We spent the past several days exploring the beautiful water and
beaches on Hoffmans, Devil's Cay and Little Harbour in the Berry
Islands. On Hoffmans we hiked a trail that led to a giant Blue Hole,
a lovely beach and the ruins of what looked like an old still.
Devil's Cay had ruins of an old building, a natural swimming hole
formed by low rocks, and several nice beaches seperated by cliffs.
The Little Harbour anchorage had a lot of current and was a bit
uncomfortable so we found another spot next to the most amazing little
beach. We had a lively dinner Friday night at Flo's Conch Bar. It's
the sort of place where you have to make a reservation a day ahead,
not because it's swanky or ritzy, but because they need time to go
catch the lobster and conch and they only cook if they are sure to
have customers. We were the only dinner customers that night and the
food was great. A lively bunch from a 120 ft motor yacht arrived while
we were eating and treated us to another round of rum punch. They
were a bit boisterous and added to the fun.
We left Little Harbour early Saturday morning to travel to Andros
Island. I'm happy to report that it was a good days sail which I
needed to rebuild my confidence. I was able to get the mainsail up,
with one reef, while the boat was bouncing up and down in some lively
waves. Yes, I had my harness strapped to the mast. I even managed to
get the whisker pole arrangement to work, and we sailed along wing and
wing for most of the day. It was hard to set the pole while the boat
was rolling heavily from side to side, but somehow I managed. We had
an 8 hour downwind sail and surfed our way into the anchorage at
Morgan's Bluff around 5 p.m.
I had a strange fantasy that we would be able to find a store open so
we could buy a ham for Easter dinner. However, Morgan's Bluff was not
much of a town. A gas station, bar, run down marina of sorts, and a
huge beach made up the whole place. Nothing to buy but a beer and
conch salad. We were told it was a 15 minute bike ride in to
Nicholl's Town where we'd find a big grocery store but it was too
Next day on Easter morning, Coleen, Sue and I were up early and on
shore with our bikes by 8 a.m. headed to the 8:30 worship at the
Anglican Church in Nicholls Town, as it was the only church I could
find on the internet with a service time. Ugh, that was early, but
off we went. Thankfully it was a cool, cloud covered morning and the
ride was mostly flat through an endless pine forest on a nice paved
road. We got directions by stopping a passing car. We rode and rode
until I thought I was going to drop. Forty five minutes into our 15
minute ride, I finally pulled over at a small store. We went inside,
got snacks and water, then sat on the benches to regroup. The store
clerk said it was still a long ways to town. After resting a bit, we
decided that we didn't want to be all dressed up in our Easter clothes
with nowhere to go and that we would keep going. Easter Service or
bust! There must be another church with a later service and we'd find
After stopping two more cars for directions, we finally made it to
the town. By now it was 9:40, but we got a second wind as we began to
see a little civilization. We spied an elderly couple walking
carrying Bibles. They were on their way to the Zion Methodist Church
and the service started at 10. Yeah! They gave us directions and soon
we were pushing our bikes up the grass parking lot on the side of a
steep hill overlooking the beach. We propped our bikes on the side of
the church, dusted off and took a few pictures. The church doors were
held shut by a 4 foot piece of a large log. Its whitewashed walls were
at least 2 feet thick, trimmed in mint green paint.It lacked any
adornment other than a sign carved into the cement above the doorway
that read " Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock".
Soon enough the elderly couple arrived and the gentleman removed the
log and we all filed in. The simple church had very comfortable pews,
a small organ, a lecturn, a few cieling fans, and not much else, not
even a restroom, much to my dismay. As the church began to fill it
was almost eerily quiet. The pastor, a large black man, whom we later
learned was from Haiti, came in wearing formal pastor attire.
Everyone else was dressed to the nines in their Easter dresses, hats
or suits with ties. We had done our best, but still looked a bit
scraggly after our long bike ride.
The pastor passed out prayer books, a Methodist hymnal (which had
songs like, "God Bless our Queen"), and a United Methodist Hymnal.
The service started out very formal, with 3 scripture readings by
various congregation members, and traditional Methodist hymns. The
only music was the beat of a set of bongo drums played by a young man.
Somehow it seemed to work. The crowd of 25 or so people sang more
loudly than my church back home with a 1,000. It was amazing. Soon
we were singing some newer songs like "Lord I lift your Name on High".
Everyone knew the words by heart and clapped and sang and the drums
went on and on. One song rolled into another and before you knew it
we'd been singing for 20 minutes. I'm quite sure I've never quite had
so much fun in church. The joy in that place was abounding! The
pastor gave the most lively sermon I've ever heard and was without
doubt the most joy filled person I've ever met. He just radiated
happiness. Finally at the end of the service, after a very formal
communion, everyone greeted each other. Literally every person hugged
every other person. It was such a friendly crowd.
After the service, the elderly couple invited us to their home for
tea. They were from Canada and had been wintering on the island for 40
years. We also had an offer for a ride back in a car so we had to do
that instead. It took two cars to get us and our bikes back to the
dinghy landing. Coleen and I rode with the most kind lady, who also
happened to be the principal at the high school. After dropping off
our bikes, she offered to give us a ride to the store. On the way she
asked if we'd like to get tomatoes from the school garden, too. Of
course we said yes to that. Soon enough we were at the huge garden
with over a hundred rows of tomato plants and peppers. She gave us
each a bag and let us pick as much as we wanted, and then offered
peppers too. It turns out the school garden supplies tomatoes and
peppers to a hotel in Nassau and the students manage the garden. They
also raised pigs. She refused payment saying that the garden project
was ending on Monday as it was time for the students to began studying
for national exams, and all the rest of the tomatoes would go to
waste. Imagine that! We then went to the little grocery store that
held only a few fresh items. I managed to get grapes, romaine,
broccili and a few bananas for $14, no ham to be found, only a very
old frozen turkey at $2.60/pound. I passed on that.
By now it was only 1 o'clock and we'd already had the most amazing
Easter ever. Upon arriving back at the dinghy landing we found Tom
and DJ and few other boaters hanging out enjoying the 3 for $5 beer
and fixing an outboard engine. We finally persuaded someone to give us
a ride back to the boat so we could have lunch and a nap. Later we
shared Easter dinner with Tom and Sue. Sue brought a salad and I made
a pasta dish with some of DJ's freeze dried ham chunks. It was good
but certainly not traditional. We ended the evening with a fun game
of Apples to Apples.
Sue says when she's 80 she's going to call me from the nursing home
and say "remember that Easter on Andros"!