We are staying in our anchorage here outside of Salt Pond, Long Island until the heavy winds driving out of the NE have settled down. Because we were definitely not leaving today, and probably not even tomorrow, we decided to rent a car from Fox Auto for 24 hours. And so, we went touring around Long Island.
First stop: Stella Maris. The main attraction? A blue hole that looked to be right in town, according to the charts. However, when we began driving down the roads that would lead us to the blue hole, we found them to be overgrown with weeds and bushes. We walked the rest of the way to the blue hole, which actually turned out to be more of a brown hole, or an exceptionally deep pond complete with ducks. Ah well, at least we found it!
The rest of Stella Maris is a bit sparse. The Stella Maris Marina sits on the eastern shore of the island. The channel leading into the marina waters is a bit shallow, more practical for a boat with a 5ft or less draft than ours with 6ft. The marina was small but pleasant. However, there isn’t too much near by at all, a just a bar and a small store. On the western shore of Stella Maris was a little beach home neighborhood. It was very pleasant and well kept, with a couple stores, a restaurant and bar, and easy beach access to a sea that we found tossing and turning, turbulent waves crashing on shore, driven by the high winds rolling in.
Next Stop: Deans Blue Hole. This is the deepest blue hole in the world at over 600ft. The hole is located on the western shore of the island, just south of Hamilton and north of Clarence Town. There are signs directing you to the hole from the Queens Highway. Be careful when you drive down the bumpy roads. You will abruptly come upon the beach after a turn at the end of the road. The blue hole is just around the corner, surrounded on one side by a circle of cliffs. A rope ladder on the far end seems to indicate that some people like to jump into the hole from the cliffside and then climb back up to do it again. A diving platform sits in the middle.
I walked to the edge of the blue hole, just the chilly winds and occasional cool rain didn’t have me in the mood for a swim. Gary hopped on in for a snorkel. However, with the winds churning the waters on the western shore, you could not even see the steep sides of the hole, and so it just looked like a deep sand pit.
Still, the blue hole was breathtaking. A deep dark hole in the water, a tunnel to caves connecting other deep holes across the island. A gateway to a network of of tunnels carved in the crust of the Earth by thousands of years of erosion, tunnels that shroud themselves and their mysteries in inky blackness. And I stood at the mouth of it.
Third Stop: Clarence Town. The town sits on the west shore of the island. Two Turtles Marina is located near the center of town and looked to be a very nice place to tie up at $1.40 a foot, free showers, and coin laundry. There are a few restaurants in town, a multitude of churches, a post office, police station, and a few different stores. A nice place to stay, and the largest town on Long Island.
Just south of town, we found a series of roads that seem to be set up to support a housing development of some kind. Perhaps the project is still underway, or possibly abandoned. Projects in the Bahamas seem to come and go, and aren’t necessarily always finished. Whether the project is still underway or not, the views from the hill were absolutely spectacular! You could see the ocean, a natural series of inlets, and another blue hole off to the left. It was simply gorgeous.
We headed back to the boat as it was getting dark. The crossing was just miserable as the winds and the waves began to increase. I cannot even imagine what it would be like on the other side of the island. I’m glad we’re on the leeward side!