Who wants to play me? Asks Garrison, basketball in hand. Sitting in front of Miss Emiley’s Blue Bee – “home of the original Goombay Smash”, our group idly looked at each other as if asking who was going to respond “no” to the 10-year-old local GTC boy. However, once I realized Garrison was making this request solely to the boys, I took him up on the challenge. My decision may have been fueled by the delicious fruity rum punch called the “Goombay smash”, but I gave Garrison a run for his money as we took off barefooted to the basketball court just across the narrow road. The friendliness, openness and unassuming nature of Garrison to challenge a complete stranger was characteristic of all of the people at GTC.
At first glance anybody could admire Green Turtle Cay’s brightly colored houses, chickens that regularly crossed the road, well taken care of, free roaming cats and the fresh coconut bread baked at Mcintoish (if you go to Mcintoish’s for breakfast get the French toast and eggs!). A slightly deeper look into the cay and you could get lost on the beaches that surrounded the island with plentiful reefs and spinney lobsters, but it wasn’t until you interconnected with the locals that we found ourselves truly among the privileged to know and love Green Turtle Cay.
Donny, who could trace his lineage back to the British Loyalist that were chased out of the newly independent United States was the owner, manager, mechanic, diver and crew of the mooring balls and marina we were on during our stay. He opened up his own home to anybody needing a hot shower and was happy to share his mini bananas with folks who sat around his property trying to soak up the wifi.
Donny wasn’t the only one that could trace his lineage back to the British Loyalist. In fact, Gully from the band Gully Roosters who we met on the island’s Friday night happy hour Shenanigans tour (an event as folks walk from Pineapples bar to the liquor store then to 2 shorty’s for a bite and back to Pineapples for live music) told us that he needed to find his wife on another island and bring her back to make sure she wasn’t actually his cousin.
By the end of our stay, we felt like we were becoming one of the locals especially since we shared different traditions like the 12 days before Christmas caroling. Around 5 in the morning before the suns first light we walked through each of the streets in town banging the drums and loudly singing Christmas songs. This tradition had been carried for centuries and came from the caroling in started in England long ago.
Eventually we came to a point where we saw that it was time to move since our 2 day planned stay had turned in to 2 weeks, so we said goodbye to our new friends on Green Turtle, but want to thank them making us fall in love with Green Turtle.