Thursday, February 07, 2008

Abaco III: Little Harbour

We went from Marsh Harbour to Little Harbour, the farthest south we plan to go this year. South of Little is fairly open water with no real harbors down to "Hole in the Wall" and the Exumas.Little Harbour is a perfect "hurricane hole" with plenty of water once you get through the shallow entrance channel. We spent two nights at a mooring and two nights at anchor in this wonderful spot. Pete Johnston now runs an art gallery, the studio and foundry, and Pete's Pub where his family moved in the early 1950's.
His father, Randolf W. Johnston was an American college art teacher and sculptor who moved his family onto a boat in Man O War and Little Harbour, eventually building a home and a studio/foundry in which he cast bronze sculptures. (His journal/autobiograhy, ARTIST ON HIS ISLAND, is a wonderful account of his family's life in Abaco.)
One of Randolf's sculptures, commissioned by the government, is called "Bahamian Woman". I assume that this (standing in a corner of the studio, rather than the gallery) is a smaller version of the one in Nassau. Randolf was well known for his depictions of man's inhumanity to man. I found this casting behind some debris in another corner of the studio and had to hold some refuse away from it to get the picture.
The studio is full of rejects and works-in-progress.
Both Randolf and Pete are also known for their life-size scultures from the nature they around them.
Pete has a series of bronzes based on Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. This is the the old man trying to fight off the shark.
When they first came to Little Harbour, the family lived in a boat. (They made a minimal living by chartering it.) They also tried to move into one of the natural caves on the other side of the harbour, but were driven out by bats, insects, and moisture. They did, however, use the cave for storage and as a workshop.

Pete now runs "Pete's Pub" right next to the studio and has sold off pieces of property to keep body and soul together. Many of the nearby homes are owned by fellow artists who also show in the gallery and work in the studio. He maintains some control over the type of construction allowed so there are none of the MacMansions that are cropping up in other areas of Abaco. We met a number of people from as far away as Hopetown (about 15 miles by water) who think nothing of running down to Pete's in their center-console outboards for lunch. A few of the dive centers also stop by on their tours.

From the Pub, a boardwalk leads across to the ocean side.
An ultra-light seaplane stopped by when we were there.

We liked the sign on one of the docks which had a creative way of keeping unwanted guests away: "Free dog bites."
We kinda hanker for the piece of property at the entrance to the harbor. It's for sale for a mere $4,700,000 but it comes with 2 Jeep Cherokees, a flats boat, a Yamaha 4-wheeler and its own private dock and beach (on the other side of the point). There are 3 interconnected "pods" with a total of 3,500 sq ft of living space, a generator and a reverse osmosis water maker.
This boat either washed up to the top of the dune in a storm or was laboriously pulled up there. At any rate, a stairway and a deck were built behind it and it was leveled to be someone's home. Nothing goes to waste around here!
Somehow, Pete enforces a strict environmental standard and there is no fishing or turtling or conching, etc (except for the Pub which serves great fresh fish?). We were rewarded by a wonderfully quiet harbor full of dolphinsAnd sea turtles. The sunrise was, as usual, quite spectacular. (Note the "boat house" near the top of the dune.)

Allen and Judy:

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