Queen’s Highway runs north-south along the length of Long Island in the southern Bahamas. Eager to see more of the island than the area immediately surrounding the anchorage, Hans and I stood on the side of the road, stuck our thumbs out and smiled. Our goal was the famous Max’s Conch Bar about 15 miles south. The first car stopped to pick us up. It seems that hitchhiking is a common way to get around the island. The first driver asked our names and when I told her mine, Miller, she replied “my last name is Miller, but I don’t think we’re related!” She hooted with laughter and slapped her thigh. She dropped us at her turn-off and we waited for the next ride. A pick-up truck pulled over and we gladly hopped in the back—the breeze felt great in the hot, dry air.
The third ride, however, was the best. Full from cold Kaliks and conch salad, we stood back on the edge of Queen’s Highway and stuck our thumbs out. Roger, a Long Islander who can trace his roots back many generations, pulled over in his SUV and opened the door. We climbed into the air conditioned truck and immediately started talking sailing. He wanted to know where we were from, where we were going, and, of course, our opinions of Long Island. He owns one of the traditional Bahamian racing work boats and had seen us sailing the day before. Roger is a fisherman and takes a group of men out to the Ragged Islands to free dive for snappers, jew fish and lobster. He gave us some free diving tips (he was in the process of teaching his teenage daughter the sport—at that time she was up to 65 feet) and deep sea fishing tips as well. When we admitted that we had yet to catch a fish off the back of Whisper, he invited us out for the afternoon. “Wait on de dock at 3:30 and I’ll pick you up. My son is out of school at 3.”
We dinghied back to the dock at 3:30 and jumped into Roger’s truck with his son. What a benefit to living in the islands—fishing for dinner with your dad after school! We were only out on the water for about 20 minutes when the lines whizzed. We reeled in two large mahis and a third one took the line as soon as it was back in the water.
Hitchhiking was our preferred methods of transportation on the islands—it was easy, always available and we met amazing people.