We met up with a man named Leonard Cartwright, whose family purchased a large parcel of land from the British Crown way back when, which makes him a Long Island native and the owner of Hamilton Cave. Mr. Cartwright is a friendly, pleasant man with much knowledge of the caves. He gives private tours for $15/adult and $8/child.
We learned that Hamilton Cave is the largest cave system in the Bahamas. It is very spacious with passages that are at least 50 feet wide, and the ceiling is over 10 feet high. Lucayan artifacts were discovered in this cave system in 1935. The Lucayan Indians were thought to have lived here about 500 A.D. and many Lucayan artifacts were discovered in 1936. In fact, we were able to see the carvings they created on the walls. The cave is named after the small settlement called Hamiton’s, located south of the Salt Pond settlement.
The cave system, with some passages over 15 meters wide and 3 meters high, has areas which have never been explored. It is popular with both tourists and natives alike. The cave lies just a few hundred feet off Queen’s Highway. You can only visit it with an experienced tour guide, otherwise you will get lost.
We found the cave system was really interesting. There were many shapes which had been created over thousands of years. Leonard pointed out many of the shapes; it was uncanny how the formations resembled objects from real life. Take, for example, this one:
Mr. Cartwright provided much information to us regarding the caves. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him and learned a lotNext, we stopped at Lloyd’s Sports Bar, across from Dean’s Blue Hole, to grab a bite to eat. The food was very good and incredibly similar to US food in both quality and service. However, I really love eating native foods when I’m in another country. We enjoyed a rum drink, paid, and hit the road.
Walter was now behind the wheel again with the goal of taking us to the very southern end of the island. Walter and Jason discovered an old Hatian tramp boat wreck – a wooden island freight boat. While they explored with their masks and snorkels, Margaret and I collected shells. The sand was gorgeous, but as fine as it could be. It stuck to us like fine sugar, and the water was gorgeous.
We had the beach to ourselves for a while, and then a few others showed up. Still, it was mostly deserted. It is such a treat to have an expanse of idyllic beach practically all to ourselves!
A man in a van pulled up on the beach and looked at me and Margaret. I wasn’t too sure about this, but turns out this guy Ernest has the southernmost bar on the island and it’s stocked like you can’t believe. Walt and I had a beer each while Aunt Margaret and Jason played dominos while Walter and Ernest talked politics. We finally said our goodbyes and headed to the Sea View Bar to watch Jerry harvest the conch and slice up all the vegetables for the conch salad right before our eyes. Truly the most delicious conch salad either of us had ever tasted. Margaret declined to eat the conch salad. “Raw” can be a little hard to handle if you’ve never done it before.
By the time we arrived home, we had driven over 100 miles, traversed the depths of a massive cave system, explored old wrecks on the beach, and devoured fresh conch prepared right before our eyes. We somehow made it home and collapsed into bed. What a great day!