A district of the Bahamas, Long Island is located 165 miles southeast of Nassau. The island was originally known by the Arawak name, "Yuma,” but was later rechristened "Fernandina" by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492. The island was first settled by the Lucayan Taíno tribe, who were later enslaved and sent to Hispaniola and Cuba. There existed no large non-native settlement on the island until the arrival of the Loyalists, who had fled New England during the American Revolution. The Loyalists constructed cotton plantations, as well as cattle and sheep farming operations, all of which collapsed after slavery’s abolition in 1834. Ruins from this era still exist today, including many small stone houses, offering glimpses of Long Island’s rich history. Descendants of these families still populate the island, bridging the island’s past to the present day.
Considered by many to be the hidden gem of the Bahamas, Long Island is 80 miles long and 4 miles wide. With only approximately 4,000 inhabitants, Long Island’s natural beauty and relaxed feel provides a sharp contrast to Nassau’s crowded hustle and bustle.
A well-paved road follows the entire length of the island, making it easy to explore by rental car. There is no lack of dramatic ocean views on all sides of the island. White sand beaches are abundant, yet crowds are not, often offering you your own private beach paradise in which to swim, snorkel or simply bask in the sun. Even entire saltwater flats will provide bonefish anglers a rare and cherished experience of solitude. If you’re seeking to add some local culture along the way, simply stop at any number of the many roadside conch bars and restaurants, where you can share a midday reprieve with island residents.
On the southern half of the island is the world famous Dean's Blue Hole, named for the Bahamian family that owns the property. At 663-feet, this is the world's deepest known blue hole and is the most revered site on earth for free diving professionals.
Blue holes are the result of rainwater having soaked through fractures of limestone bedrock onto the water table of glacial sea levels during the Pleistocene Epoch, or Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago. Dean's Blue Hole is fairly circular in shape at the surface level, with a diameter ranging from 80 to 120 feet. After descending 60 feet, the hole widens considerably into a cavern with a diameter of 330 feet. It is, without a doubt, a true, natural marvel and one of Long Island’s greatest treasures.