Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Long Island, Exumas

One of the caves near Thompson Bay
Although we weren't planning on it, we ended up leaving for Long Island on the same day as the rally of 70 or so boats from George Town. The winds were excellent and the seas would have been fine if we had gone downwind towards Thompson Bay with everyone else. Instead, we decided to sail northeast to the northern part of Long Island so that we could troll along the deep water line.

Lots of bats.
It was an uncomfortable sail and we had to keep reducing sail to slow ourselves down so that the mahi might actually bite. We struck out on the fish and worse, when we got to the anchorage, it was too wavy and shallow for us. So without even dropping anchor we turned around and headed south, almost to Thompson Bay (where everyone else had been kicking back for hours while we got knocked around). We anchored near a nice spot by Chez Pierre and then headed for Thompson Bay the next day.

While at Thompson Bay, we attended some of the events that were set up for rally participants and other cruisers. We attended an interesting talk by Ashley and Ren Chapman on free diving. They live on a boat called Nila girl with their infant daughter, teach free diving at the blue hole, and Ashley breaks world records when she finds the time. The cruiser's potluck at Long Island Breeze was a good chance to spend some time with fellow boaters.

The beach on the Atlantic side was stunning despite the considerable plastic debris that had washed ashore. The next day, we walked to two different cave systems that housed tons of bats and other creatures. One of the caves had two separate levels. These were much different from the Hatchet Bay caves but just as fascinating. And we didn't have to walk 3 miles each way to get to them (although you would have thought we had from Conrad's complaints). We ended the day with delicious ice cream at the Long Island Breeze.

Sugar cane. Like chewing sweet, juicy wood. Because it is.

As a bonus, we bought some very reasonably priced groceries at Harding's, got hose clamps at Seafarer Marine, and were able to donate some clothing and other items that we had been storing to the local youth flea market scheduled for next week.

We really wanted to get to the Jumentos but the wind and weather didn't cooperate and we would have had to turn around right away to head back north.

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