Best of the Bahamas: Abacos
To continue our series that is all about the beautiful Bahamas, we bring you part two of five— Abacos. Made up of two main islands, Great Abacos and Little Abaco, as well as their offshore cays, these jewels are a paradise for sailors, divers and history enthusiasts alike. The Abacos have drastically increased in popularity over the years, and with good reason! To discover these reasons, we invite you to keep reading.
As mentioned in our previous post, the Bahamas are a great way for new owners to leave South Florida and discover the exciting cruising lifestyle without straying too far. To write this article, we recruited the help of Leopard Brokerage Sales Agents— Bill Regan, the sailing wanderer who has explored the best of the Bahamas by sailboat, and Michelle Ropiza, who has seen all of the Abacos by various means of travel, including sailboat, power yacht and airplane. If you are following along from our previous post, you can head to the Abacos from Bimini, in which case you would sail around the north end of Bimini and around the top of Grand Bahamas. Alternatively you can sail from Fort Lauderdale, in which case you would point northeast and take advantage of the Gulf Stream. If you are coming from Florida, we recommend clearing customs at West End on Grand Bahama Island.
As you head east and enter the Sea of Abacos you will notice that you can often see the bottom of the ocean, as max depths are a shallow 20’. We recommend sailing east and around the north end of Little Abacos Island. Make your first stop at Allens-Pensacola Cay. We enjoy this anchorage for the beach and for the eclectic bar-b-que/ beach bar that has been assembled by washed up debris from previous visitors. Alternatively, you can head to Manjack Cay for a well-protected anchorage. If you hop in your dinghy and head towards the Atlantic side you will find some top notch snorkeling thanks in large part to the barrier reef.
The next stop in your Abacos exploration should be Green Turttle Cay. There are few marinas you can pop into if you need to refuel as well as anchorages in Bluff Harbour and Cocoa Bay. Your chances of seeing green turtles swimming about will be very high. We suggest taking a hike to the Tranquil Turtle Beach Bar for delicious food and great views. If you are a history buff, then you will not want to miss New Plymouth. This village is the epitome of Bahamian charm with narrow streets and white picket fences. You will also find a grocery store here if you need to grab a few items.
If you wish to get your pig fix without visiting Pig Beach in the Exumas, look no further than No Name Cay, where you will find an island inhibited by a family of feral pigs. Feel free to bring food and water. These pigs are not natural to the island and therefore they depend on tourists and locals for nourishment.
As you head south, if visiting one of the world’s most beautiful beaches piques your interest, we might suggest making a stop at Treasure Cay Beach. This is a resort community, so a good stop over for provisions or a game of golf. If you fancy something even more laid back, Great Guana Cay has a beautiful blue water beach as well as a vibrant beach bar known as Nipper’s. Stop here to grab a rum runner, a cold beer or both. Just west you will find an island called Spoil Bank Cay, we recommend this as a great stopover while sailing between islands.
Another location to note for excellent snorkeling is place called Water Cay. You will find this between Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour on the north coast of Great Abacos Island. Good snorkeling comes from the wreckage and if you have a kayak you will want to drop it in the water to do some exploring.
When you make your way to Marsh Harbour we would suggest making a plan to provision, should you need to stock up. There are excellent restaurants within walking distance and the airport is about a five minute taxi ride away, should you need to fly in family members or boat parts.
Hope Town on Elbow Cay should be your next stop from Marsh Harbour. You will find a well-protected harbor here where you can pick up a mooring ball for $25 per night. Here is the home of the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world. Rent a golf cart to explore the island. Be sure to stop in Hope Town Canvas where you will find a one-of-a-kind shop that makes bags from recycled sails. At the southern tip of Elbow Cay you will discover Tahiti Beach. You can anchor for the night here and go for a snorkel. Feast your eyes on stretches of white sand, palm trees, and an exposed sandbar during low tide.
As you sail even deeper south you may want to stop at Pelican Cays Land & Sea for some good snorkeling. We suggest spending your last evening in the Abacos on anchor in Little Harbour. You will find a coral reef and caves on the west side of the harbour so diving is a must! If art is more of your forte, head onto land and discover the local scene. From Little Harbour you will be set up for success when you set sail for Eleuthera, which will be the next place we head to in this series of Bahama’s best!
It doesn’t matter what you might be looking for, you are sure to find it in the Abacos. You want history, they've got history. You want the resort life, you will find that too. Looking for remoteness? No problem! Fishing, friendly locals, snorkeling, diving, you name it and you will find it on your journey through the Abacos.