- Katharine Hesmer
DAY 60 | February 11, 2022
Long Island, Bahamas
KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map.
We arrived at Long Island yesterday in flat seas, and woke up this morning to windy conditions and white caps in the bay. In spite of the threatening weather, we decided to take a quick trip south to try and find a gift shop we'd learned about last night that sells t-shirts like the ones worn by the staff at Tiny's.
Our cute waitress had told us to look for this gift shop next to Letta’s restaurant near the Bight, neither of which were familiar to us, but today we looked them up, pulled up our anchor, and made our way there. It was about a 7 NM trip with storms off of our starboard side, and we were actually hoping they’d come our way and give our salty boat a bath. No such luck, but they were still beautiful to look at, and I love any excuse for a boat ride, no matter how short.
We anchored KORKZcrew just offshore from what looked like a dinghy dock and headed that way, leaving Steve on the boat to rest (!) and Skeet to work on his school assignments. Turns out there wasn’t a dinghy dock after all, so we just took the dinghy into shallow water, tied it to a tree, and walked along the gravel road to the main highway, where we had an easy 7-minute walk to Letta’s and the gift shop next door. You can see on the map that there's a "Shrimp Hole" along the route we walked to Letta's, and I regret to say that we didn't stop there, as it is apparently well worth the visit. It's a natural inland water cave where you jump in and are surrounded by a species of shrimp. That would've made for some fun GoPro footage.
We made it to Letta's and went inside the gift shop first — Long Island Traders —where we were greeted by a very skittish young dog who you could tell didn’t trust people. She growled but didn’t look the least bit fierce — her tail was between her legs — and while my imagination was probably getting the best of me, I felt like she’d very likely been mistreated just by the way she was acting. We looked around this small but really attractive shop that had everything from t-shirts to bathing suits to kitchen utensils to any condiments you might need. Just a really thoughtful array of choices, and a happy little shop. There was no one working there, so Ron and I assumed the owner or clerk was probably next door at the restaurant.
Letta’s was clearly a really popular local spot. It was a tiny open air bar with several tables and a terrific atmosphere. Ron went to buy a beer and 4 people sitting nearby saw his KORKZ shirt. One of them asked if we’d just come from George Town — when he said "yes, we’re on KORKZcrew", he and his wife piped up and said "YOU JUST GOT A BUNCH OF NEW BATTERIES!" They were really cute and friendly, and had just come from George Town too. The foursome were not boating together but had become friends after crossing paths some time ago at the Annapolis boat show, then ran into each other again in Charleston last year, and had overlapped on this trip to Long Island. They were so friendly and asked all about our adventures and where we were from originally. One man gave us his “boat card”— Chris and Renée from sailing vessel Oceanaire — and I commented on how blown away we’ve been by the friendliness of people we've come across. Chris said “welcome to the boating community!” As in, this is just the way it is. We explained the generosity of the two electrical engineers we’d met, and they weren’t surprised in the least but still loved to hear the story of the way they both selflessly donated their time just "because", expecting nothing in return.
Their group of four had rented a car and left soon after we chatted with them because they’d been at Letta's awhile (or because we'd scared them off . . . not entirely sure which one 🤔 😂). Afterwards Ron and I talked to our friendly waitress for a bit, and learned that she was the daughter of the restaurant's owners who we also met. They're island natives and their home is right behind the restaurant. They were so great to talk to — very down to earth, asking about our accents, with the wife saying she KNEW we were from North Carolina, and that was a GOOD thing. So cute. We talked about what a positive experience we’d had at Tiny’s last night, and they told us it’s actually owned by a guy from NC and has been a very positive addition to the island. They had nothing but very favorable things to say about the owner, the resort, and the restaurant.
The owner of Long Island Trading was having lunch at Letta's bar, and once she was finished we followed her back over to the shop where we bought a few Tiny’s t-shirts. She's British and extremely kind. She explained that her dog is a rescue named Honey, and you may want to skip to the next paragraph because this next bit is very hard to read. Honey was part of a litter of six that the owner tried to poison, and when that didn’t work, the owner tried to drown all of the puppies. Honey and one other sibling survived, and the gift shop owner said that an ironic outcome of Honey's ordeal is that she's an incredibly good swimmer 😭. And she is a lucky little girl to have such a loving owner, who taught her that Ron and I were "safe", so Honey came and gave us both a lick on our hands and started to wag her tail. Thought I might bawl my brains out but I kept my composure. I will never understand the cruelty of human beings toward other humans, but especially not toward children or animals. There is simply no excuse.
Walked back to our dinghy and headed back over to KORKZcrew where we each worked on our computers and just hung out for awhile. There’s more bad weather on the horizon with 30+ knot winds, so we are weighing where we should anchor in the next day to best ride out the conditions. Ron thinks we’ll probably be in whatever spot we choose for about a week, but we’ll see. We’ve already had a warm welcome to Long Island from the friendly locals, and have learned that renting a car is a great idea for seeing the island, especially if we’re here for a week. The waitress at Letta’s said that there are two beautiful and popular beaches on Long Island, both on what the locals call “the south side” of the island, which is the side where we are currently anchored. One is at the north end of the island and has a nice resort, and the other is at the southern end of the island. She said a lot of people go there on Sundays and make a day of it. Sounds very tempting!
And speaking of tempting, look what became of Captain Ron's Almaco Jack catch: tonight's dinner, featuring delicious fish tacos! Cheers!
1 hour underway; 7 nautical miles traveled