D83-95: Long Island (1/22 - 2/2/2020)

Thompson Bay is a protected bay on the western shore of Long Island about midway between the northern and southern tips. The bay is protected from all directions except southwest and to some degree the south. A southwest wind is definitely the worst wind direction but does not typically happen or last very long at Long Island. In summary, this is a great anchorage.  The red circle marks the area where we anchored mostly.  

The nearest town or village to our anchorage location is Salt Ponds, which is a small community  to the east of our anchorage that is spread along the Queens Highway and boasts a dinghy dock, grocery store, the Sou’side Grill and Bar, a farmer’s market, a marine supply store, a rental car company, and lots of hiking and exploring opportunities. The grocery store is an experience. The back room is lined with freezers with all kinds of frozen food including meat and fish.

Thompson Bay

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With a short dinghy ride to the northeast side of the bay, you can also get to Tiny’s Grill that usually offers free laundry, but their systems were out of order this season. No other laundry facilities were available within 20 miles.  See photo below.  They have a dock to which you can tie your dinghy.  They serve great pizza along with other food and beverages.  

Tiny's

Tiny's Grill

In the other direction (southeast) in a dinghy, you can reach a fuel dock for diesel and gas. Unfortunately, everyone warned us that the depth at the fuel dock is too shallow or the approach is too treacherous for our sailboat. So, don’t count on filling up your diesel tanks or water tanks along side the dock.  Everyone uses jugs to haul fuel.  We did not need any, so did not have to do that.  I took my dinghy over there and explored the bottom.  You can get close to the docks, but it looks like a hard shelf blocks access to the docks for deeper draft boats.  I might need to explore more someday.  

There is no fresh water available to boaters here that I am aware of. So, once again, I thank my lucky stars that we installed a water maker. We originally thought it was an unnecessary extravagance.  

If you are not self-sufficient, you should either: 

- plan to stay here a short time

- plan on carrying Jerry jugs back from the fuel dock

- take regular trips back to George Town for supplies.

The anchorage offers beautiful sunsets as you can see from some of the photos below. When the wind is blowing, the water gets a bit cloudy with sand so not always great for snorkeling. But when the winds calm down, you can see the bottom which is all sand where we anchored. Also, there is no cruiser’s net here anymore like they have in George Town, so there are fewer organized cruiser’s events. We are all aware of Friday night Happy Hour at the Sou’side Grill, so most of us meet up there at least. Although all of the cruisers in George Town are very nice, I do not miss the organized events all that much.

One advantage to this anchorage is that you can leave and come back and still find a good spot to anchor. George Town gets so crowded you hate to move or leave to go sailing. You may not get a place when you return. As a result, people tend to sit in one place, which is not why I am here.

Click on photos below to see larger images.  

Our buddy boat Endurance along with s/v Dragon Fly made an attempt to go to Conception Island on 1/28/2020 and we planned to anchor in Calabash Bay on the north end of Long Island before heading over to Conception. Unfortunately, when we arrived the west wind was too strong and no one on Flight Risk or Endurance wanted to ride out the night bouncing. We sailed back to Thompson Bay, while Bob on Dragon Fly decided to stick it out. The trip provided a great opportunity to do some sailing. Cathy and I turned off our motor at Indian Hole Point and sailed all the way to Dove Cay. On the return trip we sailed about 50% of the time.

After that day, Joe and Beverly Winterscheid on Endurance started studying their calendar and realized that they needed to move on. Cathy and I decided to wait one more week to find an opening for a trip to Conception. So sadly, we parted with our sistership and buddy boat Endurance on Friday 1/31/2020. We will miss them.

That Friday, Cathy and I rented a car and took a trip to the south of the island. We dropped off some laundry in Hamilton and sucked out some cash from the teller machine at Scotia Bank. We stopped at Dean’s Blue Hole near Clarence Town which was truly amazing. The blue hole is one of the deepest known blue holes in the world and is about 663 feet deep. There must be a source of water near the bottom, but I am not sure I would want to find it. The water was crystal clear and alive with fish. You can wade up to the edge and see it drop off.

We also stopped at Clarence Town and ate lunch at the Flying Fish Marina and took a tour of the Hamilton Cave on the way back north. We paid for a tour, which was worth it. The guide knew all the history and the three species of bats that were living there this time of year. We really enjoyed the day, but Long Island is truly long with one main “highway” down the middle.

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