Island Spotlight: Long Island
“Yuma” was the original name for Long Island given by the native Arawak Indians before Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492 and renamed “Fernandina” after his mentor in Spain. It’s said that in his diary, Columbus described the island as the most beautiful island he’d ever seen. Long Island is divided by the Tropic of Cancer and is bordered by two very different coasts. The east coast of the island features wide beaches with soft powdery white sand that leads into the tranquil Bahama Bank. The west coast has dramatic rocky cliffs and caves overlooking crashing waves. Loyalist families from America settled on the island in the 18th century, setting up cotton plantations and raising livestock. Most of the plantations failed by the mid 19th century. Today, many of the Loyalist mansions still stand in scenic ruins.
In a bay west of Clarence Town in Long Island, you can find Dean’s Blue Hole – one of the deepest known blue holes in the world – with a depth of 202 metres (663 feet). The blue hole is enclosed on three sides by an incredible natural rock amphitheatre, and on the fourth side by a powder white beach and turquoise lagoon. It’s widely considered to be the world’s best freediving location. Snorkelers and divers alike will enjoy the wildlife around the blue hole, including turtles, sea horses, dolphins, rays, and many colorful tropical fish.
Listen, can you hear the waves? Can you smell the salt in the air? Can you feel the sun on your face and the soft, powdery sand between your toes? Long Island is calling you!