Thursday, June 19, 2008

Second Trip To The Abacos: ISLAND HOPPING

Visiting the islands of the Abaco chain is always an adventure. Each of them has its own charm and there is something different to see on every island. Some we had seen before during our 1997 trip, some we didn't bother to revisit. This time around, we decided to make a day-trip around Whale Cay to Green Turtle Cay, something we didn't have a chance to do during the first trip to the Abacos.

Come along with us as we explore the islands!


Elbow Cay was our homebase for the week. It really had all we needed and we could have stayed there happily all week long, never venturing out to any other islands. There are great restaurants, grocery stores, shops, nice beaches, a subdued nightlife, and a wonderful lighthouse. We had our own dock and beach right down from the cottage, so we could sit there or lie in the hammock on our deck and read a book.

We waited until the final day to climb the lighthouse but we saw it every night from the porch and passed it every time we went into Hopetown Harbor. It's a great landmark and a wonderful place to explore.

Only three of us climbed up since Darrell's oldest daughter doesn't like heights, and we waved at her from the top while she waved at us from down below. Both kids wore red that day, and they matched perfectly with the red and white colors on the outside of the lighthouse. Inside the colors are bright pink and green.

We spent some time at the top, admiring the views of Hopetown Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. We could also see the top of our rental cottage from up there. From that vantage point you can easily see the peaceful beauty of the Abacos.


We ventured down south to Little Harbor one day, entered the harbor and anchored near Pete's Pub, the only establishment with food and drink in this tiny area. Little Harbor is not an island - it's really part of Great Abaco Island, south of the main town of Marsh Harbor. Randolph Johnston's Art Studio and Foundry are there with the work being carried on by his son, Pete. We admired one of Pete's metal scultpures, a large manta ray, as we walked the path towards beach. The beach near the harbor opening is not as pristine as other places, actually it's rather junky, but it was interesting to see the remains of various types of corals there.

There is an abandoned lighthouse at the opening of Little Harbor. When we visited in 1997, it was more intact than it was this time around. I think Hurricane Floyd must have caused some of the damage - there didn't appear to be much of a roof left. We didn't get too close to it, but we took some pictures of it from the rocky beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the harbor. I'm not sure what the cross and rocks were symbolic of on the beach but the cross framed the small lighthouse very nicely.

The two girls enjoy the beach at home in Florida and Laura likes to surf, so we stood on the beach and watched the waves come in around the rocks, deciding that this was not the place to surf! We did "catch some waves" in our pictures though, as they were crashing around behind the kids.


This island is north of Whale Cay but sometimes the passage out in the ocean is too churned up to navigate it safely from the southern islands of the Abacos. Luckily we picked a calm day and got around it just fine and went on into the harbor at New Plymouth, the settlement on Green Turtle Cay. It's a nice town, clean clapboard houses, shops, restaurants, and great beaches just a short golfcart drive away. We rented a four-seater and set off to explore.

One of the first areas we came to was the graveyard. It's prime real estate - has a waterfront view! Darrell stopped to read the tombstone of Sidney Lowe, former owner of Sid's Food Store. The story of the day he died was on the stone and made for some interesting reading. Then we motored up the hill to Gillam Bay and enjoyed the water there for a little while. Darrell helped a honeymoon couple get their golfcart out of the sand where they had gotten it stuck. Then we went on around the Cay, up the road to an ocean overlook area where we took some more pictures, then on to the upper part of the Cay where there are a few more hotels. We admired the scenery all along the way and I especially loved all the red trees, probably Royal Poincianas but I didn't ask what they were. They were everywhere on this Cay and they were gorgeous.

Back in New Plymouth, we did some shopping then handed in the cart and started home. We saw a big barge on the way into the harbor as we were leaving and also saw a fleet of sportfishing boats passing by on their way to the lower cays. Not your normal rush-hour traffic! The pace is different in the Abacos, which is one reason we like to visit there. Next time we go it would be great to rent a place on Green Turtle and explore the northern areas of this little bit of paradise.

Hopping from island to island is the best way to spend time in the Abacos. As we explored the waters from island to island, there were plenty of silly times and we also enjoyed a few serene times as well. Travel on with us as we experience all the different moods the Abacos can inspire ...

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