Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sun 16 Jun 2013 22:27
Here we are in the easternmost Bahama island of Mayaguana, anchored in Abraham’s Bay. The wind finally died away completely and we had to motor for the last six hours, but it had the advantage that the Parasailor pretty much snuffed itself when we came to take it down.
Entering the bay was an interesting experience because it is basically a four mile long lagoon with water that is between 1 and 3 metres deep. Anastasia needs 1.5 metres to stay afloat so it took us about an hour to pick our way between the sandbanks and coral heads to get to the anchorage. With the sunlight rippling on the sandy bottom it feels like being anchored in a swimming pool and we immediately went for a swim to cool off. There was a big ray swimming round the boat and a lot of live conches crawling around.
A local guy, Vincent (Scully) Cartwright called us up on the radio as soon as we dropped anchor to see if we needed anything, and we arranged for him to give us a tour of the island.
Scully’s primary occupation is taking people out fishing for “Bonefish” (a local fish that people visit the island to catch for sport). His web site describes Mayaguana as “truly an Out-Island so don’t expect a McDonalds or even a corner store for that matter”. That pretty much sums it up. It is a beautiful island with crystal clear water, white beaches, turquoise lagoons, vast acres of wilderness in the interior and virtually no tourism at all.
There is a group of investors who are trying to develop the island but it is a huge undertaking and apparently taking much more time and resources that originally planned. The island infrastructure was originally developed by the US, who had a naval base here. If the airport and roads had been maintained in a decent state since then, the development project would have been a lot simpler. As it is, the developers are having to refurbish the infrastructure before they can get to selling houses. We met one of them and he spoke more about building solar and wind power plants and constructing a new hospital than he did about developing units for sale. Let’s hope they make a go of it before the island’s dwindling population gets fed up of waiting and deserts it.
On our tour of the island we visited pretty much everything there is to see. There is no theft and so nothing is locked up. We walked around the airfield looking at the derelict planes. Climbed the old radar tower to get a bird’s eye view of the island. Visited the Thor Missile monument, commemorating the landing of the capsule containing the first colour movies of the earth from space.
Scully gave us a branch broken off a Lignum Vitae tree and told us to try boiling the wood to make tea. Apparently it makes the best tea in the world. We will let you know.
Checking Anastasia has enough clearance to stay afloat
The ray swimming around the boat
First evening, first sundowner in a new country
Aeroplanes in the trees, like something out of Lost
Some of the machinery the developers imported did not make it off the dock
The shallow water gives some great lighting effects