bahamasguru logo

GREAT & LITTLE INAGUA ISLANDS

Bahamian musician Avvy Mortimer, better known as “Avvy” had a hit “Inagua is the best kept secret in The Bahamas”, and perhaps he isn’t too far wrong!

Although Inagua has not enjoyed as colourful a history as some of its sister islands, it is not without some legends of it’s own. There has long been a rumour that Henri Christophe, the self-proclaimed king of Haiti from 1811 to 1820, supposedly built a summer retreat at the Northeast point of Great Inagua, however there is no trace of it today.

Inagua History

In 1687, long before the arrival of Henri Christoph, a Captain Phipps recovered 26 tons of Spanish treasure from sunken galleons off these shores. Several documented treasure laden ships were destroyed on Inaguas’ reefs between the years of 1500 and 1825. The two most valuable wrecks lost off the Inaguas were treasure-laden Spanish galleons - the Santa Rose (1599) and the Infanta (1788). Other ships of considerable value were the British ships HMS Statira and HMS Lowestoffe in 1802, and the French Le Count De Paix in 1713.

Morton Salt Company

Located on Great Inagua is The Morton Salt Company, well-known for seawater salt recovery. Morton Salt has long been the main source of industry. Nearly one-million pounds of salt is produced from the Salinas of Inagua. The process of producing salt is a fascinating testament to how resourceful and ingenious the combination of man and nature can be. Seawater is pumped into the interior of the island and held in dikes. There are 80 salt ponds covering over 12,000 acres. As the water evaporates, it turns into heavy brine. A continual process of the salt, solidifying at night and melting during the heat of the day, forms a crystallized bed at the bottom of the pond. In the final stage, any remaining water is drained and the salt is bulldozed into bleached, white mountains and shipped around the world for processing.

Eco-Tourism

Great Inagua is an ideal destination for travelers who are interested in ecotourism. The Inagua National Park, which makes up almost half the island is home to more than 80,000 flamingos – a fantastic recovery for a bird once almost driven to the point of extinction - and a host of other exotic birds such as Bahama parrots, pelicans, herons, egrets, and Bahama pintail ducks.

Caribbean Flamingos

The Caribbean Flamingos (or “fillymingoes” to those of you who are learning to speak like we) love the lagoons created by the Morton Salt Company. They feed primarily on brine shrimp, which thrive in the salt lagoons because they don’t have much seaweed or vegetation in them. The flamingos help out the salt company by keeping the evaporation ponds relatively free of algae and other impurities. Little Inagua is five miles north of Great Inagua. Surrounded by a large reef that prevents boats from getting too close, Little Inaguas’ 30 square miles are completely uninhabited except for herds of wild donkeys, goats, and a wide variety of bird life, including a rare species of heron. In the evenings you can see the donkeys and goats head into the water to avoid the hoards of mosquitoes that thrive here.