Sunday, February 24, 2008

Abaco V: Various and Sundry

Time really DOES fly --even "Island Time". We'd love to stay at a number of the anchorages in Abaco for weeks at a time, but we're running out of time already! We went back to Man O War for the Man O War Fair for the benefit of their school. The Admiral did a little shopping at the bake sale.

This time, we picked up a mooring in the southern harbor, away from the village. (Anchoring is difficult in many places because of sea grasses on the bottom.) We thought it would be a bit quieter, but we had all kinds of entertainment there. A huge construction barge slalomed its way through the anchorage all the way to the top of the harbor.
A traditional little wooden boat (there are many of them in this harbor) sailed out.
She was followed by a bigger one with a huge loose-footed mainsail.
They had a little race through the anchorage with a bowman on the larger boat constantly yelling directions since the helmsman has no visibility to leeward, particularly when the boat is heeling.
The big guy tried to wipe the little one out on one of the moored boats.
The balance of these traditional boats is marvelous! Even in a knockdown, they have no tendancy to round up. Note that the large rudder is dead amidships with the lee deck awash in a puff. (Try that in one of your "modern" go fast plastic boats!)
A second later she is still moving comfortably.


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After all this excitement, we ran back to Marsh Harbour for shopping and a Junkanoo. There was a huge audience for the Junkanoo, a traditional festival originating with Bahamian slaves. Early on, the crowd was a mixed group with a lot of yachtsmen and women.
Junkanoo is usually at New Years, but was postponed this year because of budget problems. This one combined the Junior and Senior divisions. We made it through most of the juniors, including a visiting group from Nassau. (The entire event lasted until after 2:00 AM.) The school kids create the amazing costumes at school (art class?) and develop complex (and extremely vigorous!) dances and routines (phys ed?) which they perform along the parade route.
As the evening progressed into the wee hours of the night, the elderly yacht folk began to disappear back to their bunks and the serious Junkanooers showed up for the festivities and all kinds of street food, from hot dogs to full barbecue dinners, conch fritters, etc. -- all surprisingly inexpensive.
Here's a short clip of the group from Nassau -- an unique interpretation of "Amazing Grace"! [Be sure that your sound is turned up.]
video

The "white islands" like Man O War and Elbow Cay (Remember the Loyalists?) are not represented at Junkanoo -- but that's another story. Green Turtle (also originally Loyalist, but quite integrated now), however, has its own Junkanoo.

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