Green Turtle Cay Island Roots Heritage Festival pt 4

Sunday morning, Grace joined me in taking a walk on the beach. We collected some shells and sea glass and spotted wildlife like a star fish and this sea biscuit.

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I also saw a bird footprint. I sized it up to my own and I am pretty confident it was not a chickcharney 🙂

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And here are a couple pictures that I keep looking at because they don’t seem real. These are three panoramic shots I took on my walk.

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And for those who told me they miss hearing the ocean, are a couple videos of the view and the lapping of waves

Grace  noticed a little crab and mentioned how they look like they are dancing to the Happy song. And once she said it, the chorus started rolling through both of our heads, again. And the curse of the song continued.

After a beautiful morning walk we got cleaned up and dressed for church.

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But first, we headed to the McIntosh Restaurant and Bakery for breakfast.

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(Photo by yachtapolonia)

I had some chicken souse with is essentially a pot with chicken, onions, pepper, potatoes, carrots, allspice, jalapenos, and some other seasonings. It’s very good and I hadn’t had any yet this trip. It also came with a Johnny Cake which is a cornmeal bread.

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And I noticed I was eating out of a bowl made by my Karen!! It was an Abaco Ceramics piece.

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After breakfast we headed out to the festival site where the church service is usually held. We saw a lot of people in the street as we drove that way and figured they must have been all walking over. But then we were flagged down and told to come back around because we were going to hold the service at the New Plymouth Gospel Chapel instead.

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Usually we hold the service out on the festival site, but the storms that moved through overnight had made a mess of the big tent and had even blown a couple of the pop up tents into the water. So, the service was moved indoors. There were pros and cons to this. I missed being outside. There is something about being on that little peninsula with the breeze, palm trees, water lapping and the birds flying over during the service that makes it magical. But by being indoors things like the beautiful harmonies from the New Plymouth Gospel Choir were much easier to hear than ever before.

I love the ‘Thanksgiving Service’ because it brings all of the island’s christian churches together under one roof. It’s also international.

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As part of the festival is celebrating the tie with Key West, you see we opened with both the US and Bahamian National Anthems. Then each of the churches on the island take on various parts of the service.

During the sermon by Pastor Cranston Knowles, the ongoing ear worm of the happy song came back to haunt us. He was doing a very energizing sermon on the loss of culture that is changing communities and looked to us all asking what word we would have used to describe our communities 20 years ago and then what word we would use today. Grace and I looked at each other and mouthed ‘happy’ moving our hands in a slight dance motion in the pew. We couldn’t help it. The song was really stuck in our heads!

Turns out that ear worm had us ahead of the curve this time. Pastor Cranston told us to turn to Psalms 144

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verse 15 –

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And the in-the-pew ‘Happy’ dance began again!

After the service we chatted with folks outside, like Elias, the young man I mentioned in the video of the rangers earlier. Last year, he was still a little bit shorter then me. Now look at him! He’s only 13!

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We knew there was work to be done at the festival site so Grace and I headed back to the house to change into work clothes and then headed over and started stacking folding chairs. We were there for a while before we found out that the work party had actually been pushed back to later in the afternoon.  But we had afternoon plans so we just worked solo and figured the work party would pick up where we left off.

Part of our afternoon plans were to go with our Bahamian brother, Andrew, to Pineapples, a little restaurant/bar down the way.

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(photo by unbcommoncaribbean)

Once food arrived, we had company. A pup that we had been watching play in the surf came over to see if we wanted to drop any food his way.

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We both had salads and Jerk chicken wings that were delicious, at least I thought so. Grace ate one and her eyes started watering, so Andrew finished the rest of them for her.

After lunch Andrew recommended the Bluff House.  I had never been there, but it was about a 20 minute golf cart ride away, so we got going.  The Bluff House is a full beach resort and marina, but we were mainly going over to the Tranquil Turtle bar.

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On the deck of the bar was a corn hole game. I hadn’t played before, but I got the basics and the games began.  Turns out I’m a quick learner. After a few rounds I was racking up the points and Andrew accused me of being a ringer.

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Th DJ played all day and there was dancing..

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And in the evening, they had a bonfire of about 15 – 20 pallets. I chuckled that to do that in the states it would take 7 permits and an on-hand firefighter to start a bonfire on the beach. But in the islands, it’s just what you do.

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It seemed a perfect way to wrap up the evening and around 10pm Grace and I headed back to the house.

Monday morning we packed up and headed to the ferry dock. We had to catch the 9am ferry back to Treasure Cay where we would see Omri again and he was going to take us for a quick shopping stop on the way to the airport – Abaco Ceramics.

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This shop belongs to the woman we call our ‘Bahama Mama’, Karen McIntosh.

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(picture by Abaco Escape)

She is the person who originally brought me to GTC to be Mary Read many many many moons ago and has seen fit to allow me back on island year after year!   She hand paints all of these beautiful items!

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Grace and I bought as much as we could fit in our carry-ons.

When we got to the airport we got our checked bags taken care of, which is quite a process. You do not just hand over your bags like in the US. You stay with them and observe the screener as they pull each and every item out of the bag and put it back in. And don’t look away. My ADD got the best of me and I was looking around and got told to put my eyes back on my bag.

After that was done Grace and I were sitting outside waiting for our flight, which was over an hour away. I’d heard people saying they were going to a restaurant nearby and wondered where that could be. I stood up, looked over the line of people and saw it at the other side of the parking lot.

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The Skyview Restaurant and Bar is a really cute establishment. It has a nice rustic feel around the bar and table area.

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But also has a nice sitting and lounging area with plenty of TVs for those who want to catch a game

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And instead of sitting in an airport waiting area, people would come over here and chat while waiting for their flight. We even found a smiling face we knew.

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I was watching the clock and wondering  when we needed to head back, when I got my answer. The phone at the bar rang and the bartender yelled out ‘Anyone on the Silver Air flight to Fort Lauderdale, they’re boarding now!’ We were on a later, Orlando flight, but realized we didn’t have to watch the clock. The bartender would tell us when it was time to go.  When he called our flight, we paid for the snack and drinks we had, and walked back across the parking lot to head to our plane. That is by far the best way to wait for a flight!

Our final leg of the trip was security to get on the plane. They first checked our carry on bags.  It turns out, one of my purchases at Abaco Ceramics made me a criminal.

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This is a cheese spreader. It’s a flat, rounded piece of metal with a ceramic handle. The security screener thought it looked too much like a blade. I explained it was a cheese spreader. She insisted it was a blade and could not go in my carry-on. Luckily the way bags are checked in Marsh Harbour is a little different than most airports in the states. Checked luggage was on a cart behind me preparing to be pulled out to the plane and tossed on, so I was able to go over and put the spreader inside my checked bag.

By the way, I was a good pirate. I didn’t turn Grace in for the cheese spreader she had in her carry on.

Then there was the pat down. Let me just say, I have had a pat downs in the US and now a pat down in the Bahamas. They are far more thorough in the Bahamas and eventually there were a bunch of us were saying how odd it was to be so well felt-up by someone while standing on the tarmac preparing to get on a plane.

This is Grace and I exhausted on the plane. Exhausted but happy!

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And this is Linda. Why did I take her picture? Because she has to be the most cheerful flight attendant I have ever had.

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Seriously, the woman on the other side of the aisle from me was griping about everything. She didn’t like her seat ,or anything else relating to the trip it seemed, and Linda did everything she could to appease her with a constant smile and cheery voice. She truly was just the sweetest, charming woman. Nice hire, Silver Airways, keep her around!!

I close with a Thank You Thank You Thank You to the Island Roots Heritage Festival committee that sees fit to have me be a part of this fabulous event every year.  It feels like a homecoming each time I see you and your families and get to play with ‘my kids’! Much love to all of you and let’s do it again next year! 🙂

And just because I want to get it stuck in everyone else’s head… another version of Happy –

 

Read part 1 of the festival blog here.

Read part 2 of the festival blog here.

Read part 3 of the festival blog here.