The Spring Mermaid Pond
The Mermaid Pond in Lewis Yard is just a few hundred yards away from Buddies by the Bay and several more from Grum Ma’s House Cultural Center in Hunter’s. We called it “the Spring”. We lived here first when we arrived on the island of Grand Bahama in the summer of 1969 from Nassau on board the mail boat “Noel Roberts” which was a wooden ship that creaked and yawned throughout the entire voyage with every roll from the waves of the Northwest Providence Channel. This was an overnight voyage that began the evening prior and concluded in the early morning of the following day in the Freeport Harbour.
We lived first in the barracks then moved into one of the more modern houses although the outhouse was in the back it had modern windows and doors with two bedrooms. Our mother slept in the front bedroom while we utilized the back room with the aid of a bunk bed that made it possible for six children to fix without having to sleep on top of each other. The other two rooms served as the front room for sitting while the back was a kitchen. Dish washing was done at the back door to the kitchen on a table hard against the wall. Dishes had to washed before dark as there was no light outside. This house did have electricity which was not like that of our grandmother Elyn. I will tell you about her houses in another piece. Sand flies and mosquitoes were the other more pressing reason dishes were washed early if it was your time. Once we were able to stand on something and reach the table our mother made us wash dishes by adding us to the roster.
The summer time in the area of the Spring was the best time as we didn’t have school work or much house work. We had an older cousin Sigmund who was like our leader. They lived in the house next to us. Their mother Aunty Gwen was one of the best bakers we knew and her bread was a Saturday favorite. We made house out of thatch complete with “indoor toilet” which was a step up from the houses we lived in. Out houses were horrible places to go and therefore we used the bushes or our thatched house more frequently. Our other cousins, there were six of them and close friends lived in the other two larger houses on the southern end. They had indoor plumbing. During the summer we would all get together and play in the spring.
This was a natural pond about 40 feet in diameter that formed as a result of the rock formation that is found on the island of Grand Bahama. On the south side it was shallow with two deep holes at the edge. Custard apple trees grew on the southwestern side and provided us with fruits which dropped in the water when they were ripe. The northern side, we avoided as we discovered there was a cavernous hole that we could not determine the depth of and it looked rather dark and ominous. We never believed there was a mermaid or anything or the sort. We did see and catch fishes that were obviously salt water fishes. I later found out by the real mermaid that the pond actually has several caverns under it. She took time and explored them over the course of several dives. The caverns are deeper than we imagined and run in four different directions. We knew that the pond was connected to the “boiling hole” that is a few yards from the shore just south of the pond which is a few hundred yards inland and abuts the main street that runs through the settlement of Lewis Yard. The pod would make for an excellent sturdy once it is properly cleaned and maintained. The fresh water lenses sits on top of a brackish water lenses which is followed by a salt water lenses which connects with the ocean. The older and not so old folks said that this was a place where they came for water to drink and wash clothes in the early days of the settlement.