Green Horizons- Blog 7- “The Boomerang Effect”
Blog 7- “The Boomerang Effect”
What is the boomerang effect? You throw it out there and it comes back to you. It’s been over thirty days since we arrived in Marsh harbor! We didn’t plan on staying here so long, but we’ve connected with so many good people. Every day we kayak to shore (Union Jack Dock) and head into town. The locals are outgoing and smiles are abundant. We always meet someone who has a meaningful connection to our journey.
Two weeks ago our sister Lauren came into town for an adventure aboard Valhalla! She arrived around noon and we instantly headed out of the harbor to Man o’ War Cay to find some solitude and clear water. We anchored at a beautiful spot nestled between a reef and the narrows of the island on the northern end. Once anchored, Jake swam ashore as Lauren and I kayaked in! We hung out on the Atlantic Ocean side and Lauren loved the quiet pristine beach that ran along the shore.
The next morning we cruised into town and explored the quiet boat-building town. The peacefulness away from the hustle and bustle was very rewarding. It is amazing what a dry settlement (no alcohol) can create! That afternoon we snorkeled some nearby reefs and speared a couple snapper for our fried snapper burgers that we prepared over the Dutch oven on the nearby shore. Early the next morning we sailed to Guana Cay to show Lauren some new places and relax in the sun. After a quick sail downwind we anchored in Fishers Bay around 10am and headed to shore. Lauren loved the fluffy pinkish sand beach and the big rock point that added to the scenery! We watched crystal clear waves breaking offshore and frolicked in the shore pound nearby. Later, we drank from fresh coconuts by the tree and relaxed in the sun, it was the life!
The next morning Lauren cooked Oatmeal over the fire on the shore in Fishers Bay. It was delicious and a perfect start to the day! We pulled anchor and headed back to Marsh to take our sis back without any snags … never know what can happen on the water. With a hard southeast wind it took us four tacks to get back to the harbor. We motor sailed a good portion of the way with our electric mill going full bore, and slipped into Marsh harbor around 4pm. We were amazed that our Renewable Energy U.S. Batteries still had a solid half of a charge left! Do you realize how much fuel we would have consumed and emissions we would have left behind with our old diesel engine? We felt good about our step in the right direction.
Saturday morning we showed Lauren around Marsh Harbor and all the cool places in and out of town. The bakery, the view from north side of Marsh Harbor, Boat Harbors Beach, the city, and the local eateries. Around 12:30 we started our 3.5-mile walk to the airport to get Lauren to her flight on time. After stopping at a couple places along the way we finally made it in time for her 3pm flight. After saying our goodbyes, Lauren took off as quickly as she came. The day before she left she said, “Sailing is so relaxing, but at the same time you get drained from all the hard work.”
It was a great four days with our sister on board!
On our walk back to the boat a taxi driver named Lisa stopped to give us a ride. When we explained that we had no money on us, she insisted that we get in anyway, and said she didn’t care. She told us we were good people for letting the boys use our kayak, and she was heading back to the Union Jack Dock for a client anyway. There you go – the boomerang effect! We thanked her for the lift and kayaked back to Valhalla. We planned another visit to the Neem farm to learn more about the beautiful place and share more time with Nick and Daphne.
On Monday we stopped into a non-profit organization based out of Marsh Harbor called The Friends of the Environment. They are working on all types of great projects ranging from youth education to marine preserves and so much more! They visit most of the schools in the Abacos and teach the youth the importance of the Bahamas natural resources. After class time they take the kids out to the coral reef for a personal experience, instantly connecting them with the nature they just learned about! We had a chance to interview some of the kids and it was a pleasure to hear what they loved the most about Friends of the Environment. In June they do a summer camp and we plan on heading back to get some footage of the kids snorkeling the coral reef. Check out The Friends of the Environment on Face book and see all the awesome projects they are working on in the Bahamas!
On Wednesday Jake and I finally got back out to the farm to help plant some baby Neem trees. Around 9am Nick picked us up from Union Jack Dock and we headed to the farm. First we stopped off at their store to get the baby Neem trees to plant. 36 Neem trees later and we were on our way to the farm. I drove one truck with the trailer along with Nick and Daphne’s worker David, who had been working on the farm for a year now. It was my first time driving since the journey began, and it was an unusual experience to drive on the opposite side of the road. After a twenty-minute ride we pulled into the farm. The farm is beautiful and the pristine surroundings provided a feeling of well-being and peacefulness. Quails hopped around through the Neem forest while the sound of other birds filled the air.
Jake, David and I planted the Neems while Nick augured the rocky holes out to help make our shoveling experience easier. We put a 2:1 ratio of ash to Neem cake (Neem by-product ground into fertilizer) into the hole with a mixture of compost and dirt made on the farm. Around 1 o’clock we cruised to the east side of the farm to a coconut grove picnic spot and ate lunch with Daphne and her mom who was in town from Freeport. Daphne brought delicious sandwiches and we drank coconut water and jelly for dessert. After lunch Jake and I flew our kite up with the go pro camera to get some cool bird’s eye shots of Jake walking the farm, and Nick and Daphne were thrilled to see our kite flying overhead to record their pride and joy!
After lunch we got back to work planting ten more Neems before restocking the dirt, compost and water buckets for the next day’s planting. It felt good digging into the organic soil and planting a new generation of Neem trees! Around 5:45 we headed back to the shop to drop off the truck, so Jake and I showered in the hose around back using some awesome Neem soap! It was a refreshing change from the saltwater showers we’ve been taking for the last two months. When Nick dropped us off, he asked where we were heading next and we explained either to the Island School in Eleuthera, or Manjack Cay to meet a couple , Bill and Leslie, who we had heard a lot about. They have been living off the grid out there for over thirty years!
Crazy enough, Nick and Daphne happened to be very good friends with Bill and Leslie. Nick explained how they’ve been invited to their home, but haven’t ever made it out there for a visit. Nick thanked us for our hard work and made us promise to keep in contact with them. We made another good connection. Daphne sent us their contact info and we are experiencing the boomerang effect of our efforts once again! Check out Abaco Neem on Face book for more info on their great products!
Friday morning we awoke and prepared to meet up with Leslie Thomson to interview him on his farm. We got all our gear together and headed to shore. Leslie was there, but he had to taxi a lady around on some errands and wouldn’t be able to get to the farm. Jake and I realized it wasn’t meant to be and decided to go for a stretch in this field we discovered on our first adventure to Marsh Harbor in 2011. It was a nice place to seek refuge from the surrounding ruckus. The motion of the subtle exercise freed our bodies; our muscles loosened, the load of gravity was lifted from our shoulders, and our souls were lightened. We found a pair of gorgeous American Kestrel Falcons (sparrow hawk) living in a coconut tree out in the in the field for an awesome close-up experience. A few weeks back, Jake and I were playing soccer in the field and the little hawks started dive-bombing our heads. This time, we stayed on the edge of the field to keep them happy.
Last weekend we gave our soccer ball to the local boys (grunts) at the ferry dock. They wanted to practice to become better soccer players, so we were glad to give it to the youngsters … anything to keep them busy and off the streets. We call one of the boys “Master Grunt”. He may be small but his attitude and stature are grand. He reminds us of a young Denzel Washington, with such a strong personality and natural acting skills that he could easily win an Emmy! The boys swim at the dock like wild ocean creatures as they jump in and out of the water hundreds of times with the energy of a nuclear power plant ready to explode!
They have fallen in love with kayaking now, and paddle far out into the harbor, circling anchored boats with expertise, as if they’ve kayaked their entire life! It worries, and saddens us to know that these young boys and the sea life are swimming in this polluted harbor. The unregulated street runoff of petroleum products, trash, organic contaminates and chemicals flows off the roads directly into the harbor, untreated, to cloud the once clear water and darken the bay until the bottom is like night in the middle of the day.
The rambunctious kids jump in and play in this poisonous swill in direct contact with the deadly cocktail that threatens their health. Everything is stacked against these grunts, yet their smiles are contagious, and their noble spirit inspires a feeling of greatness.
After stretching and bird watching in the field we headed over to the local health food store that cooks delicious vegetarian dishes during lunchtime!
While eating our veggie Lasagna we befriended a local named Rebel Tony who was born and raised in Florida. We spoke about our work and found out he’s an audio producer who went to UCF and Full Sail back in Orlando. We told him how we take advantage of all the information that is available online for us nowadays and use it to our advantage. He brought up the point that college could be gone, or out of reach one day, so it is good that it’s available online now for anyone to learn. Earlier in the morning Jake and I pondered the same scenario of the rising cost of college, difficulty graduates have finding jobs with their degrees, and the increasing burden of college loans. Now you can study free online, become an intern, practice your skills to gain expertise in your trade, discover connections for work, and become anything you want. There is no limit to the possibilities that lie before us. Tony’s a cool character who we will probably meet up with again. Who knows what opportunities await?
After lunch we headed back to the boat to relax for a little bit. While jamming out to Outkast, we heard a shout from the stern and found it to be a younger couple we met at the dock a couple days earlier. Grant and Tara came to hang out and see Valhalla and the electrical systems that made her work. Grant is from Toronto, Canada and Tara is from the Panhandle of Florida. We showed them all of our coconut techniques. They were stoked to learn our various methods of opening and preparing the fruit, and thanked us for sharing the info. We spent a couple hours sharing sailing stories and savvy advice about places we visited in our past trips. They are a unique couple with a passion to learn more. It was nice to have them come aboard!
Around 4 o’clock Jake and I headed ashore to harvest some coconuts from some trees we found in the woods. We filled our backpacks full of the heavy, juicy morsels. Jake’s bag weighed around 100 lbs with eleven mature coconuts piled inside! After a laborious walk, we made it back to the kayak to transfer our goodies back to the boat. We’ve been eating and drinking tons of coconuts! They are fun to harvest and provide us with essential vitamins and minerals we cant get anywhere else nearby. There is nothing like a sweet, ripe coconut fresh from the tree! We have been drying the shredded coconut meat using our screen and hatch to make it storable forever without any unnecessary preservatives. We drink the coconut water and savor the refreshing energy it provides. The oil in the mature fruit is exceptional for everything from cooking, skin care, sunscreen, toothpaste and much more. It’s amazing how great of a resource coconuts can be!
It’s almost June now and the fronts are still pushing strong. The wind has been northeast for the last couple days and the swell has been building. We sit in Marsh harbor waiting for it to switch back to the east so we can head back to Guana for a surf and then through the Whale Cay Passage to hit other islands on the way to Manjack where we plan to meet up with Leslie and Bill, and take time to become acquainted with that magical island!
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Jake and James and the rest of the PureOceanTV Crew!!