Monthly Archives: March 2008

Sea of Abacos Itinerary

Arrive at Marsh Harbour Airport midday – Pre-board at 4pm

Marsh Harbour to Tahiti Beach/Lubbers Quarters

Lubbers Quarters to Little Harbour

Little Harbour to Tilloo Cay

Tilloo Cay to Hope Town, Elbow Cay

Lay Day Hope Town, Elbow Cay

Hope Town to Great Guana Cay

Great Guana to Treasure Cay

Treasure Cay to Green Turtle Cay

Green Turtle to Man-O-War

Man-O-War to Scotland Cay or Matt Lowe’s Cay

Matt Lowe’s Cay to Marsh Harbour – by 10am

Navigation & Publications – Sea of Abaco

To Have Aboard:

CRUISING GUIDE TO ABACO, BAHAMAS by Steve Dodge, White Sound Press – 2008 All of the content in this blog pre-supposes that this cruising guide is being closely consulted for detailed navigation instructions. If you didn’t get it from your charter agency, we suggest that you buy a copy – it is really critical. And it is updated every year.

THE BAHAMAS – ABACO PORTS OF CALL & ANCHORAGES by Tom Henschel. New 2nd Edition coming soon in 2008. Aerial views of all of the harbors with local-knowledge navigation instructions and features.

FODOR’S BAHAMAS – Has 40-page section with some useful info and a bit more history.

FROMMER’S BAHAMAS – Has a 30-page section with pretty much the same stuff.

CHARTS: Confirm that paper charts are being provided by your charter agency. If not buy AB-101. Electronic charts may be nothing more then a “good guess” – depending on their age.

To Be Wary:
Notorious Places On this Itinerary Where Cruisers Go Aground (put someone on the bow with polarized sun glasses to read the water)
     Just outside of the harbor entrance to Hope Town, abreast of the famous candy-striped light house
     Entrance to Hope Town Harbor
     Entrance to Little Harbour
     Entering Marsh Harbor and inadvertently veering to the south of the channel toward Big Cay

Passages Where Some Tide Helps: Most of the above-mentioned places should be approached on a high or at least on a rising mid-tide. we need to hit the Hope Town, Lubber’s Channel, and Little Harbor entrances, at minimum on a rising tide. The tide tables dictate if we can stay for lunch, or take another swim or stop to snorkel.

First Take a Conch …… Provisioning in Abaco

Start with Conch Salad:  Conch in all its forms is Bahamiam cuisine writ large – as it is in most of the Caribbean Islands. But one conch delicacy that does not seem to exist in any of the other “conch” islands is conch salad. This home grown twist on a classic ceviche seems to be unique to the Northern Bahamas. The best place to buy conch salad in Marsh Harbour is at Show Bow’s conch stand, just a block west of the Moorings base. Ask the proprietor to drizzle the hot sauce down the side of the container so you can mix some or all of it into the salad – or ask for it on the side. Show Bow steels himself for an onslaught on Fridays and Saturdays, when the charterers tend to arrive.  He keeps his conch live and handy and a long line that  stretches out into the harbor.  There is also a highly regarded conch stand on Great Guana (reportedly *the best* in Abaco! Could it get better than Show Bow?) By the time you get to Great Guana, you will likely be ready to re-supply….

Groceries: There are two supermarkets in Marsh Harbour that are relatively close to the Moorings base and the Hope Town ferries. Expect prices to be a little bit higher than in the U.S. and produce to be less in evidence. The markets will generally deliver to the dock. But a confirmation with the manager before filling your basket would be prudent – all services are volatile in the islands. Alternatively, arrange with your airport taxi driver for a pick up when you’re finished shopping.

While there are small groceries on the out islands, the prices and selections tend to be quite different form those in Marsh Harbour. They are very handy for topping off but perhaps not for major provisioning. Those picking up boats in Hope Town might consider provisioning in Marsh Harbour and hauling the grocery boxes on the ferry (check for possible additional fees.)

The slightly nicer of the two Marsh Harbour supermarkets is Maxwell’s (367-2601) – which used to be called Solomons (Open Mon-Sat 8 am – 7 pm; Sun 8 am-2 pm.). The other is Price-Rite (367-7283 – Mon-Sat 8 am-7 pm; Sun 9 am-3 pm). Each is about a ten minute walk from the base and both are owned by the same group. They are relatively well-supplied with fresh produce, fresh and frozen meat, chicken and fish and an entertaining mix of English, NZ and American products with a few “Kirkland” items in the mix. The quality and extent of the stock depends on when the last supply freighter delivered.

Beverages: For liquor, wine and beer, there are a couple of choices (all within walking distance of Maxwell’s and the base): A & K Liquor Store (242 367 2179) – best for beer – and Bristol Wine & Spirits (242-367-2180) perhaps a better wine selection and, a little further, Tupps (242/3672936 . The local beer is Kalik – the “beer of the Bahamas.” It comes in “tree” strengths – Kalik Light, Kalik Regular and Kalik Gold, which is very strong. You might also consider maintaining a constant supply of sun tea (4 tea bags in a jug of water lashed to the foredeck) as an alternative (or antidote).