Well, the winds weren't too bad today, but the seas are still rocking and rolling on the reefs, so land-based attractions were the stars of the day. Ron and I took a good hour bike ride this morning while the girls enjoyed the sunshine at the Abaco Beach Resort pool. We biked out to Dundas Town, west of Marsh Harbour, along the main road. There were lots of pastel-colored homes, small businesses and take-away food stands, one of which I especially loved: the "God Bless Church Chicken: Sanctified and Fried" stand, which clearly must have the monopoly for fried chicken around here. Sure wish it had been open, but it was too early for chicken!
After we returned, we took the tender, Tingum, over to Hope Town to have lunch and explore a bit there. We'd heard about Elbow Cay's beauty, and were not disappointed!! The red & white striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse stands sentry at the entrance to Hope Town Harbour, a fixed (non-rotating) light of the first-order (of brightness) that warns ships away from the treacherous reef that extends quite a ways to seaward from Elbow Cay. For a bit of history about the lighthouse, it was built in 1863, and at the time, the idea of a lighthouse was not popular with many of the Hope Town locals, since many Abaconians made a good living from salvaging (locally known as "wracking") any ships that wrecked upon the dangerous shoals of this low archipelago of reefs, rocks, cays and white beaches. Aids to navigation weren't exactly welcome, since it would impact the wrackers' livelihood.
According to a history of the lighthouse by Hannah Solo and Neil Aberle :
"Merchant sail flourished between 1820 and 1880 and the Bahama Islands lay spread-out along its way. The Bahamian wracking fleet stood ready to help, with almost 300 vessels licensed to cruise the reefs in search of luckless ships to salvage, employing half of the able-bodied men in the country and accounting for about half of this British colony's revenue. The records for 1860 show an amazing average of one wreck per month at Abaco alone."