Category: Tourism

Bahamian Queen Conch Fishery Hurtles Toward Collapse

We Bahamians think we know a lot about conch.

Most of us learned to dive conchs before we were tall enough to go on carnival rides. We’ve sat in the warm, shallow water and eaten “scorched” conch — raw and doused in lime juice — fresh from the sea. And we’ve watched as our parents and grandmothers taught us how to fritter, steam and stew our country’s native dish.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article about the Queen Conch — the most common Bahamian conch species — for the current issue of Abaco Life magazine.

While researching this piece, however, I realized just how much I didn’t know. I learned, for example, that a Queen Conch can live up to 30 years! And that in 1883, an event halfway around the globe thrust the Bahamian Queen Conch onto the world stage.

I also discovered something that should disturb us all — Bahamians and visitors alike.  

A Direct Flight from Nassau to Green Turtle Cay

Every day this week, as a lead up to my Marsh Harbour book signing on Saturday, May 13th, I’ll be sharing historic Abaco photographs and brief excerpts from my new book, Those Who Stayed.

With the exception of the few years during which Abaco was served by the luxurious Content, travel to and from Nassau meant a long, often unpleasant voyage on the mailboat.

The trip became much easier in the late 1940s, however, when Bahamas Airways began flying amphibious aircraft from Nassau direct to New Plymouth.

Direct Flights from Nassau to Green Turtle Cay

A Bahamas Airways seaplane at Settlement Point. Photo by Lionel Hodgkins, courtesy of Margaret Albury.

Green Turtle Cay's Island Roots Heritage Festival Wins Cacique Award

Congratulations to Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival organizing committee, who were recognized with a Cacique Award in Nassau April 8.

Congratulations to the organizing committee of Green Turtle Cay's Island Roots Heritage Festival on winning a Cacique Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations who contribute towards the Bahamian tourist industry. (Photo by Ruth Saunders.)

Annabelle Roberts Cross (left) and Trina Cooper of the Island Roots Heritage Festival with their Cacique Award. (Photo: Ruth Saunders)

The Cacique Awards recognize individuals and organizations who positively impact the Bahamian tourism industry. The award was accepted by current festival committee chairperson, Annabelle Roberts Cross.

Ronnie Butler Jr. Gives Rare Bahamian Performance January 7 on Green Turtle Cay

Every Bahamian knows the name Ronnie Butler. Dubbed “the godfather of Bahamian music,” his calypso rhythms and satirical lyrics have been woven into the country’s cultural tapestry for more than fifty years.

What some may not realize, however, is that Butler’s son and namesake – known as Ron – is also a multi-talented entertainer. And though he has sung and acted on stages the world over, Ronnie Butler Jr. has not performed in his home country for decades.

Ronnie Butler Jr. Gives Rare Bahamian Performance January 7

Ronnie Butler Jr.

On January 7, however, he’ll perform at Green Turtle Cay’s Bluff House Beach Resort as part of An Evening to Remember, a cocktail reception and fundraiser commemorating the 40th anniversary of the island’s Albert Lowe Museum.

Last Call for Tickets to "An Evening To Remember" January 7 on GTC

Last Call for Tickets to "An Evening To Remember" January 7 on Green Turtle CayIf you haven’t yet bought tickets for An Evening to Remember, taking place at Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina on January 7, you’ve got less than two weeks! We need to provide a final headcount a week before the event, meaning tickets will only be sold until December 31. No tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

An Evening to Remember, a 40th anniversary celebration and fundraiser for Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum, will include:

LHBTF 2017 Green Turtle Cay Calendar Now Available

I’ve never considered myself a photographer. But when you’ve got amazing Abaco views everywhere you turn, and you shoot thousands (thousands!) of images, odds are you’ll end up with a few good photos.

After more than a decade of photographing Green Turtle Cay, and nearly three years of featuring daily images from the cay on my blog, I wanted to do something more with the pictures.

Introducing the Little House by the Ferry 2017 Green Turtle Cay Calendar

Green Turtle Cay's Newest Treasure

If there were an award for busiest business person on Green Turtle Cay, Lisa Farrington would be a leading contender. Granddaughter of model shipbuilder Vertrum Lowe, and great-granddaughter of Albert Lowe (for whom the local museum is named), Lisa is a one-woman Chamber of Commerce.

Green Turtle Cay's Newest Treasure

Lisa Farrington with son Carter, an entrepreneur in his own right.

She and her family own and run Harvey’s Island Grill and Cruisin’ Carts golf cart rentals. And earlier this year, with the help of younger sister, Heather Sawyer, Lisa launched The Treasure Chest, a quaint, colourful gift shop.

Wreckers, Rogues and Rebels: Our Adventurous Abaco Ancestors

I always look forward to Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival, but this year, I’m even more excited than usual.

13010848_10153753541368500_8267926738831053579_nFirst, I love the theme: Adventure, Enterprise and Infamy. Given the cay’s quaint and relatively conservative atmosphere, it’s hard to believe that some of our Abaconian ancestors were pirates. Many were wreckers. Others made illicit fortunes as blockade runners and bootleggers. I’m really looking forward to exploring the more adventurous (and, in some cases, infamous) sides of our Abaco forefathers.

Speaking of forefathers, if you’d like to know more about yours, the Genealogy Research Center (across from the Gospel Chapel) will be open throughout the festival. It’s a cool, quiet place to research your own Abaco ancestry and get to know some of the Bahamas’ best genealogists.

And, as always, the weekend will be full of Bahamian cuisine, crafts and entertainment, including performances by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Marching Band, Julien Believe, Green Turtle Cay’s own Gully Roosters, the Sax Man, Sawyerboy and the New Entry Band. And of course, two of my favourites – the plaiting of the Maypole and Junkanoo.

Beyond all this, however, there’s another reason I’m excited about this year’s festival — for the first time, I’ll be giving a presentation as part of the festival lecture series.

Dr. Peter Roberts, of the Bahamas DNA Project, at the Island Roots Heritage Festival, Abaco, Bahamas.

Peter Roberts, of the Bahamas DNA Project, during his presentation at the Island Roots Heritage Festival.

Having attended lectures about Bahamian history, local conservation efforts and genealogy at past Island Roots Heritage Festivals, I’ve found them all to be interesting, entertaining and informative. The lectures are one of my favourite parts of the festival, which is why I’m so excited to be able to present one!

Entitled “Our Wrecking Ancestors: Scoundrels or Saviours?” my presentation takes place at 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 7, at the Catechist George Reckley Hall at St. Peter’s Church, across from Settlement Point.

In conducting research for the book about GTC history on which I’m currently working, I’ve developed a fascination with wrecking — arguably Green Turtle Cay’s first real industry. While some viewed wreckers as saviours, providing life-saving aid to the crews of foundering vessels, many saw them as little more than glorified pirates.

Either way, there’s no denying the vital role that wrecking played in establishing and shaping New Plymouth and other Abaco settlements. As part of my presentation, I’ll share some of the interesting tales — some amusing, others terrifying — I’ve uncovered about wrecking in Abaco.

Other lecturers scheduled for the 2016 festival series include:

  • Peter Roberts of the Bahamas DNA Project, will teach us how to use DNA and WikiTree to trace our Bahamian ancestry. (I attended Peter’s presentation on this topic at last year’s festival, and found it to be extremely helpful with my genealogical pursuits)
  • Shane Cash, history teacher at Forest Heights Academy, will provide an overview of the history of piracy, wrecking, blockade running and bootlegging in the Bahamas.

And for the full schedule of events for the 2016 Island Roots Heritage Festival weekend, click HERE.

Hope to see you there!

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