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.  

Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay Abaco, Bahamas
Fish Hooks Cottage immediately following Hurricane Dorian. Thanks to my cousin-in-law, John Kane (shown in pics above and below) and his friends for airing out and tarping the house to protect it against further damage until Tom and I could get to Green Turtle Cay.
Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay Abaco, Bahamas

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!

As soon as I could, I flew to Abaco to meet with Mickey to review the long list of necessary repairs. These included restoring and reinforcing the western wall, replacing the battered wooden sidings, fixing and re-shingling the roof, replacing the warped flooring as well as rotting/damaged shutters and doors, repairing the plumbing and electrical systems and more.   

But Mickey and his team – which includes his brother-in-law Michael Roberts and Michael’s son, Nathan – were up to the challenge.   

First on the agenda were the structural repairs – namely, restoring and reinforcing the western wall and securing the kitchen ceiling/attic floor, which sagged precariously.

Scary as the damage was, Mickey, Michael and Nathan had all pieces back in place before the end of day one!

Fish Hooks Cottage, Abaco, Bahamas
Hurricane Dorian bowed out the western wall of Fish Hooks, causing the beams that support the kitchen ceiling/attic floor to sag precariously.
Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay Abaco, Bahamas
Within a day, Mickey and crew had put the western wall (and the sagging beams) back into place and secured them.

They then turned their attention to replacing Fish Hooks’ siding – a task that would prove far more complicated.

Early the next morning, I got a call from Mickey. “You coming into town any time soon?” he asked.

“Why?” I asked. “What’s up?”

“Just come by the house when you can.”

Oh dear. That did not sound good.

Half an hour later, I pulled up at Fish Hooks. Mickey and his crew had removed much of the exterior siding on the western wall.

Thankfully, there was no mold, which had been one of our biggest fears. And amazingly, despite being more than a century old, some of the boards looked brand new.

Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay Abaco, Bahamas
Mickey and Michael remove the western wall siding

But, as Mickey showed me, other pieces of lumber – including window and door sills and some of the support beams – were badly damaged by water, termites or both. Though we hadn’t factored in or budgeted for replacing this wood, the work had to be done.

Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay Abaco, Bahamas
Above: water and termites had taken their toll on some of the support beams. Below is the same area of the house once new beams had been installed.
Fish Hooks Cottage

Deciding to replaced visibly damaged wood was easy. But we had some difficult decisions to make as well.

I’ve written before about the many structural irregularities of Fish Hooks. Tom and I have always considered the house’s many quirks to be part of its charm. Now that the walls were open, though, we had to decide which, if any, of these imperfections to correct. After all, we’re not planning to open up these walls again any time soon!

Ultimately, we opted to repair or replace anything that could potentially threaten the structural integrity or lifespan of the house. (And we took advantage of the open walls to run the plumbing through them…)

Not to worry, though. We’ve left more than enough mismatched planks, crooked lines and trapezoidal doorways to maintain Fish Hooks’ perfectly imperfect charm.

Back side of Fish Hooks Cottage
Removing the siding gave us the opportunity to hide the plumbing pipes within the back (southern) wall, resulting in a much more tidy appearance.

7 thoughts on “Fish Hooks Cottage Update: Finally, Some Good News!

  • January 24, 2022 at 2:58 am
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    It’s been wonderful to see progress at your cottage!

    Reply
    • January 24, 2022 at 3:05 am
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      Thanks, Linda. We’re so excited to be able to get back to living in Fish Hooks! It’s been a very long time.

      Reply
  • January 24, 2022 at 3:24 am
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    Congratulations on this return journey to GTC livng. Welcome back home!

    Reply
  • January 24, 2022 at 5:06 am
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    This is great, Amanda. I know you must be relieved. Can’t wait to see it sometime!

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  • January 24, 2022 at 7:43 am
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    so happy for you and your little cottage. Once this covid virus is in better shape, we are hoping to get back to GTC from Michigan. Would you happen to know the phone number for the Blue Bee Bar?

    Reply
  • April 1, 2022 at 4:24 pm
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    It’s a bit late for me to read this. I am very impressed by your determination to fix Fish Hooks.
    I will look forward to visiting your cottage soon when we get back to Green Turtle. Do you have a gofundme page?

    Reply
    • April 9, 2022 at 12:38 pm
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      Hi, Mark. Thank you for your kind words! Fish Hooks has been in our family for 90 years this year, and it means a lot to me and to Tom. Thankfully, we had hurricane insurance, so much of the Dorian damage was covered. If you’d like to make a donation toward helping Green Turtle Cay recover, might I suggest contributing to the Albert Lowe Museum GoFundMe page? Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/albert-lowe-museum-restoration I sit on the museum board, and we’re trying to raise funds to repair and reopen the museum.

      Thanks, and hope to see you on the cay soon!

      Amanda

      Reply

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