The Lucayan National Park – Beauty and Sadness

24 Nov

In October of 1492, the first expedition of Christopher Columbus made landfall on or near the Bahamian island of San Salvador. The first people that he encountered were the native inhabitants of this area, the Lucayans. Within a few years of this meeting, the Lucayan people were, for the most part, gone. They were essentially enslaved and murdered by subsequent expeditions and the quest for the riches of the area.

On Saturday we had the  privilege of visiting the Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island. A 40 acre plot of land preserved by The Bahamas National Trust. The varied landscapes and mangrove swamps transported us back to what it might have looked like in pre-Columbian times. One of the most beautiful features of the park is an underground cave system filled with crystal clear water. Some tunnels have been mapped out to six miles while others have never been completely explored. A variety of tropical fish that have adapted to the cave’s mixture of fresh and salt water live between the cave system and the sea to the north and south.

A very touching and hallowed place was a burial mound cave containing a few the skeletons of the Lucayan people. Apparently one of the skeletons, that of a young girl, was exhumed and placed in a museum for a while until it was decided that the remains belonged in the cave and they were returned.

One of the other caves, Ben’s Hole, was used in the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.” The deep blue water of this cave was hypnotizing as the muted light of a cloudy day filtered down through the cave entrance above.

As we walked through the mangroves towards the beach we heard the trees creek and the wind whistle. Our destination, Gold Rock Beach, is one of the most beautiful beaches on all of Grand Bahama. Even on a very gray day, the ocean was a brilliant turquoise.

It was very special to be able to share this experience with the girls. They really soaked up a lot of history and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of the environment.

Gold Rock Beach

Gold Rock Beach

Exploring the mangroves.

Exploring the mangroves.

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Ben’s cave

Ben's Cave

Ben’s Cave

Lucayan Burial Mound

Lucayan Burial Mound

One Response to “The Lucayan National Park – Beauty and Sadness”

  1. haanli November 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Wonderful post. Thanks!

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