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Long Island, The Bahamas
Monday, March 8, 2004

We hoisted the anchor about 6:30 am, went to Kidd Cove and reanchored in order to check, one last time, for our mail. Carl sent it over two weeks ago and we’d like to get it before we leave so that we’d be free to head north and not have to return to Georgetown. Bill went to the Post Office, Exuma Market, where it was addressed, back to the Post Office, back to the market and, once again, to the Post Office asking questions about where it might be. No luck!

Bill returned to the boat and hoisted anchor at 9:00, about an hour behind Pearl & company. Then, at 10:00 we got a call on the VHF from Exuma Market. The Post Office found our package! We, in turn, called Foreclosure and asked that they pick it up. They’re planning to head to Long Island on Wednesday and were happy to carry it to us. Thanks, Foreclosure!

We tried motor-sailing and picked up 0.2 knots ... not much, but worth keeping the sail up. We finally arrived at Salt Pond (Thompson Bay) about 3:30 and anchored. (At least the batteries got fully charged … first time in three weeks!)

Arriving in Salt Pond was like arriving at a reunion! Boats here who we already knew include Pearl, Seldom Seen, Simple Life, Windship and Windshift. Others we’d heard of and looked forward to meeting.

Resting in Shade near Thompson Bay
Resting in Shade near Thompson Bay

We dinghied to shore and Sandy combed the beach, finding heaps of miniature shells at one end of the beach. We had a quiet dinner aboard. We realized that it was almost a relief to be away from Georgetown. It was quiet and hardly any traffic on the VHF. Peace!


Thompson Bay, Long Is, The Bahamas
Tuesday – Sunday, March 9 – 14, 2004

In the morning, Mike & Susan aboard WinShip (that’s actually their last name) volunteered to organize dinner @ Thompson Bay Inn tonight (24 takers) and vehicle rentals for Wednesday – Thursday (14 takers). We, then, dinghied ashore and joined Pearl & a couple of other folks for a walk. We walked the two miles to the Salt Pond settlement, stopping at a couple of stores along the way. These were cleaner and more prosperous looking than the ones in Georgetown. Bill made a really big purchase at a marine store – “O” rings to repair a spigot in our boat’s head.

Crossing to Ocean Side at Thompson Bay
Crossing to Ocean Side at Thompson Bay

Ocean Side Beach Long Island
Ocean Side Beach Long Island

From Salt Pond we walked to the ocean-side beach, stopping to look at the old Morton salt pond operation. Apparently, it is still in some kind of marginal operation. At the beach, Bill turned back to return by the road while the rest walked the two miles back by the beach. On his way, Bill stopped at the Inn to check on food ingredients for Sandy and then returned to the boat and installed new “O” rings in the head spigot. Finally, Sandy & others returned. It had been a tough, 6½ mile walk and all were tired. Quick … we need to get showered, get dressed and get back into the dinghy for dinner!

Church at Thompson Bay
Church at Thompson Bay

We dinghied to shore, walked the wooded path to the road, thence to the Inn. There, we had a happy hour-and-a half and a great meal served family style with ribs, chicken or grouper and all the traditional Bahamian sides of mac & cheese, cole slaw, potato salad and peas & rice. There was plenty for everyone and it was all delicious. Afterward it was flashlights back to the dinghies and back to the boat. Tired … it had been a long day!

Dinner at Thompson Bay Inn
Dinner at Thompson Bay Inn

Wednesday, 3/10

During the night the wind had shifted to the southwest as part of the approach of a weak cold front. Wind speed increased towards morning and the anchorage, open to the southwest became fairly uncomfortable. Bill worked on photos and updating the log. We both began to wonder about leaving the boats at noon to do the tour in the cars we’d rented for the next two days. About 10:00 a squall came through the anchorage and the wind shifted almost at once to the northwest, a direction from which the anchorage is protected and we felt much better. The waves quickly began to subside and, by noon, fifteen cruisers had assembled at the Thompson Bay Inn, where we’d arranged to pick up the two cars and one mini-van.

Long Island Bahamian Racing Sloops
Long Island Bahamian Racing Sloops

We loaded into the vehicles, Bill driving the mini-van, and headed south. We drove through Salt Pond, Grays, Deadman’s Cay, and Pettys to Clarencetown, stopping at a series of beautiful, old churches to take photos. In Clarencetown, we went to Flying Fish Marina where we had lunch. It was a nice place but we wondered how they would survive with only two boats in the slips. Photos of the Catholic church and we were on our way south, again.

Our lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church
Our lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church

St Paul's Anglican Curch
St Paul's Anglican Curch

The Queen’s Highway ends at Gordon’s Beach and we got out of the vehicles and walked the sand, picked up a variety of shells and watched as a Haitian sailboat worked its way toward Long Island, approaching another Haitian boat anchored, and tossing wildly, half a mile off the beach. Another Haitian boat lay, wrecked, half a mile south on the beach. Haitian “boat people” arrive illegally in the Bahamas constantly and are deported as quickly as possible. It wasn’t clear whether these folks were fleeing or just trying to trade.

On the way back we stopped at a tiny bar alongside the road. Named The Boat Pond Bar. It was tiny and ramshackle but friendly and the beer was cold. We conversed with the folks in the place and Susanna, the owner, came outside to engage us in conversation and give hugs to whomever she could.

Boat Pond Bar in Cape Verde
Boat Pond Bar in Cape Verde

We didn’t get back to the boat until after 7:00. Happily, the wind had died way down and the dinghy ride back was dry. Sandy prepared spaghetti for dinner … delicious!

Thursday, 3/11

We still had the rental vehicles for the morning, so we poured in and headed north. First stop was The Cape Santa Maria Club. This is an upscale resort sited on Calabash Bay near the north end of the island. It is beautifully designed and landscaped with a lovely restaurant and bar. A few of us had coffee and banana bread before we headed out.

On White Cliffs at Cape Santa Maria
On White Cliffs at Cape Santa Maria

Our next stop was Cape Santa Maria, itself, and the monument commemorating Columbus’ landfall on this island. The view from this area is spectacular with high, white cliffs and a beautiful, shallow bay to the east. After group photos around the monument, we headed south, stopping at the ice cream shop In Glenton for hand dipped cones and beverages (beer and ice cream – sure). Some of us were interested in buying lobster, so we stopped at Performance Fisheries in Simms and purchased tails. What a beauty. It weighed 1.6 pounds (that’s just the tail!). Then, it was back to the beach to drop off riders and return the cars. Sandy walked to town for groceries with Sue (WinShip) and Bill dinghied to town for dinghy fuel after returning from dropping off the rental vehicles.

Columbus Monument at Cape Santa Maria
Columbus Monument at Cape Santa Maria

That evening we had a sundown party on the beach with lots of good snacks and excellent attendance from boats in the anchorage.

Beached Dinghys at Sunset, Thompson Bay
Beached Dinghys at Sunset, Thompson Bay

Friday, 3/12

It was a lazy morning aboard. Later, Sandy hiked to the beach with a bunch of others from the anchorage while Bill did a bit of writing. That evening we had another Bahamian dinner at Thompson Bay Inn … only a dozen cruisers but there were also three couples who were renting houses on the island. It was a nice mix.

Saturday, 3/13

It was another lazy morning with winds in the 20s. About noon, we moved the boat to town to purchase diesel fuel for the boat and a few groceries. But, the main event was to purchase water. There is a well near the beach that we could use to get free water, but it is brackish. Although many people do, we hate to contaminate our tanks and hot water heater with that kind of water. We purchased 30 gallons at $4.95 per five-gallon jug. Lugging 240 lbs. of water in the dinghy (two trips) and paying $30 for the lot makes us really appreciate the idea of virtually free, quality drinking water we find at any marina in the US!

That evening we dinghied over to Foreclosure where we grilled our lobster tails and had salad, Spanish rice and fruit salad for dessert. We are really enjoying their company and friendship.

Sunday, 3/14

Today was very overcast and very windy. It was a day to spend on the boat. A good day to make eggs and homefries for breakfast! We did some domestic chores, too. We sorted through the five large plastic boxes and did some reorganizing. Sandy cleaned the boat and made some gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and a batch of granola. Bill entered waypoints for our trip north – lots of them. Sandy then double-checked them with him. She got to do some basket weaving later in the p.m. Had a tasty dinner of grilled ham, broccoli/cauliflower and Spanish rice.


Thompson Bay to Calabash Bay, Long Is, The Bahamas

Awoke to bright sunshine coming through the forward hatch.

It was time to begin moving north, again. We decided to take a leg north to Calabash Bay with the intent of heading to Conception Island on Tuesday and on to Hawks Nest Marina & Resort on Wednesday. Most of the “fleet” of cruisers we’ve been traveling with had similar plans so, at 9:00 that morning, we all left the anchorage together.

It was a great, fast sail with the wind on our starboard quarter. We admit that the motion was a bit uncomfortable, but it was the best sail we’ve had for a long time! We put our anchor down at 1:00, having sailed 25 miles in four hours. Four of the seven boats went a mile further into Joe’s Sound, just to the north, but we preferred the slightly calmer anchorage where we were.

Simple Life Underway, Headed to Cat Island
Simple Life Underway, Headed to Cat Island

Calabash Bay was pretty. We’d seen the area a few days earlier from land while we were car-touring so we didn’t feel compelled to go ashore. A few folks in Joe’s Sound dinghied out to look for places to snorkel and fish but we stayed aboard.

That evening we hosted Pearl and Foreclosure aboard our boat for dinner. We each brought our own meats to grill (chicken, pork chops & hot dogs) and shared covered dishes. We talked ‘til late, for us, 9:30!