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Journey to Chickcharney Country
John Underwood
May 09, 1966
Andros Island lies in the Bahama group, but it lives alone—untamed and untrampled by tourists. Teal teem in its uncharted bays, fish abound in the surrounding waters and boar roam its unexplored hills under the ever-watchful red eyes of local leprechauns
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May 09, 1966

Journey To Chickcharney Country

Andros Island lies in the Bahama group, but it lives alone—untamed and untrampled by tourists. Teal teem in its uncharted bays, fish abound in the surrounding waters and boar roam its unexplored hills under the ever-watchful red eyes of local leprechauns

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It was two and a half hours before we reached the creek Rudy had chosen, far down on the west side of Andros opposite The Mud. On maps this inlet is called Blue Creek and appears to peter out after a mile or so. Its narrow entrance, scarcely three yards wide, is marked by tree limbs stuck in the banks. Rudy turned in practically at full throttle—brushing close to the coral shelves that serve as a natural trough—and led the way into the interior of Andros. Abruptly the creek became shallow, and Rudy cut the engine and began to pole the boat. He did it effortlessly, with a regularity of stroke that accounted for the size of his shoulders. Then the creek opened into a small lake, then a larger one, and they seemed to go on endlessly, though no hydrographic survey I have seen indicates this. I asked Rudy if the wild boar were up here, too.

"Yes, but much further that way," he said, gesturing.

Had he ever seen them?

"Yes, many of them. They big, big. Two, three hundred pound, some of them. My daddy had a farm up there and had to put the fence up to keep them out. They very strong and fast, and they eat you if they get hold of you. It take a good shot to burn a hole through them."

How did they get here?

"Oh, they broke away from ranches at Lowe Sound and other settlements many years ago. Then they go to pigging and pigging until they get to be hundreds and thousands, hundreds and thousands." He said we would not have time to go up where they were today because the return trip to Lowe Sound would take longer and be much rougher into the wind. "I don't like to hunt the wild pigs," he said. "I rather my daddy go."

Suddenly he cut the engine and, taking up the oar, began to pole again, though the water was deeper.

"They up there, the ducks," Rudy said calmly, pointing far ahead to an island of mangroves. "They on the water. They swimming the other way. We need to put the deecons out up there by the big mangrove, and they'll come right to them."

"Deecons? Oh, the decoys," said Bill Curtis in the other Whaler. "I left them on the big boat."

Rudy was amazed. No, not amazed. Chagrined. How could we be so naive as to forget the bait? "It's the worstest thing you could have done," he said, "the worstest thing."

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