Long Island, Bahamas

Our visit to Long Island, Bahamas was a highlight of the trip so far. It’s about a 4-hour sail from George Town so makes a great way to get out and do some sailing whenever winds are from the north or south. We spent a few days in Calabash Bay just outside of the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort. Our plan was to head south along the island and spend more time there visiting the Stella Maris Resort, the blue hole, the salt pond and Thompson Bay, but we’ve decided, since we have no timeline to adhere to, we’re going to sail the weather rather than sail a destination. We can always go back if conditions are right.

What we did get to experience, we completely enjoyed. Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort welcomes cruisers which is not always the case at resorts and allowed us free access to their facility. We made sure to support them by purchasing merchandise and enjoying their wonderful restaurant and bar. It was the least we could do to in thanks for their generosity.

Calabash Bay was a sight to behold with its white sand beaches and clear blue water!

We had quite a bit of wind out while we were there, and it was the first visit for Sea Escape and us so we decided to hire a captain to take us on an “Eco Tour” of the island. We really lucked out in getting Captain Burt! He’s just getting ready to retire and was training young Tori to run the tours. I’m sure Tori will be terrific, but getting the wisdom and experience of Burt was a treat for us.

On the Northern tip of the island, Burt, showed us the caves and gave insight into which were safer to snorkel and which areas were the best for trying to catch crawfish. The wind and waves were a bit strong for us to snorkel that day but we’ll be back! We went by the Columbus monument which stands atop a huge wall of limestone that has been carved by the waves. The caves and wall are testament of the powerful forces of wind and water combined and the result is a beautiful natural carving.

Further on south of the resort, he showed us a couple of good snorkeling spots and Robert and I jumped in to check them out. It was low tide and the colors were beautiful in the sunlight. There was some coral bleaching but not as much as we’ve seen in other areas. We mostly saw small tangs and grunts with a few angelfish and butterfly fish every now and then. I love the purple fan coral and yellow tube sponge. It was nice to see there were some calm waters to float in even in high wind conditions.

One of the coolest things he showed us was an area called “Joes Cut”. Apparantly, at high tide sailboats could make it through the cut but I was amazed that he was able to make it nearing low tide in his catamaran center console. He went really fast to get up on plane and made it through! Inside there was just a slice of deep water. That deep blue surrounded by light blue then white sand beach was reminiscent of Wardwick Wells. Burt also reports that this area is great for fishing and he often brings groups of fishermen back in there. I wouldn’t want to try getting Solveig back in there but it’s definitely worth exploring further. It looks like a good place to hide if surprise weather showed up, but it wasn’t quite safe enough for the couple of boats that landed on the sand bank after the last hurricane.

On the way back, we were talking to Burt about the limited bird population we’d seen. We chalked it up to a lack of bugs to eat and a lack of fresh water but Burt told us they’d be migrating back soon. He took us to a little nook of land where Whistling Ducks flocked in the bushes. They were hard to see and we wouldn’t have noticed them unless he pointed them out. Back at the resort, we had a bird join us for dinner and seemed to be trying to sing for his supper so perhaps we’re getting ready to see more birds as spring arrives in the Bahamas.

We’re keeping Long Island on the short list of places we really want to go back to and look forward to seeing more of the island during the next visit!

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