Going to Town and Other Things
19 April 2011 | Bennett's Harbour, Cat Island, Bahamas
We’ve decided the time to go walking is in the morning, so we got ready and when we took Fuzzy to shore at 8 AM we walked into the little town of Bennett’s Harbour. It is a very pretty, very small town. Everyone on these remote islands says “Hi” as you meet them. We walked by the little schoolhouse, school was in session, the door was open, and perhaps the lessons hadn’t started yet, because one little boy called out a hello to us as we walked by.
There are perhaps as many houses empty as occupied. Most of the houses are pretty small. The newer ones have louvered windows that crank open. The schoolhouses in the Bahamas all look alike, and they all have louvered shutters that crank open. The older houses have shutters hinged at the top that prop open with just screens underneath. There were Sanseveria (sp.?) – snake plants – growing along the sides of the road like three-foot high grass. We saw two businesses that looked like businesses, the restaurant/bar/gas station and another bar/restaurant. We walked down to the government dock. They have a huge new dock there and a small building that looked like it had a couple of coolers in it, but no one was there and the whole place was empty.
On the way back from the dock we met Mary. She introduced herself, said she made straw items and invited us to her house to look at what she had for sale. Now there are people who make purses and bowls out of straw on every island we’ve been to. There is a shop that sells straw items listed in almost every town in the guidebook. But this is the first time someone has come up and introduced themselves, walked along with us and invited us to see their wares. What a saleswoman! Bud handed over his wallet and kept Fuzzy and I walked up to Mary’s very little house and looked at her wares. I told her I wasn’t sure I could afford anything, there was a lot of work in even the small items, and I figured they’d be very expensive. “You just tell me what you want” said Mary, “and I’ll tell you what it costs. I don’t work for nobody but Mary, so I think you can afford it.” Well I did and I could and I walked away with the first souvenirs I’ve bought in the Bahamas. I asked Mary to pose for this picture in front of her house. As she said “It’s no hotel, but it’s mine.”
In the afternoon Bud and I took turns snorkeling from the boat. I went first. Right away I noticed a little yellow and orange striped fish. It startled me because it came up from under me and started to swim right at my mask. It was only about 2 inches long, but very pretty. I swam out to several coral heads and then up near the beach and the fish stayed with me. I got out and told Bud about the fish, and as he started I heard him laugh, the fish found him. He swam even farther out and around than I had and that fish stayed with him the whole time.
Our solitude was broken by another boat that came and anchored, Zia from Tampa. But they invited us over for drinks, so that was okay. We had a nice visit. The man who owned the boat had another couple aboard visiting. The two men had taken their kayaks and gone into town…and came back with straw purses from Mary! They were going in to the restaurant/bar/gas station for dinner. They had a menu they’d gotten from the place (not a take out menu, a regular laminated menu) and the prices were really good. Pretty much all the entrées were $10, and included your choice of peas and rice or peas and grits. If we get to talk to them tomorrow we’ll have to ask them how it was.