Touring Long Island Bahamas, by car! How novel!!! It’s Thursday morning, the sun is up and the wind has gone away. I am sitting on the deck of a local “resort” looking out at the bay and working on my blog post.  Very nice, sunny and warm.  Brenda’s doing the wash.  I am prohibited by law from touching laundry.  It seems I can’t be trusted.  I mix white and dark, dry things that are not to be dried etc.   Isn’t that OK?   Help me on this…

Salisbury This is the view from where we are sitting doing our blogs, and laundry.  Pretty nice.  Speaking of no wind, and I was earlier in this post if you have lost track, I almost have.  It’s interesting how the wind goes light and variable ahead of a cold front.  Tonight as the front passes, the wind will quickly build from the north and gust to 25kts or more for a day or so.  So, today we will enjoy the calm conditions.  After the front passes and the winds return to the east, we will probably be sailing to Cat Island our first move in a northerly direction since coming to the Bahamas two months ago.

The two month milestone was particularly important given the fact that  we had only been given that amount of time on our visa when we arrived and it will expire on Monday.  One doesn’t want to have an expired visa, ever, I am told.  Happily, we were able to renew our visas yesterday on Long Island from a very well dressed and pleasant officer here on the island.  All government officials dress really well.  The “government offices” here in Long Island are “modest”.  Actually, the “complex” of buildings were mostly unmarked save a sign at the road.The management of visas is taken very seriously here in the Bahamas.  We had heard a story yesterday about a guy who had lost their immigration card, given to him when they cleared in through customs. On top of that they were late, by one day, applying for an extension.  Because of this he was told to leave the Bahamas immediately, clear into another country and then they could reenter the country and get a new visa.  And, all of this was happening with an approaching cold front making leaving dangerous.  I understand that after much back and forth, he was given a stay of execution to remain in the Bahamas until the weather settles down next week.  Having heard about this we were a bit anxious about what sort of complications we might run into ourselves. Happily, all went well.

Getting to the offices without a car would be tough so it was timely that we had decided to rent a car with some friends to tour the island.  The customs office was not even close to any harbor that we can get into here on the island.

Having a car and driving down the road, after two months of sailing was quite a novel sensation.  To go fast in a car and not get splashed, as we do in the dink, was great.  However, the thrill was tempered somewhat by the $6.00 gas prices. 

Long Island is actually quite long, as the name suggests.  I say long and not large as while it’s 50 miles long, it’s only about a mile wide (or much less) at any point. Even though the main road is paved, it takes hours to drive from one end to the other, and on the wrong side of the road.  Having said that, we didn’t have to worry about getting lost as there is only one north south road that runs from one end to the other. 

Our plan for the day was to do a bit of sightseeing including a visit to Dean’s Blue Hole, billed as the deepest in the world at over 600 feet. To be able to walk out in water that is less than three feet deep and stand on the edge of a sheer drop off that plunges to that depth is an amazing sight to behold.  The hole is a deep blue but it doesn’t really show in this photo as the surf was up and the water a bit murky.

In the middle of the hole there is a raft moored for free divers to practice their “sport”.  This sport is to see how far down you can dive while holding your breath and return to the surface.  Divers come from all over the world to compete for the distinction of being able to dive the deepest.This guy was practicing.  He sat for what seemed like for ever prior to slowly diving down.  Some meditate and are able to slow down their heart rate to a point where they can go with less oxygen than mere mortals.  He wore a single flipper that looked like a mermaid fin and held both of his feet.  Notice the wire going straight down into the water from the float.  They clip to that wire to help guide them down and back.I understand that there is some hearty sole that actually reached the bottom and returned to the surface on a single breath.  Not sure I have that quite right as I have heard conflicting reports on what’s actually the deepest dive.  Those who practice the sport can hold their breath for up to four minutes.  I feel short of breath just writing about it. Yikes… 

This video is of some guy that did a free dive at Dean’s.  Take a deep breath and watch…

Around the corner from the bay where the blue hole the sea was raging.  Glad that we were not on that lee shore with Pandora.  We had sailed in those sorts of waves a few days ago and they don’t seem nearly that large when you are in water that’s 7,000 deep in the ocean.  However, when they pile up on shore…  Watch out!

Along the way we visited Clarencetown, near the southern tip of Long Island.  The harbor was rough but very pretty.

We visited a beautiful Catholic church. It looks like it belongs on the shore of the Aegean.We climbed up one of the towers.  It was very, very narrow with wooden ladders going from level to level. Once at the top, what a great view.  Along the way a view through a window.For dinner we visited a lovely spot Chez Pierre.   It’s funny that they have a website when their electricity has to come from a generator.  The road to visit is several miles from the main highway.  It was far and away the best meal we have had out in the Bahamas to date.  A great way to finish a terrific day.

Tonight we will be gathering on the beach with other cruisers for cocktails and a pot luck.  We won’t forget to bring the bug spray.   Such are the compromises of the cruising life.  Such pain…

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