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 Hope Town resident wakes up from an afternoon nap.
After 117 years, Hope Town School is still operating, teaching children from preschool to sixth grade.
Slow down! You're in Hope Town.
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 Hope Town Harbour Lodge.
Restoration work at Hope Town Cemeteries.
Restoration work at Hope Town Cemeteries.
A curly-tailed lizard blends in well with the surrounding cemetery.
Halloween preparation, complete with black cat.
A spider behind the Wine Down Sip-Sip left over from Halloween.
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.
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, 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 space.
Drive-through service means tying up outside.
In Hope Town there often seems to be light at the end of the path.
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.
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 over Hope Town, Abaco.
Story by Dominic Duncombe.
Click here to see more photos from Hope Town.