and the worlds deepest  salt water blue hole.Disappearing into the abyss Dean’s hole is 202 metres deep and attracts free divers from around the world in their quest for record breaking dives.

And that was the extent of our time in Salt Pond. The next day, after farewells to Jupiters Smile, we headed off to Hog Cay, a small cay near the top of Long Island where we spent our last night in the Bahamas. What should have been an easy 25 miles run nearly turned into a nightmare, we found ourselves stranded on a very large uncharted sandbar in less than 4 feet of water, we were stuck fast and the tide was dropping. With high water due around 3 am the following day we were more than a little anxious to find deeper water, which appeared to be only a couple of hundred yards away. With the grunt of  our two 75hp Yanmars  and full throttles we eventually succeeded in bouncing our way off the sandbar, it was quite a harrowing experience. As luck had it, we just made our anchorage, which was surrounded by reefs, and dropped the anchor right on dusk. Tomorrow we would be heading out for the 600 mile passage to Puerto Rico, the weather forecast is pretty good and we’re hoping to cover the distance with just three nights at sea.
We spent eleven fantastic weeks in The Bahamas, and yet we’d originally planned on only staying for one month, how plans can change. During that time we celebrated Christmas and New Year, reveled in the George Town Sailing Regatta, feasted on many a Lobster and Conch, reeled in a few  big Mahi Mahi,caught up with some old friends and  made a heap of new ones as well . A bonus for us was the Bahamian people, they are probably the most friendly  island people we have found anywhere since arriving in this part of the world. With a bit of luck we’ll be back again next season, but for now our focus is on getting to Trinidad, 1300 miles to the southeast, to give GWTW a much needed facelift.
Cruising Notes. Supermarkets/Hardware: Hardings is across the road from the Long Island Breeze Resort. Cruisers net: VHF @0830.  Propane: Tanker comes to the resort on Wednesdays approx cost is $20 for a 7 kg bottle. WI-FI: Free if you purchase a snack /beverage at the LI Breeze resort                                                                                                          Mailboat: arrives each Wednesday at 11am with fresh produce and supplies.  Fuel: From the fuel dock next to the government dock.                               Dinghy dock: At the LI Breeze resort.                                        Resources: Explorer charts and guide books

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