by Larry Smith
LITTLE HARBOUR, ABACO - Within sight of the smokestacks rising from BEC's heavy fuel oil power plant under construction at Wilson City just across the Bight of Old Robinson lies a solar-powered community of some 40 homes encircling a picturesque cove.
This unique settlement was founded by a Canadian art professor named Randolph Johnston, who sailed his family to the Bahamas in 1952 and initially housed them in a cave - like a modern-day William Sayle (who sought refuge in Preacher's Cave on North Eleuthera more than three centuries ago).
Johnston set himself up as a charter skipper and sculptor, becoming a local celebrity within a few years. His bronze statue of a Bahamian woman was installed on Prince George Wharf in 1975, while his autobiography, Artist on his Island, was published the following year.
When it was virtually worthless, Johnston acquired land at Little Harbour and over time sold bits and pieces to other vagabonds from varied backgrounds, creating the eclectic community that exists today anchored around Pete's Pub, a famous watering hole run by the sculptor's son. Little Harbour is now an attraction in its own right - drawing thousands of visitors a year.
Among the homeowners are artists, doctors, lawyers, engineers, airline pilots, and boat bums. One of the more recent settlers is Gordon Pearce, whose Cape Cod firm builds high-tech tennis courts and running tracks in Massachusetts. His comfortable 2,200 square foot home sits on a hill overlooking Little Harbour and - like all the houses here - it's powered entirely by solar panels.