Sunrise over Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
The cemetery in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Though I look forward to every new issue of Abaco Life magazine, I was especially happy to receive the Summer/Fall 2014 issue, since it includes a piece I wrote about Green Turtle Cay’s surprisingly rich cultural history. (Did you know that prior to the 1932 hurricane, the island had a dance hall, a theater and a full orchestra?!)
Tom and I have subscribed to Abaco Life for years. It’s a great way to find out what’s going on in Abaco while we’re there — and to keep up with events when we’re not. Each issue features a beautiful painting by my cousin, Alton Lowe, on the cover. Inside, there are gorgeous photos and an interesting mix of articles about Abaco’s history, happenings and people.
Abaco Life is sold throughout Abaco and the cays. In Green Turtle Cay, you’ll find it on the ferries, at grocery and gift shops and at the Albert Lowe Museum. To subscribe, visit the magazine’s website.
As a challenge to myself, on each trip to Green Turtle Cay, I choose a different subject to photograph. In the past, I’ve focused on flowers, beaches, sunrises and sunsets. During our latest visit, I chose seagulls.
Compared with the fat, dirty-grey seagulls we see on the west coast, the gulls in Green Turtle Cay, with their bright white bodies and jet-black heads and tails, are the prettiest I’ve ever seen.
Photographing birds presented a special challenge, since our dog, Wrigley, loves to chase them. I’d bring a bag of stale bread to the dock, toss bits of it at my feet and into the water, and race to get in a few good shots before Wrigley interfered.
Yes, I know. I could have left him inside. But much as I enjoyed photographing the gulls, it was equally entertaining to watch Wrigley barreling down the dock, shooing the birds away and, just for spite, swiping their bread.
Here — no thanks to Wrigley — are a few of my favourite shots.
At least once a week, Caroline Sawyer (whose family owns Sundowners Bar and Restaurant) walks the shores of Green Turtle Cay, picking up trash.
Often, during these outings, she spots unusual items that have washed up onto the sand. Recently, however, she came across what she describes as her most interesting discovery by far.
Near Pelican Point on the ocean side of the cay, Caroline noticed a canister nestled between the rocks. Thinking it was empty, she retrieved it to toss it into her trash bag.
But something inside the container rattled. Caroline opened it and found some papers and a small vial. Without her glasses, however, she couldn’t be sure what the items were, so she tucked everything into her backpack and carried on with her walk.
Only later did Caroline realize what she’d found. Inside the canister was a letter, which read:
I say goodbye for a second time to my wonderful, caring and loving Mom, Rev. Miriam (Eileen) Gordon.
The enclosed program for a memorial service in Buff Bay, Portland, Jamaica in her honor speaks to her life. A similar memorial service was held in Peekskill, NY on December 11, 2013.
My mother traveled the world and wanted to see more of it. My wish is that these waters of the Caribbean Sea will take her ashes contained herein to new and wonderful places. I know that she will enjoy the journey.”
Along with the letter was a program from Reverend Gordon’s funeral, and of course, the vial containing her ashes.
Caroline rang the enclosed phone number and spoke with Reverend Gordon’s daughter, Margo, who lives in Jamaica. Having set the canister afloat six months ago, on April 26, Margo was thrilled to learn how far it had traveled.
Her mother lived a full and interesting life, she said. Reverend Gordon was born in Jamaica, and later moved to New York. According to her online obituary, she worked with IBM for nearly twenty years, and prior to that, worked with the Mental Health Association of Westchester County. She was active in civil, social and religious organizations throughout her life.
Caroline, who says she’s honoured to be the one who found the canister, promised Margo to return her mother to the sea. She’s added a couple of Green Turtle Cay postcards to the container, along with a letter asking the next person who finds it to contact Margo and let her know where it was discovered.
Brian Sawyer, Caroline’s husband, plans to take the canister out to the ocean on his next fishing trip, so he can place it into the current and give the Reverend a head start on the next part of her journey. Happy travels, Reverend Gordon.
The local kids introduced me to this guy, who lives in the old Green Turtle Cay jail.