We visited Long Island last month, and found your most recent edition of The Bahamas Flyfishing Guide an invaluable resource. With Stella Maris and Cape Santa Maria closed in September, we saw little activity on the North end of the island. But the central and southern portions have their own charms, especially for the independent angler. Our lodgings at Tommy’s Inn in Clarence Town were first-rate, as was the Forest Restaurant.
Even taking the slow season into account, it was our impression that a few of the places you’d mentioned had seen better days. We had to ask where to find the Blue Chip Restaurant, which has no sign and could stand to reroute the entrance past the adjoining bar. The food was good, and Mario Simms was very gracious, taking us to the kitchen to demonstrate “cracking” conch when we enquired. But hygiene was iffy. Mario seemed pleasantly surprised at being mentioned in your book; hopefully he’ll be encouraged to upgrade a bit.
Despite a long drive and an invitation to drop by Chez Pierre when we’d called from the States, Pierre was curt. He did allow us to look around the cottages, which were more basic than we’d pictured from your description. The room we viewed had significant gaps between the exterior walls and window frames. (It should be noted that mosquitoes and sandflies are voracious after a good rain.)
We saw few road signs on the island, and areas can be hard to locate. Queen’s Highway is in good shape, but we were reluctant to attempt many of the side roads without 4-wheel drive and a map. The road to Little Harbor has not been maintained along its full length and reportedly no longer loops back to the highway as indicated on your map.
The island does offer many fishing opportunities, but most were best accessed by boat, which we could not find for rent. We found Phillip Cartwright an excellent guide who worked hard to put us on fish in the waters around Deadman’s Cay. When we encountered him later in the week, he gave us some of his prize sponges and lots of tips for our next visit.
We were often treated with that kind of warmth during our tour of the center and south. At Tommy’s Inn, Tommy Dean and his wife Thelma bent over backwards to make us feel at home – he regularly appeared with coffee and other supplies. Tommy responded to our questions about local foods and culture with gifts of fruit and an invitation to dinner. The inn, located on Queen’s highway near Lochabar, provided a classy, clean, comfortable apartment with tiled floors, a modern kitchen, cable, filtered water, and air conditioning. Two efficiency apartments and daily maid service were also available.
Mr. Dean introduced us to the Forest Restaurant, which does serve wonderful meals in an attractive club/restaurant setting. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Its proprietor and chef, Dudley, came over to chat several times during the meal, and was a great resource for questions about fishing the south. He even organized a spearfishing expedition for us with his family when he learned we were anxious to get out on the reef. (We could personally vouch for the freshness of his seafood dishes!)
We’d like to see more on what these two areas have to offer, on your website and in your next edition. And we strongly encourage your more adventurous readers to investigate the island in full.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Authentic Island life in the comfort and tranquility of Tommy's Inn. A small, intimate Bed & Breakfast located in south Long Island, only a few minutes away from secluded sandy beaches, amazing restaurants, and night life. Tommy’s Inn provides tranquility, solitude and peacefulness. Additionally, we provide personal guided tours which include; hunting, fishing & spear fishing trips, snorkeling and sightseeing. If you want to experience true island life, come and visit us at Tommy’s Inn. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tommy's Inn Long Island, Bahamas