We rented a car the other day with Bob and Anne of Baloo and went exploring on Long Island.  It is an island 76 miles long and at the widest spot is 4 miles but the majority of all sites are located along it's major two lane road the "Queens Highway".  We wanted to find some of the caves, blue holes, old churches, goats, and the Columbus's monument listed in our guide book. 

A blue hole is a cave that is inland or an underwater sinkhole, they are also known as vertical caves.  The deepest blue hole in the world is "Dean's Blue Hole" located on Long Island.  We knew Dean was "deep" but never thought he was a world record.  The water is very blue and you can watch the currents in the hole move the water from the lower colder areas up to the top warmer water.  As the sign said, swimming was at your own risk and we decided that it looked better from the shore than in the water.

There are Free diving competitions held at Dean's Blue Hole and the deepest someone has swam down is 124 meters.  There are other types of events where people use weights they can drop or sleds that take them down, with and without fins and the overall deepest someone went is 273 meters.  That person also holds the record for holding his breath in a pool for 11 minutes 35 seconds.  Ok so when we are snorkeling down 15 feet for 20 seconds I guess no one is that amazed.  As you cruise you are always looking for fish to spear or lobsters to harvest and you can build up the time you are underwater but no where near the 11 minutes.

At the north end of Long Island is a Columbus monument, it seems one of his ships, Santa Maria, ran aground during is voyage to the new world.  Bob and Anne thought they could help his navigation by pointing the direction he should go but there seemed to be a bit of confusion  as well so I am glad he did not ask us for directions.  We also had the opportunity to see if we could compete with the NASCAR tire changing pit crew.  With all the gravel, sand, some asphalt roads we ended up with a flat tire.  As you can see we were helping Derek's education on the finer details of how to change a flat tire.

There are many caves as well on Long Island and we did some spelunking in a few of them.  Most had bats, cockroaches, and other things we only got side glimpses of but no one was lost.  Finding the cave location became quite a challenge, they are mentioned in the island guides but there are no signs or really good references on how to find them.  For instance one said, turn at the house, go down the road two minutes, walk along the shore 50 paces and then turn east into the forest.  With Kris and Bob navigating we did manage to find our fair share of caves but we did not find all of them, I guess another trip might be in order.

All in all we packed a lot into one day but you could not see Long Island just from the water so being able to drive it made a lot of sense.  Oh yea they drive on the left side of the road so after stopping it was important to start on the correct side of the road.

 

 

 

update 4/18/12; Blue holes, free diving, and Columbus

Inland blue hole

Warning at Deans Blue Hole

Is this all Deans blue hole is?

The real Deans Blue Hole

Flat Tire on the road, but Derek is taking care of it


Inside the caves, this one was a cockroach haven, with some bats.

The Columbus Monument - now which way to the Americas?

Lunch break in oldest church in Bahamas, built by
Spanish, long abandoned.

Derek blows the conch horn to signal the end of another fine day.

The intrepid explorers, standing by roots that extend down into the cave.