Thursday March 28, 2013
After our somewhat rough passage from Georgetown to Thompson Bay Long Island yesterday, we gave ourselves the evening to relax and didn’t plan any kind of group get together for fishing, games, or even just hanging out with a beer in hand. So after listening to the cruiser’s net this morning, we were all ready for a shore excursion. Knowing there was a dinghy landing on a beach, but completely unsure of how far from a road it was, we kept traveling along the shore until we came upon Long Island Breeze, a resort/restaurant on the island. All four of us were amazed by how clean and immaculate the building was. For the most part everything we’ve seen so far in the Bahamas is a little run down and overgrown, but you could tell this place was constantly maintained. We tied up to the floating dinghy dock and walked up the boardwalk, past lounge chairs on the beach and cute little cottages until we reached the main road. The first order of business was to find the welder so we could hopefully get the brackets for the dinghy fixed. It was something we were really hoping could be finished that day, since during the net they mentioned that with Easter weekend coming up, the town basically would shut down for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and the Easter Monday Regatta. If we couldn’t get the piece fixed today or Saturday, we’d be staying at the island for quite a few days.
With no signs of any kinds on the road to tell you where the body shop/welder was, we went up to a building lined with beat up cars, hoping to get lucky there. Searching around for a few minutes we didn’t see another soul around and decided that a walk over to the beaches on the east side of the island would be a good distraction until we could check back later. Stopping into one of the local grocery stores for an ice cold Coke and directions, we found that the road right next to their store was about a 10 minute walk to the beach. Setting out on the paved road it was apparent the 20 knot winds that were blowing on the water were almost non-existent on land and it quickly warmed up. After just a few minutes of walking though, we came to the top of a hill and could see the Atlantic on the other side, bringing a refreshing breeze up with it. Although Long Island is very long (about 80 miles), it’s only 4 miles at it’s widest point, so getting from one side to the other isn’t very hard. The pavement turned into a dirt road which then dropped us into a sandy trail right up to the beach. The first thing that caught my eye was a giant boulder in the water that looked like something out of a magazine enticing you to far off exotic locations. Which I guess this would count as? The second thing I noticed was all the garbage on the beach.
Since we’d been spending most of our time on the leeward sides of islands the entire trip, or were in the Great Bahama Bank or Exuma Sound, this was our first exposure to the windward side of an island from a very large body of water. And what happens on the windward side of islands, especially in large bodies of water, is that all the trash that has been floating around gets washed up on shore. The whole beach was littered with plastic bits and surprisingly, lots of shoes and sandals. I’m hoping a lot of the items were things that accidentally or unintentionally went overboard on boats since it’s happened to the best of us, but it was sad to see the place where it all ends up. I guess it just drills into your mind that if you’re in the water out in the middle of nowhere and think “I can just toss this plastic bottle overboard, no one will ever see it out here”, that it probably will eventually make it’s way to what would have been a stunning beach but now is a partial eye sore because of all the trash building up on it.
Trying to focus on the pretty parts though, we walked the shore towards the boulder, letting the waves crash up around our ankles. One by one we walked into thigh deep water and out to the boulder to explore it a little further. Even though I was sure I would fall and kill myself I carefully climbed to the top, using all the indents in the rock/coral as foot holes and hand grips. Getting up was the easy part but as soon as I wanted to go down those foot holes were much harder to see and I was tempted to ask Matt to just catch me as I fell down. Taking it slowly and going myself I did get back down without as much as a scratch. Back at the main beach we kept heading south, scouting out locations for a possible bonfire. We did have to climb up a few coral bluffs to get from beach to beach, but inside one we did find a nice protected place covered with plenty of driftwood. The four of us piled it all together with plans to possibly come back to it the next night or two.
Climbing a few more coral bluffs to get a little further down the beach we thought it would be good to try and make it back to the welder before it became too late. We found a little dirt road running along the beach and followed it until it merged with the main road we had been on before. Along that road we found out what looked to be a local dump, even more trash piled in one section off to the road. Brian found a bike that he took for a little spin around the area but decided it wasn’t worth keeping. There was also a perfectly good albeit a little beat up Playschool house for toddlers just sitting there for the taking. Hey Brittany, Isla has a birthday coming up, right? Maybe there’s room for a play house on Asante? (just kidding) Heading back to the body shop we did find someone there, but it was not the guy in charge and he could not tell us how much it would be to fix our bracket or when we’d have it back. Since we didn’t want to just hand it over and have it come back with a ridiculous price tag we told the guy we be back later when his boss was there.
Walking north this time on the main road on the island we found another path out to another beach and relaxed in the sand while letting the time pass. We did run into another group of people, one woman who owned a vacation home on the northern end of the island and a few friends that were visiting her. They mentioned a few must see things on the island, such as Dean’s Blue Hole, but everything was out of walking distance. We had discussed renting a car for the day, but with the daily rental price of $65 plus fuel, we figured we’d rather save a car rental for Jamaica where we could see and do more. The woman also mentioned that hitchhiking was popular on the island, and if we were willing to split into groups of two we could get anywhere we wanted. Keeping that in the back of our mind we set off on foot one more time to the body shop to find it was closed down for the day at 3:00. Looks like we’d be here until at least Saturday waiting for someone to even talk to about getting it fixed. A little discouraged, we made our way back to Island Breeze to spend a few minutes cooling off in the shade and getting a little more information about the fish fry going on tomorrow. As long as we’re stuck here, we may as well participate in some of the local festivities.
(Above two photos courtesy of Rode Trip)
As promised, a photo of my black eye.