Tag Archives: Freeport

Best Intentions

BEST INTENTIONS — So last week I traveled to Grand Bahama riding on a mountain of stress. I had spent close to an entire week at my computer chair following Hurricane Matthew and reporting information to our Bahamas Weekly readers, and group members on the Facebook page “Bahamas News and Events.”   I went to Grand Bahama, not to report on the hurricane aftermath, but to get a friend off the island who was in a very bad way health-wise. During my 24-hr trip en-route to Grand Bahama, I managed to get online only a few very brief times. And it was during this travel to the island that I screwed up on an article I posted regarding a client’s business, and subsequently I lost this 10-year client.

Flying in to Freeport after realizing the upset I had caused had me feeling sicker in the pit of my stomach than seeing the devastation of the island after Matthew. I went in person to apologize, and try and explain that my heart was in the right place the entire time. That my sole intention was to assist my client. I have to face that I screwed up. Some times people are not willing to forgive or work with you to make things right again. I have to accept that. All I can do is move on, and continue as always, with my best intention.

I want to share a lovely note (there have been many) received today from a Grand Bahama resident:

“Robbin,  Thank you so much for having kept everybody informed around the clock during the hurricane. It was a very important source of info for many people on and off island,  We did rely on your posts all through this ordeal. That was real dedicated and professional journalism and you deserve a medal for this work. Heartfelt thanks.”

I have many friends that are my family on Grand Bahama, and the other islands of the Bahamas. I do not deserve a medal… Through my concern and love for them, I was simply assisting the only way I knew how. It was the least I could do…

Breakfast with Pierre-Yves Cousteau

I had the pleasure of meeting Pierre-Yves Cousteau during his  trip to The Bahamas in 2011 to promote and educate on shark conservation. He came to Grand Bahama with a senior associate of the PEW Environment Group, and two members of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) based in Nassau. He was visiting the Bahamas to show his support for the BNT’s campaign to strengthen the protection of sharks in The Bahamas, and he gave a public talk at Trust’s Rand Nature Center on January 10th.

We met for breakfast the morning he was to head back to Paris where he lives and I had the pleasant opportunity to pick his brain.

Pierre-Yves Cousteau is the youngest son of famed oceanographer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau. I recall many memories from my childhood sitting in front of the TV watching documentaries on the underworld of the sea, all thanks to such a man as Cousteau. He certainly broadened our knowledge of the wet world below.

Cousteau speaks with a clear, almost full American accent, and when I questioned him on his near extinct French accent, he told me that it was due to attending an American school in France for the first part of his life. Pierre-Yves has a striking resemblance to his father, and although many believe him to be the grandson, due to his young age of 29, he is indeed the son of Jacques.

“My father was 72 years old when I was born,” he said. “My father created the Cousteau Society in 1973,” started Pierre, “to not only protect life on earth, and in the seas, but so his work would continue after his death. He nominated my mother as the president of that organization, and today my mother and I are the only two Cousteaus working in the Society. The other Cousteaus are still involved with the environment, but not directly affiliated with my father’s society.”

Aside from wanting to continue his father’s legacy, when asked what he was personally passionate about, Pierre replied, “I love the oceans, and I want children to grow up in a world where they can enjoy it as I have and do. When we live in a beautiful environment, it contributes to making and keeping a better world, and ultimately it makes for better people.”

“I am personally involved in a program called Cousteau Divers that I created about a year ago with the permission of the Cousteau Society. The program uses affiliated dive centers and ocean scientists (the divers) as observers of the ocean. So people helping out study and protect the environment on a daily basis.  Most of the people involved in this program are citizen scientists They love diving and while they are doing a sport they love they are also contributing to the betterment of the oceans.”

“I am here in The Bahamas because I was asked by the Bahamas National Trust and the PEW Environment Group to advocate for their shark protection program. When I learned about this program I was very excited. The Bahamas is a beautiful place to create a national sanctuary for sharks. I hope that the work that we’ve been doing to raise awareness to Bahamians, educating about the importance of sharks in our waters for balancing the ecosystem; and the importance of sharks for tourism, that the Bahamas will move to protect their waters for sharks. I hope that they will take this serious and therefore set the example, for the world, when it comes to making the right decision when it comes to environmental issues. It will safeguard a lot of the country’s economic assets at the same time in terms of fisheries and tourism. I hope they make this decision before it is too late.”

When asked ‘If you had the opportunity to talk to the government, or even the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, what would you say,’ Pierre-Yves replied, “I would ask the Prime Minister to move on the new legislation that is being proposed and make it happen. I know that the Bahamas National Trust is already drafting a Cabinet paper. I would ask for him to please review it with his Ministers and make it happen. There is no reason not to do this. It is a no-brainer. It’s good for tourism, it’s good for the economy, and of course for the commercial fisheries and the environment. When speaking with a fisherman, they will tell you, ‘a place without sharks, is a place without fish’. Sharks are important for a healthy environment.”

I next asked Cousteau if there was anything in The Bahamas during his stay that surprised him in regard to sharks, perhaps something he learned that he did not know before.

“Yes, I met with a young girl named Candice Woon here in Freeport and she really blew my mind in terms of sharks. She showed me her science project on sharks, and told me that she had originally been afraid of sharks, and that fear took her to research sharks and understand them better. Her fear turned into a beautiful comprehensive science project, and I learned a lot looking at her project and poster. There were some things about sharks that I did not know, and she explained them to me,” said Cousteau.

“Young Candice is a good example of the need for our youth to be educated about the environment so that future generations can enjoy sharks. I want people to be able to say, ‘Let’s go see the sharks’ and not, ‘ let’s go see a movie about sharks’,”  he said.

The conversation turned again to his father who came to The Bahamas many times. “Ever since I was born, my father would come to The Bahamas every year. He loved this country. In the late 60s or early 70s he was here shooting a film on the blue holes in Andros. After I was born, I went every year with him.”

Cousteau spoke about the importance of Bahamians supporting the Bahamas National Trust. “They are good people, well informed, and not only do they strive to keep the land and the sea areas beautiful and clean, they now have this new imitative to protect the sharks and to make The Bahamas a shark sanctuary. I ask everyone to support this campaign and visit the Trust to sign the petition. And like Candice Woon has taught us, if you are afraid of sharks, go out and learn about them.”

When asked if he personally  had the power to change anything on the planet to improve it, Cousteau said there were two things he would do: 1). stabilize the world’s population and ensure every country had its needs met to sustain itself; and 2). assist in the transition of new energies. “If we keep using up the fossil fuels we will acidify the oceans. It’s time to let science take over instead of continuing to run it by economic interest,” he said. “There is nothing we can’t do. We are a smart species.”

Cousteau also spoke on the throw away / plastic generation that we’ve become and how that must be addressed and reduced.

“The Bahamas has the largest resource for shark science by its unique ecosystem and can be the example for the world if they can protect this oasis of life that they have here. I hope it will become a part of their culture to protect the environment,” said Cousteau.


Robbin Whachell is a writer, publicist, journalist, and the co-founder and editor of TheBahamasWeekly.com.  Robbin now lives in Coquitlam, B.C., Canada and is the mother of four children.

Join American para-triathlete, Hector Picard for a Triathlon in Grand Bahama

Interview with Hector Picard in 2010 (Grand Bahama)

Are you a triathlon junkie? Why not take in your next one in the beautiful Bahamas!?   Join American para-triathlete and motivational speaker  Hector Picard, the first and only  “Double Arm Amputee” 3x IRONMAN will be visiting Grand Bahama Island March 24th – March 31st. This will be a return visit for Mr. Picard who visited Grand Bahama Island in 2010 to compete at the Conchman Triathlon. While there, Mr. Picard spoke at  and was inspired by the children and staff at The Beacon School.

I was fortunate enough to connect with Hector via Facebook prior to that visit and our news team (The Bahamas Weekly) met up with him and conducted an interview before and during the race.

“I visited the Beacon School of Grand Bahama Island in 2010.  I was  invited by Coach Bert Bell to speak to the students in the hopes of  inspiring them.  The students ended up inspiring me.  Their smiles and  questions made for an emotional experience,” said Picard.  “The Beacon School provides  an education for these special needs children.  As a double arm amputee,  swimming, cycling and even running are difficult but are nothing  compared to what these children will face in life.  My goals for the  “Triathlon for The Beacon School” (group) IRONMAN distance event on  March 29th are to raise funds and awareness for the school as well as show the children that Anything is Possible!”

Triathlon for The Beacon School will be a one day event starting on Saturday,  March 29th at Taino Beach at 7am.  Bahamian residents and tourists are invited to join Mr. Picard as   he swims 2.4 miles, cycles 112 miles, and runs 26.2 miles throughout  beautiful Grand Bahama Island. This event will raise funds and awareness  for the children of The Beacon School. Athletes of all levels can join  Mr. Picard throughout the course and be a part of this inspiring event.  Finish line festivities are being planned with times and locations to be  announced shortly.

There is an event Facebook page, “Triathlon for the  Beacon School” for further information and Mr. Picard wishes to thank  TheBahamasWeekly.com who stepped in with media support.

Grand Bahama is a short half hour flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’d suggest the boutique hotel, The Pelican Bay, or the Grand Lucayan, both located in the central hub of the city for tourists and entertainment and only a short 10 minute cab ride from the location of the Triathlon.  The Bahamas uses the American dollar at par and interchangeably with Bahamian money.  You will need your passport.

More information on the race can be obtained here:  dontstoplivingpr@yahoo.com or visit www.DontStopLiving.org

On March 29, 2014 Let’s  show the children of The Beacon School that Anything is Possible!