Sunday, March 23, 2014

Long Island and Beyond!

Long Island lived up to its name, it’s LONG. It’s roughly 80 miles and one of the skinniest islands too, with the widest part being only 4 miles wide. We sailed around the northern part of the island pass the Christopher Columbus monument then turned south to Clarence Town, the largest port on the eastern side of the island.
Picked this pict off from the web.

Clarence Town harbor is easy to enter and has a good sized anchorage with some of the clearest water that I’ve found in the Bahamas. Over 100 feet of visibility in the harbor, it was great snorkeling! We saw coral, small fish, some small conch (no big ones) and star fish but nothing really large. Where are the big conch?

Clarence Town,,, Well, I have to say that 40 years ago this place might have been a thriving settlement but now it’s a bit of a ghost town. Many, many houses are abandoned and falling down and we found that the south side of the island is experiencing hard times.

this is the grocery store in town, not much in it.
 Long island use to have a thriving salt works on the south end of the island… ever hear of “diamond salt” of St. Clair, Michigan? You can still buy Diamond Salt in the stores but it’s not produced here any longer. They use to produced salt through evaporation in large “salt ponds”. It’s all gone now except for the old salt ponds and when the company left so did the jobs and the economy collapsed. Here is a writeup about the salt industry in the bahamas. Here's some picts of what the salt works in the Bahamas looks like: 

Yes, these are mountains of salt!
We wanted to see more of the island than foot power allowed so we rented a car and drove over most of the island to have a see. We found a 70+ mile long, paved two lane road (the Queen’s highway) with a never ending chain of houses and (very) little towns strung out over the length of the Island. After a little mishap  (we hit a pothole and bent both left wheel rims, two flat tires).

We made it to the southern tip of the island where there is a fabulous beach! Then north to the Salt Pond Settlement. Everywhere that we stopped we found minimal services (except where the tourists are) and friend people who were only lacking money. It seems that the only money on the island is from the tourists. Oh, and we also found goats wandering in the road at times!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Going to George town

We made it to George Town down at the end of the Exuma island chain. George Town is the biggest settlement (town) in the chain. In the USA it would be a very small town but here it is the real thing. On the way down here we passed hundreds of small Cays, (they write the name as Cay but pronounce it as “Key”), here are just a few of the Cays that we passed on the way down to George Town,

Ship Channel Cay, Allens Cay, Highborne Cay ,Normans Cay,  Shroud Cay, Hawksbill Cay, Little Cistern Cay and Cistern Cay, Warderick Wells Cay, Halls Pond Cay, Bells Island, Compass Cay, Sampson, Sandy,& Staniard Cay, Big Major Cay. Harvey Cay, Bitter Guana Cay, Great Guana Cay. Big & Little Farmers Cay, Cave cay, Rudder Cay, Prime Cay, Block Cay, Normans Pond Cay, Lee Stocking Island, Pigeon Cay, Rat Cay and finally, on to Great Exuma Island and George Town. This is only a small sampling of the numerous Cays that we passed.
On the way down we stopped at Stainial Cay where part of the James Bond movie “Thunderball” was filmed oh, and of course Pig Beach.Pig beach gets its name from the fact that a bunch of pigs live there and the cruising community comes to shore and feeds them. The pigs are a bit aggressive and will swim out to you if they think that you have food… as you can see!

We skipped most of these Cay’s because we were in a bit of a hurry to get to George Town. We have a new crew member flying in. My friend Ralph who sailed with me for two weeks last year and this winter asked if he could come over to the Bahamas for a taste of the islands. Once he’s on board and the weather clears, we will be leaving George Town for Long Island and beyond.  It should be an interesting trip!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Coconut fish

Coconut fish

Just a quick one. We found some coconuts and Anna decided to make them into fish! So, she painted them into a clown fish and a dorado fish. After cutting out some fins and painting them up we sent them to the grand kids. Thought that you might like to see them.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

We made it!

Finally in the Exuma chain of islands within the Bahamas. The chain extends for about 130 miles roughly north to south and the water is clear and every island has it’s own charm. As you can see, Edie took the ocean passage in stride!


This was taken by one of our buddie boats

You can be in a quite anchorage by yourself or srounded by half a dozen other boats. We ended up at Norman’s Cay (every island is called a “Cay”). We also went walking in the shallows and found several nice conch.

On one of the islands there is a ruin of a house that Walt and I went to explore.

 Afterwards, we walked around to the other side of the island and found the remains of a wooden boat. You could still see the bits of cloth that they pounded in between the planks to make the boat watertight! 
All of the ribs still showed the marks from shapping them

just cut up cotton cloth pounded between the planks!