Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29th, 2012 - Long Island, The Exumas

Yesterday, we moved from our anchorage in Thompson's Bay over to Salt Pond and are anchored about 1/4 mile offshore and out from the government wharf. It's much calmer over here and a lot closer to access the amenities on shore.
Our hangout now is the Long Island Breeze Marina & Resort, which consists of a 50 foot dingy dock, a marina building with pool deck and a fantastic fresh water pool. This place is basically deserted. However the owner, Mike Smith more than goes out of his way to do everything he can for us.....and he charges us NOTHING! We all support him by buying beverages and the occasional meal from his second floor dining room.

To the side of his marina office he has some cottages that are 5 star and he's built a great little shaded beach with palm trees.

The view from the restaurant balcony is equally amazing. It's hard to believe that all that water out in front is between 7 and 8 feet deep for a hundred miles.

In the picture below, we're the last boat to the left ... Right over the peak on the gazebo.

Our supper that night was easily a gourmet meal at its best. Jan savoured the pan seared chicken while I enjoyed the hog-fish ... both served with hot bread, baked potato and glazed carrots. For dessert it was a generous helping of peach cobbler. Oh yeah .... we can't forget the red Cabernet. The evening was completed with a wonderful sunset over a calm bay.

Today it's time to get out and see this island after 4 days on the hook. Mike arranged a car rental for us and away we went ....
First Stop ....DEANS BLUE HOLE !!
We've all heard about these blue holes but in reality none of you could ever imagine just how beautiful they really are.
Deans Blue Hole is a wonder in its own. Situated on the Atlantic side of Long Island, just to the north of Clarence Town, the capital. It is documented to be the deepest blue hole in the world. You can walk to the edge where it plunges to a depth of 663 feet deep.

The raft in the center is anchored to the sides and has a cable extending to the bottom. This setup is being used as a training base for free-diving NO TANKS .... just fins. The couple we watched had just completed a dive to 50 meters for the woman and an unbelievable 90 meters for the man.
We watched each go down and diappear into the depths.
The woman later told us that it was so dark down there that you could just barely see your hand in front of you. The cable is marked all the way down. Soooo .... what would we be if we didn't try!!!
Out came the mask and fins. We snorkled over to the edge and down we went ..... 10 whole feet to where the bottom falls out from under you and inside is a huge natural cavern into the blackness ...... no sea monsters in here. We had done it and survived. What a great experience.

After basking in our glory, it was time to head down to Clearance Town to see the sights. It sure was a lot smaller than I had envisioned. Along the route were numerous churches but the highlights were the two Spanish style churches built by Father Jerome. You can Google him to find out more.

This is Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church.

Many contained very old Cemetary's within their walls.

After a short drive .... and you can't get lost because there is only one road .... and it's eighty miles long ... we landed at Max's Conch Bar.

Gary the owner prepared a fantastic conch salad for us.

While we ate, we were joined by Roscoe and Rosetter, who were two local fishermen that were in a boating accident and left for dead on Long Island in 1909. They have been here far too long .....

Tonight the MAIL BOAT finally arrived after two weeks.

The government wharf at Salt Pond is alive with folks finally getting their long awaited supplies which consist of everything you can imagine ..... loads of pop, car parts, building materials, fresh fruit and vegetables, fuel and imported palm trees.

After a long day it's time to return to Wind Warrior. Tomorrow we explore the northern half of Long Island, The Exumas. Good Night Everyone!!

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