Valentine's Day at Fresh Creek
14 February 2010 | Fresh Creek, Andros, Bahamas
February 14 is special in our family for 2 reasons - not only is it the day of hearts and flowers and chocolate and loving thoughts, it is JD Bissell's birthday! My Dad was the first caller of the day, followed by communication with my sister, Jim's sister and our 3 children, as well as emails from friends. When we are so far away from them all, it is special to be able to talk with them once in a while.
During the day, we dinghied up the creek to see what was there - a few pretty and well kept homes, and what looked like some good fishing holes in the shallows along the banks. It's a wide creek that must go for miles. No good spot for a picnic in the area we travelled so we turned around and went up along the coast a bit. We passed a couple of really grand places out there, and pulled the dinghy up on the rocky shoals at Calabash Creek to have our picnic. Because we weren't really comfortable leaving it there while we walked up the beach, we hopped back in and motored out to one of the cays just off shore. There was a pretty little beach there and we hoped there would be good snorkeling along the rocky shoreline but it was not our day to find fish or shells. The bottom was grass and although we went swimming, we hurriedly towelled off and got back into warm clothes - the air was just plain chilly.
In the evening, Cathy and Ann came to call. Scott (from Port Stanley ON) had been by earlier in the day and told us they had a Halifax friend staying with them so we were glad to meet both Ann and Cathy aka "Miss Halifax" who turned out to have grown up in Rockingham - within a mile or so from where we lived during our first sojourn in Halifax back in the 80's. Ann told us her family has been coming to Fresh Creek for many years and filled us in a bit on the history. Apparently there was once a large British community here - including a house on the corner of the harbour entrance - Cokeley House that was owned by the British Commonwealth and was thought to be a possible residence for the Royals if Germany had invaded England. The lovely but empty yacht club building hosted some fine parties and there was an upscale and positive atmosphere about the place.
Now - it seems to be a place of failed dreams although there are rumours that perhaps a new buyer will make some changes. Was it the Chickcharnees? These little Androsian leprechauns are rumoured to live in the forests where they bend the tops of pine tress together for their homes. They hang upside down from their three toed feet, glare with their piercing red eyes and cause trouble for anyone who disrespects them.
The AUTEC (Atlantic Underwater Testing and Evaluation Centre) base down the way is still a major employer, although apparently not as large a one as it was once. It must be a perfect spot for underwater research since just about a half mile off shore, the Tongue of the Ocean sweeps in with depths of up to 6000 feet. I love that phrase "Tongue of the Ocean" and that is just what it is - like the gouge a tongue makes in soft ice cream.
The world's third longest barrier reef lies off shore; Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas with the largest reservoir of fresh water and is home to many critically endangered species; hawksbill, Green and Loggerhead Turtles, Flamingoes and the Andros Rock Iguana. We found information from the Nature Conservancy and the Bahamas National Trust that promotes and educates.
Off to the Exumas in the morning - although we leave feeling that there is much to explore here another time.