Can You Help Update our “How to Help Abaco” List?

It’s been a crazy ten-plus months since Hurricane Dorian, and much has changed in Abaco. Some of the aid groups who rushed to the assistance of Abaconians immediately following the storm have now moved on to helping others. Other agencies have arrived and rolled up their sleeves to help for the longer term.

It’s now time to update our How To Help Abaconians Affected by Hurricane Dorian list.

Abaco friends, would you mind looking at the list and letting me know if there are organizations that should be added?

Volunteers with Team M/V Adventure‘s food kitchen, which fed Green Turtle Cay residents in the months following Hurricane Dorian.

Daily Photo – July 20, 2020

A few minutes of play along Green Turtle Cay’s ocean beach

Got post-Dorian Abaco shots to share with our readers? Email them to amanda (at) littlehousebytheferry (dot) com, and put READER PHOTOS in the subject line.

Be sure to let me know who should get photo credit and where/roughly when the image was taken. And if you’ve got a business or personal website or page you’d like me to link to, please include it.

Who’s Got Post-Dorian Abaco Photos to Share?

After Hurricane Dorian, I suspended my Daily Photo feature. Honestly, it was painful to be reminded of Abaco the way it was before the storm. And it felt somehow dishonest to showcase an Abaco that no longer existed.

A post-Dorian mural in Hope Town.

Over the past months, however, several readers have asked if/when the Daily Photo feature might be resurrected. And to tell you the truth, I’m glad. I’ve been missing my daily doses of Abaco, and it sounds like maybe some of you have, too.

So, yes, let’s start posting daily photos again!

Remembering the Lost

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.

It’s Time to Update the “What’s Open in Abaco” List

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?

Anyone Else Really Need a Beach Day?

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.

Mystery Photo Friday: Can You Identify the People in these Pictures?

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.

Marsh Harbour’s Leon Albury (center) and four of his sons. L-R: Therman BISSELL Albury, William MERLIN Albury, Leon Albury, LIONEL Augustus Albury (my grandfather), and James CUTHBERT Albury

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.   

Treasure Cay – Six Months Later

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.

What remains of the Treasure Cay sign

In late February and early March, I made a few trips into Treasure Cay. The extent of the damage there was breathtaking.

Abaco Needs Your Help Now More Than Ever

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.  

Treasure Cay, February 2020

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.”

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. 

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