Jake the Lucky Conch

A fight between two ex business partners is the latest escalation in the saga of Jake the Lucky Conch.

The fight occurred on the fishing docks of Jackal Cay last Wednesday and fortunately only involved fists. Mr. Harmond Aboya was given first aid for a nasty bruise to the chin while his attacker Mr. Jan Knodson declined aid for bloody knuckles. One onlooker had minor scraps from helping break up the fight. Mr. Aboya declined to press charges and could be heard shouting “Jake doesn’t want to live on the Stony Ledge!” as Mr. Knodson was escorted off the docks by the assistant dockmaster.

The story of Jake the Conch begins, for those who don’t know, about 10 years ago. At that time, Aboya and Knodson where partners in a successful fishing enterprise operating out of Jackal Cay. They owned three smacks, and leased a fourth with crew. How exactly the two men acquired Jake is unclear. But she (Jake has been determined to be female) was soon enjoying the reputation of bringing fantastic luck to her owners. They purchased several other fishing smacks and also a diesel powered gracy equipped with freezers to transport the catch to the markets on Dog Island. Problems arose, however, when Aboya decided that instead of operating the gracy, they should just move the whole fishing company to Dog Island. Knodson reportedly was having none of that idea, insisting that the gracys fuel and maintanance costs were still much less expensive than dockage for the fishing fleet would be in Dog Island. He offered to buy out Aboya and Aboya accepted. However, Jake the Lucky Conch was not part of the formal agreement. “I just figured Jake would stay here with me” Knodson told the court during the custody hearing. “I mean, Harmond was getting out of fishing. He didnt need the luck!” Mr. Aboya claimed Jake had told him several times that “The Stony Ledge was no place for a proper self respecting mollusk to live” and expressed a desire to reside on Dog Island. The judge in the case, the Honorable Judge J. Presburt III, then ordered the two men to work it out or else Jake would be supper, lucky or not. A coin toss saw Jake remaining with Mr. Knodson at Stony Ledge.

Mr. Aboya has since vowed to reclaim Jake. “Stony Ledge is full of riffraff,  buggomons and drunks. Jake deserves better!” Jake herself was unavailable for comment.

Island life local products

Southern Islanders engage in a multitude of manufacturing enterprises from home or small workshops. Seen here are Island Friendship Lights which have been used as gifts dating from the settlement of the Islands. The old brass and kerosene fueled lamps have been modernised to incorporate a flameless LED bulb which will operate as long as a year on 2 dry cell batteries. 
 Friendship Lights 

The long operating time symbolises strong friendship. They are also used to mark forest paths shaded from the sun where a solar powered lamp is umpractical.

Now that kerosene has been replaced by much safer electric, various colors are available and each has a different meaning. My favorite is a twinkling blue light that I use at the base of a potted plant.

Other items of local manufacturing include jewelry and tourist related goods, furniture, watercraft, fishing equipment and light metalworked items.

East Harbor

Club house by East Harbor docks. East Harbor is quite  upscale and usually caters to large fancy yachts. It’s the deepest harbor in the Southern Islands and was popular with pirates back in the the day. East Harbor Yacht Club has one of the only private beaches in the island group. Normally land owners cannot claim rights to any shoreline from 50 feet back from the high tide line. However, significant erosion during a storm brought the new shoreline half way up an existing property. The owner was able to declare that the shore had intruded on his property and won his case in court. After, the land use rules were amended to prevent this line of legal arguement in the future. The lot platting system on Rockinghorse Cay calls for a 20 foot easement between shoreside house lots. This allows for limited parking and access for visitors. Shoreside Develpment in general is discouraged. The locals know better than to build anything permanent, and rich foreigners who don’t care if their house washes away in a hurricane face an impressive array of zoning regulations designed to thwart such.

Lizard Reef

Lizard Reef not too far off shore of Rockinghorse Cay. The steamer Lizard grounded here and her remains provide an attraction for divers. The Lizards cargo of heavy earth moving equipment was salvaged with great difficulty and used to construct roadways and other projects on Rockinghorse Cay many decades ago  Rockinghorse Cay is one of the largest and most populated islands in the Southern Island archipelago. It has an airport and many resorts catering to the tourist trade.

Turtle Cay Research Center

Seen here is the turtle research station on Turtle Cay. Note the waterfront condos which are most likely owned by the government of the Southern Islands. The Research Center includes pens for injured sea turtles which are prone to consuming plastic trash and debris from the water. This is a privately funded facility, partially supported by other conservational causes such as the World Tortoise Foundation. They also do outreach and education on the dangers of plastic to the marine environment.

Setting sun over Dandee Banks

Dandee Bank was the wreck site of the barquentine Dandy. The cargo washed ashore on was would later come to be know as Mule Cay, since the Dandys cargo was 45 mules. The animals lived a fairly peaceful existence until of course they eventually died out. The cay later served as a conk fishing outpost. Today, Mule Cay is an out of the way settlement with little tourist appeal. Conk is still fished from the banks near by, and the land that once grazed the four legged survivors of the shipwreck is now extensively farmed.

Eel Hole Pass


Seen here is the channel through the shallows leading to the Eel Hole, a deeper area populated by quite a number of moray eels, among other fish. The eels are considered by the local islanders to be good luck. Thus, they are typically left alone by the fishermen. If caught accidentally  it’s tradition for the youngest crew member to wear the eel around their neck for a few moments before it is released.