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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Long Island to Rum Cay

(photos added, click to view big versions)

We met our friend, Maik, on Long Island and he has joined us for a couple of weeks., We are having fun, since we haven't seen each other for a couple of years and Maik was a friend of Gesa's (through the volleyball club) before he became a friend of mine too, so the three of us are enjoying being back together.

On Long Island we swam and snorkeled, played on the beach, explored the beautiful churches in the village (photos one day, promise) and had a few beers at the local marina bar.

Yesterday was windy and a day for shore-side exploring, so we decided to walk to the 'blue hole' about four miles away. A blue hole is where the sea has, somehow, carved out a deep deep cavern in an otherwise shallow and sheltered spot. Some are ashore, this one was on the coast in a sheltered bay. It is said to be the deepest in the world, at 633 feet, and only about a hundred feet around. Worth a visit, everyone said. Hire a car, they said.

Seventy dollars?!? we said, and decided we could walk four miles, so we did. As we were nearly there, with the kids complaining and us wondering how four miles can take two hours, a nice guy stops to ask if we need a lift. We're OK, we say, and he directs us to the junction we need to take. We keep walking, and about twenty minutes later he returns. I'm on my lunch hour, he says, and I got my lunch and some time so figured I come back and give you a ride anyway, it's a bit hard to find. We gratefully jump in and he takes us the last half mile.

The blue hole is beautiful indeed. Three quarters of it is surrounded by limestone clifs, eaten into jagged shapes by wind and rain. The last quarter is open to the bay, and across that opening the sand is just a couple of feet below the water. You can walk or swim along this edge, then into the hole where it drops away to deep blue nothingness. People had talked (joked?) about sharks and so some of our group were a little nervous but I swam all across and dove down the wall to see the fish and coral living there, it was amazing. I also climbed out at the edge, walked gingerly up the cliff edge to where an overlook allows you to jump twenty or so feet down into the hole, and took the plunge - that was fun.

As we were eating lunch, another car arrives and we get chatting to the chap who has come for a quick swim here. He's Canadian, as so many are here, and has spent a lot of time on Vancouver Island. Gesa asks if he could give us a lift back to Clarence town and sure, he's going to meet some friends for a drink anyway. We get a ride back, nice chat and a great guy to know as we head up to British Columbia. We buy him a beer, meet some other cruisers we recognise in the bar and have an enjoyable afternoon.

Leaving the bar to return to the dinghy, we pass the local packing house where vegetables and fruit are gathered on Tuesday before the ship arrives to take them away on Wednesday. We buy a good range of bananas, limes, papaya, tomato, squash, eggplant and, in these islands that are so expensive, are delighted to find that these all add up to five dollars and forty cents. Having just paid four dollars for each beer, this is fantastic.

We are entertained by new friends on a neighbouring catamaran and have a fun evening, we are going the same way tomorrow so look forward to seeing them again.

Today we left fairly early, at nine am, to sail the thirty five miles up to Rum Cay, a small island to the north. After a slightly rough start we settle into a nice rhythm as the seas slowly subside and we glide along at top speed. Our journey is twice interrupted by fish - this time we are successful and take two ten to twelve pound mahi-mahi, we decided to fish for a second because we knew our friends were coming the same way so we can share the bounty. By the time we arrived, the fish were cleaned and in the fridge. This evening we had a very nice dinner of grilled mahi steaks, grilled egplant and boiled rice. Yum.

We are anchored off a huge sweeping sandy beach so I think I know where we will be going tomorrow, and a little exploring of the island should be in store. We're probably here till Saturday so it'll be fun to have a look around.

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