On Assignment In The Islands, Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas
Cape Eleuthera, Powell Point, Bahamas 2012
The Working Part
Each day on the way into town I would take the long flat road from the cape to Rock sound. It was a thirty-six mile journey so I had packed some drinks (non rum) and found Peter Tosh on the ipad. It was always sunny. Even when raining it was just liquid sunshine and it didn't pour for long.
About ten miles into the journey, just outside of Deep Creek, these guys would be churnin' away at the mixer and the presser, at least that is what I called them. And the poor guy stacking those things, six hundred a day. My back is sore just thinking about it. Nevertheless they were there. And how-a-bout those carbon emissions you ask. No more than a large lawnmower.
These people are no strangers to hurricanes so concrete block plays the most important role for providing long lasting durable construction in the mostly concrete and re-bar structures. The road-side concrete plant is one of three plants strategically located about the island. Customers simply call up with their needs and three days later can pick them up at a Bahamian buck a piece. No need for a fork lift, just pull up, they are roadside.
These guys were lucky too; they had a mixer. My jobsite was not so fortunate. Wanna talk about back breaking, listen to this. The first time I was charged with mixing concrete for pier footings I did what any mason would do, gather the tools, wheelbarrow, shovel, hoe, you know, the basics. Not today mon. I emptied nine bags, nine ninety pound bags of concrete mix in a big pile, sculpted it into what resembled a moon crater, and filled it with water. Suddenly with some kind of Bahamian magic, there were ten guys each with shovel in hand turning the pile inward of itself until perfectly mixed. Labor intense? Yes. Efficient? Incredibly, only three bags of concrete could be mixed using a gas mixer.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to make the place sound so desolate it has not even a concrete truck, it does, however it is pricey. No matter how you get it mixed, by hand or by the Bahamian Block Busters, as Wade Anderson says, "We do what we gotta do 'n git it done". And they do.
The Vacation Part (fishing)
The fishing and diving off the cape is incredible. Just ask Mane and Kitty, as you saw the water is incredibly clear, aqua-marine blue. I dove with those guys for eight hours that day. I obviously ate a lot of lobster that night. Mahi-mahi, Nassau grouper, horse-eye grouper, strawberry grouper, grunts, and barry (barracuda). You name it, we had them in the boat at the end of the day. The lobster averaged about three pounds a piece. We had somewhere around forty of them. I brought eighteen of them home with me to South Carolina and had a feast with my family. Bahamas style.
If you have never eaten fresh conch before it is fantastic. Fritters, conch salad, and cracked conch are among the locals favorites, and there is no shortage of these interesting creatures.
The sail-fish pictured was 130 pounds and took about 30 minutes to get into the boat by the boat owner and captain Garnet assisting. She was released and dove straight down, back to her deep home in the Caribbean Sea. We celebrated the catch that evening with plenty of cocktails (extra rum).
Rainbows are a regular occurrence in The Bahamas. Rain squalls will often spill rainwater in true tropical fashion providing the luster and the fragrance of island plant and tree life.
As you could see by the expressions of the people in the video, The Bahamas are very friendly islands. It is a peaceful relaxing place to get away in true island style and I will cherish my time spent there forever.
©2014 Steve West. Not to be duplicated without written consent of content author.