The Abacos are a string of islands and cays (pronounced keys) on the northeast edge of the Bahamas. Since arriving we have been able to visit Great Abaco Island (Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay), Elboy Cay, Man-O-Way Cay, and Great Guana Cay. Everywhere we’ve been, we come across these little curly tailed lizards. We hope to make it to Green Turtle Cay before we leave for Thanksgiving at home, but that will depend on the weather.
We’ve experienced more rain than I expected, almost daily, and usually in the morning. One morning it was more than just a shower, but a regular squall. We noticed over 30 knots of wind on our instruments and a nearby boat, Symmetry, clocked it at about 50 knots. Glad we were still tied up at the marina for that storm.
While in Marsh Harbour we walked to town and stocked up on groceries and items from the hardware store. The stores were well stocked, but very expensive. I picked up a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Squares and put them right back when I saw they were $10!
Our next stop was Elbow Cay and the town of Hope Town. The area (and several other nearby islands) were settled by loyalists to the English Crown after the American Revolution. The architecture reflects the homes of the colonial era.
The lighthouse is one of only a few manually operated lighthouses left and the local citizens fought to keep it that way. It is open to the public to walk to the top (which we did) without benefit of security or tour guides – only a sign asking you not to tamper with anything. The view from the top is spectacular
The main industry of the island appears to be tourism. Most of the traffic on the island is golf carts with just a few cars. The area that is primarily rental cottages and shops is closed off to even golf cart traffic. We had dinner one night at Captain Jack’s on the waterfront. I ordered the grilled crawfish tail and it was huge. Evidently, what we consider lobster is their crawfish – delicious! Also included was Bahamian Mac & Cheese. This is a creamier baked version of our mac & cheese with a little hot pepper for zing.
We are quickly discovering that there is a harbor side and an ocean side to these cays. The harbors are a protected, safe place to keep your boat (marina, anchor or mooring) and the ocean side is where you find the sandy beaches and brilliant waters.
Next stop was Man-O-War Cay where we picked up a mooring ball just outside the main marina. This cay is known for its boat builders and boatyards, which was good for us. We had trouble starting the dinghy. A young man named Bronson, on the fuel dock, brought his dinghy out and towed us to the marina. While I did laundry, he and Pete worked on the engine and got it running. Bronson asked if he could take it for a spin and was impressed with the speed.
We spent the next few days at Great Guana Cay. Two nights anchored in Fishers Bay and one on a mooring ball in Guana Harbor. Fishers Bay is very quiet, surrounded by large private homes on a rocky shoreline. At one end of the cove is the restaurant Grabbers where we ate Saturday night. We beached the dinghy and put an anchor in the sand to make sure it didn’t drift away. For a Saturday night, it was pretty quiet. What we didn’t realize is that Sunday is a big day on Guana Cay.
On Sunday afternoon, Nippers, on the ocean side of Great Guana, has a Pig Roast and Party – what a great time. Lots of good food, music and fun, while looking below at the beautiful ocean.
It took us a little while to realize that when the party ended at Nippers everyone just walked over to Grabbers to continue celebrating. A very nice weekend with a mix of quiet solitude and fun parties.
As I write this we are in Treasure Cay, which is part of the Great Abaco Island. The land around the harbor is mostly small (two-story) condominium developments, with space to build more. There is a small grocery store and liquor store just outside the marina where Pete restocked the ingredients for his “Dark & Stormies” (Ginger Beer and dark rum), our drink of choice for sundowners. We also found a bakery with huge cinnamon buns, which we enjoyed this morning.
Lunch today was at Coco’s on the beach (cracked conch), following a walk on the beach. The afternoon is devoted to laundry and updating this blog. We have a little less than a week before we return home for Thanksgiving and will continue to explore the Abacos until it is time to leave. When we return in December we’ll start moving southward down the chain of the Bahamas.