Long Island, Bahamas: This True Quiet Island Getaway Must Be One Of The Best Romantic Islands!
While searching online for a true quiet island getaway, I happened across Long Island, Bahamas, a small island eighty miles long and only three miles wide, aptly named “Long Island,” one of the southern most out islands in the Bahamas.
As I began to read about the lack of tourism, the beautiful stretched out and secluded beaches on both the Atlantic and the Caribbean sides of the island, I found myself already beginning to relax and envisioned myself strolling down an incredibly beautiful beach for hours without a care in the world yacht rentals in miami florida…
Continuing my education, I began to soak up the laid back way of life. I felt a major urge to get myself to this island and the sooner, the better.
Like a dream come true, as I begin to write this, I am sitting on the porch of a wonderful, romantic cottage, The Whistling Duck, located south of Clarence Town.
Our small 20 seats or so plane landed at Deadman’s Cay Airport (Cay is pronounced “key” in the Bahamas) at the southern end of the island. We were greeted by Nancy, the caretaker for the owners or our private cottage, who drove us to The Whistling Duck.
She was friendly, had a hearty Bahamian laugh, and offered to help us with anything (including a rental car which we took advantage of our second day). She said she was a phone call away if we had any questions.
On our flight from Nassau to Deadman’s Cay, we found ourselves already wondering what might be the best thing about what we would end up calling “The Other Long Island”…
It certainly could be the incredible water. There are the most beautiful hues of Caribbean and Atlantic blues from clear to light blue to aqua to turquoise to deep bluish-purple to varying oceanic shades of green, I have ever seen.
Then again it might be the amazingly secluded beaches with soft sands, good shell hunting and the constant soothing rhythm of crashing waves. Wait, it’s probably that Long Island has the most down to earth, friendly people on the planet.
If you have a craving for quiet adventure, there are many small roads angling off the single north and south main road, Queen’s Highway. Every one of the small, mainly dirt or sand “car paths” must lead to a new head shaking “Wow!” view and experience.
No, actually it’s got to be the water sports from snorkeling, diving, sailing, boating, fishing, to kayaking.
In hindsight, the best thing about The Other Long Island may be one of the sights or activities that we didn’t get to, such as caving or who knows what!
The most appealing aspect could be a combination of any of the above, or maybe it’s simply completely relaxing, being away from all the stress of work and city life.
This island takes your imagination back in time to what the Bahamas used to be like. Amenities are few. The food is great. Supplies are limited but available if you find out where and when to go. Bahamian and U.S. dollars are interchangeable. The people are warm, always seem to have a welcoming smile planted on their friendly faces and more than hospitable and helpful.
The Whistling Duck cottage was everything it had looked to be on the website and more. Our fowl feather namesake cottage had a perfect covered front porch with a double wicker swing, gas barbecue grill and two teak and canvas chairs to sit and soak up the views of the Atlantic and the harbor at Clarence Town.
We quickly discovered this was the perfect spot to sip morning coffee or tea, read to our hearts content, or simply relax.
There is another deck off the bedroom, complete with two chaise lounges and an outdoor shower, the one I used all week. Ceiling fans in the living room, kitchen area and the bedroom help keep the interior comfortable with constant man-made breezes.
There is a gazebo at the water’s edge where we hung out absorbing the water’s sights and sounds and spent time reading throughout the week. Nice bath and beach towels are included. A kayak is available for a small deposit. Laundry facilities are located at the Flying Fish Marina if needed. For an additional fee you can have Nancy clean the cottage each day.
Two bikes were included with the cottage and provided exercise and transportation for our first days’ adventure on the island to check out Clarence Town.
We filled our backpack with supplies from one of the two small stores and befriended a small boy, Horace, at the True Value food and sundry store. Horace seemed truly intrigued by my silver and blue Asics running shoes, shown by the awe in his big eyes when he reached down to touch them.
We quickly discovered that a car was a must if we really wanted to explore the island. Riding eighty miles on bikes one way to get to the northern tip of our quiet island getaway was simply too much.
By the way, be sure to take enough cash as some of the rental car operators do not accept credit cards. (If you think gas is expensive in the U.S., check out the $6.10 per gallon in the Bahamas, and this is in 2008!).
The tourist map of Long Island is like a cartoon and makes it look like all the roads on the island are paved. If you have an adventuresome spirit, don’t be surprised when taking one of the many off-shooting roads from Queen’s Highway to suddenly find yourself on a small, rocky, car-width path that looks like it is going nowhere.
Rest assured that slow going and patience will pay off with breathtaking rewards as the startling, beautiful ocean views provide stimulating visual overload, especially on the Caribbean side of the island.
Throughout our first week of July visit, there was a constant breeze. The various bird species were gaily singing each morning. We fairly quickly found out why the cottage was named The Whistling Duck! There is indeed such a flying feather friend on the island!
The hummingbirds were busy flitting from flower to flower during the day. My better half unknowingly imitated a flower one afternoon while wearing a bright yellow top and had to gently wave to get a hummingbird to leave her alone.
The humidity was very high and sweatily noticeable. The combination of being in the shade and the breeze was very nice and the best place to be unless we were in the water. Working out on the front deck each morning got me drenched within minutes. The ocean view definitely kept me inspired!
On day two, Nancy dropped off the rental car we had arranged the day before and we set out on our first driving adventure. Using the tourist map, we headed south to Hard Bargain, one of some thirty plus townships up and down the island.
We entertained ourselves by pretending to figure out how Hard Bargain got its name and came up with numerous possibilities. Turning east on a small gravel road, we headed toward the Caribbean side of the island and ended up by the abandoned salt fields of the Diamond Crystal Salt Company.
In the days before refrigeration, salt was used to preserve meats and fish for ships setting out to sea and had been a huge business. We thought we were lost when we rounded a curve in the road and simultaneously gasped at the incredible, stunning spectrum of light blue Caribbean waters. This may have been the most beautiful vision of ocean water either one of us has ever seen!
Following the sand and gravel road, we returned to Queen’s Highway (a fairly small, two lane blacktop road which runs almost the entire north-south length of the island) and headed north. For the most part, the drive is not very exciting. There are occasional ocean views on one side or the other. Taking almost any side road will likely lead to beautiful ocean views, a deserted beach, and a new adventure.
Wanting to check out the Stella Maris Resort, built in the 1960’s, we found ourselves standing on a hill in the middle of the resort where we could see the deep almost purple-blue waters of the Atlantic looking one way and the stellar, azure blue rainbow waters of the Caribbean by simply turning our heads 180 degrees, which was quite astonishing.
The Stella Maris Resort is large and is the only place on the island with tennis courts. We noticed several for sale signs in the front of a few of the homes located within the resort, and found ourselves wishfully wondering… Sigh.
Lunching at the resort overlooking the beach, we found the food and service were okay but could use some quality improvement. We did not get to see what are apparently some of the best plantation ruins on the island, which are located on the resort property.
We had hoped to make it all the way to the northern tip of the island to see one of the other two resorts, Cape Santa Maria and the Christopher Columbus Monument, but decided we were running out of time. We will make sure we see both on our next visit.
Wonderfully, the remainder of the week we had no plans whatsoever and each morning casually decided what we would do for the next few hours. No stress, no phones, no technology, no traffic, no rushing around. Simply the constant caressing breezes and soothing sounds of the Atlantic waves to relax us, stimulate our senses and soothe our souls.
We enjoyed taking long walks on Lochabar Beach. We quickly realized that getting to the beach from the gazebo was much easier at low tide, which had to be lower than high tide by at least three to four feet.
We found numerous small conch shells and two large conchs with the most beautiful deep pink on the inside, sand dollars, and lots of smaller shells throughout the week.
Walking to the right for about thirty minutes on Lochabar Beach, we rounded the bend and encountered a huge blue hole. Blue holes immediately plummet from the surrounding shallow sandy waters to fairly extreme depths.
One of our coolest adventures was to see the deepest blue hole in the world. Dean’s Blue Hole is located at Long Island and goes to a depth of around 660 feet! We were told that the second largest known underwater cavern in the world is at the bottom of Dean’s Blue Hole.
We had a wonderful picnic here one afternoon, just the two of us. I was rather nervous contemplating snorkeling out into Dean’s Blue Hole and I decided it must have been the extreme unknown of what lies in the depths below. Locals dive from the low cliffs on the backside of the hole and swim in its waters all the time.
My better and much prettier half, had no issues swimming out into the middle of Dean’s Blue Hole… and loves giving me trouble about being a chicken to this day!
The third morning, I called Nancy to find out where to get fresh fish, thinking there had to be plenty in the Bahamas. She mentioned Nick the fisherman and gave us his number. I left a message and he called us back a few hours later.
Nick the fisherman said he had grouper and red snapper he had caught the day before. It turned out Nick, his wife and six children lived at the end of our sandy, gravel road. It took five minutes to walk up the hill to his house where we were met by a welcoming version of man’s best friend, who ran up to us wagging his tail excitedly and definitely got our petting attention.