HOLE-IN-THE WALL ABACO: “MIND THE GAP” – A NEW ISLET IS BORN


HOLE-IN-THE WALL ABACO: “MIND THE GAP” – A NEW ISLET IS BORN

17th October 2012

Jack Bowers and friends visited Hole-in-the-Wall and took what are probably the last photos of Hole-in-the-Wall before Hurricane Sandy struck, and the central arch was smashed into the sea – this one below, and others HERE

6th November 2012

Less than 3 weeks later, John Haestad made the same trip towards the end of the promontory. This time, it was different. The arch was gone. Beyond the breach, a new islet, separated from the mainland by a foaming channel. John has kindly given use permission, and you are now looking at what may be the first image of Abaco’s new geography. A feature that had appeared on maps since at least the early c18, been a landmark for marine navigation for centuries, and lent its name to the lighthouse station, has gone forever. A very small island at the southeastern tip of Abaco has been born…

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL PROMONTORY, ABACO
(Since posting this, Jack Bowers has come up with ‘Holy Isle’, which has a certain ring to it…)

ADDITION I have now found a photo by Jennifer Arrington (to whom thanks for use permission) which shows from a helpful angle both the intact Hole and the small tip of land beyond, now an island. Many photographers are understandably drawn to the Hole itself by the time they have trekked across the sharp uneven rocks to get to it. This is one of the few I have found that gives a wider perspective.

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL: THE ‘ISLAND’ BEFORE IT BECAME ONE…

AFTERWORD FROM ROLLING HARBOUR

For an interesting philosophical and metaphysical discussion on whether the collapse of the arch made any sound if there was no one (and / or no living creature) there to hear it, check out IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST… but please don’t if that sort of arcane  and /or pointless argument drives you mad with irritation 

ABACO’S ‘HOLE-IN-THE-WALL’ BEFORE SANDY DEMOLITION: FIRST & LAST EVER IMAGES


ABACO’S HOLE-IN-THE-WALL BEFORE HURRICANE SANDY DESTRUCTION

THE FIRST & LAST EVER IMAGES OF A GEOGRAPHICAL LANDMARK

This post follows on directly from my PREVIOUS POST about Hurricane Sandy’s destruction of Abaco’s Hole-in-the -Wall rock ‘bridge’. Thanks to Abaco resident Jack Bowers, his camera and his kind permission, I am able to show what are almost certainly the very first and the very last pictures of Abaco’s Hole in the Wall aka ‘Hole in the Rock’, the landmark rock formation at the southeastern tip of the island.

THE EARLIEST KNOWN PICTURE OF HOLE-IN-THE-WALL

The earliest picture that I have been able to trace is a fine nautical aquatint dated 1803 by J.Wells based on a shipman’s sketch. There’s more detail about it in the previous post, but for the full details of this picture, its origin, and a very early description of  one of Abaco’s best-known features CLICK HOLE-IN-THE-WALL AQUATINT 

THE LAST PICTURES EVER TAKEN OF THE HOLE IN THE WALL, ABACO

Jack Bowers and some friends visited Hole-in-the-Wall a week before Hurricane Sandy swept in from the south. He writes “I hiked all around (and foolishly IN) the Hole on 10/17/12, a week before its demise. I may have the last photos taken of various aspects of it, if needed. I noticed some serious cracks (mostly on the proximal side of the arch) and placed my feet carefully away from them, but the collapse did not seem this imminent. I also shot some nice shots of the lighthouse from the distal point of the rocks (a shot not easily obtainable now). Trying to find a positive, the new “Window” should provide some spectacular new splashes that the arch used to largely contain”. Please note that the very fine photos below are all ©Jack Bowers

The ‘Land’s End’ promontory of Abaco, taken from the lighthouse station. The Hole is (was) near the tip.

Looking back to the lighthouse on the hike south

Rough seas ahead…  foreshadowing the later rock destruction                

A last view of ‘Hole in the Wall’ as it used to look….     

The dramatic view from below the arch – it will never be seen like this again…

ABACO’S CHANGED GEOGRAPHY AS FROM 10.24.12 FOR ALL ETERNITY

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL: LATE PLEISTOCENE EPOCH to LATE OCTOBER 2012

Very soon after these photos were taken, the history of the Hole and the geography of Abaco abruptly changed. The weather worsened, Tropical Storm Sandy gathered strength north of Cuba to reach hurricane force, and a week later the rock arch had been simply smashed into the boiling sea by the combined power of wind and the water. It seems unlikely that in the intervening week, with a major storm approaching, anyone else will have made the long rough drive 15 miles along the track to the lighthouse, traversed the difficult terrain of the promontory, risked the increasing winds and swelling seas, and calmly toted a camera at the underside of the arch. So unless and until I hear otherwise, I shall consider Jack’s pictures to be the final record of an Abaco landmark known to sailors for many centuries, mapped by name since 1738 (or earlier), first depicted in 1803 and probably in existence since the last ice-age. R.I.P. (Rest in Pieces)

AFTERWORD: DOES THIS SORT OF THING HAPPEN OFTEN ON ABACO?

Yes. As elsewhere in the Bahamas or indeed any hurricane zone. Here’s an example from last year demonstrating the power of Hurricane Irene, which also scored a direct hit on Abaco. The top photo is a shot of the Delphi Club beach at Rolling Harbour looking south, taken by me in early 2011. I have cropped it to enlarge the view of the large rock in the sea beyond the small bay on the middle left. It’s a substantial, solid, slab visible at all tides.

Hurricane Irene passed directly overhead on August 26 / 27 2011. Here’s my photo taken this year, showing the rock with the centre blasted out during the storm. Impressive damage! (That little piece of foreshore needs a clean-up… most of that stuff looks like plastic junk / nylon rope etc, the sort of detritus that takes a mere century or three to degrade…)

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL TO GAP-IN-THE-WALL: HURRICANE SANDY SMASHES ABACO LANDMARK


HOLE-IN-THE-WALL TO GAP-IN-THE-WALL

HURRICANE SANDY SMASHES ABACO LANDMARK

A ‘heads-up’ from the excellent ABACO SCIENTIST shows the devastating power of a hurricane-force wind, even at Cat 1 level. After centuries, the eponymous Hole-in-the-Wall has been blasted by Sandy into a Gap-in-the-Wall. Abaco has acquired a new islet, as yet to be named (I propose ‘Sandy Isle’… Or maybe ‘Storm Rock’). The photo below is by Justin Sands, and shows the new view of the southeastern extremity of Abaco. There was until recent times a very similar rock formation on Eleuthera, the Glass Window. It, too, was smashed by a storm and a new road bridge had to be built to link the separated parts (see end of post for image).

This is what the same view looked like until last week, with the ‘bridge’ still standing

Here is a very good close shot by well-known and all-knowing Abaco nature guide Ricky Johnson. There won’t be any more photos like this now… You can see what a large amount of combined wind and wave force it must have taken to blow the bridge apart.

The landmark lighthouse and defunct outbuildings at Hole-in-the-Wall sit just north of a promontory, a sort of Land’s End jutting into the ocean between Abaco and New Providence. The road to it is 15 miles of deteriorating surface through the pine forest of the National Park, and is not for the faint-hearted… see TO THE LIGHTHOUSE

A while ago I traced the history of Abaco, and in particular Hole-in-the-Wall, in maps. I got back as far as 1584 for Abaco itself, a map by Ortelius where Abaco appears as ‘Haraco’ and the geographical relationships are… vague.

The first mention of Hole-in-the-Wall that I managed to trace was on a map by Couvens in 1737. The name is shown as ‘Hole in the Rock’, and that name alternated with the present one in both English and French, with variations, until settling on ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’ in the c20.

To see the full cartographical post see HISTORY OF ABACO / HOLE IN THE WALL IN MAPS

I also researched the pictorial history of Hole-in-the-Wall. Eventually I came across what may be the first pictorial representation of the Hole in the Wall. It is a fascinating aquatint from 1803 by J. Wells, published in The Naval Review and based on a sketch by a ship’s officer that accompanied a description of the southern end of Abaco for the Review. To put the picture’s age into perspective, it was completed 2 years before Nelson’s decisive victory against the combined French and Spanish navies at Trafalgar.

If you are still awake & would like to see the full post, click HOLE IN THE WALL: 1803 DESCRIPTION & AQUATINT

AN ARTISTIC PUZZLE OF LOCATION ATTRIBUTION – A WORK IN PROGRESS

The other notable depiction of Abaco is a print made by (or in conjunction with) the famous artist Winslow Homer, at the time that he was commissioned to produce work in the Bahamas in the 1880s. This print is the subject of ongoing research by myself and others. It is called ‘On Abaco Island’ and clearly shows the Hole in the Wall as we knew it until last week.

Winslow Homer also produced a well-known painting, the original of which is in the Brooklyn Museum, entitled ‘Glass Windows’. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to conclude that the painting is based almost exactly on the view in the print. Even if one ignores the geological evidence (eg the structural detail of the rock at the apex of the arch), note the cloud formations that match perfectly. The print predates and was the template for the painting. If the print was the result of Homer’s time in the Bahamas and an undocumented (?) visit ‘On Abaco Island’, so must the painting be…

However, the Homer / Brooklyn painting ‘Glass Windows’ is generally identified with the similar ‘rock hole’ formation on Eleuthera that is actually known as the Glass Window. As I mentioned earlier, the Eleuthera formation suffered the same fate in a storm, and a new road bridge now connects the two sides.Picture credit http://www.eleuthera-map.com (see also http://www.abacomapbahamas.com)

It isn’t easy to tell whether there is any geological similarity between rock structure in the painting and the Glass Window on Eleuthera. However the contention (mine, anyway) is that the Winslow Homer painting ‘Glass Windows’ is of the Hole in the Wall, Abaco and should be recognised as such. The poignancy of last week’s events at HitW – the loss of a well-loved island feature that can never be replaced – arguably makes the thesis more significant.

One further nugget in support of the case is that I have very recently discovered contemporary written evidence that in the second half of the c19, around the time that Homer was working in the Bahamas, the Hole in the Wall, Abaco was known locally as the ‘glass window’. That would explain Homer’s naming of the painting based on the Abaco print, and strengthens (concludes?) the argument that it is, indeed, of Abaco and not Eleuthera. QED. Repatriate Winslow!

HURRICANE SANDY: VIEWS FROM SPACE, STORM SURGES & THE THREAT TO NEW YORK…


INTERACTIVE HURRICANE SANDY STORM TRACKER

Type in your location for current path prediction

Click Pic!

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1. SCARY BEAUTY

HURRICANE SANDY: VIEWS FROM SPACE

LATEST NASA-GOES IMAGE 29 OCTOBER

 

Photo credits NASA-GOES, NOAA, BBC & honourable tips of the hat to sundry Sandy magpies

2. STORM SURGE

HURRICANE SANDY’S THREAT TO NEW YORK

US EAST COAST FLOOD PROJECTION MAP

“12 FEET” The biggest fear from this storm in the New York City area is the storm surge. Right now anything from 6 to 12 feet seems quite possible. The greatest storm surge in modern history at Battery Park was 10.5 feet in 1960. Irene’s storm surge was a little over four feet in New York. That’s why you’re seeing evacuations in New York (extract, Guardian UK)

sandy storm surge

Photo credit: Noaa.gov

FOR 9 MORE REASONS THAT MAKE SANDY AN EXCEPTIONAL STORM, CLICK HERE

HURRICANE SANDY AFTERMATH: ABACO PICTURES, NEWS FROM DELPHI CLUB, BAHAMAS & MANATEE UPDATE


DAMAGE FROM HURRICANE SANDY AT THE DELPHI CLUB, ABACO

The storm has passed from the Bahamas and the clear-up is underway – but further north communities are bracing themselves for the onslaught. The news today  from contacts, from Facebook and the web generally, is of thankfully little lasting damage, with power and comms restored in many places. There’s been plenty of flooding – eg Sandy Point – and tree / plant mayhem.

The Delphi Club was again, as with Irene last year, almost directly beneath the eye of the storm. Then, a couple of leaves were lost from the pineapple crown (above), a few fittings were smashed, and the gardens were unceremoniously rearranged. Peter Mantle, Delphi Club supremo, has posted his record of the last few days at the club – the approach of Sandy, the storm, and the aftermath. I am posting extracts below, to be read (chronologically) from the bottom entry to the top of the page. For those who haven’t experienced a storm of this violence, Peter’s account gives a vivid picture of the before, the during and the after…

Apologies for having posted about Sandy in detail with maps etc, and at the crucial time tailing off  while I was away and had only an iPhone™  and a sporadic connection…

STOP PRESS: AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS – BRAVE OR FOOLISH? 29 October

Peter Mantle has just sent me a ‘Sandy’ photo from the Delphi Club beach, showing a group of oystercatchers on the rocks at one end of Rolling Harbour. Storm detritus already festoons the rocks. Have the birds seen what’s about to hit them? Are they waterproof? 

STOP PRESS: BMMRO MANATEE UPDATE 29 October

The BMMRO has posted news from Sandy Point and for those who have been asking after manatee Georgie’s welfare, an update:

“Hi Everyone, everything is ok here at the research center! We are working on getting information on Georgie’s whereabouts and we will happily update everyone as soon as we hear anything. There’s still a bit of damage here in Abaco that is preventing travel but hopefully we will be able to get up to Georgie soon”.

STOP PRESS: SOME ABACO IMAGES 28 October

(credits to Timothy Roberts & Cindy James Pinder and their facebook posts)

SANDY TAKES BONEFISH; DARK HUMOUR ON DARK DAYS

OCTOBER 27th Among the many bits of minor damage caused by Hurricane Sandy was the destruction of our bonefish weather vane. This had been hand-made by the other Sandy, our general manager, and stood atop his lodgings. Snapped off, the copper creation was found nearby, bruised and dented, rather like ourselves.

Yet again, we have been very fortunate – staff and guests are all well. And most of the damage caused by the 100mph winds was minor. The storm had its moments, but the worst bits were at nighttime when many people were huddled safe in bed. Lots of bumps and bangs provided a spooky soundtrack, but it was more of a B movie than a full-blown Hollywood epic. That said, I hate to think what a really big Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane would be like.

We still have no mains electricity; thank God for the gennie. We have no phones or mobile connection, so we have little idea of what is going on elsewhere on the island. We hope for the best but fear not all will have escaped as lightly as we did. Some of the staff from Crossing Rocks are stranded here by flooding. But the wireless internet is back so all will soon be revealed.

Yet again, the gardens have been shredded. The banana trees have been snapped off mid-fruiting. My favorite banyan tree has broken in half again, having nearly bounced back from Irene. The big Bismark ferns are banjaxed, the bougainvillea is blasted leafless and the pool is a mess. But who cares. We are fine. Dunkirk spirit? Well, very black humour and spirits of a different kind have seen us through.

“I survived Sandy” T-shirts are now in preparation, but that’s a staff joke about their hyperactive and heroic boss…..

A BAD HAIR DAY…

OCTOBER 25th It is getting distinctly breezy here, with winds as bad as any Irish gale. But Hurricane Sandy, now upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, is still some 18 hours away and currently features average winds of 105mph with higher gusts. It may get even worse, they say. So no fishing today. More guests have made it in. Bahamasair even ran a plane out of Nassau at first light this morning.

While we still have power and phones, the lines are buzzing and we are glued to the internet. It seems odd to see that Sandy is the lead news story on the BBC. Non-technical guests have adjourned to the library (where “A Perfect Storm” and “Winnie the Poo and the Blustery Day” are current favourites). The air of gloom is more attributable to the fact that Arsenal lost at home last night than to any fears for personal safety.

We may go quiet for a while.

NOTHING VERY FEMININE ABOUT THIS SANDY

OCTOBER 24th, noon Tropical storms are now given boys’ and girls’ names alternately; in the old days they were all girls. The one that currently threatens us is Sandy, a name that is more commonly applied to females in this part of the world. But there is nothing too feminine about this storm; as the forecast deteriorates and Sandy intensifies into a hurricane over Jamaica, we are becoming more and more concerned by its macho capabilities.

The National Hurricane Centre now predicts that Sandy will pass very close to Abaco – the predicted path having shifted overnight. As it now looks, the eye may pass just 25 miles from us, which would basically be a direct hit since damaging winds spread far out from the centre. We are going to have to keep a very close on on this little girl over the next 48 hours.

ALL EYES ON SANDY

OCTOBER 23rd No sooner has the Club reopened for the new season than a tropical storm appears on the horizon. And, in a twist of divine humour, it’s been christened after our general manager, Sandy.

Sandy (the mostly human version) is tracking Sandy (the swirling tempest) on an hourly basis. As it now stands, we are in the “cone” of the likely track of the storm over coming days. Currently south of Jamaica, TS Sandy is turning north and could yet morph into a hurricane. It’s expected to be over or near us by Friday night, with “average” winds of nearly 60mph and gusts of up to 90mph.

Hatches will therefore be battened, outdoor furniture put back indoors and supplies of grog reinforced. The lucky fishers in residence will have to take a breather, while the new chef, John, will receive a special form of baptism.

Tropical storms this late in the year are a great rarity. Somehow that is not very reassuring just now. But the forecast for the following week is rather better… 

Click image to visit the Delphi Club

HURRICANE SANDY AFTERMATH: ABACO, BAHAMAS (+ TRACKING / RADAR MAPS 14.00 EDT 27 OCTOBER)


HURRICANE SANDY AFTERMATH: UPDATE FOR ABACO 27 0CTOBER 1400 EDT

There’s little to add to the earlier comment today. Messages I have received are of the brief “it’s all ok” sort. I’ve heard that some have got power back – but I have also seen warnings that in some places it will take longer to rectify. Here are some images from Marsh Harbour yesterday.
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HURRICANE SANDY AFTERMATH: UPDATE FOR ABACO 27 OCTOBER 0400 EDT

A quick scan of emails and online reports for Abaco & the Cays indicates widespread flooding and tree damage, a few boat problems, outages and comms loss – 20 out of 22 cellphone towers are down. I’ve seen no reports of significant injury or property damage. More later.

SANDY NOW CLEAR OF ABACO 1900 EDT
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SANDY STORMS NORTH
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HURRICANE SANDY LATEST UPDATES 26 OCTOBER 11.00 EDT ABACO BAHAMAS via iPhone and a dodgy network link…

Back to Cat 1 but right on target… Dune at White Sound holds, but plenty of water…! HT & Seaspray report 10″ water above docks… beach erosions reported elsewhere… Flooding & tree damage but no reports yet of injury or heavy damage to houses

NEW IMAGES including hurricane hunter cloudscape – eye of the storm passing over east Abaco… GOOD LUCK TODAY

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HURRICANE SANDY HEADING NORTH FOR BAHAMAS

INTERACTIVE STORM TRACKER

Type in your location for current path predictionClick Pic!

UPDATE 25 OCT 05.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY CLEARING CUBA AS CAT. 2

Three hours passing has made a further difference, and not for the better. The landmass of Cuba, far from slowing the storm, has seen it intensify to Cat 2 – though so far that is predicted only as far as the south Bahamas… (Map 1). However the eastward drift into the Atlantic is still detectable – see Abaco detail, Map 2

UPDATE 25 OCT 02.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY MAKES CUBA LANDFALL

As Sandy reaches the south coast of Cuba, two things have become clear overnight. First, the storm’s strength is now predicted at Cat 1 until it clears into the Atlantic north of the Bahamas – there will be no reduction to TS status in the south Bahamas (Map 1) Secondly, the news for Abaco is that a slight drift of the spine of the storm to the east can be detected (see Abaco Detail, Map 2). Yesterday, the eye was due to pass pretty much directly over MH and indeed (like Irene last year) the Delphi Club and Rolling Harbour. The shift may of course have no significant effect on the storm’s power, but if the eye’s path could continue to drift further east… Map 3 is the ‘hot’ map from 04.00 EDT today

FLIGHT ADVISORY As many on Abaco may already have found, there are flight disruptions from Nassau – I know of one person who couldn’t get to MH last night. So visitors following this blog and planning an imminent flight need to keep a careful eye on the situation, which given the path of the storm is likely to worsen.

I will not be in a position to post much in the way of updates between now and Monday – by which time Sandy should have cleared to the north of the Bahamas. The interactive tracker link at the top of this page is an excellent resource, especially as you can input a precise location. There is luckily a wealth of information out there on the internet – far more than for Irene last year. I notice too that Abaco residents are busy exchanging information on Facebook. While we are away, we’ll be thinking of all those in the path of the storm…

UPDATE 24 OCT 18.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY CROSSING JAMAICA

Sandy is now a Cat 1 hurricane as it crosses Jamaica and heads for eastern Cuba. As the latest projections show, the prospects for the Bahamas have worsened: hurricane force is expected over central and northern islands (see map below for Abaco detail)

DETAILED TRACKING PATH FOR THE BAHAMAS 24 OCTOBER 18.00 EDT

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER UPDATE EXTRACT 24 OCT 16.00 EDT

THE EYE OF HURRICANE SANDY MADE LANDFALL ON THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST
OF JAMAICA NEAR KINGSTON AT APPROXIMATELY 3.00 PM EDT / 19.00 UTC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS AT LANDFALL WERE ESTIMATED TO BE 80 MPH / 130 KM/H
======================================
HURRICANE SANDY ADVISORY NUMBER 9 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 1100 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012 
SANDY REACHES HURRICANE STRENGTH... CONDITIONS DETERIORATING IN JAMAICA... 

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY 
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR JAMAICA and [SPECIFIED] REGIONS OF CUBA 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR HAITI, THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS, THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS, THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS, FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM THE VOLUSIA/BREVARD
COUNTY LINE TO OCEAN REEF, FLORIDA UPPER KEYS FROM OCEAN REEF TO CRAIG KEY, FLORIDA BAY

UPDATE 24 OCT 05.00 EDT TS SANDY MARCHES NORTH OVER JAMAICA

The latest maps below show TS / Hurricane Sandy at 5 am EDT today. Map 3 is the most useful for the current detailed Abaco prediction. Meanwhile, the US news indicates increasing concerns further north (much as happened with Irene last year)

TS SANDY POSITION & PROJECTED PATH 24 OCT 5.00 am EDTTS SANDY 5-DAY FORECAST 24 OCT 05.00 am EDT

TS SANDY DETAILED TRACKER 24 OCT 5.00 am EDT

TS SANDY POSITION & PROJECTED PATH 24 OCT 5.00 am EDT

CONCERN IS INCREASING FOR TS SANDY’S PATH UP THE US EAST COAST…

UPDATE 23 OCT 23.00 EDT TS Sandy is now approaching Jamaica.

Continue reading

HURRICANE SANDY: CUBA, BAHAMAS (TRACKING / PATH MAPS, LATEST ABACO UPDATES 25 OCTOBER)


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HURRICANE SANDY HEADING NORTH FOR BAHAMAS

INTERACTIVE STORM TRACKER

Type in your location for current path predictionClick Pic!

UPDATE 25 OCT 05.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY CLEARING CUBA AS CAT. 2

Three hours passing has made a further difference, and not for the better. The landmass of Cuba, far from slowing the storm, has seen it intensify to Cat 2 – though so far that is predicted only as far as the south Bahamas… (Map 1). However the eastward drift into the Atlantic is still detectable – see Abaco detail, Map 2

UPDATE 25 OCT 02.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY MAKES CUBA LANDFALL

As Sandy reaches the south coast of Cuba, two things have become clear overnight. First, the storm’s strength is now predicted at Cat 1 until it clears into the Atlantic north of the Bahamas – there will be no reduction to TS status in the south Bahamas (Map 1) Secondly, the news for Abaco is that a slight drift of the spine of the storm to the east can be detected (see Abaco Detail, Map 2). Yesterday, the eye was due to pass pretty much directly over MH and indeed (like Irene last year) the Delphi Club and Rolling Harbour. The shift may of course have no significant effect on the storm’s power, but if the eye’s path could continue to drift further east… Map 3 is the ‘hot’ map from 04.00 EDT today

FLIGHT ADVISORY As many on Abaco may already have found, there are flight disruptions from Nassau – I know of one person who couldn’t get to MH last night. So visitors following this blog and planning an imminent flight need to keep a careful eye on the situation, which given the path of the storm is likely to worsen.

I will not be in a position to post much in the way of updates between now and Monday – by which time Sandy should have cleared to the north of the Bahamas. The interactive tracker link at the top of this page is an excellent resource, especially as you can input a precise location. There is luckily a wealth of information out there on the internet – far more than for Irene last year. I notice too that Abaco residents are busy exchanging information on Facebook. While we are away, we’ll be thinking of all those in the path of the storm…

UPDATE 24 OCT 18.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY CROSSING JAMAICA

Sandy is now a Cat 1 hurricane as it crosses Jamaica and heads for eastern Cuba. As the latest projections show, the prospects for the Bahamas have worsened: hurricane force is expected over central and northern islands (see map below for Abaco detail)

DETAILED TRACKING PATH FOR THE BAHAMAS 24 OCTOBER 18.00 EDT

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER UPDATE EXTRACT 24 OCT 16.00 EDT

THE EYE OF HURRICANE SANDY MADE LANDFALL ON THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST
OF JAMAICA NEAR KINGSTON AT APPROXIMATELY 3.00 PM EDT / 19.00 UTC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS AT LANDFALL WERE ESTIMATED TO BE 80 MPH / 130 KM/H
======================================
HURRICANE SANDY ADVISORY NUMBER 9 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 1100 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012 
SANDY REACHES HURRICANE STRENGTH... CONDITIONS DETERIORATING IN JAMAICA... 

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY 
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR JAMAICA and [SPECIFIED] REGIONS OF CUBA 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR HAITI, THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS, THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS, THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS, FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM THE VOLUSIA/BREVARD
COUNTY LINE TO OCEAN REEF, FLORIDA UPPER KEYS FROM OCEAN REEF TO CRAIG KEY, FLORIDA BAY

UPDATE 24 OCT 05.00 EDT TS SANDY MARCHES NORTH OVER JAMAICA

The latest maps below show TS / Hurricane Sandy at 5 am EDT today. Map 3 is the most useful for the current detailed Abaco prediction. Meanwhile, the US news indicates increasing concerns further north (much as happened with Irene last year)

TS SANDY POSITION & PROJECTED PATH 24 OCT 5.00 am EDTTS SANDY 5-DAY FORECAST 24 OCT 05.00 am EDT

TS SANDY DETAILED TRACKER 24 OCT 5.00 am EDT

TS SANDY POSITION & PROJECTED PATH 24 OCT 5.00 am EDT

CONCERN IS INCREASING FOR TS SANDY’S PATH UP THE US EAST COAST…

UPDATE 23 OCT 23.00 EDT TS Sandy is now approaching Jamaica.

Continue reading

“MANATEE MANIA IN THE ABACOS” BMMRO FALL 2012 NEWSLETTER


“MANATEE MANIA IN THE ABACOS” – BMMRO FALL 2012 NEWSLETTER

The BMMRO has just published the Fall 2012 newsletter, and it’s no surprise to find that the front page news is the arrival of young manatee Georgie on Abaco. After nosing and indeed grazing her way around Abaco and the Cays, she still appears to be contentedly moored in Cherokee after the best part of a month. Here’s the official map of her wanderings 

Besides the manatee there’s plenty more to read and look at including 

  • Charlotte Dunn’s ‘President’s Update’
  • Articles on whales, and a friendly bottlenose dolphin’s visit to Hope Town
  • Fall ‘cetacean sightings’ map
  • Students at ‘Whale Camp’
  • A quiz to make sure you have taken it all in…

To read the four-page document –  and admire the photos - CLICK BMMRO FALL 2012 NEWSLETTER

TROPICAL STORM SANDY: HEADING FOR BAHAMAS (TRACKING / PATH MAPS, LATEST ABACO UPDATES 24 OCTOBER)


HURRICANE SANDY HEADING NORTH FOR BAHAMAS

INTERACTIVE REAL-TIME STORM TRACKER

Type in your location for current path predictionClick Pic!

UPDATE 24 OCT 18.00 EDT HURRICANE SANDY CROSSING JAMAICA

Sandy is now a Cat 1 hurricane as it crosses Jamaica and heads for eastern Cuba. As the latest projections show, the prospects for the Bahamas have worsened: hurricane force is expected over central and northern islands (see map below for Abaco detail).

I will not be in a position to post much in the way of updates between now and Monday – by which time Sandy should have cleared to the north of the Bahamas. The interactive tracker link at the top of this page is an excellent resource, especially as you can input a precise location. There is luckily a wealth of information out there on the internet – far more than for Irene last year. I notice too that Abaco residents are busy exchanging information on Facebook. While we are away, we’ll be thinking of all those in the path of the storm… 

DETAILED TRACKING PATH FOR THE BAHAMAS 24 OCTOBER 18.00 EDT

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER UPDATE EXTRACT 24 OCT 16.00 EDT

THE EYE OF HURRICANE SANDY MADE LANDFALL ON THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST
OF JAMAICA NEAR KINGSTON AT APPROXIMATELY 3.00 PM EDT / 19.00 UTC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS AT LANDFALL WERE ESTIMATED TO BE 80 MPH / 130 KM/H
======================================
HURRICANE SANDY ADVISORY NUMBER 9 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 1100 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012 
SANDY REACHES HURRICANE STRENGTH... CONDITIONS DETERIORATING IN JAMAICA... 

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY 
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR JAMAICA and [SPECIFIED] REGIONS OF CUBA 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR HAITI, THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS, THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS, THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS, FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM THE VOLUSIA/BREVARD
COUNTY LINE TO OCEAN REEF, FLORIDA UPPER KEYS FROM OCEAN REEF TO CRAIG KEY, FLORIDA BAY

UPDATE 24 OCT 05.00 EDT TS SANDY MARCHES NORTH OVER JAMAICA 

The latest maps below show TS / Hurricane Sandy at 5 am EDT today. Map 3 is the most useful for the current detailed Abaco prediction. Meanwhile, the US news indicates increasing concerns further north (much as happened with Irene last year) Continue reading

CHILLIN’ ON ABACO VS CHILLY IN ENGLAND


CHILLIN’ ON ABACO VS CHILLY IN ENGLAND

“Life’s a beach”, it is said. On Abaco, a new season is starting at the Delphi Club, and the first guests will be sorting out their fishing tackle, reaching for the sun cream and abandoning pre-Delphi diet boot-camp. If they have been eating Marmite™ sandwiches for a week before their arrival, they won’t need  to waste energy slapping no-see-ums. The day-dreaming becomes reality, perhaps involving his ‘n’ hers rods near the rocks at one end of the beach

That’s all well and good. But in more northern latitudes the slide from summer via autumn to winter is accelerating. The trout fishing season has just ended, with my final efforts washed away by heavy rain and flooding – this photo is the road leading to one of the beats, a sure meteorological sign that a visit to the local pub would be sensible… 

A pint of beer in front of a log fire soon puts things into perspective, and the mind can wander to warmer climates, the bonefishing prospects for the season, and the calm beauty of Rolling Harbour…

Two days ago, the UK temperature dropped sharply, the skies began to clear and the sun came back. Ah! Autumn – season of tum-ti-tum and mellow wotsit… 

At one moment there was a wonderful double rainbow across the fields

This was followed by a bright starry night & the thermometer dropping abruptly to -6˚F. And then this – the first frost of the year…

  These photos are of patterns on the car roof & windscreen, before the sun thawed the ice

     

Brrrrrrrrr. Best not to end on a freezing note. Back to Rolling Harbour for some warmth

A MAP OF HURRICANES WORLDWIDE SINCE 1851: THE PLANET’S HOT-SPOTS


HURRICANE PATHS ON PLANET EARTH

Hurricanes. Extreme weather events that can strike anywhere in the world’s vulnerable zones. But where are these to be found? And in those zones, is there any historical evidence demonstrating that particular areas of the world are more vulnerable than others? A recent post on the very informative ABACO SCIENTIST website includes a comprehensive map of all hurricanes recorded since 1851. This map gives a clear picture of the hot-spots and danger areas. 

Delphi Club Abaco 25 Aug 2011 / Hurricane Irene: Looking south from the balcony

The source is NASA and the article may be found HERE. I reproduce the map and explanation, with acknowledgement to John Nelson and IDV Solutions. Each blue link in the explanation below will take you to a new source of hurricane information, so the article is a valuable resource as a gateway to further hurricane knowledge.

EXPLANATION AND WORLD MAP

“Should you be worried about hurricanes? To find out, it is useful to know where hurricanes have gone in the past. The Earth map shows the path of every hurricane reported since 1851, Although striking, a growing incompleteness exists in the data the further one looks back in time. The Earth map graphically indicates that hurricanes — sometimes called cyclones or typhoons depending on where they form — usually occur over water, which makes sense since evaporating warm water gives them energy. The map also shows that hurricanes never cross — or even occur very near — the Earth’s equator, since the Coriolis effect goes to zero there, and hurricanes need the Coriolis force to circulate. The Coriolis force also causes hurricane paths to arc away from the equator. Although incompleteness fogs long term trends and the prevalence of hurricanes remains a topic of research, evidence is accumulating that hurricanes are, on the average, more common and more powerful in the North Atlantic Ocean over the past 20 years.”

Image Credit & Copyright: John Nelson, IDV Solutions

The eye of Hurricane Irene passes directly over the Delphi Club, Abaco 26 August 2011

The image below was shared on Facebook, but I don’t have the inventor’s name. I’m sorry not to be able to identify the originator of this ingenious hurricane warning. Every home should have one… 

HURRICANE ISAAC LATEST UPDATES 30 AUGUST; IMAGES; TRACKING; MAPS; SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE


AUGUST 30

Noon GMT Some more pictures overnight – a selection of clips from a short HuffPo video

AUGUST 29

22.00 GMT Latest news: Hurricane Isaac has just been downgraded to a Tropical Storm (I realise that for those caught up in the heart of flooding, damage and widespread outages, this may be of little practical comfort – but it is perhaps some encouragement for those further north in the path of the storm).

18.00 GMT Some pictures are now coming out giving an idea of the ferocity of the storm. I’ve assembled a short gallery from Reuters, AP/Getty and similar news resources, which I will add to as and when…

DANGER SIGNWRECKED PIERHURRICANE CHANCERS… ARE THEY CRAZY?NEW ORLEANS POLICE ON PATROLUPROOTED TREEBUILDING DAMAGEROUGH SEASFALLEN TREEIS THIS WOMAN BEING SENSIBLE?

NOA SATELLITE IMAGE AUGUST 29th

Noon GMT The latest Wunderground tracker map for Hurricane Isaac shows the storm’s current position and its subsequent path, decreasing to tropical storm and then tropical depression as it sweeps northwards through Arkansas. The eastwards tendency, noted previously, is now pronounced with the storm predicted to turn towards Missouri and Kentucky.

09.00 GMT Having had many hundreds of hits for this storm post, including a great many from the southern coastal states of the US, I am posting some further information about Hurricane Isaac today, as the storm rages over New Orleans and more widely across the state. 

I have been wondering about the New Orleans flood defences that are constantly referred to in news reports, so firstly here is a clear map of the situation showing the reinforcement since Hurricane Katrina 

Here is a satellite video of Hurricane Isaac approaching the US coast, taken over two days. It vividly shows the development in the Gulf of Mexico from a “disorganised” tropical storm into a swirling, concentrated hurricane-force storm, with the eye becoming visible as it approaches the coast.

Finally (for now) this is the astonishing view from a space station, giving an idea of the storm’s extent

AUGUST 28

Posting suspended

AUGUST 27

TS ISAAC STORM TRACKING: LATEST UPDATE 23.00 GMT

GOES satellite image of TS Isaac 27 August Noon

TS ISAAC STORM TRACKING: LATEST UPDATE 09.00 GMT

Here is this morning’s (GMT) tracking map, with the storm in the Gulf of Mexico, still drifting westwards. Predicted landfall is now mainly on the Louisiana coast. The most significant change overnight is that the Cat 2 prediction has been downgraded, so that the max expected strength is Cat 1

The satellite picture shows Isaac thickly covering the Gulf of Mexico with dense cloud. The coloured markings to the right show the data recorded by the NOAA Hurricane Hunter flying on the eastern edge of the storm (where the winds are less)

Since this is a Bahamian-based blog (with close Florida connections) Isaac’s current position makes this a suitable moment to return to the main business of Rolling Harbour – the wildlife of Abaco. At exactly this time last year, Hurricane Irene was passing directly over Abaco, with the eye going right over HQ at the Delphi Club. The northward passage of Isaac has of course affected the weather there, but it has been spared the ferocity of 2011. We’ll be thinking of course about all those in the US in Isaac’s path when landfall is made shortly

AUGUST 26

I have concentrated for obvious reasons on the projected path of Isaac with special reference to its proximity to the Bahamas in general, and Abaco in particular. I may have given the impression that the continuing westward movement of the storm’s path has meant that Abaco would enjoy glorious dawns, wonderful sunny days and spectacular sunsets. Not so, of course – the side-effects of the storm continue laterally for large distances. It’s lunchtime on Abaco now, and a message from Brigitte Carey on Tilloo Cay says simply “Yes, its nasty here – lots of wind and rain!”

TS ISAAC STORM TRACKING: LATEST UPDATE 16.00 GMT

First, a recent satellite image of the developing Cat 1 hurricane, still expected to reach Cat 2 as it make landfall on the southern US coast, followed by a tracker map confirming the westward tendency of the predicted path Continue reading

STIMULATING CURIOSITY IN ABACO: DELPHI CLUB’S SMALL PART OF THE MARS MISSION


One of the first colour images from the Mars rover Curiosity – a composite panorama 9 August 2012 (NASA)

STIMULATING CURIOSITY IN ABACO

THE DELPHI CLUB’S PART OF THE MARS ROVER MISSION

One of the first images from Mars

CURIOSITY landed on Mars today. This is the best chance yet of answering Ziggy Stardust’s rhetorical question “Is there life on Mars?”, and doffing an astronaut’s helmet to space pioneer Major Tom along the way… Assiduous readers of the blog will both recall that a while ago, the Delphi Club was privileged to be involved in a small part of the ‘Curiosity’ Mars Rover project. It’s a prime example of what one might call “extreme beachcombing…”

“One small part for a space program, one giant chunk of junk for the Delphi beach…” (S Walker)

Here are the links to the 3 short illustrated reports (rockets, boys!) in this blog from early 2012

1. ABACO BEACHCOMBING: MYSTERY OBJECT FROM THE DELPHI CLUB BEACH HERE 1 

The discovery by Sandy Walker of the item above on the Delphi Club beach, Abaco: 12 feet of conical mystery

2. ‘SO LONG, ARIANE’: FROM ROCKS TO ROCKETS ON THE DELPHI CLUB BEACH, ABACO HERE 2 

News of a positive ID by serial number as rocket débris from the Mars Program Curiosity Rover launch

3. BEACHCOMBING ‘CURIOSITY’ ON ABACO: OUT OF THIS WORLD TO THE RED PLANET HERE 3

Confirmation of this item as part of the booster rocket fairing of the Altas V rocket used to launch Curiosity in Nov 2011 

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊ 

The episode had a slightly bathetic ending. Initial lack of official interest in the cone, which I personally hoped could then be planted deep in the coppice or pine forest for future generations to discover and wonder about, suddenly changed. In due course a team of astro-science persons (in a large black truck and white protective suits, I’d like to believe) came and took it away. This forestalled my other idea: cutting it up into hundreds – or thousands –  of small pieces and selling them on eBay (possible in aid of the Abaco Parrots). A 12 foot cone of gleaming heat-resistant secret Abaconite space material. 5000 tiny pieces @ $100 each… Hmmmmmmmmm

Here are some links to play with

OFFICIAL MARS EXPLORATION PROGRAM SITE

WIKI-DETAILS

(Oh come on, admit it, you enjoyed those just a bit?)

Credit NASA / Telegraph

 

ROLLING HARBOUR, ABACO: A WIDE-ANGLE VIEW


ROLLING HARBOUR, ABACO: A WIDE-ANGLE VIEW

A new Header has arrived to grace the Home Page. It’s a wonderful wide-angle view of the 3/4 mile bay of white sand that is Rolling Harbour. It was taken by Michael Vaughn, a photographer  and tarpon guide from Key West, and I have ‘borrowed’ it from the main DELPHI CLUB website. You can immediately see the attraction of the blog name ‘Rolling Harbour’, an enterprise related to but editorially independent of HQ (though subject to benign scrutiny from Peter Mantle, who has so far resisted any temptation to behave in a ‘Murdochian’ fashion…)

The Delphi Club has just completed its third year in operation, with a record number of fish caught both out on the Marls and off the beach. There were records, too, for guest numbers; nourishment consumed in both the food and the drink categories; and for bird species spotted in the club grounds, the coppice and pine forest, and on the beach…

This aerial view shows the plantation-style club building and its minimal ‘footprint’ in the landscape

The Delphi Club from the beach

The view of the beach looking north from the Club verandahThe view of the beach looking south from the Club verandah

THE NAME’S BOND. JAMES BOND. LICENSED TO WATCH BIRDS…


JAMES BOND – THE ORNITHOLOGIST WHO LENT HIS NAME TO A FICTION LEGEND

Jamaica, 1952. The night was hot, too hot. Fleming cursed as he made his way up the steps to his neighbour’s verandah. He heard the clink of ice from within the house, and guessed that the rum punch was being mixed just the way he liked it. Stirred, not shaken. As he passed a low table on the verandah his eyes were drawn to a small book lying on it. Fleming paused, taking in the information, his senses suddenly alive. Bond. James Bond. A bird book about the avian species of the West Indies. Suddenly, it all made sense. Fleming knew now the direction he had to take, and with a thin smile he flicked back the insolent comma of dark hair that had fallen across his face and strode into the house towards the sound of the ice…

James Bond, ornithologist (1900 – 1989) was an expert on the birdlife of the Caribbean and wrote the seminal Birds of the West Indies, first published in 1936 and republished in varying formats ever since.

Ian Fleming lived in Jamaica and was a keen birdwatcher. The story goes that one evening, visiting friends, he saw ornithologist James Bond’s Birds of the West Indies on a table, and borrowed that short, punchy name for his fictional hero 007 for Casino Royale, published in 1953. He later said he wanted a name that sounded ‘as ordinary as possible’. In an interview, Fleming said “I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, and ‘James Bond’ was much better than something more interesting, like ‘Peregrine Carruthers.’ Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department.” Fleming wrote to the real James Bond’s wife “It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born.” He also contacted the real James Bond about using his name in the books and Bond replied that he was “fine with it.” At some point during one of Fleming’s visits to Jamaica he met the real Bond and his wife. The meeting was recorded for a documentary.

FACT, FICTION & IN-JOKES

In Dr No Fleming referenced Bond’s work by basing a large Ornithological Sanctuary on Dr No’s island in the Bahamas. In 1964, Fleming gave Bond a first edition copy of You Only Live Twice signed “To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity”. In the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day the fictional Bond can be seen examining Birds of the West Indies in an early scene that takes place in Havana. However the author’s name (James Bond) on the front cover is obscured. In the same film, when Bond first meets Jinx, he introduces himself as an ornithologist.

Ian Fleming Lived Here in Jamaica **

I had been planning to research the history of the various editions of Birds of the West Indies, the locus classicus for Caribbean species. Then I started to look into it and found that someone – Jack Holloway – had already done it so thoroughly that I would be wasting my time. So I contacted Jack for use permission, and I am very grateful to him for granting it by return. This next part is all thanks to him. I recommend a visit to his very good online bird resource website at AVIAN3
♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
THE HISTORY OF BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES BY JAMES BOND
1936 (The Original)
This is the alpha of the “Birds of the West Indies” books by James Bond. Its longer subtitle is “An Account with full descriptions of all the birds known to occur or to have occurred on the West Indian Islands“. Published just shy of two years after Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies, this book was the first field guide to cover all the birds of the West Indies (outside of Cory’s annotated book of 1889).
Somewhat in contrast to what is stated in the later 1961 version as the “First American Edition”, this 1936 book was published by The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (at which Bond worked) and was printed by Waverly Press, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland.
This book is certainly quite scarce and typically commands a price ranging from $500 – $1,500 depending on its condition and the presence of a dustjacket.
Ultimately, one may ask, “What’s the difference between this first book and the subsequent versions?” Here is the answer in the form of a table (see below)

1947 (The Next Version)
This 1947 version is often advertised or assumed to be the first edition. This may be due in part to the rarity of the original 1936 edition and/or to the presence of “First Printing” printed on the backside of the Title Page in the 1947 book (see image below). This “first printing” refers only to the second book. For the true, original book, you must go back another 11 years to 1936.
Despite the notation of “First American Edition” in the 1961 version, this 1947 book was published by the MacMillan Company of New York and was printed in the United States. The 1936 edition was also US published and printed.
As an obscure note, the title of the book printed on the dustjacket does not match the title printed on the book itself. The cover reads, “Field Guide of Birds…” while the book reads, “Field Guide to Birds…”. Also, it is likely this is the version owned by Ian Fleming which inspired the naming of his charismatic spy (see below)
Depending on the condition of this book and the presence of a dustjacket, this 1947 version ranges in price between $30 and $100.
STOP PRESS  As a guideline, I’ve now bought a copy of this edition on eBay for $80, in very good condition with good dust jacket. On a first edition, I beat the seller down from $2250 to $1600, but it was in poor condition and I left it at that…
                             James Bond Birds 1947 ed f:c                        James Bond Birds F:P 1947 ed

1961 (“1st American Edition“)
Just as a note of interest — or irony — this 1961 version is labeled as the “First America Edition”. Keep in mind the 1936 and 1947 books were both published and printed in the US. Additionally, just beneath the statement of “First American Edition”, you will see “Printed in Great Britain”. Completing the picture, this book was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston; thus, the American connection (I guess).

1970s
1971 1971 1974

1980s
1980 1980 1985 1986 (?)

1990s (the adoption by the Peterson series)
1993 1995 1999

2000s
2002 (?)

OTHER COVERS
1960s?

ADDENDUM
1966

Needless to say, the name James Bond has a familiarity beyond just the birding world. Several myths and slight distortions have grown related to how this name has been transmogrified from ornithologist to international spy.

In 1966, Mrs. James (Mary Wickham) Bond wrote a 62-page book How 007 Got His Name that outlined the circumstances which led to the use of Mr. Bond’s name in the series of books written by Ian Fleming.

As noted on pp. 16-17, Dr. Bond first became aware of his new recognition in 1961. This was after seven spy thrillers had already been published and were just becoming popular in the US.

Mrs. Bond wrote a light-hearted letter to Mr. Fleming on February 01, 1961 to make note that he had “…brazenly taken the name of a real human being for your rascal!” (p.18). A return letter by Mr. Fleming was most gracious and apologetic.

In this reply, (contained in full in Mrs., Bond’s book), Mr. Fleming wrote, “I will confess at once that your husband has every reason to sue me in every possible position and for practically every kind of libel in the book, for I will now confess the damnable truth.” (p.21).

He then provided an explanation of how he selected his character’s name for the first book in 1953: “…I was determined that my secret agent should be as anonymous a personality as possible…At this time one of my bibles was, and still is, Birds of the West Indies by James Bond, and it struck me that this name, brief, unromantic and yet very masculine, was just what I needed and so James Bond II was born…”

Mimicking Mrs. Bond’s light-hearted approach, Mr. Fleming continued his reply with this unique offer: “In return I can only offer your James Bond unlimited use of the name Ian Fleming for any purpose he may think fit. Perhaps one day he will discover some particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion.” (p.22).

Mr. Fleming also offered the Bonds an open invitation to visit his residence in Jamaica and to visit the birthplace of the second James Bond.

Iam Fleming and the real James Bond met only once, which was February 5th, 1964. This was in Jamaica, six months before the death of Mr. Fleming.

This short book by Mrs. Bond is a nice, quick read. I appreciate it for the first-hand accounts of the historical beginnings of Bond vs. Bond as opposed to the hearsay and myths created over time. The book also offers entertaining stories of how James Bond dealt with his new popularity and the avid “fans” upon their discovery of his name.


Comparison Table of the Books’ Contents over the Years
** “THE FLEMING VILLA” (SHOWN ABOVE) – THE FACTS
  • Once rented by Noel Coward
  • Sting wrote “Every Breath you Take” here
  • Princess Margaret, while a guest, broke a toe on one of the beds (rum punch alert!)
  • Ian Fleming himself designed the house, and wrote all the Bond books here
  • It has 5 bedrooms, and was built by a former donkey track bought by Fleming in 1946
  • You can rent it (and its full-time staff) for £3500 (including breakfast). Per night…
  • It is part of the ‘Goldeneye’ Estate (and no, there isn’t a ‘Thunderball’ Estate)
  • Other guests: Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, Lucian Freud, Truman Capote & Evelyn Waugh

(Source credit: The Quarterly)

ABACO ART & CRAFT SHOW, ELBOW CAY, 16 JUNE 2012


ART & CRAFT SHOW   ♦   SATURDAY 16 JUNE   ♦  WHITE SOUND, ELBOW CAY

 

15 artists and artisans will be displaying their work, including ‘Abaco Island Artist’ Brigitte Bowyer Carey whose paintings adorn the main flyer above, and alternative flyers that have been produced (see cheerful Hope Town logo above and the delicious image below) 

ROLLING HARBOUR: THE ABACO VACATION SETTINGS ARE NOW ON


NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE RESUMED IN TWO WEEKS, IF YOU CAN EVER CALL IT ‘NORMAL’
Actually, apologies for the drawing. No, really. At one time in this blog, I did say that I struggle to draw a stickman. And ain’t that the truth. Click on the Soundcloud thing below for suitable vacation music, composed and played by me (tip of the hat to an iPhone app). Oh good grief. It’s just as feeble as my drawing. Just as well I’m off to Abaco for R & R… Meanwhile, here’s what a bonefish really looks like – the weight / strength ratio makes it one of the world’s most powerful fishes. Hook one and prepare to have your reel stripped to the backing. All caught bones are quickly released to ensure stocks are not depleted.
Why thank you, nice Lubbers Quarters sign, I do believe we are…

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL ABACO: HISTORIC 1803 DESCRIPTION & AQUATINT


HOLE-IN-THE-WALL, ABACO: A HISTORIC DESCRIPTION & AQUATINT FROM 1803

I recently traced the history of Hole-in-the-Wall, Abaco through maps from the 16th century onwards – its significance, the name changes, and so on. To see that post CLICK HERE . I have just come across some historical material about HITW that is so fascinating that I have awarded the accolade of a separate post, rather than lumping it in with the earlier one. The extract below is from THE NAVAL CHRONICLE (Vol 9) * for January – July 1803. It gives a short but detailed description of the Hole in the Wall in the context of a remarkable sketch (reproduced as a Plate in the book) submitted by the contributor, who signed himself  ‘Half-Pay’. That was the name traditionally used in both Navy and Army to refer to the pay or allowance an officer received when in retirement or not in actual service – or, metonomously, to the officer receiving the reduced pay. I greatly like the charming deference with which the contribution is offered.

The whole book is well worth examining for the light it sheds on Naval matters at the very start of the c19. The comprehensive personnel and other lists hold plenty of interest. This was an era of almost continuous major military and naval campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic. The Battle of Trafalgar was still 2 years away when this book was published. If you want to see the downloadable online version CLICK HERE  [I had to zoom the page and clip it in two to make it easily readable  - hence the gap. And apologies for the purple highlight - it was my place-mark...]


Here is the amazing aquatint  by J. Wells of Half-Pay’s sketch, published in the 1803 Naval Chronicle by founder J.Gold of Shoe Lane, London. It’s quite small, measuring 5½” x 9″. You may even be looking at a screen clip of a scan of the book plate of the earliest surviving depiction of Hole-in-the Wall. If anyone knows of an older one, please get in touch. And can anyone identify what kind of sailing vessels these are (I wouldn’t know a brigantine from a clipper…)?

To answer queries arising from my earlier post, I added a map and photos showing exactly where the actual Hole at HITW is, and how to get there (if you are wearing the right shoes). It’s worth revisiting the topic. People are always fascinated by the extremities of land – ‘Land’s End’, ‘Finisterre’, ‘Finistère’ and so on – especially where they are remote and relatively inaccessible. I think HITW qualifies. As far as I am aware, apart from the lighthouse its abandoned outbuildings at the southeast corner of the first map below, there is no other building in the area covered by this map. The nearest road is 15 miles up the inhospitable track to the north of the lighthouse.

Here is the map showing the location of the actual Hole in the Wall, and below that, a distance shot taken at sea

 * According to The Philadelphia Print Shop “Between 1799 and 1818, The Naval Chronicle, was the pre-eminent maritime journal reporting news about the British navy. Issued twice a year, it was published during a period in which the British navy fought the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, and came to “rule the waves.” This wonderful journal included action reports, intelligence on various matters related to the British and other navies, and biographies of naval officers. Many of the reports were accounts by officers directly involved, such as Lord Horatio Nelson. Included with the articles were portraits, images of naval action, and views of the many ports in which the navy called. These are important, first-hand images of this turbulent period”

A PIED WAGTAIL’S EVENING PREENING ROUTINE


A PIED WAGTAIL PREENING IN EVENING SUNSHINE

In a departure from the usual strictly Abaco-centric blog principles that apply around here, and because a number of birding folk are tolerant enough to follow this blog regularly, I am migrating a euro-bird post from my side-project non-Abaco blog at ROLLING HARBOUR LIFE (check out the bees there!). I think this photo sequence of the evening ablutions of a small bird may be of wider interest, or amusement at the least. Also, it’s a cute little creature – some of its pale grey downy feathers are incredible soft and delicate. And anyway, what the heck – we’re in England (flood alerts!), we’ll be on Abaco in less than 4 weeks, and tomorrow is May 1st.

This preening is a complicated routine involving a great deal of busy activity, from 180° head rotation to elaborate fluffing up to pauses for admiration. I watched this bird, one of a pair, for several minutes. The photos (taken in Dorset) have been cropped but not in any way photoshopped or adapted… I’m pleased at how well they turned out, considering that I was filming from the ground 20 feet below, and the bird was moving most of the time. I’ve put  a few individual pictures up first, then a slideshow of some highlights of the performance

This was a serious feat of balance, with a very vigorous shake-down with only one foot on the wire

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ABACO & HOLE-IN-THE-WALL, BAHAMAS: A SHORT HISTORY IN MAPS


ABACO & HOLE-IN-THE-WALL, BAHAMAS: A SHORT HISTORY IN MAPS

To begin with, here is a fabulous recent photograph of the actual Hole-in-the-Wall taken by well-known Abaco nature tour guide Ricky Johnson. This picture inspired me to delve into the history of Abaco and its the southernmost extremity, to see how far back it can be traced; and how the island’s recorded history has evolved since the Columbian era.(Photo Credit: Ricky Johnson)

I started by trying to establish the earliest map, and the earliest mention of Hole-in-the-Wall. I don’t have access to written archival material, so I looked instead at historic maps of the Caribbean / Bahamas / Lucayas. The very earliest, from the late c16, simply depict the Bahama Islands / Lucayas as rather random-looking blobs which bear little relation to their actual geographical location or their shape. The islands mostly have quite different names, or variants of familiar spellings. Over the course of 5 centuries, one can trace the progress of place names to those used today – including of Abaco itself. The gradual development of settlements can also been seen – at Little Harbour, Crossing Rocks and ‘Cheeric Sound’, for example, as well as on the ‘Keys’.

The trail starts in the c16. The earliest map I have so far found is the Abraham Ortelius map of 1592, which is a good example of the rather basic map-making of the time. It is quite hard – near impossible – to relate the position of ‘Haraco’ to the other islands depicted.

ADDENDUM I have now uncovered an even earlier and far more ambitious map published in 1550 by the Spanish cartographer Diego Gutiérrez. His incredibly intricate map, for the period, is decorated with volcanos, mermaids, monkeys, and variety of fantastical sea creatures. The first image is a detail of the whole map, showing the Bahamas, a sea monster, and a graphic shipwreck. I have also included an image of the whole map so that the extraordinary range and complexity of this early map can be seen in its entirety.

This colourful and charming 1679 map shows that a very basic style of mapping was still common in the c17

This famous map by A.M.Mallet from 1683, with its enjoyable sea battle vignette, is another good example of the very general nature of the maps, although the design and draftsmanship has advanced considerably

Things become much clearer and more detailed in the c18. The relationship of the islands to each other is shown in geographic reality; and many more details and place names are included. The earliest specific reference to Hole-in-the-Wall (as it now is) that I have so far found is in a 1738 map by Johannes Couvens & Cornelius Mortier. ‘Abaco’ is now spelled as we know it, with ‘Hole in the Rock’ clearly marked. Little Harbour is mentioned, as are 2 ‘Keys’, presumably indicating settlements. 

A 1750 map by Robert of Paris shows the southern tip of Abaco as ‘Trou dans le Roc’. You’ll have to trust me on this – the writing is tiny and impossible to enlarge legibly. The French name is not just because the map maker was French, but probably because it was the name given by French settlers who are believed to have lived in that part of Abaco in the c18 (and quite possibly earlier). Many more settlements are shown, especially on the Cays.

The Cartographer Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, in a 1764 map, also used the french name, though in the plural ‘Trou dans les Roches’, as this much enlarged portion of his ‘Cartes des Isles Lucayes’ shows. Little Harbour – ‘Petit Havre’ – is again included as a distinct settlement, and a few Cays are also named.

John Blair’s map of 1779, below, shows clearly ‘the Hole in the Rock’ – indeed, it is the only named place on Great Abaco. The southern end of Florida looks worryingly fragmented…

For the new century, a map by George Cook dated 1800 shows the first appearance of Little Abaco as a separate entity. Again, Hole in the Rock is the only place on Great Abaco that is marked. Maybe this evidences a continuing significance as a navigation aid.

The good clear map by Thompson dated 1815 provides plenty of excellent detail hitherto lacking in maps of the northern Bahamas. Another name for Hole-in-the-Wall has crept in, shown as ‘Hole of the Rock’. There are some oddities here. A ‘Rocky Point’, usually associated with the south west coast below Sandy Point, is marked on the east coast. Little Harbour is shortened to L.H., indicating perhaps that it had become a familiar enough settlement to warrant abbreviation – unless it stands for Light House, referring to the long-defunct lighthouse there… The word ‘Kay’ is used, a half-way house between the earlier ‘Key’ and the later ‘Cay’. The positions of the Kays seems (now) amusingly off-cay – indeed the relative scales to the main island are quite strange. Green Turtle Cay is some way nor’-nor’-west of Little Abaco…

Harrison’s much simpler map in 1818 also uses ‘Hole of the Rock’, which is the only place shown.                              

As the  c19 progressed, far more sophisticated and detailed map-making – including nautical charts – was undertaken. This extract from a much larger chart by Edmund Blunt from 1827 is the first mapped reference I can find of the name change from ‘Rock’ to ‘Wall’. It is also the earliest I have found Crossing Rocks mentioned on a map, though apparently as a shipping warning rather than an indication of a viable settlement. Walt Disney has yet to visit ‘Key Gorda’.

A new name for the southern extremity entered the scene in 1833 on Thomas Starling’s map of the West Indies. The tip is simply called ‘Light Ho. Pt’, with no reference to Holes, Rocks or Walls – an interesting variation (see below). I have found no other instances of this name.

The interest lies in the fact that the evidence suggests that the Lighthouse at Hole-in-the-Wall was not actually completed until 1836, yet Starling was specifically referencing it 3 years earlier. One could deduce that there was already a basic lighthouse of some description there, soon to be superseded; or perhaps that construction of the Lightstation had already commenced in 1833, and Starling was confident of its eventual completion and wanted to be ahead of the competition… On the left is the notice at the lighthouse station today.

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For a time, maps continued to use ‘Rock’ rather than ‘Wall’ – the 1843 Findlay map has reverted to ‘Hole in the Rock’. Great and Little Abaco are again separately named.

In 1857, a very detailed nautical chart of the area was published. The survey seems to have been carried out by the British Navy for the French, and now detailed depth measurements enter the picture. It seems that new techniques have recently been discovered. I have used only one of the 3 areas mapped, a detail of the southern tip of Abaco. Here, in french, we are back to ‘Wall’ rather than ‘Rock’. For the first time, the lighthouse and associated lightstation buildings have been included, but I haven’t been able to decipher the words in brackets under ‘Phare’.

Mitchell, in a far more basic (pretty border though) 1872 map,reverts to ‘Hole in the Rock’

Two near-identical maps were published in the late c19: the first, by Hardesty, New York, in 1884; the second, by Rand McNally, in 1890. Extracts are shown below, side-by-side. This time, both clearly show ‘Hole in the Wall’. Cay is still spelled ‘Key’. And for the first time I have seen, Cherokee gets a mention as ‘Cheeric’ or ‘Cheerie’ Sound.

      

In the final year of the c19, George Cram of Chicago pubished the most ambitious map of the region so far. By 1899 shipping routes were so well-established that they could be added to maps, increasing their usefulness and therefore sales. He’s back to ‘Hole in the Rock’, though. The names of the Cays are more familiar here, and Pelican Harbor is now included. Cherokee is still in its early form.

The c20 saw the use of the name ‘Hole in the Wall’ becoming predominant, as shown on this Waterlow’s map from 1919. The map also uses the modern-day ‘Cherokee Sound’; and surprisingly this is the first map I came across that names Marsh Harbour (and also Wilson City). The map also marks all Bahamas lighthouses (oddly, although ‘Hole in the Wall’ is marked on a similar map from that period by Harrison & Sons, the red dot for the lighthouse is missing there – presumably in error, since the lighthouse was well-established and functioning at that time). I am left wondering when the hyphens became included in ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’. They are not universal, I have noticed, but seem to be the preferred usage nowadays, making the place a lot more niggly to type!

To end with, a photo of the lighthouse (now automatic) and some of the abandoned buildings. For an account of an intrepid trip to this part of South Abaco CLICK ===>>> ‘TO THE LIGHTHOUSE…

  • This post is by no means exhaustive, and any suggestions, additions or corrections are welcome by way of the COMMENT box or by email to rollingharbour.delphi@gmail.com
  • Apologies for the very small writing on many of the maps, but in most cases it was not possible to enlarge the image further without also making the written details illegible. 
  • The photos, apart from Ricky’s, are mine. Acknowledgement is given to the variety of sources used for the map extracts, which come mainly from catalogues / sales advertising or open online archives. Any problems? Let me know!

POST SCRIPT: I am very grateful to Marinas.com for permission to download this wonderful aerial image of Hole-in-the-Wall lighthouse and its outbuildings, looking towards the southern tip of Abaco. They have generously enabled a completely cost and watermark-free download. I have added the © detail. Thanks, guys. 

AFTERTHOUGHT I have received a query as to exactly where the eponymous Hole in the Wall, or Rock, can be found in relation to the lighthouse. At the foot of the page is an annotated map which I should no doubt have provided in the first place. The consensus of those who have walked to it (I haven’t yet) is that you’d be well advised to wear walking shoes / boots. Mary Wallace Chamie in a recent POST (check out the link for her VG photos, of which I have included 2 small tasters) says this:

“At first the hike was easy as we followed a cement path through a maze of sea grapes and then hiked further down until we reached the beach.  We took a left at the beach and started hiking across limestone that was full of potholes and sharp edges.  We walked carefully through the maze until we reached a point where we could finally see the Hole in the Wall.

    We then headed back across the limestone craters and up the hill to the lighthouse.  One suggestion I have to any beach comber who takes this hike.  Wear your walking shoes! ” 

To which I can now add this ‘distance shot’ from the sea, which makes it all completely clear. I have contacted the photographer via Panoramia but had no reply. Credit as annotated. If you are the photographer, Hi!. And if you object to its inclusion, please let me know and I’ll remove it…

 

LINKS TO OTHER HOLE-IN-THE-WALL POSTS

ABACO HISTORY: SHIPS, MAPS & HOLE-IN-THE-WALL

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL ABACO: HISTORIC 1803 DESCRIPTION & AQUATINT

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL TO GAP-IN-THE-WALL: HURRICANE SANDY SMASHES ABACO LANDMARK 

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL BEFORE SANDY DEMOLITION: FIRST & LAST EVER IMAGES

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL, ABACO: THE ‘HOLE’ THAT’S NO LONGER A WHOLE

HOLE-IN-THE WALL ABACO: “MIND THE GAP” – A NEW ISLET IS BORN