A picture tour of Hope Town, Abaco

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November 11, 2010

Depending on where you start it takes some extra effort to get to Hope Town. If you have made it as far as Marsh Harbour, Abaco then it's just one more boat ride to Elbow Cay and the settlement of Hope Town. 

Once you get off the ferry there is a lot to take in and it's all packed tightly together. In Hope Town, the scale of the world has shrunk to fit life's usual characters and places into a fraction of the space. The people there do things differently and are good at it. 

On two recent trips, Stop Motion Productions photographed community life. Scroll down for a walk down the Queen's Highway and beyond.

 

A Hopetown resident wakes from an afternoon nap. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

A Hope Town resident wakes up from an afternoon nap.

 

Hope Town School, Elbow Cay, Abaco. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

After 117 years, Hope Town School is still operating, teaching children from preschool to sixth grade. 

 

Things move slower in Hope Town. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Slow down! You're in Hope Town.

 

A hermit crab stays under the Hope Town speed limit. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

A hermit crab stays under the Hope Town speed limit. Hermit crabs get their homes from the shells of other animals, with some species choosing the right size shells in groups. Read more about them here

 

The Hopetown Harbour Lodge. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

The Hope Town Harbour Lodge.

 

Hope Town Cemeteries Restoration Project. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Restoration work at Hope Town Cemeteries. 

 

Evidence of the Hope Town Cemeteries Restoration Project.

Restoration work at Hope Town Cemeteries. 

 

A curly-tailed lizard blends in well with the surrounding cemetery. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A curly-tailed lizard blends in well with the surrounding cemetery. 

 

A spider behind the Wine Down Sip-Sip left over from Halloween. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Halloween preparation, complete with black cat.

 

A spider behind the Wine Down Sip-Sip left over from Halloween.
A spider behind the Wine Down Sip-Sip left over from Halloween.

 

One of Abaco's many, efficient ferries. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Being in Abaco means you are likely to run into a ferry of some sort, probably of several sorts. This one run by Albury’s Ferry. These ferries leave on time and will leave you. They are clean and built with function and comfort in mind.

 

A buoy for rent is a clue of the value Abaconians place on the sea. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

A buoy for rent is a clue of the value Abaconians place on the sea.

 

When a storm is approaching, many boaters move their vessels to land at the Lighthouse Marina. It’s also popular for storage, especially with winter residents.Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

When a storm is approaching, many boaters move their vessels to land at the Lighthouse Marina. It’s also popular for storage, especially with winter residents.

 

Propane supply by Harbour View Grocery. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Propane supply by Harbour View grocery, which provides the cooking gas for Elbow Cay. Customers drop their tanks off and they are taken to Marsh Harbour where they are filled. The tanks are delivered to homes usually a day or two later, longer if the weather is bad.

 

Reserved parking on the water. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Reserved parking space.

 

Cap'n Jacks at Hope Town. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Drive-through service means tying up outside.

 

Sunrise in Hope Town. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

In Hope Town there often seems to be light at the end of the path.

 

Guess the number of corks and win a prize! Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Customers at Wine Down Sip-Sip are invited to guess the number of corks. The corks are from customers' bottles and many are signed. Leave your guess in the comments. The number will be announced once the competition is over at the bar. That may take a while since bar owner Bonnie Hall has kept it going despite awarding several prize-winners. 

 

The Cholera Cemetery in Hopetown, Abaco. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

In the 1850s, a cholera outbreak in New York spread to Nassau through ship passengers. People headed from Nassau to the out islands hoping to escape the disease. Some were already infected and brought it to Elbow Cay. 

According to Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People: Volume 2, By Michael Craton and Gail Saunders:

". . . the capital also served as a local source of epidemic contagion, which radiated to the outer islands as a malign index of the relative efficiency of the communication system.

"These effects were all amply illustrated by the cholera epidemic of 1852-53, which, being the first, was both the most severe and most terrible in its psychological effects. Governor Gregory reported in October 1852 that the disease first reached Nassau from New York in early September, in a Bahamian boat ironically call the Reform. Once landed, the cholera spread rapidly among the "humbler classes," particularly affecting the southern black settlements of Grant's Town and Bain Town and the poor white settlements of in the swampy area call the White Ground (later, the Pond) in the eastern suburbs."

Craton and Saunders say that at the height of the epidemic there were seventy deaths a week in New Providence, afflicting more than a quarter of the island's population.

Although communities in the family islands made some efforts to keep New Providence passengers from reaching their shores - including a riot - the infection spread quickly. 

A little more than a hundred people are buried on the hill next to the beach in Hope Town. This spot used to be outside of the main community in Elbow Cay. Now near the center of activity, community planners recently put in a call to the American Center for Disease Control to see if it was safe to dig a well nearby. It was.

 

Sunset and moon-rise in Hopetown, Abaco. Photo by Stop Motion Productions.

Sunset and moon-rise over Hope Town, Abaco.

See Also:
A few steps into the past at Hope Town's historical museum

 

Story by Dominic Duncombe.

Photos by Ronnie Archer and Dominic Duncombe of Stop Motion Productions.

Click here to see more photos from Hope Town.

News date : 11/11/2010    Category : Art, Bahamas Local Stories

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Jeenia  Wed, 2010/11/17 - 07:12 PM

Thank you for bringing some of Abaco back with you and sharing it with me. Your photos are beautiful as are the little stories you've told. I have yet to visit the beautiful island.

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