top of page

00. Leisure in the Bahamas during 400-500CE

MAR. 25, 2021


The boys are out of the office this week, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get an episode of HHE. So, to tide you over until our next scheduled episode, please enjoy this one-off ‘Out of Office’ edition episode.

Find out how to have fun in the Bahamas before any of the people got there. Pete fires up the time travel train and takes Ryan back to 400AD to 500AD for a bit of well-earned leisure.

In this episode we travel down towards the Carribean sea, a chain of islands that starts just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. It measures 13,878 km² but it seems bigger because it’s made up of over 700 islands, known as Cays.

In AD400 to AD500, whilst Rome is being sacked by visigoths and Vandals occupy Carthage, the Bahamas are entirely uninhabited.

They would remain so up until the AD800 to AD1000, when the first inhabitants, the Taino people, moved into the uninhabited southern islands from Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic) and Cuba. These came to be known as the Lucayan people.

They flourished, and there were an estimated 30,000 Lucayans living in The Bahamas at the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival, 12 October 1492. Columbus landed and immediately renamed the island San Salvador Island

In AD1680–AD1718 The Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including Blackbeard, and during the 18th century slave trade, many Africans were brought to the Bahamas as slaves. Their descendants now constitute 85% of the Bahamian population.

The Bahamas gained independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973.

Leisure in AD400 – AD500 – mostly solo pursuits

In our period, there was nobody living on the islands, but that shouldn’t stop you having a good time. There are over 700 islands to visit if you were, say, a time traveller with a predilection for beaches and aquatic pursuits.

In fact you can see some of the underwater beauty of the Bahamas in the films ‘Thunderball’ and ‘Never Say Never Again’, in which James Bond frolics in the ocean, handily despatching bad guys with harpoon guns. In fact Thunderball Grotto in the Exuma Cays is a great diving and snorkeling spot,

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always take a dip in Dean’s Blue Hole. On Long Island, this is the world’s second deepest blue hole, a phenomenon also known as a sinkhole. This is a large underwater cave, with a vertical entrance, dropping down 660 feet, which is why it was chosen to be the venue for Vertical Blue, the annual freediving international competition

Dean's Blue Hole is roughly circular at the surface, with a diameter ranging from 25 to 35 metres (82–115 ft). After descending 20 metres (66 ft), the hole widens considerably into a cavern with a diameter of 100 metres (330 ft).

If that’s not enough watery fun for you, you can also go cav diving. Many years ago the waters around The Bahamas were more than 100 feet lower than they are today. As sea levels rose, some island caves became submerged, until now The Bahamas are recognized as one of the best places in the world to cave dive.

And if swimming alone isn’t for you, you might consider swimming with pigs.
Pig Beach located on Big Major Cay, hosts 50 – 60 pigs who love to swim with tourists. Opinions vary as to how they got there. Some say the pigs are said to have been dropped off on Big Major Cay by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them. The sailors, though, never returned.
Another legend has it that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to shore, while other accounts claim that the pigs had escaped from a nearby islet.
However they got there, they are a popular tourist feature today.
A more traditional aquatic pal can be found in the form of the dolphins that populate the local waters, as well as turtles and even sharks.
Also in the water, albeit only ankle deep, you can find Flamingo. These are the national bird of the Bahamas. This bird is famously pin, but they aren't actually born pink. They are grey or white, and turn pink over the first couple of years of their lives. Flamingo feathers obtain their colour from pigments in their food.
To get their fill of the pinky treats, they they take up water in their beaks and sieve out tiny brine shrimps from the water with their special beaks and tongue.

Let’s Mountain climbing!
Well, not really. Mount Alvernia is the highest point in The Islands of The Bahamas at 206 feet (63 meters). So leave your crampons at home.

Souvenir hunting
A popular souvenir today in The Bahamas is the Queen Conch. Lobatus gigas, species is one of the largest molluscs native to the Caribbean Sea. It’s not endangered in the Caribbean as a whole, but is commercially threatened in numerous areas, largely due to extreme overfishing.
The shell is rather beautiful and has a distinctive flared lip. The flared lip is absent in juveniles; it develops once the snail reaches reproductive age.
So, that was a tour of leisure in The Bahamas. Don’t forget to pack your mollusc before you return home.

bottom of page