Posts Tagged authentic bahamas
I am headed to the annual Cat Island Rake & Scrape Festival this weekend and I am quite looking forward to it. Dating back to the 1800s, rake & scrape is known as the folk music of the Bahamas and would accompany traditional Bahamian quadrille and polka dances. It has even been called the “heart of Bahamian culture”.
I am told that rake & scrape originated in Cat Island, where the locals are well known for making good use of whatever resources they have around them. It could have originated with the African slaves brought to the islands, who learned to create musical instruments out of the various materials they had available to them.
Rake & scrape musicians have been known to create a bass instrument out of a piece of wood, fishing line and an old tin tub, though, today’s musicians more often are seen using an accordion, a carpenter’s saw and goatskin drums (usually referred to as goombay drums). The saw is played by raking a screwdriver across the teeth. Bending, hitting, raking and scraping the saw creates raw, unpolished but surprisingly harmonic sounds. It’s a beautiful thing.
Bahamian music doesn’t get more authentic than this.
Here is my list of the top 8 natural wonders of the Bahamas, in no particular order.
The wild horses of Abaco
One of Abaco’s secret treasures are the exotic wild horses that have roamed the island for centuries. These beautiful horses, strong and sturdy with long flowing manes, are known as Abaco barbs. Once a herd of hundreds, they are now considered one of the most endangered species in the world, with only seven remaining.
The Glass Window Bridge
Located near Gregory Town in North Eleuthera the glass window bridge was originally an extraordinary natural rock arch. Due to repeated damage from hurricanes it has in recent years been replaced by a man-made bridge. It is a magical place where the deep dark Atlantic ocean meets the shallow aquamarine Caribbean Sea at the thinnest part of the Eleuthera.
The Great Barrier Reef
Andros is home to the third largest great barrier reef in the world. It is over 120 miles long and plunges more than 6,000 feet down into the tongue of the ocean.
Many researchers and scientists believe that a unique formation of rocks under the waters of Bimini may lead to the ancient lost city of Atlantis.
Pink Sand Beaches
The soft pink sand beaches of Eleuthera are another natural wonder of the Bahamas. The 3-mile beach in Harbour Island is considered to be one of the very best beaches in the Bahamas… maybe the world.
Dean’s Blue Hole
The Bahamas has countless blue holes throughout the islands but Dean’s Blue Hole in Long island is the deepest in the world, and one of the most intriguing.
The Lucayan National Park in Grand Bahama is where you will find the world’s largest underwater cave system, with over six miles of caverns, caves and tunnels.
The Pink Flamingos
The flamingo is the national bird of the Bahamas and the Inagua National Park is home to the largest colony of flamingos in the western hemisphere. The park consists of about 2,000 acres of protected wetlands where about 70,000 flamingos live.
Summer is considered the slow tourist season in the Bahamas. Peak tourist season is typically winter… and winters are wonderful in the Bahamas. But the balmy summers of the Bahamas have their charms as well. The temperature only varies about twenty degrees Fahrenheit between summer to winter so a tropical vacation can be enjoyed year-round but summer brings on a schedule chock-full of regattas and fun family-oriented festivals. In fact, you can find festivals and regattas occurring all throughout the islands of the Bahamas.
Regattas are an annual activity and an eagerly anticipated aspect of summer in the Bahamas. Amateur captains from all over the world make their way to the islands to participate in the sloop races. But for those more comfortable on the shore there’s an abundance of land-based festivities going on before, during and after the regattas.
Here is a list of just a few of the many festivals and regattas coming up:
Pineapple Festival in Eleuthera
June 01 – 05, 2011
43rd Annual Long Island Regatta
June 02 – 04, 2011
Cat Island Rake & Scrape Festival
May 25- 30, 2011
South Andros Regatta
June 3 – 5, 2011
Grand Bahama Regatta
June 17 – 19, 2011
Junkanoo Summer Festival in Marsh Harbour
To Be Announced
Bay Fest in Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera
To Be Announced
Black Point Regatta in Exuma
July 30 – August 2, 2011
All Andros Regatta
June 03 – 11, 2011
Cat Island Regatta
July 30 – August 2, 2011
All Abaco Regatta
July 01 – 09, 2011
We couldn’t have been more excited to embark on the adventure that lay before us. We got up early that morning and made our way to the mailboat at Potter’s Cay under the Paradise Island bridge.
We were going to Long Island.
The captain pulled the boat in closer and held out his hand to assist me on board. His huge friendly grin revealed a rough set of teeth, one of which was encased in gold. I didn’t understand what he was saying but I somehow knew he was welcoming us.
The mailboat was a rugged tank of a boat that looked like it could withstand anything and probably had. In his heavily broken English the captain told us that mailboats were used to transport mail, livestock, produce and other cargo throughout the many islands of the Bahamas. Today it was also transporting us to Clarence Town at the south end of Long Island.
The trip was approximately 12 hours and we had calm seas the whole way. I had never before been out in the middle of the ocean and it was amazing to me to be able to look around and not see land in any direction. I breathed the fresh ocean air deeply and sank into a sense of freedom and relaxation.
Phase I of our adventure came to an end as we got off the mailboat and set foot on dry land again. Phase II would include a hiking trip and a visit to Dean’s Blue Hole. I could hardly wait.
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We are just getting ramped up to launch our new website www.authenticbahamas.com. We think this site is going to be a unique resource for travelers who are looking for authentic Bahamas vacation experiences.
Yeah, we know there are already plenty of vacation and travel websites. But we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who want more than the typical resort experience that you find at other vacation destinations.
So, we have collected the best, of the best, of The Bahamas. The real Bahamas.
We have some of the best places to stay, things to do, vacation ideas and travel resources for the adventurous traveler who seeks a uniquely authentic island vacation.
Take a look around the site. If you stumble across a page that isn’t quite finished, we apologize, but assure you that we are working night and day to complete the site and would love to hear from you and get your feedback.
So, please leave a comment, make a suggestion or just tell us a story about any authentic Bahamas experiences you have had, or would like to have. We built this site for you… and we really want to hear from you how we can better meet and exceed your authentic Bahamas vacation expectations.
Stay tuned. We’ve got more authentic Bahamas videos and business listings coming soon.