National Geographic : 1967 Feb
"Now you know why this is called 'the Devil's Garden,' " said Sam Nixon. He drove confidently over the trackless ter rain. Finally we pulled up before Arthur Vernay Camp, named for the founder of the Society for the Protection of the Flamin go. A small boxlike cabin of plywood stood on a spit of land. Raised shutters revealed four cots inside. "Mr. Vernay and three friends tried to sleep here in a tent," said Sam. "Then one night our dogs chased a wild donkey right through it. All four men went rolling onto the ground yelling, with the donkey braying and the dogs barking. After that we built the cabin." Flamingos Find Sanctuary in Briny Wilderness We left our gear and returned to the jeep. Now we traversed a part of the Devil's Garden where ponds were bordered by mangroves, hardy trees able to survive tropic heat and salt water by throwing out myriad roots as breathers. When even a jeep could go no farther, we trudged from sun-dried mud into warm, knee-deep brine, so salty it stung every tiny abrasion on my legs. A bottom like taffy tried to pull off my sneakers at each step. Suddenly Sam signaled and dropped to his knees. I could hear a sound like wild geese gabbling. We traversed the last hundred yards crouching and crawling from one bit of cover to another. Finally, hidden in brush, I looked out on a lake-and instant ly forgot my discomfort. Before me were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of flamingos. In the late-afternoon sun each pink feathered body glowed almost like flame. The flamingo's scientific name, Phoenicopterus,comes from Greek words meaning "crimson-feathered." Early Christians took the bird to be the legendary phoenix of Arabia, which mythology said lived for 500 years, then lit a funeral pyre with the fanning of its wings, and arose reborn from its own ashes. As I watched spellbound, I found the birds as graceful as they were beautiful. Some balanced on one leg, heads tucked under wings, dozing. Others preened feathers, twisting sinuous necks with the fluid motion of an Oriental dancer's arms. Jimmy Nixon broke into my reverie with a nudge as he 237 MESBY JAMES L. STANFIELD, BLACKSTAR © N.G .S . Jigging for fish off Prince George Wharf in Nassau, twi light anglers pull in pilchards. Legislator and sailor, Robert Hallam Symonette presides over the House of Assembly. He has crewed aboard Finis terre in many ocean races, and in 1964 competed in the Olympics at Tokyo. As Speaker, Mr. Symonette wears the wig and robe that signify his high office. House Clerks, in foreground, wear shorter wigs. Ceremonial mace, imported from England in 1799, adorns the Speaker's bench. The hourglass times members' speeches.