My dear friend Ellen and I finally found time when we could both go away on a trip. Where to go? Let’s see… somewhere warm with water sounds nice. Aha, I have friends that have some rentals in Little Harbor in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. Yes, the Abacos that were hammered by Hurricane Dorian not too long ago. I knew my friends in Little Harbor were not hit as hard as my friends in Hopetown, who lost their house and boat, so I checked in with them and they were open for business.
Their place is Pete’s Pub & Gallery. Homesteaded in 1951 by Randolph Johnson, his wife and 3 sons. They landed their sail boat and created a home as well as the only bronze foundry in the Bahamas. I am making it sound simple, but it was everything but. His story is remarkable and you can read about it in his book Artist on His Island: A Study of Self-Reliance.
Pete, one of Randolph’s sons became a sculptor as well and artist of many disciplines. He built much of the compound as it stands today. His son, Greg and daughter-in-law, Heather, run the place now while raising their kids.
They run on Solar power and use rainwater cisterns. They rely on the gifts of the island and the gentle use of resources by their guests. So, it was a good place for this Green Diva to go.
Before you read on…
My segment on this topic from the latest 50 Shades of GDs starts @ 18:45
Seeing the devastation up close and personal
I knew the Abacos where hit badly, but I was not prepared for how bad it was in Marsh Harbor where we flew into. As we flew in, we could see that all the trees had been stripped and many just snapped. Heather picked us up and gave us a tour before heading to Little Harbor. It was jaw droppingly devastating. Here it is five months after the storm and there were hardly any buildings standing anywhere. Just miles and miles of rubble. Miraculously, the grocery store withstood the storm and was now like an oasis of activity and support for the community.
The news reported 70 died and 282 missing. That was grossly underestimated. There were whole groups of refugees that were swept away without being counted or mentioned. Nobody was untouched by this hurricane. Little Harbor had minor damage compared to the rest of the island. The closer we got, the greener it got. The foliage was not stripped. Roofs were damaged and there were mounds of debris from clean up that was not unlike other big hurricanes experienced here. More than one homeowner here said they had serious survivors’ guilt. Even I felt silly having arrived looking like a tourist in my straw hat and vacation clothes. It is impossible for me to imagine what these people have been through. After seeing all the devastation, we were glad that we chose to spend our money here where it’s needed.
Your visit could help
There are a ton of places one could choose for a vacation. Why not choose a place where you can make a positive impact on the community. Please consider the Abacos in the Bahamas. Here are the places that I know are recovered enough to welcome visitors:
Finding eco-friendly accommodations
So, you want to travel while treading lightly on the planet? There are several sites where you can find Green Certification for hotels and tours. Our very own contributor Green Diva Alice Ford spoke with us a few times in our Traveling GDs podcast series about what makes a hotel green or eco-friendly, etc. Visit her own site Travganic.com where you can explore and book your green vacations. You can read about her travels and watch videos as well. Some of the other sites are:
Help rebuild in the Bahamas
Little Harbor was the place where relief volunteers from all over the world came to take a break, if only for an afternoon. In fact, if you have time for a 2-month sabbatical, Air BnB is supporting 5 people who are willing to help restore the coral reefs, support ethical fishing, promote traditional agriculture and basically benefit local communities while helping support a sustainable future.
Of course, there are other purposeful vacations you can take as well. Here are a few brilliant organizations: