GTC’s 2020 Island Roots Heritage Festival Cancelled

Island Roots Heritage Festival 2018Photo courtesy of Mandy Roberts

A number of readers have asked, and I’m sorry to report that there won’t be a 2020 Island Roots Heritage Festival on Green Turtle Cay.

Though the community has made amazing progress in the months since Hurricane Dorian, Green Turtle Cay is not yet ready to host a weekend-long event.

GoFundMe Page Set Up for Christian Aid Ministries Volunteer Injured on Green Turtle Cay

A GoFundMe page has been established to assist a young volunteer injured when he fell from a roof February 10th on Green Turtle Cay.

Eric Weiler, 19, is a volunteer with Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), whose team members have been helping with the Hurricane Dorian recovery throughout Abaco. Eric and his family are members of the Shekinah Mennonite Church in Greentop, Missouri.

Eric Weiler (second from right) and his fellow CAM volunteers enjoy lunch with grateful Green Turtle Cay residents.

According to those who have interacted with him, Eric is a quiet and hardworking young man. He and his team were repairing the roof of a house last Monday when he fell, landing first on a porch railing and eventually on a rock wall.    

A Visitor’s Guide to Post-Dorian Abaco

I was disappointed yesterday to learn that Abaco — which, for decades prior to Hurricane Dorian, has generated a significant amount of tourist revenue for the Bahamas — had been all but wiped clean from the Ministry of Tourism’s website. (Presumably in response to the backlash this generated, it now appears to have been partially reinstated.)

Thankfully, Abaconians are far more resilient and resourceful than our Ministry of Tourism gives us credit for. And to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumours of Abaco’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve suffered a significant setback. And the road to recovery — especially for Marsh Harbour and central Abaco — will be long and difficult.

But the truth is that there are still resorts, rental properties, boat and cart rental agencies, tour guides and attractions open and available to help plan your Abaco vacation. And your friends in Abaco need your support and tourist dollars now more than ever before.

Here’s a first draft of a Visitor’s Guide to Post-Dorian Abaco, which I’ll be updating regularly as returning and new businesses come onstream in the weeks and months ahead.

I’d be grateful if you’d share the link to this guide and help get the word out that Abaco is, in fact, still on the map.

Got an Abaco-based tourism-related business or service that’s not yet on the list? Drop me a note and I’d be pleased to add it!

What Hope Looks Like

Several times over the years, I’ve written about the importance of Junkanoo to Bahamian culture.

Young Junkanoo Performer, oil painting by Alton Lowe

For well over a century, Green Turtle Cay residents have gathered on New Year’s Day to welcome in the coming year by donning colourful costumes and marching through town accompanied by a cacophony of cowbells, whistles and the infectious rhythm of goat-skin drums.

Masked Junkanoo Performer, oil painting by Alton Lowe

But when Hurricane Dorian devastated Green Turtle Cay this past September, the storm not only destroyed the island’s Junkanoo shack where residents gathered to make costumes and to practice, but it also ruined many existing costumes and instruments.

With so many locals left without homes and jobs, and with so much rebuilding to do, it seemed unlikely they’d want (or be able) to stage a 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo rush. 

Christmas Comes to Abaco

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make Christmas a little brighter for the people of Abaco. If you’re in Abaco, please feel free to drop by any of these events for some Christmas cheer. All are welcome.

On Man-O-War, a Christmas Sing-A-Long will be held tonight, Wednesday, December 18 at 7pm at the Gospel Chapel.

Adventure Cafe Bids Farewell to Green Turtle Cay With Christmas Concert

Two weeks after Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern Bahamas, the 55’ Nordhavn trawler M/V Adventure arrived at Green Turtle Cay to assist with the island’s recovery. Together with a group of friends and volunteers, vessel owners Captain Bradford and Lorraine Carlton quickly established a food kitchen, which they dubbed the Adventure Cafe.

For twelve weeks, Team M/V Adventure has served breakfast and dinner to the entire community. On November 21, the group announced that, since running water and power have been restored to many homes on the cay, they’d be serving their last meal today, December 13th.

Last Call for Donations to Abaco Toy Drive

A reminder that contributions toward Abaco Freight‘s Abaco Toy Drive must be received by this Saturday, December 14. Unwrapped gifts are still needed, especially for boys (aged 10-18).

Donations can be dropped off at or shipped to:

Abaco Toy Drive c/o Abaco Freight
10130 North Lake Blvd.
Suite 214–192
West Palm Beach, Florida

If you need gift ideas, check out the toy drive’s Amazon wish list. And if you’d rather donate funds to buy toys, drop me a note and I’ll put you in touch with Kimber Mazzeo of Abaco Freight.

Thanks in advance for helping to give children throughout Abaco a wonderful Christmas.

Donations Needed for Abaco Christmas Toy Drive

The kind folks at Abaco Freight in West Palm Beach have been gathering toys to be delivered to children throughout Abaco, Bahamas the week before Christmas.

Volunteers wrap donated gifts at Abaco Freight toy drive.

A November 30 toy drive held at Wellington Mall in West Palm was quite successful, but they’re still in need of 150 or so more toys.

Abaco Urgently Needs Blankets and Warm Clothes

Despite having spent 25+ years in Canada, the coldest I think I’ve ever been was one New Year’s weekend on Green Turtle Cay.

Even Wrigley’s fur coat isn’t enough to keep him warm on cool winter nights in Abaco

There’s something about the combination of cooler temperatures, stiff ocean breezes and humidity that chills you straight through.

What Are You Doing for Giving Tuesday?

Today is Giving Tuesday – a day that encourages people to give, to collaborate and to do good deeds. Which makes it the perfect day to help the thousands of Bahamians who’ve lost their homes and livelihoods to Hurricane Dorian.

Here’s an updated list of organizations who are doing good things for our Bahamian friends and family members displaced or affected by Dorian. Some agencies are matching donations for Giving Tuesday, so your contribution will go even further.

Photos from Marsh Harbour’s Eastern Shores

Thanks to Rhonda Pearce of Rhonda’s Photography for allowing me to share these pictures she took in Marsh Harbour’s Eastern Shores.

You might assume the images were shot in early September, shortly after Hurricane Dorian. However, they were taken November 24th — nearly three months after the Category 5 devastated the northern Bahamas.

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