On the west side of Great Harbour Cay is the settlement, no sand beaches but mangroves. We anchor in the little shallow harbor in front of the main pier.
Here, life goes on as always. The Bahamians go about their business taking their time as they always do, mowing loans, painting walls, buying groceries in the small store, drinking beers in the bar. Fishermen scout the shallow waters in their small motorboats looking for conch and lobster, women prepare delicious fragrant meals in the small houses, kids play in the streets, roosters torment everybody with their hysterical chants all day and night.
On Wednesdays, the entire population of the village, about seven hundred people, gathers on the pier near the church, not for a religious celebration, but for the most important event of the week: the arrival of the mailboat.
As there is no agriculture, no industry, and nothing is made or produced on the island, everything arrives here by the mailboat from the capital Nassau. The mailboat brings tomatoes, potatoes, onions, milk, eggs, ham, soda drinks, beer, computes, furniture, cars. Whatever people need the mailboat brings it. So they wait and expect it, and celebrate the arrival of new things each Wednesday.
On Saturday, this particular Saturday, there is another event organized by the local casino Island Luck to celebrate Christmas, and we are invited as is everyone on the island.
As we arrive on the small dusty plaza in front of the casino building around six in the afternoon, we find huge speakers already installed, reggae music booming, two tables arranged with all sorts of bottles, giant coolers full of soda drinks and beer, and another four tables completely covered with food. There is green salad, potato salad, roasted chicken, ribs in sauce, cooked ham, rice and beans, everything unbelievably tasty. All this: food and drinks, as much as you want, free of charge! The casino has paid for everything. And this sort of thing doesn’t happen often in the Bahamas…
The place gets filled with people. We are the only foreigners and the locals look happy to have us at their party. We drink and eat and dance with them, have tons of fun, and Maya makes new friends like always.
Back on the boat we can still hear the music, people dancing and laughing all night till the morning, when only the chants of the roosters remain and the faint smell of a small fire burning.