Fish Hooks cottage is a traditional Abaco home, built in late 1932 by my great-grandparents, Herman and May Curry.
Located just east of the ferry dock in the settlement of New Plymouth, this property was originally purchased by Pa Herman in two sections: the front half in 1918 and the back lot in 1923.
Originally, Pa Herman, Ma May and their three daughters, including my grandmother, Lurey Curry Albury, lived in a larger, more elegantly appointed house on the property (see photo below.)
During the first week of September 1932, however, the Curry family’s beautiful home was one of many local structures destroyed by a Category 5 hurricane.
Desperate to shelter their family, and with limited access to supplies and resources, Herman and May cobbled together a smaller, simpler house from the debris of their former home. Following Ma May’s death in 1984, her little house sat empty for more than two decades.
In 2012, Tom and I realized a long-time dream when we purchased the cottage and began restoring it. Here’s a link to an Abaco Life article I wrote about this project, and below are links to my blog posts and video diary entries documenting our restoration journey thus far.
1. We’ve Hooked the Small One
Tom and I now have something we’ve wanted for years – my ancestral home in Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas. It’s a small cottage on the New Plymouth waterfront, located next to (where else?) the ferry dock.
This property has been in my family for nearly 100 years. Prior to September 1932, my great-grandparents Herman and May Curry and their three daughters lived in a large, two-story home on the property. It had four bedrooms, including two upstairs, each with large dormer windows.
2. Fish Hooks Update: The Inspection
“You know,” said our contractor, William Lowe. “If this were my house, I’d move it back on the property and add a porch at the front.” And just like that, the scope of our restoration project broadened significantly.
3. Fish Hooks Update: Restoration Begins January 2014
It’s official! The restoration of our little house by the ferry starts in less than three months. Since there’s so much to be done, we’ve divided the work into several phases. Phase one — constructing a new foundation directly behind the existing structure, raising and moving the house back onto it and adding a small, covered front porch — begins in early January.
4. Fish Hooks Video Diary: We’re Off to a Solid Start
Our Fish Hooks restoration is finally underway. First thing Monday, Tom and I met with Jason and Oral Bethel to finalize plans for the project.
5. Fish Hooks Video Diary: The Cellar
There’s a lot of work being done underneath our little house by the ferry in preparation for the big move. Over the weekend, Tom explored the old cellar beneath Fish Hooks, and documented his discoveries for our restoration video diary.
6. Fish Hooks Video Diary: Beam it Up
As you can see in this latest entry in our Fish Hooks video diary, Oral, Jason and Gavin have made great progress in the past few days. “Moving day” is growing ever near. We expect it will be sometime next week, depending on the availability of the crane.
7. Fish Hooks Video Diary: Ready, Set…
This is it! The new foundation is ready, the house is fully braced and the utilities have been disconnected. All that’s left now is the big move. We’re hoping it will be later today (Thursday) or Friday.
8. Fish Hooks Video Diary: The Move
Our journey toward restoring Fish Hooks took an unexpected detour a week ago. Last Thursday, we learned that the crane we hoped would move the cottage was out of commission, and nobody knew how long repairs would take. eedless to say, last weekend was a stressful one for Tom and me. We wondered if, despite our months of planning and anticipation, we might leave Green Turtle Cay without moving the house at all.
9. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: Our New Porch
Truth be told, Tom and I wrestled with the decision to add a porch. Throughout the restoration process, we’ve tried not to alter Pa Herman’s original structure any more than necessary. And there’s no denying that a porch is a substantial change.
10. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: The Front Yard
Once Fish Hooks had been moved backward onto its new foundation, we had a fantastic new front yard. The bad news? It was little more than a gaping hole filled with debris, broken concrete and centipedes — as unsafe as it was unattractive.
11. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: My Handy Husband
Other than its original wood shutters, our little house had no windows or doors. And — for the time being — the ocean breeze is our only air conditioning. Keeping the shutters closed is simply not an option.
12. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: Our Garden
When we planted grass at Fish Hooks, we figured that would be the extent of our yard work, at least for a while. There were plenty of indoor tasks demanding attention. And though Tom and I had visions of a lush, tropical oasis of a back yard, as condo dwellers, we weren’t terribly sure where to begin. Fortunately, our Green Turtle Cay family, friends and neighbours stepped in to help.
14. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: The Yard (Part 2)
When we were young, it seemed like night-blooming jasmine was everywhere on the cay. It’s more difficult to find these days. Fortunately, I ran into a friend last trip who has a plant, and he very graciously agreed to give me a few clippings.
16. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: Summer 2017
In hindsight, adding a porch to Fish Hooks might have been a mistake. Not that there’s anything wrong with the porch. It’s just that now, all Tom and I want to do is sit and enjoy it! That, combined with the fact that Tom hasn’t had a ton of free time over the past year, means we haven’t gotten as much done on the house recently as we would have liked. So earlier this year, when he was able to get a whole month off, we were determined to get back on track.
17. Fish Hooks Restoration Update: Another Small Step
People often ask why we waited so long to install steps — after all, the porch was completed five years ago. But we wanted to wait until the front yard was fenced in, because Wrigley is a sneaky little monster and couldn’t be trusted not to escape out the front door, run down the stairs and into the road.
18. It’s Finally Time: A Post-Dorian Fish Hooks Update
19. Surveying the Dorian Damage
A number of blog readers have asked why I haven’t posted updates about Fish Hooks in recent months. And the sad, simple truth is that for close to 20 months, there really hasn’t been much to tell.
Shortly after my 2019 post-Dorian Fish Hooks update, Tom and I were fortunate to be able to get to Green Turtle Cay to inspect the house for ourselves.
20. Fish Hooks Cottage Update: Finally, Some Good News!
It’s been a painfully long time since I’ve had any good Fish Hooks news to share.
For nearly two years, Tom and I were unable to find someone who could repair the significant damage wreaked on our little house by the ferry by Hurricane Dorian. And for much of that time, Covid-19 travel restrictions had us locked down Stateside and unable to get to Abaco.
But recently, Tom and I received our Covid-19 vaccines and were finally cleared for travel. Coincidentally, around the same time, we secured a contractor — Green Turtle Cay’s Mickey Sawyer — to repair and restore Fish Hooks!
… and our adventure continues.