Inagua is the third largest island in the Bahama chain of islands. It is the furthest south of all the isalnds. It therefore functions as an entry and exit port. Depending on the source of information the island is about 40 miles long and 25 miles wide. It is the most hospitable island full of candor among the locals, and sincere joy and friendship toward the visitors.
On the island tour we saw the sights and sounds of Matthew Town. We were shown the local bars, snack shops, restaurants, schools, churches, and ball fields. The industry that keeps the island in production and with a healthy steady economy is the Morton Salt company. The production of salt started back in the early 1800s. During that time the salt was harvested by manual labor with pic axes, then transported by donkeys and donkey carts to the sea for exportation across the world. Now the salt is harvested by huge machinery and transported by enormous airconditioned trucks. The company employs about 80-90% of the island locals. The other industry is fishing, restaurants, teachers, and government workers.
There is an airport, a medical clinic, villas for rent, a large welcoming government port with dock space for 10 boats. The area is spacious enough for large yachts and catamarans. There was an 80 foot catamaran in the marina with plenty of space. Tourism this far south seems to be a problem for attracting folks to come and enjoy the quiet, restful, set back island of Inagua. Amenities are limited. Yet, there is plenty to do and to enjoy. All the locals offer a hand to those who come to visit. There is an honest concern for the transients to have a positive experience.
Tarrae was our tour guide. She was a delight. She made the best 'flamingo' punch! She is an Audubon certified bird guide and along with being a P.E. teacher also runs her tour guide business. She provided us with a four hour tour of the island. We saw the lighthouse, the town, the saltworks and a lot of birds.
Inagua is a nesting and resting place for migratory birds. The flamingos are an important part of the salt production process. Brine is used in the salt production process. Sea water is pumped from the sea down a large canal access toward the flats. Brine canals border the flats. Shrimp is stocked in the brine which the flamingos eat. The flamingo droppings are also important to the process.
There are many wild donkeys since the use of them for salt production was halted. Donkeys are hunted game as deer is for folks in the US. Conch is harvested by the fishermen and the snack bar conch fritters have that fresh off the boat flavor.
Here is 40 picture slideshow of our tour. I hope you enjoy the tour as much as we did.
Mike & Monica
We plan to write some notes here about our sail trip and the preparations for it