Go Green Ocean Fish Mural in Great Exuma International Airport

Exuma Go Green fish mural made from bottlecaps

Exuma Go Green Bottlecap Ocean Mural Up Close

Exuma Go Green Bottlecap Ocean Mural Up Close

Celebrating Green Living in the Bahamas

Though our Exuma house Villa Mare was a bit extravagant, we had a minimal lifestyle while there. I had read up on tons of travel tips and was thankful that we had packed one entire suitcase full of powdered milk, corned beef hash, pancake mix, canned tuna and hamburger helper. Food costs were sky high on this remote island, where that same pancake mix that cost me under $2 in the U.S. cost more than $8 in Great Exuma. They weren’t trying to profit off of me, food was just limited to the small weekly deliveries by mail boat, and everything was outrageously priced.

This meant every scrap of food we had was appreciated. And everything it came in as well. For example, we had no sugar, spices or condiments in the house. I was lucky I had grabbed a few to go packets of ketchup, mustard and mayo at the Wendy’s in Nassau, as they helped get us through and jazz up our hot dogs and sandwiches. After I used the slab of butter we bought from the grocery for $10, I kept the plastic wrap that covered it, and used that to cover our leftover pasta. We used leftover jelly packets to add some decadence to our bisquick rolls.

After I finished my bottled water on day one, I kept that bottle the entire week, and refilled it as needed with the five-gallon purified jug. I even turned it into lemonade a couple times with powdered mix I had stashed in the extra food suitcase. We did not have any major feast while there. Our most decadent meals were the fresh fish we caught spearfishing with Dallas on the boat, and some barbecue chicken we picked up from an amazing roadside grill. We savored every bite and had no leftovers. If one person had food left on their plate, someone else happily and thankfully finished it. Having little makes you value everything that much more.

This was evident on our flight back from Great Exuma to Florida. I was initially more caught up, as usual, on the tiny airport surroundings that never fail to fascinate me. The two-roomness of it all.  The 5 foot check-in conveyor, the windy walk out onto the hot runway and the 1950’s style rolling staircase that got you up into the tiny airplane. I find flights are so much more fun this way. It makes travel bigger and more real. And less insulated. It really makes me feel connected to my surroundings, and appreciative of how remote and timeless some of the outer island destinations are. It excited me, because on these tiny flights you usually stayed low in the air, and could stare at the changing scenery in the water and land beneath you, and see life moving around under you, instead of being suspended in the galaxy above white puffy clouds.

Beautiful Eco Friendly Art in Exuma Bahamas  Airport

I admit it was fun looking at all the handmade Bahamian carvings and paintings for sale in the airport. The prices were easy, and the collection was pretty vibrant for just a little airport shop. But my favorite piece of art wasn’t in the gift shop, it was right outside, above the conveyor belt. As you approached the dividing pass where flyers and family separate, there was a massive, colorful mural on the wall. At first I thought it was a traditional glass or stone mosaic, and marveled at the placement of reds and blues used to create an energetic, flowing nautical picture of fish swimming.

At closer glance though, the picture  – the mural – took on a much deeper level of meaning. The “Go Green” and everything around it was crafted and spelled out in a mixed spectacle of colorful plastic bottle caps. Different shades of blues, reds, pinks, yellows and oranges made up the vibrant scene. I wish I knew who the artist was, so I could give them credit. In fact, I plan to see if I can find that out, and add their name here.

This plastic bottle cap mural of the ocean, to me, is one of the most impressive pieces of art I’ve seen in a while. It really hit home with me, particularly on this island, where very little is needed to survive and thrive. The people of Exuma were not only friendly and kind, but they were also creative and saw beauty in the little things that most people would consider throwing away. They made art, and they made a valuable green statement out of bottle caps, and shared it in their International Airport for all travelers to see.

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Written by Suzi Albrecht
Digital Project Manager and Traveler