Welcome to Abaco

Hey there!

Amelia’s in, and we’re out of Nassau – welcome to lovely Abaco! It’s a family island north of Nassau, long and thin and low. Abaco, my father and sister will be the first to tell you, is where a great episode of Scrubs was shot, in northern cay Hope Town. We’ve set up camp at our new fieldwork site, a development called Schooner Bay.

Stormy skies above Schooner Bay
Stormy skies above Schooner Bay
Amelia in her element
Amelia in her element.

Schooner Bay is a private development for family vacation houses on the windward side of the island, right at Abaco’s thin waist. It’s lauded, by itself at this point, for being a model scenario for sustainable development. What I’ve heard so far:

  • They sourced their gravel from a local quarry (so close you can see it)
  • Ecological concerns, like retaining a connecting flight path to the ocean for small bush birds, had a stake in the site design.
  • Local farm and hydroponic garden will sell goods to tenants
  • Part of the appeal of the development is/will be the relative sense of community shared between neighbors.
  • Finally, perhaps most importantly at the moment for me and Amelia, is the research institute that offers housing at reduced rates for artists and scientists. Bahamas National Trust has an office space on-site for the regional warden as well.

More to come. Schooner Bay (SB) is not a scruffy township by a long shot. Housing Prices range from  $400,000 to $4 Million, golf carts scoot around the campus, and the website lauds its incoming amenities – spa services, a fitness center, coffee house, its club house, etc. A smaller inn and set of condos will go in eventually as well.

The Grand Scheme, courtesy of the SB website
The Grand Scheme, courtesy of the SB website

There’s a lot to say about the map presented above. The Commons is Government “Crown” land that is on lease to Schooner Bay, and will ultimately be turned over to a committee with representatives from SB that manages the projects on the land for the economic, social, and ecological betterment of South Abaco. As long as everything goes as planned. There are restrictions placed on the size of houses and the size of parcels, which many developments don’t want to risk losing business for; target sizes and prices are generally accommodated by the different styles or “collections” that will ultimately be offered. The two lodges will take guests who don’t own parcels, at differing rates. Questions? Let me know!

Garden Sheds, indigenous only.
Garden Sheds, indigenous only.

This part of the fellowship, woe woe wah wah goo goo ga ga, is going to be the hardest for me, I think. As a slightly nervous and task-oriented person, not only will I be a touch concerned that I’m totally boring/annoying Amelia, but I also have to learn to let go of my attachment to a To Do list. This is the part of the project that requires constant reminders to pay attention, to get out of my little dorm in the research institutes, to listen hard and describe deeply. I’ve started rigorously taking notes, which I’d rushed in Nassau.

In development.
In development.

We’re two short tours deep, and we’re going to continue to keep exploring. Upcoming posts will address the artists presence at Schooner Bay, and some theory!



p.s. Well wishes to the families effected by the Malaysia Airlines victims – none of whom read my blog but who have just be put in the middle of a strange international conflict. Well wishes to the families stuck in the middle of the Gaza Strip who lived with their lives on the line and are being mobilized as sacrificial pawns. There’s a lot of bad shit out there. Get each others backs. There’s too much to say and something isn’t enough.

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