The Abacos are a boating universe. Somewhere in the
long necklace of pale-sanded islands and often
uninhabited cays, flung out over 120 miles, you're sure
to find the ideal private spot for some chilled champagne
and a good book. Sheltered harbours create a haven for
yachtsmen, and the slumber-struck 18th century villages
and historic museums recall a tranquil past.
The major islands of this small
archipelago are Great and Little Abaco, with the
off-lying cays of Elbow Cay, Man-O-War Cay, Green Turtle
Cay, Guana Cay, Stranger's Cay, Umbrella Cay and Walker's
Cay. The Abacos have a long history of providing refuge
from hectic life in the States. It was at Carleton Point,
Abaco's first settlement, that 600 Loyalist refugees
fleeing the newly-independent United States settled in
1783, and Grand Cay was once a favorite retreat of former
US president Richard Nixon.
not cruising there's still plenty to do. You can visit
the Pelican Cay National Park,
an underwater preserve; or, the Abaco National Park, a
20,000 acre site in southern Abaco encompassing the
nesting area and habitat of the Abaco Parrot. Or spend a
quiet afternoon at the Albert Lowe Museum, a restored
150-year-old mansion that now houses exhibits on local
history. In the Memorial Sculpture Gardens, busts of some
30 Bahamians, representing different Bahamian islands,
stand in an elegant, tranquil garden setting.
Elbow Cay, with beautiful beaches and fine hilltop views,
is the proud home of a candy-striped lighthouse standing
guard over a picture-book harbour. A guide will show you
around and tell you how the lighthouse operates. Nearby
Man-O-War Cay (named after the bird) has always depended
on shipbuilding for its livelihood. Some boats are still
handmade-without-plans in a tradition that has been
passed down for centuries. The town here resembles a New
England sea-side village, save for the palm trees and
The commercial hub of
the islands and third largest town in The Bahamas is
Marsh Harbour, on Great Abaco, which has a plethora of
well-stocked stores and marinas
that provide services to fulfill the boater's every need.
There are relatively few green
turtles remaining on Green Turtle Cay, but they are bred
here on farms and considered food. On occasion, boiled
turtle or turtle stew, will appear on restaurant menus. Be
aware when purchasing items made from turtle shell that
they may have to be left behind, as it is illegal to
import these products into many countries.
Treasure Cay has an 18-hole
championship golf course, tennis courts, a marina and
facilities for fishing, boating and scuba
diving. Nearby Treasure Island has superb beaches.
Abaco's waters are overrun with
gamefish like tuna, dolphin, blue marlin, billfish, and kingfish among others. Local guides offer bonefishing, deep sea fishing, secluded island picnics, diving tours and cookouts.