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Tiamo, South Andros Island, The Bahamas.

January 9, 2008

We landed on South Andros Island after a 20 minute flight from Nassau in a flying cigar; a narrow 20 seater plane, 2 rows of 10 seats separated by an eighteen inch wide aisle where one had to stoop to reach one’s seat, the “ceiling” was so low, and not every seat had a functioning belt. We were met by a pre-arranged “taxi” that picked up a handful of passengers beside N and I from our mini flight and dropped them off at their homes. The houses were ramshackle buildings, surrounded by a broken car or two and barking dog; such terrible poverty I felt guilty going to a “resort” for a few days (even though it was an eco-friendly one). I had to rationalize that coming to the island and spending a little money would have a positive affect on its inhabitants (which I hope it does).

We were staying at a 11 beach-side bungalow “resort” called Tiamo. I use quotation marks because I don’t consider Tiamo a resort in the fancy, self-contained kind of way like other resorts; those that offer many kinds of activities and facilities to keep one occupied. This resort consists of a small cluster of cabins on a remote island, with boats for fly-fishing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling and there’s a pristine white sand beach for enjoying pristine white sand beach activities. The resort is tucked away amidst lush vegetation with plain wooden cabins (more like screened porches), simply furnished and each housing a shower and composting toilet. The large main bungalow houses the living and dining room; both of which are spacious, simply furnished and a fun place to hang out with one’s fellow island visitors, with whom we had a lot of fun.

Inside the cabin: only screens, no glass. Everything on the island is built using recycled and sustainable materials, the electricity comes from a passive solar energy field and great care is taken not to pollute or damage the environment. In fact if any guests are willing, they can take a smallish bag full of crushed plastic containers back to the mainland for recycling.

Each cabin was hidden away up a private sandy path isolated from neighbors, yet only fifty feet from the ocean. Occasionally a large iguana was seen close to the cabin; the sound from its large scaly tail scraping the ground gave away its presence long before it’s lumbering body was visible meandering through sand and underbrush. They didn’t seem too afraid of humans.

We were woken each morning early by what N thought was a marauding cat mewing outside our cabin, it turned out to be a catbird, similar to those with which I was familiar in the Midwest; the island’s version of a rooster. That was the only similarity to home, everything else was fresh and new. Experiencing a storm one night from inside the bungalow (the only separation between us and the outside was a roof and screened “walls”); the smell of rain, the wind blowing in on us in the comfort of our bed, added to the island’s “ambiance.”

There was a boat anchored in the bay at night that housed research scientists who came ashore during the day to study the iguanas. This program was being sponsored by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. One evening all the scientists came ashore for dinner; we dined family style at one long table (most of the tables in the dining room pushed together), enjoying fabulous food and conversation. Later that night, the island’s party goers, N and I strolled barefoot through the cool sand back to our various bungalows, flashlights illuminating the way; the night critter sounds accompanying us in that pitch black, yet star filled “light.”

I think this is “Agnes” meandering. Most of the iguanas that inhabit this area are regular visitors and have names.

Copyright © 2008

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