As the administrators and teachers at Green Turtle Cay’s Amy Roberts Primary School prepare for the new school year, an Amazon wish list has been established to help replace equipment and materials lost to Hurricane Dorian.
This page was created as a memorial to those lost or missing in Abaco, Bahamas as a result of Hurricane Dorian.
We may never know for certain how many souls left us on September 1, 2019. What we do know is that each was a person who lived, loved and was loved in return. They were parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and coworkers.
Here, we will celebrate their lives, honour their memories and share their stories. This page is for the entire Abaco community. You’re encouraged to share names, photographs and memories of anyone lost during Hurricane Dorian by sending me an email or leaving a note in the comments section below.
Thanks to everyone who got in touch over the past week regarding last Friday’s mystery photos. (More about those later in this post.)
This week, we’re focusing on kids… and the photos are from Green Turtle Cay, Hope Town and Nassau.
Good news! This past Sunday, the Bahamian government announced that, in large part, commercial activity could resume — with proper precautions — in Abaco. A lot has changed over the past few months, and it’s time to update our “What’s Open” list.
If you own, work for, or know of a business in Abaco, would you take a minute to confirm that it’s on the What’s Open in Abaco list, and let me know whether there’s been any change to the information (operating hours, contact info, etc.) provided?
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? I’d be enjoying a carefree afternoon with Tom and Wrigley at the beach on Green Turtle Cay.
Sad to think it’s been nearly a year since I’ve walked along Gillam Bay. But thanks to Tom, I have these lovely video memories to tide me over.
Thought I’d share in case you, too, are dreaming of a beach day.
While we’re physical distancing here in L.A., I’m taking advantage of the time to sort through my archive of historic Bahamian photos and identify as many of the people in the pictures as possible. Sadly, a notebook in which I had jotted a lot of names and details was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian before I’d had a chance to digitize the information.
Some images are from the collections of family members – my mom, grandmother, great-grandmother and other relatives. Others were sent to me over the years by blog readers or Abaco history buffs. A few I obtained from museums or archives.
So many Abaconians lost their precious family pictures and albums during Hurricane Dorian. It would be great to identify the people in these photos, so I can get copies to their family members if possible.
It’s strange how I’ve quickly grown accustomed to seeing the destruction Hurricane Dorian wreaked on Green Turtle Cay. But whenever I visit another Abaco community for the first time since Dorian, I’m stunned all over again.
In late February and early March, I made a few trips into Treasure Cay. The extent of the damage there was breathtaking.
It was the first week of March. I’d been travelling around Abaco, visiting family members and friends, and seeing for myself both the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Dorian and the hard work and monumental efforts being put into rebuilding.
Having finally found a contractor and crew to repair Fish Hooks, I decided to return to L.A. for a few weeks. I didn’t even unpack my suitcase when I got back — just left it packed and ready for my GTC return.
And then — like many of you, I’m sure — I found myself in some sort of bizarre, dystopian reality.
Within ten days of my return, all of Los Angeles County was in lockdown. Overnight, we learned a new vocabulary, phrases like “flattening the curve” and “physical distancing.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
Several times over the years, I’ve written about the importance of Junkanoo to Bahamian culture.
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.
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.
I wanted to share with you this video by Errol Thurston. It provides a heartbreaking but highly accurate picture of what’s going on in Abaco today — nearly four months after Hurricane Dorian.
Sadly, though Abaconians are working hard to clean up and rebuild, they still need a LOT of help, and will for the foreseeable future.
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.
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.
Bolo, one of the three Green Turtle Cay ferries damaged by Hurricane Dorian, is back where she belongs, at the town ferry dock.
Donations can be dropped off at or shipped to:
Abaco Toy Drive c/o Abaco Freight
10130 North Lake Blvd.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Thanks in advance for helping to give children throughout Abaco a wonderful Christmas.
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.
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.
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.
There’s something about the combination of cooler temperatures, stiff ocean breezes and humidity that chills you straight through.