Abacos Sailing Itinerary
An Abacos Islands cruising itinerary will take you north and south of bustling Marsh Harbour to explore the nearby islands and cays on an adventure ideal for the entire family in the sheltered Sea of Abaco. One day you’ll be anchored off an uninhabited cay to snorkel on coral reefs in crystal clear water with excellent visibility, and the next you’ll be strolling the quiet streets of towns that were first settled hundreds of years ago. And, of course, the sailing is superb.
Man-O-War Cay is a quiet community of roughly 200 residents, many of whom earn a living in the boatbuilding trade, which dates back about a century. The original settlers, who first came to the cay in 1820, farmed the land, but they eventually gave it up in favor of crafting vessels from wood, such as the famous Abaco dinghy. In keeping with tradition, no alcohol is sold anywhere, but cruisers are welcome to enjoy sundowners aboard their yachts. Exploring the village on foot is a delight, taking you into some unique shops or to one of the casual restaurants for conch fritters. The white-sand beaches on the Atlantic side are stunning, making Man-O-War Cay yachting an unforgettable experience.
Things to do
Take a walk and browse the canvas wares at The Sail Shop, the wooden handicrafts at Joe’s Studio, and the intricate half-model boats at Emerson’s Shop. If you’re hungry, check out the Dock & Dine Restaurant at Man-O-War Marina, the Hibiscus Café, Sally’s Take Away, and the Tamarind Tree Shoal. Enas Place has homemade pies, among other casual fare. Golf cart rentals are available from Water Ways Rentals.
Great Guana Cay
Known for its expansive white-sand beach on the Atlantic side, Great Guana Cay is sparsely populated with few stores or restaurants. It’s an incredibly scenic island, one that will inspire you to return for more fun. Cruising in Bakers Bay, the prettiest anchorage in the vicinity, is a great way to end the day.
Things to do
Dive Guana is a full-service dive shop that also rents out bikes. There are several restaurants, including Orchid Bay Restaurant, Docksiders, Grabbers Bar & Grill, and Nippers
Green Turtle Cay
New Plymouth, the quaint village on Green Turtle Cay, is the epitome of Bahamian charm with its narrow streets, white picket fences, and brightly painted buildings. First settled in 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, it grew into the second largest city in the Bahamas by the 1800s. Now it’s known for its shops, restaurants, and historic sites popular among boaters, making New Plymouth yachting a delight. The two main harbors are White Sound to the north and Black Sound to the south.
Things to do
Check out the photographs, paintings, and artifacts detailing the history of New Plymouth at the Albert Lowe Museum. The bronze sculptures at the Memorial Sculpture Gardens feature busts of important figures in Bahamian history, and the Captain Roland Roberts House Environmental center is a great place to take the children to learn more about the ecology of reef systems. Popular restaurants include the McIntosh Restaurant and Bakery, Laura’s Kitchen, the Wreckin’ Tree Bakery and Restaurant, the Plymouth Rock, and the Pineapples Bar and Grill. The Bluff House and the Green Turtle Club in White Sound are both excellent.
Treasure Cay was developed as a resort in the 1950s, the first of its kind in the Abacos. It has since grown into a thriving tourist destination famous for its beautiful crescent-shaped, white-sand beach ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports of all kinds. Treasure Cay cruising is a must during any charter in the Sea of Abaco.
Things to do
The 3-plus-mile white-sand beach is the main attraction at Treasure Cay, where you can swim, sunbathe, or enjoy any number of watersports. Book a scuba diving excursion, play a round of golf at the 18-hole championship golf course, or schedule a game of tennis at one of several first-rate tennis courts. A visit to Treasure Cay wouldn’t be complete without stopping for drinks at the appropriately named Tipsy Seagull bar. The Spinnaker Restaurant is located near Treasure Cay Marina.
Elbow Cay has much to offer cruisers, including historic Hope Town, White Sound, and Tahiti Beach. Snorkeling, scuba diving, watersports, shopping, and fine dining are all popular pastimes. Yachting in Tahiti Beach waters is a highlight of cruising to Elbow Cay.
Things to do
The Wyannie Malone Museum is named for Hope Town’s founder, Wyannie Malone, who fled her home in South Carolina because of the American Revolution. She began the settlement of Hope Town with fellow refugees in 1785. The museum is a fascinating homage to this turbulent time in British and American history, which helped give the Bahamas part of its unique character. Naturally, a climb to the top of Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a must; the views are extraordinarily beautiful. There are a number of eclectic shops. Restaurants include Cap’n Jacks, Club Soleil, Harbor’s Edge, Hope Town Harbor Lodge, Munchies Take Away, and Rudy’s Place. At White Sound, you’ll find the casual elegance of the Abaco Inn and the Boat House Restaurant.
If there ever was a place that time seems to have forgotten, it’s the picturesque and secluded anchorage at Little Harbour on Great Abaco. A narrow spit separates the harbor from the Atlantic – the surf booms and the balmy trade winds gently sweep across the white-sand beach. The abandoned lighthouse perched on the spit stands as a lonely sentinel, a vestige of the past. Best known for the internationally acclaimed artist, the late Randolph Johnston, who established an art colony at Little Harbour with his wife, Margot, in the 1950s, the arts still flourish in this idyllic place. Yachting in Little Harbour waters transports you back to a time when the Bahamas remained an undiscovered paradise
Things to do
Apart from the natural beauty of the beach and the caves on the west shore of the harbor, Pete’s Pub is the major attraction. The owner, Pete Johnston, a son of Randolph and Margot, includes an art gallery in his waterfront restaurant and bar. In the nearby foundry, open to the public, he makes life-sized bronze statues of marine creatures and other objects, as well as intricate jewelry. Pete’s Pub serves casual fare, quite appropriate for the setting, including hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, chicken, and fish. There’s good snorkeling on the nearby reef.
Return to Base
It’s time to set sail back to base, having spent an amazing week relaxing with your loved ones. Organise the vacation photos, and start planning your next trip with Yacht Vacation Company.