Much like the similarly named island in the American state of New York, Long Island in the Bahamas Out Islands is a summer paradise for visitors and locals alike. Measuring 6 kilometers wide and 128 kilometers long, the scenic island (with a population of around 3,000 inhabitants) is renowned for its world famous bone-fishing and scuba diving.
Named ‘Fernandina’ by the Spaniards, the island was believed to be the murderously inhumane Christopher Columbus’s third stop in the Bahamas, after San Salvador and Rum Cay. The original Lucayan Indian residents were transferred to Cuba and Hispaniola, and the island remained largely uninhabited until the Loyalists’ arrival.
The Loyalists, who were fleeing the American Revolution, came from New Jersey and New England. They set up the first farms and raised sheep and cattle. While most of original farms are now abandoned, the Loyalists’ descendants continue to live in Long Island.
Home to one of the Bahamas’ oldest diving operations, Long Island has various deep and shallow dive sites. The island is also known for Dean’s Blue Hole, which is the Bahamas’s deepest recorded blue hole. The island’s Western coast has sandy soft beaches with lush green mangroves. With the ocean on the east, the island is a paradise for yachting, sailing and fishing.
Long known by travel writers and beach lovers, Cape Santa Maria Beach is one of the world’s prettiest beaches. Also in the island is the Columbus Point. It is set high on one of the island’s northern hills and it is where visitors can experience superb sea views.
Another point of interest is Hamilton’s Cave, which is an ancient cave system with a ceiling over 10 feet high and passages over 50 feet wide. Cave drawings and artifacts by the Lucayans’ were found in the cave in 1935.
Two urban attractions in Clarence Town from Long Island’s past are also worth looking into. St. Paul’s Church was built when Father Jerome Hawes was Anglican. The second church, St. Peter’s & St. Paul’s Church, was made after he converted to Roman Catholicism. The two churches look similar with their twin towers.
Long Island beckons visitors not only for its pristine beaches and scuba diving. The island also invites visitors to its Loyalist-era past, wherein old plantation mansions still dot the islands.
If you want to enjoy a sense of history/civilization and the tranquil beaches, a Long Island vacation in the Bahamas will have you enjoying the best of both worlds.