Category Archives: Day 3

Abaco Day 3 – Sandy Cay to Little Harbour

The next stop is storied Little Harbour on Great Abaco Island – home to famous Pete’s Pub & Gallery. A leisurely sail south ends with a slightly dicey harbor. Watch the tides, especially for the monohulls the higher the tide the better (mlw is 3.5 ft.). The opening is between Tom Curry’s Point and the beach. Put a look-out on the bow and be aware that the changes in water color can be deceptive (the deepest is actually light green)!

As you approach, parallel Tom Curry’s Point, and watch for the crescent shaped channel. Slowly follow the casually marked entrance – pairs of red and green markers are made up of assorted found objects – into the secluded, tranquil, anchorage protected nearly 360 degrees. Pick up a moorings labeled “Pete’s” ($15 cash or MC/Visa at the Pub).

Once inside, the almost fully protected harbor is lined on one side with palm-studded beaches and on the other with a rocky headland pocked with an enticing cave or two. At the head of the harbor is the Pete’s Pub and Gallery – they rent moorings, serve casual fare in an open air palapa, and preside over an atelier and foundry.

In the eary fifties, well-known sculptor Randolph Johnston, a former professor at Smith College, left what he called the “mega machine” to move here with his wife and four children. He built a house for his family and a foundry to cast bronze sculptures using a 5,000-year-old lost-wax process. Today his son Pete and grandson Greg continue the tradition – casting sculptures depicting the local marina life in both bronze and gold. Some of their larger pieces have been installed in public placesthroughout the Bahamas – others are small enough to be packed in a suitcase.

If time permits, swim off crescent beach at the harbor’s eastern side or walk over dunes to a mile and a half stretch of white sand interrupted by stands of coral. Or tour the Johnston Family Gallery – an attractive, Spanish-style white stucco building at the water’s edge (open Monday to Saturday). In addition to the sculptures, the gallery features glass-topped tables with bronze bases as well as T-shirts and other fun stuff.

Start the evening’s festivities at Pete’s bar, fashioned from pieces of Langosta, the old sailing vessel that carried the Johnstons and their three boys to Little Harbour. The specialty is The Blaster – Little Harbour’s version of a rum punch – and, of course, Kalik beer. Adjacent to the bar, a row of old Adirondack-style chairs host the regulars – a mix of sculptors, semi-perment yachties and locals.

For a casual dinner, make camp at one of the picnic tables scattered under the palapa or on a deck at the water’s edge. Their fresh just-caught fish is legendary – and they serve great burgers as well. The menu is posted on a board and changes daily. The primary choice is usually fish – with a pasta selection, a chef’s choice marinated chicken, and burgers. The entrée price range for lunch is about $10-17 and for dinner roughly $18-25. Their kids’ offerings run $10-15 (cash or Visa/MC).


Abaco Day 3 – Lunch Hook – Lubbers Quarters to Sandy Cay

Spend the morning at Cracker P’s ocean beach or dinghy over to quiet Tahiti Beach or get an early start to Sandy Cay or head right down to Little Harbour.

If snorkeling is the day’s goal, drop a lunch hook off Sandy Cay Reef which is the heart of 2100 acre Pelican Cay Land & Sea Park. A marine fishery reserve, it is protected and managed by the Bahamas National Trust, the park rules forbid the taking of any sea or plant life as well as littering or dumping (closed heads, of course) – and word is they really enforce this.

The boundaries of the park are from Pelican Point on Great Abaco to the north end of Lynyard Cay, then north outside all of the Pelican Cays, except North Pelican Cay which is not included, then to the southeast end of Channel Cay, then encircling Gorling Cay, and returning east of Cornish Cay to Pelican Point.

Located between Cornish Cay and the Pelican Cays, at high tide, Sandy Cay looks like two islands when water covers the long narrow beach. The snorkeling goal is Sandy Cay Reef which runs along the east side of the Cay and has been called one of the most beautiful in North America. Anchor on the west side of the island, and then either dink around to one of the six small-boat moorings that lie right along the edge of the east side of the reef or land the dink on the island, and walk across to the reef side. Look for the path that runs between the dunes and the coral. And then swim out to the reef. Despite the fact that the latest cruise guides claim that there are ten dinghy moorings plus five big -boat moorings that are further out (and require a long swim or a dink ride) – we could not find any but the original six.

Reportedly, the best snorkeling is off the little rock island about half way on the eastern side of Sandy Cay. Expect to see Elk Horn coral, spotter rays, giant sea turtles and grouper. There are underwater caves and the island, itself, is a nesting area for many species of birds

NOTE: Cruising guides note that the holding ground in not terribly good, so, if the weather is anything other then very settled and you’ve anchored, consider leaving someone on the boat, which we did, and trade off snorkeling. And forgo the experience completely if there are breaking waves or large ocean swells.