Long Island lies southeast of Little Exuma and is 57 miles long and four miles across at its widest. Columbus made a stop here and changed its name from the Arawak name Yuma to Fernandina, after Ferdinand, the King of Spain. The island has a variety of communities from different ethnic backgrounds, from Europe, Africa and North America.
Most islanders live on the west side where the hills and dunes offer some protection from the sea. There are paths and dirt tracks to the east side, mostly used by fishermen. Villages to the south are rather neglected. The landscape is diverse, with tall white cliffs at Cape Santa Maria with caves below, old salt pans near Clarence Town, dense bush over much of the island and scattered areas of cactii. It has a rocky coastline on one side and lovely beaches and crystal clear water on the other, with the usual friendly fish and lots of convenient wrecks. One, a German freighter sunk in 1917, lies in 25ft of water only 200 yds from the beach at Guana Cay, south of Salt Pond. Beaches in the south are good but rather hard to get to. Long Island is a major producer of vegetables and cattle and is known for its pot-hole farming which gives hearty supplies of tomatoes, bananas and onions. The Stella Maris Resort Club in the north is the biggest employer, but there are not enough jobs and most young people leave to work in Nassau or Grand Bahama.
The main settlements are Deadman’s Cay and Clarence Town further south. Most tourists stay at Stella Maris, which is supposed to have the best yachting marina in the southern Bahamas. From a lookout tower here it is possible to see right across the island and to see the nearby ruins of the Adderly Plantation House. The town of Simms is the home of some of the best straw work in the Bahamas, made by Ivy Simms and her workers. The mailboat calls here and there is a high school, magistrate’s court and Commissioner’s office. The settlement of Clarence Town in the south half of the island is very pretty and boasts two white, twin-spired churches built on opposite hilltops by Father Jerome (see under Cat Island). St Paul’s is the Anglican church and St Peter’s the Catholic. Both are still in use today. There are many caves to explore and ruins of old plantation houses: Adderly’s near Stella Maris and the remains of a cotton gin and plantation gate posts at Dunmore. At Glenton’s, north of Stella Maris, archaeologists have found the remains of an Arawak village, and at Hamilton, south of Deadman’s Cay, caves have been discovered with Arawak drawings and carvings.