bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, children, travel

A few weeks back, I noticed this group of boys playing on a wooden raft along New Plymouth’s south beach. Though the origins of said raft were dubious – two boys said they made it, two said they found it – their joy was not. They paddled around the shallows near the south beach dock, tying up and untying the raft, tossing out and hauling in its small anchor.


Watching them reminded me of the times we spent on Green Turtle Cay during summer vacation, and how much freedom we had.

My cousins and I could meander through town at any hour without worry or harm. We had no television or phone, smart or otherwise. There were no video games, no DVD player, no iPod. Instead, we played outside. We used our imaginations. If we wanted to go somewhere, we walked. Both ways. Uphill. In four feet of snow. Yes, ok, I made up that last part. But the rest is true.

We hunted baby crabs on the Settlement Creek shore and collected sand dollars at Gillam Bay. We swam near the public dock and fished with tiny hooks and thread, using crushed snails for bait. In the evenings, we walked around New Plymouth, searching for night-blooming jasmine.

Nearly four decades later, surprisingly little has changed. It’s true that local residents now enjoy modern conveniences like telephones, cable television and even Internet. But technology aside, and unlike so many other places, Green Turtle Cay has managed to retain much of its innocence and charm.

Kids, some as young as five or six, still play unsupervised on the town basketball court or nearby beaches. They make (or find…?) rafts and become pretend pirates. They abandon skateboards, bikes and basketballs wherever they fall, confident they’ll still be there when school lets out tomorrow.

Though they occasionally forget their toys, Green Turtle Cay kids usually remember their manners. Even the smallest child will whisper a bashful “hello” or “good afternoon.”

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, children, summer vacation

In case their parents are reading this, these mini-mariners were no exception. They bade me good evening and answered my questions with “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.”

I watched them play for quite a while, enjoying the reassurance that, especially for kids, Green Turtle Cay remains as idyllic as I remember.

bahamas, children, abaco, green turtle cay, summer vacation

6 thoughts on “Echoes of Idyllic Island Summers

  • June 19, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Yes ma’am and no sir, was Papa Harry’s teachings, I have a letter written to us when our Son Joined the U S A F, after boot camp he wrote the letter on how easy it was for him to Answer wit Sir, and how hard it was for other recruits to meet a commanding office, and answer with EHh.
    Because he was never allowed to use it at home, today he runs the family Business, and people that he meets will always say, J R. you dont have to say yes sir, His answer is always the same Between my Dad and the Military i cannot loose it.

  • June 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    The modern day Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer ( wait a bit one of them may actually be Tom Sawyer, well a Sawyer anyway.

  • June 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks so much for the photos. After a couple of rough days I needed something like them.

    Jim Howell

  • June 19, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Love the photos and the write-up. Nice to know there are still some kids that don’t have to be forced to go outside 🙂

  • June 23, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Very nice article! We too look forward to your photos.


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