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Island-Hopping in Abaco

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

This story is continued from the blogpost "Great Guana Cay."

Alan and I were kicking back again in the pavilion when I heard a familiar Calypso ring tone. Oh wait. That's my phone! It turns out that Terry and Jane had been trying to reach us. They were headed for Great Guana Cay from nearby Hope Town and wanted to know if we were up for an island-hopping adventure.

Scotland Cay in Abaco, The Bahamas
It was a great day to explore the nearby cays and islands by boat. This is Scotland Cay, a private luxury island.

Could this day get any better? I'd been up early to watch a stunning sunrise, we've already made our grocery run, and I've been to Fig Tree to buy homemade chicken souse PLUS chocolate cake. And now this invitation for an exclusive boat tour.

"We'd love to join you!"

Relaxing on a chair right on the beach.
Earlier, Alan grabbed a beach chair and planted himself right on the beach.

Sunrise at the beach
I've been up early to walk on the beach and watch the sunrise.

Selling goodies by the Fig Tree in Great Guana Cay, Abaco
I joined the locals gather by the Fig Tree where Donna (of Donna's Cart Rentals) was selling homemade chicken souse (a Bahamian breakfast item), some cupcakes, and chocolate cake.

Island sight-seeing by boat
Nothing beats a boat excursion and island sight-seeing with the locals. Thanks, Terry and Jane!

Our first stop was at Man O' War Cay, the boat building capital of The Bahamas, where boat building began in the 1800s. Terry and Jane tethered their boat right in front of Albury's Sail Shop so we could browse inside and look at the shop's handmade canvas bags.

The Sail Shop business began more than 60 years ago when a local sailmaker's wife ingeniously took scraps of canvas -- leftovers from making sails -- and used them to make small bags and purses. Since then the family business has been passed down through three generations.

Canvas bags and hats of various designs fill this shop all the way to its loft. Each item, made with durable canvas, is meant to last and withstand weathering.

Before continuing on our boat excursion, we walked around Man O' War Cay, stopping at Hibiscus Cafe for sandwiches, tacos, and calamari for lunch, and then dropping by Joe's Studio for souvenirs.

Flying Circus Boat built on Man O' War Cay
This boat called the Flying Circus was built here on Man O' War Cay.

Making it to Hope Town punctuated the day's adventure. We were thrilled to see the famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse, one of the few remaining manually operated lighthouses in the world.

The candy-striped lighthouse, which stands 89 feet tall, is the most recognizable landmark in Abaco. I went up its spiral staircase but only high enough to look out of the first window. My fear of heights kicked in and paralyzed me. If I had made it all the way to the top, I would have seen the full mechanism of the hand-wound kerosene-burning lighthouse.

Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas
Posing by the popular landmark in Hope Town, Abaco: the Elbow Reef Lighthouse

On our journey back to Great Guana Cay's dock, we passed a random inner tube. While it appeared to float in the middle of nowhere, it's meant for a target golf game at Sunsetters, a seaside restaurant. Guests take up the challenge of driving a golf ball right into it. That’s Top Golf island style. Alan and I ended up having dinner there at Sunsetters while recounting the day's fun explorations.

"driving range" at Sunsetters restaurant
The "driving range" at Sunsetters restaurant. Can you see the inner tube target?

We couldn't be more thankful for the lovely personalized tour of Abaco from Terry and Jane. In so many ways, they welcomed us into their home. Their warm hospitality, generosity, and sincerity are as pure as the unspoiled beauty of the barrier islands. It brought me back to the very first time I met them when Terry said to me, "The Bahamas is one of the most beautiful places to live."

I couldn't agree more.

This story is continued in the next blogpost called "Easter at Nipper's."


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