Island Time Coming to an End
Thompson Bay, Long Island
After a few weeks in Georgetown we decide to make a side trip and explore Thompson Bay on Long Island, not to be confused with New York's Long Island. N57 Worknot and N68 Floating Stones also are making the 3-4 hour trip. Long Island is further south and east of Georgetown; more remote with fewer boats in the anchorage.
Bahamas plays a big role in the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Christopher Columbus made his first landfall on the easternmost Bahamas’ island of San Salvador October 12, 1492. A few days later he reached Long Island’s Cape Santa Maria. A monument on the northern tip of Long Island commemorates Columbus’ landing.
Teaming up with Bryan and Cheryl from N68 Floating Stones, we rent a car to visit this memorial and tour Long Island. The memorial's setting is spectacular with white cliffs, turquoise inlets, deep blue seas, and breaking waves. Not a very hospitable coastline for a landfall. Makes you wonder how Columbus did it?
|The Christopher Columbus monument.|
|Lucayans were the original inhabitants to the Bahamas (7th century AD).|
|This is the ocean view from the Columbus monument.|
|Newly installed stairway to the Columbus monument with view of a very shallow inlet.|
|Bryan, Cheryl, Nora, and Karl.|
We spend the day slowly driving from the very northern end of Long Island, to Clarence Town in the south end. The island is very rural with an abundance of small churches.
|...And more churches! There were a really high number of churches on Long Island.|
We check out “the bridge to nowhere”, inlets and empty beaches, an abandoned boat, and venture down a long dirt road to meet Gale and Mary (Worknot) and Sam and Cindy (Booke-End) for lunch at a very remote little restaurant, Chez Pierre.
|A wonderful heavy duty bridge that goes to absolutely nothing on the other side.|
|Worknot to the left, and Bravo off in the distance.|
|I don't think this boat is going anyplace soon.|
|The long and dusty road to Chez Pierre.|
The road trip also takes us to Dean’s Blue Hole, site of the world free-diving competitions. We take a peek. It’s cold, windy and 663 feet deep. We pass on the chance to “take a dip”!
|The world famous "Blue Hole".|
|This is the "Blue Hole", and it's surprising that it's that deep right next to the shore.|
Back on the boat, dark skies signal some nasty weather passing through the bay. The strange light makes it look like Floating Stones is on a silver sea.
After spending a few more days at Long Island, the weather clears, we pull anchor with Floating Stones and head back to George Town. Blue skies, turquoise water, and a following sea make for a quick and relaxing trip back to our Elizabeth Harbor anchorage.
|Another gorgeous day, with Nora at the helm.|
|The channel to George Town has you going fairly close to these small islands/hazards.|
Layover - Elizabeth Harbor, George Town
Back in Elizabeth Harbor, the weather turns nasty with high winds and rough seas for 5 days in a row. No one gets off their boat for at least 3 days. At night the “floating city” is illuminated by 300+ dancing anchor lights. It really is a sight to see.
The weather finally clears, we decide to make an early morning start for our slow migration north.
Apparently, many other cruisers have the same idea. As we make our way out of Elizabeth Harbor, there are at least 30+ other boats heading in the same direction. Rush hour in the Bahamas!
Along the way, we are treated to a beautiful rainbow off our bow.
The first part of the run north is off the eastern coast of Great Exuma Island. This is deep open water of the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern coast line is steep rocky and devoid of any safe anchorages. We have to go through Galliot Cut to get back to the shallow protected Grand Bahamas Banks. We tried to time the transit at slack tide, but we weren’t exactly on schedule. Breaking chaotic waves greeted us as we went through the cut, but we made it safely to the other side!
|It's actually a very narrow cut that we go through.|
|The waves and current through the cut is a little worse than how it appears.|