The Beautiful Island
Long Island Travel Tale
by Lorry Patton ...
According to history, Columbus said Long Island is the most beautiful island in the world. I have
to chuckle when I read such superlative comments. It seems every explorer, upon sighting land, utters the words "most
beautiful," "most-like paradise," and so on. I've come to the conclusion that after days, weeks, even months at sea, when
land is at last ahoy to the weary sailor, what else can it be but the most beautiful sight in the world? Personally, I
haven't seen all of the world's islands and it's unlikely that I ever will. However, I have seen several islands in the
Bahama's archipelago, and I can truly say, Long Island is definitely one of the most beautiful in the group.
The Bahamas is a family of coral and limestone islands that stretches from the southeastern coast of Florida to the
northern coast of Haiti. Comprised of flat to gentle rolling lands and covered with scrubby thick pine forests, the
Bahamas' unique beauty lies not its topography, but rather in its startling visions of blue/green water lapping at miles
and miles of white powder/pink sand shores.
Long Island has the miles and miles of white powder/pink sand shores and the blue/green water. It also has distinct
hills, lush forests and paths and roads that lead to hidden bays and secret caves. But most precious of all, it has (what
only undeveloped islands can possess) silence and solitude.
So, what can you do on an island where, if you need to make a call, you look for a telephone pole
and follow the wire till it connects to a phone?
We went snorkeling. Unfortunately the water was murky because of unusually rough underground
swells but I could still see the intriguing coral formations in hues of pinks and reds. I hung on to my
partner with a grip Hulk Hogan would respect, kept my mouth shut tight around the snorkel, and
watched dozens of bright tropical fish fearlessly dart in and out of reach.
We didn't go diving or fishing; however, there are over 27 dive spots off Long Island -- many
world-famous -- that attract divers from as far away as Germany. There are also a variety of fishing
holes teaming with marlin, tuna and bonefish that reel in the big-time fishermen. We could have had a
five-course meal in a secluded cafe at the end of a stone path on top of a hill deep in the forest. The
meal -- that could have included German-basted roast duck and homemade caraway seed bread --
would have been prepared especially for us, but instead of a slew of waiters and busboys, we'd be served by the cook
and his wife.
Some of us played tennis -- imagine playing tennis in the woods where the spectators are dressed in feathers.
We went bike riding and discovered banana groves and ancient wells. We went beachcombing on lonely beaches where
the only footprints in the sand besides our own belonged to a flock of sandpipers. We explored silly caves, historical
caves and caves where pirates hid their treasures.
We hired a car and drove across a good portion of the island, skirting pothole after pothole on a road badly in need of
repair. The few folks we passed looked at us with friendly curiosity. They always grinned broadly and always waved
hello. "Come back," we were invited, more than once.
We climbed the cliff where Christopher Columbus's monument stands and through his eyes I watched the tide rush in
and out. With tremendous power, the swirling foam pushed and pulled at the beach, each time creating fresh and
untouched ground that sparkled against the grey cliffs. Beyond the ebb the blue/green sea heaved up and down as if
sighing with relief. Gosh, I thought, this is the most beautiful sight in the wor ... . I caught myself just in time.
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