Tribute by Dean Spychalla, Managing Director of Valentine’s Resort & Marina and President of the Out Islands Promotion Board.
My name is Dean Spychalla and I am a friend of Ma Ruby and her family. I’m honored to take a moment and tell you about the impact I know Ma Ruby has had on me and on our community. I certainly know her to have been an incredible mother to her children but as importantly, a real mother to many others on Harbour Island. Her life should be celebrated and remembered as one filled with laughter and love. You may never meet a more loving woman than Ma Ruby. I celebrate her life with you today.
Each and every time I walked in to Tingum Village, and that has been many times over the past four years, Ma Ruby was there to greet me. She made me feel special. To be honest, she made each and every person that walked into the hotel feel special. Ma Ruby’s spirit was always positive and Ma always welcomed her guests upon arrival. Upon leaving Ma wished them a safe journey home and always invited them to come back. Ma Ruby was Harbour Islands’ Vernal Sands, a TRU-TRU Bahamian Resort Ambassador.
Happiness was a big theme throughout Ma Ruby’s life. Tingum Village was always buzzing with activity, and even in the midst of the chaos, Ma would just smile. No matter what was going on, and no matter how busy things got, Ma Ruby was always ready to give big hugs – the type of hugs where you felt like you were the only one in the world. She had an extraordinary ability to give love.
Two weeks before Ma Ruby passed away I had the honour to take her in my golf cart to the Anglican Church. I offered to walk her in but she was adamant that she could make it in under her own power and she meant it. Ma was willful at times! Well, Ma Ruby went to three church services that day as that was her favorite activity on Sundays. I am not her son and I am not related to Ma Ruby but, Ma Ruby sure made me feel as if I could have been! I will miss her.
May “Ma” Ruby, rest in peace.
Unlike some of its sister islands in the Bahamas, Eleuthera’s lure is its simplicity. There is no big business or contrived attractions. The absence of mini-golf, however, does not mean that there is nothing to do with kids in Eleuthera. There is plenty of adventure on this 100-mile long island…from snorkeling with gorgeous schools of fish to jumping into the 600-foot deep landlocked “Ocean Hole.” Here are some of the top things to do in Eleuthera with kids.
- Snorkeling. The water in Eleuthera is breathtakingly clear. The reefs are abundant and close to shore, and the sand below is pinkish-white, makes for really incredible snorkeling. Throw snorkeling gear into the car wherever you go, as there are new reefs and beaches to explore around every corner.
- Surfing. Eleuthera is one of the only islands in the Bahamas that boasts a decent surf break. The Atlantic side of the Island north of James Cistern offers several excellent beaches for surfing, with Surfer’s Beach and Holiday Beach being the most famous. Look for a surf guide for the best tips, such as Bahamas Adventures.
- Sea Glass Collecting. Surfer’s Beach has more sea glass than one can carry. You will find a huge rainbow of colors, along with beautiful shells (which are best just admired and photographed and left for future travelers to enjoy.
- Rock Sound Ocean Hole. Ocean Hole is a 600-foot deep landlocked hole full of friendly fish that claims to have healing waters. The hole is believed to connect to both the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans through underground tunnels. The fish are very used to being fed, so they swim right up to and all around you.
- Lighthouse Beach. Next continue south all the way to the very tip of the island to one of the best beaches in Eleuthera, Lighthouse Beach. The road to the beach is pretty rough and there is nothing down there, so pack a cooler full of food and snacks and get ready for a wonderful day of snorkeling, boogie boarding and exploring.
- Glass Window Bridge. Just above Gregory Town is the Glass Window Bridge. The man-made bridge that is there today replaced a natural bridge that was destroyed by a hurricane. Eleuthera is only about 1-mile wide, and the Glass Window Bridge is the narrowest point of the island, affording pretty cool views of the deep blue of the Atlantic contrasted with the clear aqua of the Caribbean water. Low tide is the best time to visit Glass Window Bridge.
- The Cow & The Bull. Another interesting land formation on Eleuthera Island is The Cow & The Bull about a mile south of the Glass Window Bridge. There are two large boulders, on one side, the boulder looks like a bull with two cows and on the other side, a bull with one cow. Both sets of boulders overlook the sea on both side, and when the weather is inclement and the wind passes through, the result is a roar that sounds like bulls.
- Hatchet Bay Cave. Just south of Surfer’s Beach is Hatchet Bay Cave. The cave is a mile long and filled with stalagmites and stalactites which will take on the appearance of underground cathedrals in your torch light. Centuries-old graffiti of charcoal signatures line the walls. It’s recommended to tour with a cave guide.
- Kayaking. The water is so clear that you can explore the reef from above as well as below.
Valentines Resort & Marina on Harbour Island is offering a Family Focus Special Offer with any 3 night minimum stay through December 15, 2013.
- Kids Eat Free (12 and under)
- Room upgrade from Junior Suite to One Bedroom Suite (with pull out for kids)
- Kids 12 and under stay free
Go to https://blog.valentinesresort.com/bahamas-vacation-packages.php for more information and reservations.
Here are some fun things you might not know about how things are down here in Eleuthera, Bahamas.
- Eleuthera stretches approximately 110 miles long and in places spans no more than a mile to a mile and a half wide.
- You drive on the left.
- US dollars and Bahamian dollars are equal here.
- Here we have the North side which is referred to as the Atlantic and the other side as the Caribbean but in truth its all the Atlantic ocean.
- Gasoline runs around $6.10 a gallon or more.
- Eleuthera is famous for its sweet pineapples and holds an annual Pineapple Festival in Gregory Town each June.
- If someone says so and so is biggety. It means they think too much of themselves.
- Bologna is referred to as Sausage.
- A slam bam is a sandwich made by taking 2 slices of bread, cover each side with mustard, slapping down the sausage and bam its done.
- Sip, sip is gossip.
- Tingum is basically a word filler and is used whenever you can’t think of the word you are searching for.
- Cheapuss does does mean you are frugal – it basically means “might as well”. Cheapuss you go do your homework. = You might as well go do your homework.
- Rum is any hard liquor. If you want a specific kind you have to say the name like I’ll have a Barcardi and…
- If someone says to you Mudda sick. It doesn’t mean their mother is ill. It’s more like Holy Cow or Wow!
- Did you take the chicken out of the baker? Baker is the oven.
- I’m off to the shop. Meaning – I’m going grocery shopping
- I be right back! Meaning I’ll see you later. That could be an hour, later in the week or next week!
It’s a different world and culture here for sure and the only way to understand it is to be part of it.