Get to the (Black) Point
15 March 2011
After leaving Little Bay, we make the very short trek (four mile) around the point to Black Point. This community of about 300 people is an excellent place spend a few days on your trip up or down the Exumas. It has a modest grocery store, a laundry, a couple of restaurants and wonderful, friendly folks.
In front of most houses you'll see the older folks sitting down busily plaiting. They are weaving the fronds from the silver palm into long strips of mat-like material which will ultimately be shipped to Nassau where the strips will be further processed into bags, mats and various other end products. A roll of product for shipping I about four inches wide by a hundred and fifty feet long. This seems tedious work but the plait seems to virtually cascade off their dextrous and experienced fingers. We stop to chat with many of these folks and they're very forthcoming with stories about their plaiting and other aspects of their lives in the Exumas. One particularly affable gentleman, Bertram Brown, claimed that he was the fastest plaitter in Black Point and that if he applies himself he can do a whole roll in one day! So I set out to wander through the village asking others who they believe is the fastest plaiter; most acknowledge that Mr. Brown is indeed the fastest . Mr. Brown tells me they get between $16 an $18 for a roll of plait.
I badly need a haircut and the lady who runs the Laundromat doubles as the barber and she cuts my hair sitting outside the Laundromat overlooking Black Point Harbour. That evening we go to the venerable "Lorraine's Café", a restaurant very popular with cruisers, partly for the great food, the affable owner Lorraine and the fact that it has free wifi. That evening, as we head back to our dinghies to return to our boats we note that there still are folks in front of their homes plaiting.
In a conversation with a fellow cruiser at the Laundromat, Judy is told that the local school principal indicated that they would love to have a music teacher give a few classes. Judy was intrigued but unfortunately we are leaving tomorrow. However, Judy may contact her for future reference and perhaps give them some help if we are on our way through next year.
The cruising community is generally very respectful and supportive of the communities we visit and it is quite common for former teachers to offer some help at the local schools in communities along the way. It's fun to see these one or two room school houses with their handsome students all dressed identically in their school uniforms.