Nov. 25: You want a setting for a scene in your novel that depicts total isolation. You think Fresh Creek, Andros, may be the place. The ferry leaves from Potter’s Cay, a working port connected by a causeway to Nassau. You wait in a long, slow line to get tickets, then you walk up the ramp on the stern of the ferry, dodging cars and trucks backing onto the ferry. Fast moving forklifts load all manner of things; plywood, a mattress, cases of toilet paper, household goods, maybe Christmas presents? A propane truck and a huge blue container truck take up a good part of the lower deck. You wonder, did everyone remember to set their emergency brake?
The passenger lounge is upstairs with seating in pods of four swivel chairs around tables, all fastened securely to the floor. It’s a big space with perhaps room for 100 passengers with windows on three sides. Open seating is also on the top deck, but it’s cool and very windy and few choose this option. You can watch the loading process from your seat. a black Cadillac hearse backs up the ramp. Its back door is open and a very pink casket is visible.
The two of you are the only tourists and the only whites on board. The wind is high and the seas are rough leaving Nassau Harbor and a large quantity of water dumps through the ceiling. Wet passengers scream and scatter. You look around outside, there seems to be one 8 passenger life boat for the 100 or so passengers. Correction: for the crew! A well dressed man approaches, introduces himself and sits down. His name tag announces he is with the funeral home. You learn he is also in the Bahamian Military, soon to retire and this is a part-time job. The funeral will be the biggest event on Andros this weekend.
You hear faint singing. Where is it coming from? It isn’t in sync with the TV at the food bar. It grows louder and people near you join in. It’s the funeral party on the opposite side of the lounge. They are singing spirituals and soon everyone, including you, is singing. The man who sat with you is now directing the music. A guitar appears. Hands are clapping, waving in the air and one man is swaying, almost dancing. The mood is festive. This continues for the three-hour trip to Fresh Creek.
For a novel, the setting of Fresh Creek doesn’t disappoint. The ferry leaves, not to come back for two days, and you feel an appropriate sense of isolation. A Bahamian gentleman apologizes that there is nothing here, but that is exactly what you need to move the plot forward.