Pink frangipani in the garden of the Leeward Yacht Club, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Shore of Settlement Creek at sunset, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
Sea urchin shell, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
First, thank you for visiting Little House by the Ferry. I hope you’re enjoying reading about our little piece of paradise. (And for those of you who’ve asked, more Fish Hooks updates are on the way.)
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Goofing around with the local kids, New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
Albert Lowe Museum, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas
Wrigley, running along the beach south of the Gillam Bay point, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
A summer storm moves toward our house, Fish Hooks (green house left of center), in Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
I was happy to hear that a new season of Who Do You Think You Are starts this Wednesday, July 23.
If you’re at all interested in genealogy, you’ll enjoy this show. It’s fascinating, and hugely inspirational for amateur genealogists. Each episode follows a different celebrity guest. With the help of historians, genealogists and subject matter experts, guests trace their family histories across the generations and the globe.
The upcoming season features Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Kelsey Grammer, Cynthia Nixon and Rachel McAdams.
On the west coast, Who Do You Think You Are airs Wednesdays at 9pm on TLC. For air times in other areas, check your television listings.
Related: Who Do You Think You Are?
Another amazing sunset from Pineapples Bar & Grill, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
The dock in Cherokee Sound, on the Abaco mainland.
A peaceful morning on Black Sound in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Tom and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Oral Bethel.
One of the best things about our project to restore the little house by the ferry is that it brought Oral and Jason Bethel into our lives. They have given us much more than foundations and a porch.
If there is such a thing as an aura, Oral Bethel’s was filled with dignity and goodness. These qualities were plain to see in the way he carried himself, in his words to others, in the skill and care of his craft, and in the character he instilled in his son. Simply put, to know Oral was to respect him.
And our respect for him only grew deeper as we saw how courageously he faced his illness.
It goes without saying that Oral’s life was too short. But a man who has the love of family and friends and the admiration of his community has not left any work unfinished.
Our love and condolences go to Arlene, Jason, Jennie, Alyssa, Christian, and Hailey, and to Jason’s sister Amanda and her family as well. For you, we hope there is comfort in the thought that Oral is in the arms of another carpenter tonight.
For Oral, we hope there is Yoo-hoo in Heaven.
“You see all them?” Shirley Roberts gestured toward the dozens of cats lazing outside her front gate. “Only two are mine.”
“Then why do you feed all of them?” I asked.
“Well,” she scattered a fistful of kibble on the ground. “They look so much alike, I can’t tell which ones belong to me. And I can’t let the rest go hungry.”
Green Turtle Cay lost one of its most intriguing characters yesterday. Shirley Roberts (affectionately known as “Shell Hut” Shirley, to differentiate her from the other Shirley Roberts in town) passed away unexpectedly in Nassau.
Sadly, some local folks — particularly the younger generation – only knew Shirley in her later years, when her mind had begun to wander and it was sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction in her stories. But Shirley Roberts was feisty and independent, a woman of many talents who lived a remarkable life.
In addition to being a shrewd businesswoman, Shirley was the first female commercial pilot in the Bahamas. For years, she flew a twin-engine charter plane, transporting tourists, local residents, dignitaries and sick people in need of emergency medical care. Everyone who flew with Shirley recalls her amazing aviation abilities, especially her smooth and gentle landings.
And she didn’t just pilot planes. My cousin, Alton Lowe, tells me that during the years she lived in Nassau, Shirley was part-owner of a private yacht, which she captained singlehandedly.
Alton says Shirley was also musically inclined, a talented singer who often participated in the charming New Plymouth tradition of pre-dawn caroling in the weeks before Christmas.
From as far back as I can remember, Shirley owned The Shell Hut, one of Green Turtle Cay’s original gift shops. In recent years, however, she opened the store less often. Some weeks, she didn’t go in at all. As the souvenirs in her shop window grew dusty and faded, so did her memory. And Shirley became known as the lady with the cats.
Many afternoons, I’d see her at one of the local grocery stores, buying cat food. A local resident once told me he’d counted thirty-eight cats gathered on Shirley’s wall and around her gate, awaiting her return.
And it wasn’t just felines who benefited — Shirley made sure the local pigeons and gulls got their share, too.
German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote, ” Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character.” I think that’s absolutely true. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they treat animals. And as Alton said of Shirley, “If she had to, she would give up her own food to be able to feed those cats.”
Shell Hut Shirley was spirited, generous and kind. Until her last days on the cay, she remained sprightly and outgoing, caring for the birds and cats and regaling tourists with her colourful tales. Green Turtle Cay will be a shade less bright without her.
Poinciana blooms, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Voted one of National Geographic’s Ten Best Beaches, Treasure Cay beach on the Abaco mainland, just across the water from Green Turtle Cay.
Royal Bahamian Police Band marches to New Plymouth’s Settlement Point grounds as part of Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival.