Every Thursday morning writers and wanna-be writers meet in Hope Town to share what they have written. We arrive on foot, by bicycle, on golf carts and via dinghy (Goldwin and myself). From 5 to 35 meet and read, share, explain, commiserate, critique, laugh and even cry. Writings encompass childhood experiences, recent events, commentary, imaginings, and even rants. And embrace both prose and poetry. Our group includes published authors as well as newbies. The weekly meetings force me to write every week – something – every week.
In late February, about 20 from the Writers Circle are chosen to read their best writing at the Writers Read, hosted by the Hope Town Lodge and attended by a standing room only crowd of boaters, second homeowners and Hope Town residents.
Goldwin’s read, Desperate Voyage, is at the end of our February 9, 2018 blog post, A Day in Paradise.
Here is mine. It celebrates the morning cruisers’ net – our everyday radio show – and all of it was actually heard on the radio.
Every morning at precisely 8:15 a.m., the boaters and dirt dwellers of Hope Town are treated to the cruisers’ net, a morning radio show on VHF channel 68 – dedicated to safety, friendship and message handling.
The first act is always the weather. We learn that a stationary front from 28N 60W to 28N 70W to near 26N 76W will dissipate, with a new low forming near 26N 65W. As we puzzle over this complicated weather picture, the net anchor helpfully translates: “it will be windy.”
Passage and Sea of Abaco conditions follow. “It’s jumpy out there” means a runabout can manage, but it’ll be bouncy. If it’s “a Donnie day,” don’t take your own boat, leave it to the professionals (who operate the ferry service). Next are tides and the best times to go fishing whilst (a word one of the net anchors frequently uses) in the Abacos.
Community announcements alert us to sailboat races, special luncheons, Sunday softball, and fundraisers – for our: lighthouse, school, museum, animals, environment, Community Center, and fire and rescue.
We are informed that BaTelCo is establishing a fulltime office in Hope Town, except it will be closed on opening day due to staffing issues. A Council meeting to review planned infrastructure improvements has been cancelled – but it is not clear whether the cancellation refers to the meeting or the improvements or both.
Next are invitations, when local restaurants, farmers’ markets, and dive shops urge us to: crawl – not walk; eat in our bare feet; and enjoy the Bahamas from the bottom up. “Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” calls Pete’s Pub in Little Harbor; Cracker P’s wants us to overlook Tilloo Cut, Tahiti Beach and the Bea-U-tiful Sea of Abaco; and on trivia night, we can “think and drink” at Cap’n Jack’s.
With “open mike,” the net becomes interactive. Call in to say:
- you are arriving; you are leaving
- you have guests; your guests have left
- you need parts for a water pump so your toilet will work
- is there a mooring available
- are there other kids available
- you would like to go to Eleuthera and could someone please tell you where it is
Birthdays are special – celebrated with mike clicks – click, click, click – our own radio version of applause.
The net anchor is aided by a script, but all does not always go as planned. A young voice interrupts: “Hello – who’s out there? The net anchor ignores him. Then: “Is it windy where you are?” Now a quick explanation that the net is in progress, so please hold your traffic. Finally: “How do you use this radio.” Followed by a stern, terse: “YOU. TURN. IT. OFF.”
In closing, the net anchor releases us to “wander aimlessly about the Abacos.” Thank you net anchors, for volunteering your time and voices to keep us safe, friendly and messagely handled.