25 January, 2014


Location: Rock Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Position:  N 24 52.142  W076 09.878

We've been lucky enough to attend not one but 2 Junkanoos this year. Junkanoo is a traditional Bahamian holiday parade and celebration. See http://www.bahamas.co.uk/about/junkanoo/what-is-junkanoo for more info.

January 1, 2014 – New Years Day

We love Junkanoo. Especially in Green Turtle Cay. It's not as big and fancy as the one in Nassau (there's only one band), but it starts in the afternoon on New Years Day rather than late at night – a much more “cruiser friendly” time of day! We attended Junkanoo here in 2009 and this year made a point of hanging around in the Abacos so we could go again. We enjoyed it just as much as our first time.

The rhythm of the drums, cow bells, whistles, and other noise makers is mesmerizing. The costumes are creative and colorful. The dancing is exotic and beautiful. The shuffling walk of the musicians moves the parade forward at a slow, rhythmic pace, giving everyone a chance to see all of the performers. It's very much a family friendly function, with children actively participating in the parade and in the activities before and after. It's one of our favorite experiences in the Bahamas.

We even managed to get a short movie of the parade before our camera ran out of juice. The video lost some quality when we uploaded it, and the soundtrack doesn't really capture the insistent rhythm of the big drums very well, but it will give you a taste of our experience. This was filmed about an hour after the parade started, so some of the initial “pep” is beginning to 

See more of our photos following this post.

January 25, 2014

A few weeks later, on our way down the west coast of Eleuthera, we learned that in a few days, schools from all over the island would be sending entries to Governor's Harbour to compete in their Junior Junkanoo. This made Governor's Harbour a “must stop” for us. Luckily, we were blessed with benign weather, since the anchoring there can be a bit sketchy.

Each school had picked a theme and had obviously put many hours into practicing the dancing and music, and creating the costumes from cardboard and different colored tissue paper and other materials. The parade/competition started around 5pm. We found seats in the bleachers so we could see above the crowds that lined the street. Venders were selling food and drinks and all the families were there to see their kids in the parade. Everyone was happy and having fun. We had a lovely afternoon and evening watching and enjoying all of the kids from 5 to probably 12 or 13 years old. They were so cute!

Check this link for more Junior Junkanoo pictures: http://www.eleutheranews.com/permalink/3786.html

A bunch of other Junkanoo photos (not from us):


22 January, 2014

Hatchett Bay

Location: Hatchett Bay, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Position:  N 26 20.995 W 076 29.573

We first stopped here for a quick overnight stay, not even going ashore, last year on our way south. After talking with friends who have stayed here often, we decided to make it more of a destination this year, rather than just a convenient overnight stop. We're really glad we did.

Hatchett Bay Pond is a small, very protected basin on the west coast of Eleuthera and is touted as being the safest harbor in the Bahamas. Several years ago the Bahamian government installed a bunch of moorings and the town makes them available for free.

The settlement on the south end of Hatchett Bay Pond is named Alice Town. Our first day ashore happened to be Sunday. Meandering around town we began to realize that there were a lot of churches for such a small place. Every one of them had people singing, preaching, and “amen”ing. Everyone we met smiled and said “hello” or “good morning” - even the teenagers!

We also heard about a roadside stand on the main road a couple of miles south of town that sells fresh vegetables. The next day being Monday, we decided to go check it out. It was a bit of a walk but we're glad we made the effort. Marilyn and her husband (who wasn't there at the time) have a farm where they grow vegetables, herbs, and fruits. When we arrived we were happy to see a table full of okra, papayas, grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, squash and herbs amongst other things.

We had a bit of a sit down in the shade and a lovely chat with Marilyn. When we gave her our boat card she looked at it and said “Blacksburg, VA. I almost went to Virginia Tech!” Small world eh? She is a construction project manager and her husband is in construction. They are trying to make a go of the farm and then she'll be looking for some project management work. There is quite a lot of home construction going on in Eleuthera so we wished her well in this endeavor.

With a bag full of goodies we hitchhiked back to the boat. Within a couple of minutes 2 construction guys in a pickup truck stopped to give us a ride. We clambered into the back and off we went. It didn't seem nearly as far on the way back, although we did have to stop for an errant cow in the middle of the road!

They stopped at a little local bar called “Da Spot” for lunch, and being on the lookout for local dining opportunities, we decided it was a good day to treat ourselves to lunch, too. We'd heard this place had good food and was a good place to mingle with the locals. They have a fixed price $7 lunch - it was delicious, especially when accompanied by an ice cold Kalik beer. Mmmm.

We ended up spending a week here. The people were really friendly and helpful, the little grocery was really well stocked, and we walked up and down every road in town and across the island to the beautiful ocean side beach a couple of times. Julie even came back from the beach with a pocket full of sea glass! We visited all the little shops, had a nice wander around the graveyard (which was right on a beach), and generally enjoyed ourselves meeting and chatting with the locals. All in all it was a very enjoyable week.

Unfortunately, our camera battery chose to run out of juice just as we arrived here and we discovered that the charger was back in Florida in our van. Oops! Luckily some friends were able to find it and take it to our mail forwarding service. We got it in our next mail package, forwarded and delivered to us at the end of February by a visiting friend. Guess you'll just have to take our word for it...