Aahhh … the Out Islands. Where nature is still pristine and life less hurried.
Where you can slow down, relax and find yourself again. Christopher Columbus first set foot on Long Island’s shores on October 16th, 1492, and wrote in his logbook that it was the “World’s most beautiful Island”. Crossed by the Tropic of Cancer, it is arguably one of the most stunning and contrasting of the Bahamian Archipelago’s jewels, affording an ideal climate year-round with the Gulf Stream warming the ocean during the winter months and pleasant trade winds cooling the land in summer time. Dramatic white cliffs and secluded coves of the East compete with enchantingly tranquil bays of the West.
Some 35 quaint villages and prosperous farming and fishing towns house 4,000 inhabitants. Points of interest are plantation ruins and limestone caves, historic churches and the World’s deepest Blue Hole (“Dean’s”), the salt Salinas and the remnants of Indian settlements. And then there are beaches, beaches, beaches … with the whitest of sands and the clearest of ocean waters. Fishing, snorkelling, diving … simply all sorts of water sports are at their very best.
The Island’s pace is wholesomely steady. Friendliness abounds, Long Islanders being renowned for their old-fashioned courtesy, welcoming visitors and new settlers with graceful charm and appreciation. Modern tourism has only left a few soft imprints, and there are no fast-paced business actions. Yet there are all the modern amenities; from good air and sea transport to excellent communications; from dependable power supplies to well-functioning social structures. And the Island’s very capable commercial scene most efficiently caters to all of today’s residential and vacation needs.
Named “Yuma” by the Indians and then “Fernandina” by Columbus, Long Island is over 80 miles in length with an average width of 2 miles, so offering plenty of space for enjoying the land and the surrounding ocean bodies. One never tires of taking in the beautiful panorama of ever-changing land and seascapes!
And then there is the attractive neighbourhood: The Exumas to the West, just a stone’s throw away, Cat Island to the North and, equally nearby, the nature park of Conception Island, quaint Rum Cay and the historically famous San Salvador to the East.
All of these make for great water and air excursions and future commerce exchanges.
Here a few island facts:
- Air transport: 2 Government operated airports. Deadman’s Cay, in the middle of the South, and Stella Maris in the North (with “International” status) served by a multitude of commuter, airline and charter services.
- Sea transport: 2 Government operated landing facilities. Clarencetown, at the South-East, and Simms, at the North-West shore, served by weekly and twice-monthly modern roll-on, roll-off freight vessels. Routes are from and to Ft. Lauderdale and Nassau (with limited passenger spaces).
- Government Systems: Administration of all Central Government affairs is organized from the Clarencetown and Simms offices. There are fully manned headquarters and facilities for Education and Sports, Health, National Insurance, Social Services, and Police.
- Infra-Structure: Bahamas Electricity Services, fully Government-owned, provides dependable power supplies throughout the Island. Bahamas Telecommunication Services (now under the ownership of “Cable and Wireless”) provides top-notch, modern fiber optic communications (including complete cellular coverage) and Internet services, here and across the entire Bahamas.
- Shopping and General Supplies: A robust system of shops and other service providers across Long Island serve the community well. From foods to beverages; household goods to construction materials; health to marine supplies. No, there are no “Home Depots” yet, no “CVS pharmacies” and no “Publix” either. And, hopefully, there’ll never be any “McDonald’s”, no “Wendy’s” … ever!
- Schools and Health: Various schools, free of any charges, provide solid education up to a High School level. Clinics provide general and first aid health care. Emergencies and ‘serious’ cases are being referred to Nassau facilities.
- Social Life: Is mostly “self-made”, among acquaintances and friends, area-wise. Much of this is, of course, water-bound! But, there also are organized public fun functions … quite a few of them: The Long Island’s annual Out Island Sailing Regatta is renowned throughout the Bahamas and well beyond! The Farmer’s Markets not only “show and sell”, they also offer local art and casual entertainment. Schools schedule regular sports Jamborees. Churches have entertainment functions all the time, not just for their congregations but for the general public. Truly, it is never boring here. And, of course, Nassau, the Capital, is just some 45 minutes away with its bustling commerce and entertainment, its fancy hotels and restaurants and its glitzy shopping scene.