Long Island: First Impressions

January 18, 2021

(Note that this is an older post that I have just now made public.)

After arriving on Saturday and putting down anchor we made some dinner and got a good nights sleep. On Sunday, after a slow start and some cleaning, we decided to go ashore and see some sights. There is a grocery store that we went to, not expecting much. It was surprising for the breadth of food and the awesome prices. It was also only open for 2 hours on Sunday apparently and they were anxious for us to leave. So we did.

We found the local car rental company as well. Seaside car rental (or something like that), it’s a cash business. A simple form, pay on your return and very, very nice lady (Olivia). Sometimes the simplicity and kindness of people who are not beholden to the profit motive make for a pleasant surprise. I say not beholden to the profit motive, but to be sure the car was pricey, particularly for what it was, but I guess there was an assumption that you are going to bring it back, full of gas. We did so on Monday by lunch time.

While we had the car, we drove over about 75% of the island road, pulled off in a couple of places to see interesting sights and enjoyed our brief but intimate look at the island. I will likely repeat some of that by bicycle through the week as Jinhee continues her work.

The island has many beautiful spots and we probably only saw two or three of them, but we visited Clarencetown very briefly. With Covid restrictions it was very quiet. We then turned back to go to Deans Blue Hole. That is probably the biggest tourist attraction on the island and if you are a free diver or a scuba diver it would be a really big deal.

Deans Blue Hole is the second deepest blue hole in the world. It goes down 200+ feet and apparently has a cavern at the bottom. Of course without diving equipment (or skills in our case), it is just a deeper bit of water to be swimming in. The drone did provide some photos of the hole however, allowing us to reminisce about the things we could be doing if we were normal tourists or adventure seekers.

Deans Blue Hole from about 150 ft in the air, looking almost straight down. The platform and rope are for free divers.

There is a nice beach there as well, with the hole beginning right at the edge of the beach. Jinhee posed for some photos while the drone was making rounds.

Jinhee posing with Deans Blue Hole in the background

As mentioned in previous posts, we are anchored at Salt Ponds, which is the name of a town, not an actual place. The salt ponds themselves are a few nautical miles to the south and while it is hard to figure out which roads to take to see the actual ponds, it was just as much fun to find other very interesting places to see the ocean.

After running South to see the sights in that direction, we headed back North and chose to run to the Northern shoreline. That turned out to be more driving than we wanted to do, and we may well visit the Northern tip on our way to Cat Island this weekend coming.

We did make it as far as Stella Maris before turning back. Apparently this little marina has been hard hit by weather in the past few years and while still operating, it is a bit worse for wear, at least from our perspective.

One interesting bit is that we also crossed the Tropic of Cancer. I noted the crossing on our way south on Home Free, but the sign on the road reminded me of that little curiosity, and so we stopped to record the moment with photos.

Crossing the Tropic of Cancer – Fun for Jinhee, apparently serious business for me. 😂

On our return to the boat we prepared for the coming work week with office setups and some cleaning.

Monday it was back to work for Jinhee, and I, although my work is less formal, my todo list was growing rapidly while Megan was aboard and using the forward cabin (which is the ship’s office). My insurance for the boat runs out this week and I had to finalize a new policy (which seemed easy before Christmas but is magically harder with just a few days remaining. Insurance for boats is less than fun at the best of times.). I also picked up a new computer for the boat which after many delays was brought to the boat by Megan. I finally plugged it in and turned it on and completed the basic setup. I am not a Mac person (despite typing this blog on a Mac, its just because it is portable) and can’t wait to get back to doing real work on a PC rather than this toy (MacBook Pro).

Despite supposedly a simple day of running to the marine store, the grocery store and returning the car, the day was full of surprises.

First I went to the marine store, I could use some additional line for securing the dinghy and perhaps a new Explorer Chartbook for the Far Bahamas. This is a book that can be purchased online from the publisher for about US$80. I found the book at Top II Bottom, a marine store, in Georgetown for about US$180. That seemed a bit steep so I didn’t buy it. I found the same book at the marine store in Salt Pond (Seafarer Marine) for US$81. It is the 6th edition and not the 7th edition (which was just released) but still, I am going to assume land distances haven’t changed too much, and we are always on the lookout for changes to water depth as mentioned in prior posts. Of course this was balanced by the price of a Bahamian courtesy flag which they charged $30+ for . . . they typically cost $8-15 depending on the quality. Oh well. I still made out like a bandit.

From there I filled up the car, returned it and then moved onto the grocery store (all within a few hundred steps). Jinhee makes awesome spring rolls, but she does require a certain type of noodle, a rice noodle. They proved quite difficult to find in Florida, and impossible in Nassau and Georgetown. Hillside Supply in Salt Pond, Long Island? You bet! We have resupplied with rice noodles and all at a very, very reasonable price, perhaps even less than what we paid in Florida.

Finally, with all my new belongings in tow, I walked back to the dinghy dock. The fisherman were cleaning fish and had quite a catch. I don’t know much about fish, but the lobster looked pretty good. After returning to the boat, I mentioned the fresh fish at the dock and we then raced back to the dock to pick up enough seafood to make 4-6 meals for the price of one night at a restaurant. Last night we had a beautiful meal of lobster and rice with string beans on the side. Yummy. (Jinhee estimates it was $5/person for the lobster!)

So we progress through the work week well fed, warm and settled (despite very high winds coming in for the next few days).

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