July 11, 2005
Today was our day off, as the natives are celebrating the Bahamian Independence Day. I really thought that I would want to just hang out at base camp and relax, but I was cajoled into taking a "3 hour tour" of some of the other islands. Hope Island was especially pretty, but most everything was closed for the holiday. The view from the lighthouse in Hopetown was awesome. It's pretty surreal to see this kind of view from the lighthouse and then turn around and get smacked in the face with the reality of garbage collection on an island.
Before and after the tours of the towns we were taken out on a snorkeling tour. That was fun, but also gave me another glimpse of the opposing views in this Island development issue. When I first arrived in the Abacos Islands, I went scuba diving with a company that was very pro development. In fact, one of the other divers on the trip works for the development company. While he really didn't try to sway us to their way of thinking, he did offer a different perspective. Interestingly enough, this company was very environmentally conscious. They were adamant about not collecting anything from the water, not trying to disturb the habitats, and leaving the inhabitants alone. (All the same stuff you learn during dive instruction). The boat captain for Dive Iguana that took us out today is VERY ANTI development. The dive shop sells t shirts with anti development slogans on them, and he (the boat captain) is very outspoken about his dislike of all things to do with the development. However, he broke just about every environmental rule when it came to the actual snorkeling. He chummed the water with bait to get the fish to swarm (not a very secure feeling when you are there in the water), had not problem with the collection of souvenirs, and encouraged us to try and "touch" the fish, showing no regard for the protective covering that would have been compromised on the fish if we were "successful".
We are now experiencing a power outage. Boy, is it dark. I guess that's gonna be it for the night.