Category Archives: Fowl Cay Reef to Man-O-War

Abaco Day 10 – Fowl Cay Reef to Man-O-War

Capital of the 200-year-old Bahamas’ boat-building industry, this is certainly one of the most culturally interesting stops on the cruise.

Rent a golf cart. Shop. Eat. Hit the beach – the same magnificent one that edges all the other cays. Visit a well-known local boat builder. Or just walk. Man-O-War is an endlessly fascinating place to stroll – lovely villas, modest cottages, “doorbells” that are real bells, surprising landscapes, churches, hard-working boatwrights, long-term cruisers cleaning a table-full of conch (with licenses we assume), the island graveyard……

There really isn’t room to anchor in either the North or South Channels, so call Man-O-War Marina (242/365-6008) to ask if anything is available – dock or mooring. It is not possible to reserve in advance here. The North Channel is nearest the village and ferry landing. If you are not successful in securing moorage, then a good alternative, in settled weather, is the anchorage just outside the north end of the harbor – near Old Scopley’s Rock. It’s an easy dinghy ride between Dickie’s Cay and Man-O-War Cay to the public dock in the settlement.

Man-O-War Marina offers slips with power, cable and telephone, moorings, fuel, a pool, dive and gift shops, recycling bins, heads, showers and laundry. And, by May 208, the Dock ‘n’ Dine eatery overlooking the harbor.

Most of the families of Man-O-War trace their history back to the late 1700s when their Loyalist ancestors fled the States in protest during the Revolution. They became boat builders and shipwrights, and today Albury Brothers’ center-cockpit, 23 foot deep-V boats (some of which are now built in Florida) have a passionate following that extends far beyond the Bahamas. Edwin’s Boat Yard also has two full-service facilities with an extensive marine parts inventory.

Both Albury’s Harbour Grocery and recently expanded Man-O-War Grocery (the “Upper” store) deliver to the docks and are well-supplied – with every-thing but alcohol since Man-O-War is a “dry” island. Island Treats Take-Away, at the edge of the marina property, serves up conch fritters, cracked conch and everything else conch – plus all kinds of ice cream concotions. Adjacent are a bunch of picnic tables. But we decided the cockpit was the most attractive dining spot in the harbor, so we hauled our bags full of conch back to the boat for a lazy evening.

Hibiscus Café, the only other place to eat on Man-O-War, offers both lunch and dinner – lots of seafood in coffee shop/cafe atmosphere right next to Joe’s Studio. However, when it opens, the marina’s Dock ‘n Dine eatery will expand the options immeasurably If you want bread or cinnamon buns, Lola’s Bakery is a good bet and she delivers everywhere on the island – including the docks.

The village has two “roads” that parallel the harbor so it’s easy to make a long loop and see everything in an hour or two – including The Sail Shop’s hand-made duffels, bags, hats and jackets (no more sails) run by Caroline Albury and her daughters, Man-O-War Hardware, a gold mine for boaters, (Willard) Albury Bros Boat Building, Edwin (Albury)’s Boat Yard, Andy Albury’s boat model and furniture shop, and Joe’s Studio featuring housewares, serving pieces and tropical attire (but they wouldn’t let us take pictures so we can’t show you!).