Caribbean Travels – Abaco Islands, Bahamas
After examining New Providence Island in the Bahamas chain, it’s time to return north, to the part of the chain just east of Grand Bahama Island – the Abaco Islands. Only 13,000 people inhabit these islands that stretch over 120 miles and entice tourists to visit to enjoy the high quality sailing.
I think I’ve made it clear in most of these essays that I don’t like cold weather. Looking at flying out of Chicago in the middle of December (brrrr), you can find flights on American to Marsh Harbor Airport (MHH) with a layover in Miami starting at $620. If you’re more of a United fan, there are flights to Treasure Cay Airport (TCB) starting around $675 with a stop in Fort Lauderdale. Both airports are situated on Grand Abaco Island on the eastern side of the island, only about 30 miles apart.
“Boating Capital of the World” sounds so much better than “Murder Capital of the World” if you’re looking for a good vacation and not Corey Feldman. If you’re an experienced sailor, you can charter bareboat for a week starting at only $3,900. If not, then for a week with a captain during the day, you’re looking to spend at least $5,400. That may sound like a lot, but if you can find two other couples ready for this adventure, the Saltando has room for three couples and that means it’s only $1,800 for seven days of adventure. The sample itinerary seems to include plenty of snorkeling, good food and drink.
If you aren’t ready for a full week of sailing, maybe just take a day to go deep-sea fishing to enjoy a little boat time. H&R Fishing Charters offer a full day of fishing for $800. In December according to their game fishing chart, there is “excellent” fishing for Wahoo and “good” fishing for grouper, snapper, barracuda and shark. The boat accommodates up to six people, so if you are still traveling with those other couples, that means it’s less than $300 per couple.
Maybe you don’t want to test your sea legs and just want to swim in the lovely turquoise waters, just looking around at all you can see. You can go snorkeling in many different places around Grand Abaco. The coolest sounding ones to me are Sandy Cay Reef to see eagle rays and stingrays; Sanka Shoal with the puffer fish; Smugglers Rest to check out a plane wreck and the porcupine fish; and Spanish Cannon to see a Spanish galleon.
Once you step out of the water, there is still plenty to do. There is the Abaco National Park, home to the endangered Bahama Parrot and 20,500 acres to explore to see other avian life like the West Indian Woodpecker and the Loggerhead Kingbird. (Birds get the best names.) On Elbow Cay is the Hope Town Lighthouse where Donald Faison, John C. McGinley, Zach Braff and the rest of the folks at Sacred Heart hospital filmed an episode of “Scrubs.” The more interesting part of the lighthouse is the fact that it still uses kerosene to power the light, as locals don’t want it to be automated. If you’re traveling from New England, the city of Hope Town will seem familiar, as it also owes the architectural style of its houses to the English. To find out more about the history of the island you can visit the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum.
Of course, there are also plenty of beaches and restaurants to enjoy if you just want to hang out and relax. Plan your trip well enough, and you’ll have a couple of those days to lay back and reflect on all the fun you had on the rest of your trip.
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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."