Island T'ings - Useful things to know about Long Island - The Beaches of Long Island

The Beaches of Long Island
The Beaches of Long Island
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Island T'ings - Useful things to know about Long Island

T'ings to Know

Long Islander’s are rugged, self reliant, creative, religious, and socially conservative.  Please understand that their island ways may not be yours.  Do not impose your standards and expectations upon them.  Be aware that Sunday is a day of rest on Long Island.  Most Long Islanders will be attending church.  Most stores, restaurants, and other businesses are closed or have very restricted hours.  Plan accordingly.

The Bahamian dollar and US dollar trade at par, that is, one for one. Plan on bringing cash, lots of it.  Many smaller establishments don't accept credit cards.  And those that do discourage it because of card validation issues and VAT charges on the use of the card.   There are now only two full service banks with ATMs on the island, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in Greys and Scotia Bank in Hamiltons.  The ATMs are open only during banking hours.  Again, you will be charged 7.5% not only for the bank transaction fee, but also 7.5% on what you withdraw!

How much cash should you bring?  Certainly that depends on your life style.  For planning purposes:
-  Food.  If you self cater and don't eat out at all, you can get by very well on $25/day/person.  But you're here on vacation, so figure on some dinners out.  If you eat breakfast in, and throw in several dinners during your stay, figure $50/day/person.  We do find that we eat less during our stay than we would back in the States.  And we eat much healthier food.  Junk food is terribly expensive.  Fresh fruit is cheap and sometimes can be had for the picking.
-  Dinners.  A generous allowance is $25 per person, tip and drinks not included.  If you're spending more, you're on the wrong island.
-  Drinks.  We're talking adult beverages.  Depends on how much you drink, what you drink, and how many visitors/guests you may entertain.  Typical cost of a mid-range name brand of liquor will be $30.  Cheaper down around $20.  Don't forget to throw in various mixers.  Again, this is for what you have wherever you're staying.  Not for drinks out.  Figure restaurant drinks in the $7-10 range.
-  Car rental.  About $60/day.  Full week $420.  Gas is about $5/gal.  Typical full tank will run you about $60-75.  Full week use of car plus gas - $500.
-  Gifts.  We usually bring something back. From Long Island.  Not from Nassau.  There are many talented and exceptional crafts persons on the island.  Seek them out! Budget $200, just because.

If you're a person who wants to be away from the office but really can't or you are so addicted to your cell phone that you would go into withdrawal without it, don't worry, cell-phones are a also a way of life here.  Change your service to an international plan unless you want a huge surprise on your return.  Most guest houses will have internet access.  If yours doesn't, many restaurants do.  Just buy a drink in exchange for the use.  The island is subject to storms that can wreck havoc with these services.  As they can with electric.  Service outages of an hour or so are not uncommon.  Part of island life.  Electric service is 120 volt with standard US style plugs.

This is vacation!  No need for anything fancy.  With one exception:  If you're planning on going to church, which we highly recommend if only to hear a Bahamian congregation beautifully sing a capello four part harmony.  Then ladies a nice dress, nothing revealing, and men, dark parts and a short sleeve buttoned shirt, preferably white.  And when you lay out your clothing back in the States before leaving, toss half of it.  You won't need it.  Excluding camera gear and laptop, we've gotten down to one 35 pound suitcase for the two of us for two weeks.

Although you may not agree, but bugs have as much right to the beach as you do.  Maybe more, since they were here first.  You will encounter two types of bugs on Long Island - those that you can see, mostly mosquitos, and those that you can’t, the infamous NO-SEE-UMS. Mosquitos seem to like to attack about five minutes after sunset, and they do so ferociously.  And they are no respecter of location.  Whether beach, restaurant, patio, house, or car, they will attack.  So you do need to cover your skin - long pants and a long sleeved shirt are essential, even in summer.  No-see-ums are a different story.  They attack at any hour of the day in all conditions.  And covered skin is no impediment to them.  Since they’re so small, they just go beneath the cuffs.  And winds don’t seem to slow them down.  I’ve been outside in 25 mph winds - didn’t phase them one bit.

How to combat them:  25% DEET works for me.  All over my arms, legs, face, and neck.  If you’re not a DEET fan, use whatever works for you.  However, as far as I know, all purchasable bug repellants on the island contain DEET.

Weather is reasonably constant year round.  Winter temperatures may dip below 70oF, but this is rare.  Usual winter temps are around 75.  Summer temperatures rarely rise above 90, and are usually around 85.  Although weather conditions are important to beach going - a downpour puts a damper to walking the beach - equally important are wind and sea conditions and tides, especially for the unprotected Atlantic side.  There are any number of sites that give this information.  The following are ones that I’ve used and like:

For weather and sea conditions:

For tides & fishing conditions:

For weather, tides, and sea conditions:

For weather and sea conditions, windfinder is easier to read and understand than tide-forecast.  However tide-forecast has it all.  

Although windfinder gives Stella Maris weather, wind, and sea conditions, it does not include tides and sunrise/sunset information.  The other two only have Clarencetown.  Mid island beaches are probably about 15 minutes later and northern beaches about 30 minutes later.  For Caribbean side beaches, times are probably about 30-60 minutes later.  Tidal swings are not as great on the Carribean side as on the Atlantic side and wave heights will be greatly attenuated, even for winds coming out of the south to west.

This is an island where up is down and down is up and east is north and west is south.   This island is rooted in and oriented to the sea.  So island geographic references are typically given in that language.

Geographically the island runs roughly from northwest (Cape Santa Maria / Columbus Monument) to southeast (Gordons) except for the small section from Turtle Cove/Dean’s Hole/Turnbull to Clarencetown when it makes a dog leg west to east turn.

Prevailing winds typically are from the south.  So for sailing ships, if you are going with the wind, you are going downwind.  Thus anyone traveling north will say they are “going down” (similar to Maine’s “down east”).  Conversely, if one is going south, you’ll hear the phrase “going up”.  Typically, the direction will be dropped.

Again as winds have a general southern or northern orientation to them, most northerly winds will be striking the east (Atlantic) side, most southerly the west (Caribbean) side.  So the eastern Atlantic side is often referred to as the north side while the western Caribbean side is referred to as the south side.

All very confusing for an island that is about 80 miles long and only four miles wide at its widest!

Even a frequent visitor such as I still has to calibrate my lingo the first few days on island.  To avoid ANY(!) confusion, I will use the explicit terms Atlantic or ocean side and Caribbean or sea side to indicate which side of the island a beach is located and will use north, south, left, and right for traveling directions.

I’ve avoided mileages as visitors may be staying anywhere on the island.

Googlemaps earth view have been used to present an overview of the beaches.  Road maps have been heavily edited from googlemaps earth view.  Strategic visual cues and photos of same if needed will also be included.

NOTE:  If you happen to use Googlemaps when on Long Island, note that it is only good for visual reference.  Many of its place names are incorrect or incorrectly located.
"The Beaches of Long Island"
by Phillip 'Doc Fig' Figdore
copyright 2018, all rights reserved
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