Friday, May 8, 2015

So Long Island- We Miss You Already!

The last few days here have been a blur, the weather has finally turned on us a bit. We have had four days of high winds and lots of rain, our first in a month. To the locals, rain here in these islands means that it gets really crabby, which is good! That is to say, the land crabs get lively, and start marching around everywhere. On the road? Yes! In the yard? Yep. In the house? Could be, better keep the doors closed!
These guys are 2.5 to 4 inches across the shell, and are surprisingly fast. They have a weakness though, that sometimes make them easier to catch. They don't run from a fight! They try to flee at first, but when that fails, they turn and do their best Mohammad Ali impersonation, holding up their able pinchers for you to see that they are no pushover. They lean back at you and kinda dance back and forth, sometimes clicking these pinchers, or biters as the locals say, at you. Tough little critters. The best way to grab them is with Bar-B-Q tongs, and then place them in a bucket. The Chuck Norris method is to grab 'em fast, from behind... a more sporting and yet potentially bloody method. We got the tongs, sorry Chuck.
These crabs are delicious, and are as sweet as any blue crab. There is a bit of work here, picking the meat, but hey, take your time and enjoy! After all, your on Island Time. The rain continued, so we went out for a meal, and then on to a new restaurant, LLoyd's, located near the famous Dean's Blue Hole. We never got to the blue hole, too bad, the rain chased us out. It is the worlds deepest blue hole, or sinkhole, at 668 feet. It is a great picknick and swimming hole, we will come back next time! LLoyd's place was busy, we started out playing a few games of pool, and that was funny because we all are really bad at pool.
After a few games, the ladies had disappeared! We went looking for them, and found this...
Is that a ... disco ball?
The dance music was cranking out Bahamas style rake and scrape music, and our girls were on the floor!
We joined in for a great night out, and everyone had a lot of fun!
On our last drive back to the boat, we stopped in a little roadside restaurant and bar called the Midway Bar. The owner opened her up for us on a Sunday, and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. An interesting guy, Gary owned the place and didn't mind that Guincha came right in. Which is good, because Guincha loves bars, especially ones with chickens and goats looking through the screen door! I asked Gary how long he had been on Long Island, and he said "69 years". I asked him where he was prior to that, and he said "Nowhere, I was born here, been here my whole life".
He has lived in the same area of Long Island since he was born, Midway... named that because, you guessed it, it is the midway point of the island. Nowadays, there is a single road that runs North to South that the island is served by. Gary said that road used to be a dirt path, with travelers trekking to the North end of the island for supplies. The 45 mile trip took 2 weeks roundtrip! He still remembers the places they would stop, and rest the mules for the night. They would be home for about a week, and then start the trip over again. Rough! Back then, the road went through peoples homesteads, with gates across to keep their livestock in. Travelers were welcome to pass through, but had to remember to close the gates behind them. Otherwise, someone could lose their livestock, or at best, have a time chasing it down. Failure to close a gate, would result in a fine of fifty dollars! That was a huge fine, more than people earned in a very long time, so it was taken seriously. Gary took a liking to us, naturally, and told us stories from the old days. They lit the house with kerosene lanterns, and cooked over coals. They scratched out a living the hard way, and never really saw it that way.

Gary pulled out a dusty old bottle, clear liquid inside. He said it was the last of his fathers moonshine, no telling how old it was. He gently poured each of us a small shot, and then one for himself.

Joyce really liked her shot, and begged for another, but I reminded her of the special value that it had to Gary, and she reluctantly relented.

The next day, we made preparations to leave Long Island, and waited for the weather to improve.
Guincha helped out a lot, by smiling and keeping our moods higher.

We will really miss Long Island, a very special place, made much more so by the smiling and welcoming people that call it home. A comment that was left by a reader on the Tugboat in the Trees post said that "It's so sad". This made us think, and we assume that the reader meant that the ruins of the once bustling salt production, and the effect on the area of it's leaving, was so sad. And it is. But that is life, and the people here are happy and inviting, having learned to make of life what they can. Long Island isn't Nassau, or Freeport, and that is a good thing. While those places are interesting, the people there are not the same. They are just not like the small town atmosphere on Long Island. I moved to a small town in the Carolinas once, and was amazed that everyone said hello, everyone waved as they drove past, they would stop to help you on the side of the road, that kind of people. That is what is different about Long Island, the people are just like that. They do wave as they drive past, there is always a smile and a hello when you meet someone. They help each other out in times of need, and no doubt the first car to pass if you were stuck on the side of the road, would stop to help. Add to that, the most beautiful Bahamas island and it's rich history, and well, you get the idea. We will come back, and swim in the blue hole, and explore some of the caves and Indian sites, and go to the southern tip of the island for a visit, a place said to be haunted. And we will come back to visit our friends, who once again treated us like family. Long Island... we miss you already!

No comments:

Post a Comment