We have been discovering quite a bit of Bahamian history since we checked into the country over 2 months ago, and found that the most important date to remember so far is their year of Independence from Britain: 1973. Up until that point, they were a British colony under the rule of the queen, and subject to its formal heritage. Now they have their own government… but similar to Britain with a parliament and prime minister and regular elections. So let’s rewind to 1945 when they were the British colony and had German born residents inside their borders who were secretly resupplying German submarines… of course they did what any country would do with citizens who were aligning with the enemy; the seized their property! The mystery is what ever happened to the man who owned the property… (Sir Guy Baxter) he never came back and his residence has been vacant for years. So of course we had to see the place on Darby Cay… the Green Castle! The property does have no trespassing signs out, but thankfully we were able to visit due to a slight bend in the rules (we asked permission from the local caretaker and he allowed us to visit without the threat of getting any prison time). It has been abandoned for sixty plus years now and yet the lines of the castle show the beautiful raised ceilings, architectural arches, tiled floors and even dark wood accents that hadn’t been touched by the jaws of any termites! It was majestic in its time (built 1938), and even today you can appreciate the beauty of the location as it sits at the highest point and the balcony offers a stunning 270 degree view of the surrounding isles. Just looked it up online… you can own it for close to 39 million. I’m sure you could barter that down a few million though 🙂
Our next history lesson starts out on Norman’s Cay and dates back to when Carlos Lehder owned a large portion of the island from 1978 to 1982 and was using the airstrip to support his drug running enterprise… thankfully the government got smarter about it and now has Carlos detained, but until then he pretty much had the run of the island. Let’s rewind back to his drug running days to hear the rest of the story 🙂 The waters in and around any piece of land out here in the Bahamas are not owned by anyone, so truthfully we can anchor out as near or far from those privately owned islands at our own discretion. Going to shore would be considered trespassing unless we were invited, but Carlos had his own agenda on who was and wasn’t invited to visit. There was a cruiser that used the pond on the island as a temporary stay so frequently that it frustrated Carlos enough that when the cruiser had to day trip away, he picked up his trawler with a helicopter and placed it on top of the highest hill on the Cay! That was just one of the messages that he routinely sent to visiting cruisers, thankfully it was one of the more humorous! Since Carlos’ imprisonment, the island is being redeveloped and will be the home to a new marina.
And as a follow up to our previous post, here are some of the beautiful creations we have made since learning Bahamian Basketweaving 101 (our next course will be Underwater Basketweaving 300 I’m sure 🙂