Sea of Abaco (The Bahamas) Cruise

February – March 2007


 First, we want to pinpoint where we have been the past two months, where the Sea of Abaco is in relation to the entire Bahamas and Florida. 


In January we sailed from Palm Beach, FL to Memory Rock, just north of West End, then sailed across the Little Bahama Bank north of Grand Bahama Island to Great Sale Cay, Spanish Cay, and Green Turtle Cay. 


Chart of Florida and the northern Bahamas


The Sea of Abaco is bounded by Great Abaco Island on the west, Treasure Cay and Whale Cay on the north, the barrier cays on the east (including Great Guana, Man-o’-War, Elbow, Tilloo, and Lynyard Cays) and Little Harbour on the south.


Chart of the Sea of Abaco.  The only harbour we talk about not annotated is Water Cay, just below Fish Cay, half way between Treasure Cay on the north and Marsh Harbour


First we will talk about our general impressions of this area.  Then we will cover most of the anchorages we visited, some more than once. 



General Impressions:

The Bahamas is a relatively poor country that has been exploited first by the early settlers (British ex-pats and their slaves that fled the US after independence), and more recently by US industry and developers.  The few natural resources (pulpwood, fish) have been nearly depleted, and citrus groves have been plagued by disease.  The weather (mild in the winter and relatively cool summers) and clear water make tourism the most economically viable industry for this country. 


The bottom (sand, coral, or weed), the depth of the water and shadows from clouds affect the colour of the water


We had several memorable sunsets while cruisers on other boats serenaded the sun by blowing on conch shells that had been made into horns.  Often the serenade sounded like a beginning tuba lesson.


Red sky at night, sailor’s delight


The water, weather and proximity to the US are major reasons tourism may flourish here.  However, changes in weather patterns, along with a lackadaisical attitude toward service and a lack of infrastructure that we experienced this year may have a negative impact. 


Weather:  Unusually strong cold fronts in February, and a high pressure system that stayed further north than normal meant that we experienced high winds throughout February and March.  Hail (first ever in the Bahamas) fell north (Powell Cay) during the worst cold front, which also brought us gale force winds.  Unlike in the US (NOAA) and Canada (Coast Guard), there are no weather reports on VHF radio.  We relied on Barometer Bob’s forecasts on the Abaco Cruisers Net (every morning); we quickly learned to sprinkle the forecast liberally with very salty seawater; Patti wanted to ensure that even if the weather was bad, we all heard a forecast for a “zippedy- do-dah day.” Weather patterns are changing and most forecasts are based on historical data, every forecast is apt to be incorrect.  Minimizing rain and cloud cover in the forecasts did not help cruisers plan voyages and anchorages. 


A “zippedy- do-dah day.” this season in the Abacos


Well, at least it is not a snow or ice storm…boats at anchor in Marsh Harbour in 35 knots of wind


Services:  US Cell phones so not work, the Bahamian telephone network is down more than up, which is why businesses rely on the VHF (marine) radio to communicate. Internet Service Providers (ISP) are often down, provide poor bandwidth to the outside (especially to the US) and charge over a hundred dollars a month for service with no refunds.  Power outages, both scheduled and unscheduled, occur regularly (did not affect us too much since we were at marinas only twice and relied on our own power generation).  Like in many developing countries, garbage that is collected is burned; you hope you are not downwind of the dump.  Litter and discarded household items line the roads, especially in Marsh Harbour, the major town.  With minimal enforcement of littering laws (if they even exist) there is little incentive to act responsibly. 


We thought we would get good banking service since our Canadian bank (Royal Bank of Canada) has branches in 3 communities.  They did not recognize our Canadian client card, and when we did use the ATM were charged a $5. service fee and an unfavourable exchange rate. 

Royal Bank of Canada Branch on Man-o’-War Cay did not even bother to post hours of opening


According to our cruising guide, dogs are supposed to be on a leash or behind a fence at all times.  We were attacked by dogs on the Man-o’-War beach and in Marsh Harbour.  The dogs on leashes were mainly from cruising boats being walked on shore.  There was no evidence of any interest in enforcing dog confinement, even though we reported our incident along with pictures.


Welcome to the Bahamas …


Ferries are an essential part of life in the Abacos.  There are Bahamians living in settlements on the outlying cays where most US “winter cottages” are located, but most of the workers live on Great Abaco Island where there is cheaper land / housing.  No matter where we anchored in Marsh Harbour, the ferries made a deliberate course change to come close to us.  The prop of one ferry chopped the line with our anchor float, and another ferry almost clipped the solar panels on the stern of our boat.  We called the ferry on the VHF radio; the helmsperson replied, “I’m tired and my eyes aren’t working well.” 

Another incentive to cruisers to avoid the Sea of of the Donnie ferries 


Rather than give you a chronological account of our trip, we will cover the anchorages we visited starting at the northwest corner of the Sea of Abaco and working clockwise around the sea, ending at Marsh Harbour, the major city in the area.


Water / Archers Cay:  This anchorage is on the east shore of the Sea of Abaco, halfway between Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay.  We have been accustomed to finding anchorages with good all-round protection in the Great Lakes and therefore were dismayed to discover very few of the anchorages provided a safe haven from south, southwest, west, northwest and north winds.  Fortunately the prevailing winds are from the east.  We were surprised that there was only one other boat at Water Cay during our first big south – southwest flow, since it was the only anchorage in the northern Sea of Abaco that offered protection.  Most cruisers here seem to choose anchorages based on where the party is of the restaurant at which they want to dine.  Since there are no buildings here, in our three stays there was only one other boat. 


There are ruins of a movie set on Archers Cay.  The movie, The Day of the Dolphin, was shot here in 1974 starring George C. Scott and his wife, Trish Van Devere and directed by Mike Nichols.  It is about a scientist who learns to communicate with dolphins; the US Navy takes interest in his skills.  It is a thriller, I think.  Anyway, evidently the trained dolphins had lots of fun playing tricks on the crew.  The dolphins would learn a scene perfectly, then when they heard to cameras switch on, they’d laugh and do the scene wrong.  After the camera went off, they would do the scene perfectly.  They would rearrange the underwater lights, they would systematically splash every member of the company, and Buck, the male lead dolphin would wrap himself in ropes and cables and make choking noises.  When workers leaped to his rescue, he freed himself and laughed at them.  Sounds like our kind of movie.


Remains of a house used for Day of the Dolphin


The cays’s foundation is coral that is no longer living, but is very jagged and sharp.  When we went exploring in the dinghy we carefully avoided heads that were just below the surface of the high-tide water.  The mangrove trees are amazing and quite prolific on the two cays.  They actually “reclaim” water for land and extend roots into the salt water. 

Mangrove trees actually set roots into salt water, thus reclaiming land for the trees


There were lots of remnants from the movie set in the form of plastic bits and rusted metal parts of heavy machinery.  There were two mourning doves on Water Cay and one Cormorant on Archers Cay.  Otherwise, no wildlife except in the water.  There we saw sea cucumbers, conch, and fish (we think Pilot fish about 12 inches long).

From top left, clockwise:  Starfish, File Fish, Sea Cucumber and Sea Turtle


 Archers Cay has a “river” meandering through the middle of it.  There was a substantial wooden bridge crossing the bay where the river emptied on our side of the cay, but the bridge was in a state of poor repair.  There was lots of mesh around the bridge, leading us to believe it was on side of the pen for the dolphins in the movie.


Decaying Bridge, showing netting used for the dolphin cage at the movie set


Treasure Cay:  This is an example of North American resort development.  There is a well-marked channel into the land-locked harbour, but it is less than 5 feet deep at Mean Low Water (MLW).  We require a rising tide to enter and leave, which is a bit restrictive since there is only one rising tide during daylight hours per day.  Once inside the harbour there are 3 mooring balls maintained by the marina and docks.  There is a charge for both.  There is room for about 15-20 boats to anchor near the mooring balls, but the holding is poor.  It took us 3 attempts to get the anchor set, and then we were right on top of a concrete breakwater; any slippage of the anchor and our stern would be on the rocks. 


Treasure Cay anchorage.  Sweya is from Berlin, Germany and will be sailed back to England this summer


The major attraction at Treasure Cay is the beach, deemed one of the 10 best in the world by the National Geographic.  Trouble is, there is so much development, hotels, condos and rental cottages, all with “No Trespassing” signs that it was hard to find a way to the beach.  When we did find one path, there were further warnings that no coolers could be taken on the beach and “undesirables” would be expelled.  We walk along the beach as far as we could until we reached a private concrete retaining wall.  It is a pretty beach with lovely colours in the water, but so were the more accessible beaches on other cays. 

A warm welcome to the beach, only accessible by trespassing on private property

Cocoa Beach Bar & Grill.  Bring you wallet, not your cooler

Condos blocking east end of the beach


There is a golf course, tennis courts, fresh-water pools, a nearby airport, and all the other amenities you would expect at a US-style resort.  Alcoholics Anonymous meets at Treasure Cay and we can see why.  In overheard radio conversations we often heard folks say they must have had a good time the night before because they could not remember it.


One visit to Treasure Cay was enough for us.




Great Guana Cay, Baker’s Bay:  This was a first anchorage after leaving Green Turtle Cay in late January.  It used to be a fantastic anchorage with a sandy beach on both the Sea of Abaco and Atlantic Ocean side of the Cay and a pathway connecting the two.  Barrier Reefs with good snorkeling were within swimming distance of the Atlantic beach.  A few years ago a cruise line put in a channel and tried to make this a stop for its cruise ships, but the weather was often too rough for the cruise ships to enter the Whale Cay passage.  The cruise line sold the land to a US developer, and then the Bahamian government practically gave away more land to the developer.  Baker’s Bay Development is now building a resort with golf course, condos and rental cottages on the land.  They have security guards to keep any trespassers off the beach (even though they do not have rights to throw anyone off the beach below the high tide mark).  While we were at anchor, a large power yacht owned by the developers came roaring into the dock as close as safety permitted, rocking Pilgrim violently with its wake.  Another warm welcome to the Bahamas for cruisers.  We are sure prospective buyers are treated differently. 


Later during our stay we heard that a dredging output pipe was unmarked and below the surface of the water, a major hazard to navigation.  No action was taken by the Bahamian government to rectify the situation.

We sneaked ashore to take these picture of Baker’s Bay beach.  Pilgrim in background


Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay.  Fishers Bay is in the middle of Great Guana Cay on the Sea of Abaco side of the island.  It is popular since it is close to the settlement, which is home to Nippers and Grabbers, two bar and grill restaurants.  We anchored here several times, almost always having difficulty getting the anchor to set.  There are very few harbours with good, deep sand bottoms (usually there is less than a foot of sand over hard coral) with a minimum of Turtle Grass. 

Cottages on the Sea of Abaco shore at Fisher’s Bay


Nippers is an experience in itself.  The prices are a bit steep ($12 for a hamburger), but it has two fresh-water swimming pools with bikini-clad young women.  Why else would you be coming to the Bahamas? 


Nippers as seen from the beach.  The Bahamian flag is flying in strong wind.

The famous pools at Nippers


Nippers is the access point to the Atlantic beach, and it is quite spectacular.  The power of the breaking rollers was incredible, even though they were not large waves.  The waves churned up the sand the last 20 feet and brought up seaweed, shells, and invisible sea life.  The consistency of the sand was so varied.  Sometimes it was coarse with small bits of shell; sometimes it was heavily packed, not leaving a footprint behind; sometimes it was powdery like talc, and when wet stuck to the soles of the bare feet; and sometimes the sand was so soft, even a small dog’s paws left imprints.  There were both coral and rock formations along the waterline that caused the waves to spray and tumble over the lower rock formations, creating little lakes behind the rocks.  There were holes, about 1.5 inches in diameter in which we think sand crabs were waiting for the high tide.  We picked up some coral bits, some lovely small shells, and sea glass (broken glass polished smooth by constant tumbling in the water and sand).  We also picked up lots of sharp glass shards and deposited them in the garbage can when we left the beach. 


Atlantic beach on a calm day … and a windy day. 


Dive Guana, a local dive shop that has daily scuba / snorkel expeditions is located in Fishers Bay.  The owner is an environmentalist who strongly opposes the US-dominated development of Great Guana Cay.  Scientists estimate that if a golf course is built on the island, the fertilizer runoff will kill the reef within 3 years. 



Unfortunately, there was so much wind during our stay in the Abacos that we never did get to snorkel on the barrier reefs.  We did a bit of snorkeling around the boat, saw interesting fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and crabs, but did not see any fish large enough to spear and no spiny lobsters.


A small flock of white tropic birds live in sea caves in Fisher’s Bay.  They soar beautifully, with such long tails.

Tropic White Bird


Man-o’-War Cay:  This was our favorite out-island.  The north and south ends of the cay had “Winter Cottages” but the settlement in the middle of the island was mainly Bahamians, mostly descendents of the British loyalists.  There is a boat-building (fiberglass) operation and a sail-making shop.  There are upper-middle-class homes in the settlement and numerous churches.  The island is dry, and very few shops are open on Sunday, and only in the afternoon.  It was on this island that we saw the most birds:  Egrets and herons wading in the shallows on the Sea of Abaco shore, geese in the harbour, mourning doves (but they were virtually everywhere there was a settlement), hummingbirds, and red-winged blackbirds (hardly exotic, but unexpected). 

Egret looking for dinner in the shallows on the Sea of Abaco side of the cay


The walk along the Atlantic Ocean beach was beautiful.  The remains of a large power boat were buried in the sand…evidence that shipwrecks still happen.


Brian trying to salvage  parts on this buried power boat on the beach


 (During the 19th century, passing ships were lured onto the reefs, and then plundered.  Some lighthouse keepers were bribed to turn off their lights, and bogus lights were set out to confuse passing ships.  The Bahamas has always welcomed sailors!)


During our last stay, the William H. Aubrey, a refurbished Bahamian schooner anchored close to us.  It is used to take groups of young people (like Boy Scouts) for several days of cruising on the Sea of Abaco.  The trips seem to include instruction on boat handling, snorkeling and the like.


The newly refurbished William H. Aubrey at anchor


There is a secure harbour at Man-o’-War with a marina and mooring balls, but no place to anchor.  Since the channel into the harbour is shallow and would have to be entered at high tide, we always anchored outside.  The outside anchorage was only secure is winds from the northeast through southeast.


Beach at the isthmus on the Sea of Abaco side of Man-o’-War. Pilgrim is at anchor in the background and our dinghy is on the beach

The road running north / south on Man-o’-War, just big enough for a golf cart

And the speed limit sign are Oh…so polite

How come all the Local Heroes are men?

A winter cottage and its manicured grounds on Man-o’-War

The raised deck on this cottage catches the cool breezes and gives a good ocean lookout




Hope Town, Elbow Cay: This is probably the most popular port on the Sea of Abaco, but also the most problematic.  The very well-protected harbour is entered through a channel that is less than 5 feet deep at mean low water.  Therefore, we must enter and leave the harbour during high tide.  This is about a 2 ˝ hour window either side of high tide during daylight hours.  The anchorages outside the harbour are too shallow for us at low tide, so our only option is to go to Hope Town on high tide when we are assured of a dock or mooring.   Getting any of the marinas to respond to a radio call is difficult, and they will hardly ever commit to having a spot for you.  Evidently the marinas have been cheated by cruisers who use a dock or mooring without paying, so until you have been around a season or two and the marina staff know you, it is difficult to get a commitment to a spot to land.   We were able to get in to Hope Town twice:  once we stayed at a dock and the other time on a mooring.  The mooring balls are so close together that our stern was almost kissing the bow of the boat behind us. 

The shallow channel into Hope Town is half dry at low tide (coming in from the left, not bottom of the picture)


Everyone describes the town as “quaint,” and it is.  But what makes it quaint is all the Americans who have bought the property and developed it as rental cottages.  I think very few Bahamians actually live in Hope Town.  The dark-skinned folks we saw probably live in the Marsh Harbour environs and take the ferry to work.

The St. James Methodist Church backs right onto the beach


 The “cottages” in town are gaily painted with well cared for gardens.  There are no chickens/roosters.  That is why we are pretty sure the inhabitants in Hope Town are US ex-patriots, US vacationers, and a few Bahamians who are British Loyalist ancestors. 

Monument park in Hope Town, with some of the stores on the main street

With that preamble, the town is charming and well worth the visit.  Vernon’s Grocery is famous for Key Lime Pies; Vernon bakes bread and pies in the back of the store 6 days a week.  The 7th day he is at church, probably working harder then than in the store.  The pie is excellent.  There are lots of pithy sayings posted around the store, such as “Atheist:  a non-Prophet Organization.”


The beach on the Atlantic Ocean is very lovely, with waves breaking over the barrier reef and many textures to the sand.  One our first visit, a couple of children were delighted bodysurfing on their little boards.


The Elbow Reef lighthouse at Hope Town is quite fascinating since it still uses old technology.  It has a kerosene lamp (supplemented by a 75 watt light bulb if the kerosene supply gives out) and Fresnel lenses floating on mercury turned by gears that have to be wound  every two hours.  The lighthouse is red and white striped on the outside and bright pink inside.  The view from the ledge just below the Fresnel lenses was excellent of Hope Town and the surrounding Sea of Abaco and Parrot Cays. 


The Hope Town Sailing Club organizes races for cruising boat and Abaco Dinghies.  The Abaco Dinghies are tender boats (tip easily), but have very nice lines, and are only in the Abacos.


Abaco Dinghy rigged and ready to race


Tilloo Cay:  This long skinny island is supposed to be a national park for tropical birds, but we saw none on our two visits.  There is one small sand beach at the southern end of the Sea of Abaco side, and coral heads on the Atlantic side.  The brush growth is so dense on the island that it is impossible to get to the Atlantic side.  If there used to be a path, it was overgrown.  We heard the song-full mocking bird singing its heart out. 


Mocking Bird singing its heart out


 The beach on the west side of the island extends out two miles into the Sea of Abaco as a shifting sand bank, with less than 5 feet of water.  There are no navigation aids to keep you off the bank but in bright sunlight the bank is a  brilliant turquoise blue.


Sandbar stretching out from shoreline is turquoise blue


There is a small cay at the north end of Tilloo Cay (Tavern Cay) that had a replica of  an ancient square stone tower with a long red pennant flying from its turret and a spectacular set of Winter home buildings with beautiful deep blue tin roofs and wrap-around porches.  There must have been 6-8 buildings in the complex, like guest houses, sheds for outdoor equipment, and the like.  It was stunning.


The “Turret” on Tavern Cay.  Note how windy it is


If this is a national park, there are plenty of private homes with “No Trespassing” signs.  Perhaps the tropical birds have read the signs. 

A modest Winter Cottage connected by covered passageways


Lynyard Cay:  This island is south of Tilloo and the Pelican Cays, and is another long narrow island running north / south.  There were a few homes on the island, but there were no lights on in the evening, so we felt like we were in the wilderness.  We explored two beaches on the west side of the cay (Sea of Abaco side) and one beach on the east side (Atlantic Ocean).  Because the wind was easterly all day, the Atlantic beach was dramatic with breaking waves spraying us even when we were far from the water’s edge. 

Atlantic beach on Lynyard Cay from top of the dune


We found some good sea glass (glass that has been warn smooth by tumbling through the surf), sea urchin shells, a couple of interesting fossils (one of a whelk, which is a shell, and the other a disc from a spine), and some beautiful specimen of Graceful Red Weed, a seaweed that looks like fine spun burnt sugar. 


Graceful Red Weed found on the beach


We also saw lots of curly tail lizards from tiny (3 inches long) to medium-large 12-15 inches.


A little Curley Tail

 No birds. But a number of bugs, especially flies that live in the rotting seaweed at the high tide line.  The island is covered with dense growth just off the beach; we were fortunate to find a path at the second beach.  The interior of the very narrow cay has only very low vegetation… ground cover only; no trees or shrubs.  So, it fits the model of a true barrier island.


During the day we saw huge clouds of smoke rising on Great Abaco Island across the Sea of Abaco.  We first though the fire was a garbage dump, but the smoke covered such a great distance we figured it was a fire out of control. 


This is no garbage heap, it is a fire out of control.  It burned for at least 3 days


After sundown, the red glow in the smoke was dramatic; we think the face of the fire in our direction was over 10 miles long.  We tried to call the fire and rescue folks, but got no response.  Evidently brush fires on Great Abaco Island are common and there is no fire fighting equipment to combat them.    There are 8 wild horses on Great Abaco Island.  The woman who heads fund-raising for the horses told us that she is constantly reporting brush fires, especially when they threaten the horses’ paddock, but fire and rescue and the Bahamian / Abaco government don’t seem to care about the fires.


Little Harbour:  The well-protected harbour is at the southern tip of the Sea of Abaco, and like most protected harbours, is accessible only through a shallow channel that we had to transverse at high tide.  Inside, there are mooring balls, which we picked up for a couple of nights.  American sculptor Randolph Johnston moved here with his family in the 1950’s and set up a lost-wax bronze foundry.  During hurricanes the family hid in a cave and put their boat in a shallow hurricane hole off the harbour.  There are a few rental and owned cottages in the area, but no settlement. 

Boats moored in Little Harbour as seen from Pete’s Pub


On the Atlantic shoreline there is a bit of sand beach (about 30% of the shore).  The rest is huge hunks of coral that is no longer living (out of the water), but was strewn with coral rocks and shells.

Atlantic beach at Little Harbour … lots of rock and coral, little sand


 We picked up some specimen of various types of brain coral; some looked so much like Petoskey Stones (fossils found only in a small area of northern Michigan).


Brain coral on the beach


We saw a goose and several kinds of heron on the shore, and a couple of sea turtles in the harbour.  When Jane was in her kayak, she almost came eyeball to eyeball with one, but it dived before the camera was in hand. 


Live heron oblivious to art gallery with bronze statues

Kayaking with the Sea Turtles (underwater right now) in Little Harbour


We have been disappointed in the lack of birds and wildlife in the Abacos.  However, we were listening to the CBC on Sirius Satellite Radio and heard a story of a beaver that has just been discovered in the Bronx River near the zoo.  Evidently the beaver used to be prolific in the NYC area when settled by Henry Hudson, and the beaver is on the crest of NYC.  However, no one has seen a beaver in the NYC area for many years.  Occasionally there are “good news” stories about wild animals.


Snake Cay:  This does not sound like a great spot, but it is the one anchorage in the southern Sea of Abaco with protection from south and west winds.  It provided us a secure anchorage and a most interesting spot to explore.  In the 1950’s Owens-Illinois, a US firm, began lumbering operations on Grand Bahama Island; when there were no Caribbean Pine left on that island, they moved operations to Great Abaco and cut pulpwood on this island.  They dredged a channel from North Bar Cahnnel to Snake Cay where they guilt extensive docks to take the pulpwood to Jacksonville, FL for processing.  They built roads, houses, schools and the airport at Marsh Harbour.  They had a plan to re-forest Great Abaco, but when the tree seedlings did not take root, Owens-Illinois turned the nude forest into a sugar cane operation in 1968.  In 1970 the company announced it was ceasing operation in the Abacos, writing off $22 million.  The Bahamian government tried to find a buyer of the operation, but failed.  The buildings are in ruins, and the dock disintegrating now. 


Deteriorating dock at Snake Cay.  Australian Pines (Casuarinas) are taking over

Bahamian women fishing with hand lines at Snake Cay


A flock of turkey vultures picked away at discarded fish bait on the dock area and enjoyed soaring overhead on the strong updrafts.  This was also where we saw our first Frigates (or Man-o’-War Birds). 


There were two boats partially submerged near the dock that provided an artificial reef for a host of colourful small fish. 


Partially submerged boats are a haven for fish


The folks on a small trimaran that anchored near us speared two spiny lobsters under their boat.  We enjoyed looking at a small coral reef near shore with our Viewing Bucket (a bucket with a clear Plexiglas bottom)


Like Water Cay in the north, there were few boats visiting here; we suppose it was the lack of restaurants and other aspects of civilization that kept cruisers away.


Marsh Harbour:  We spent more time in Marsh Harbour than we wanted to.  It was the only anchorage we could enter at low tide that provided protection from all winds except northwest.  However, it is shallow (5 feet in places at mean low water) with just a few deep holes, so finding a place where we would not be aground at low water was difficult.  The harbour usually had 50 – 85 boats at anchor in addition to a dozen on mooring balls and three marinas with docks.  The western end of the harbour was for large commercial boats (container, bulk carrier, barges and tugs).  Therefore it was a busy place.  The water was so murky you could not see the bottom, and swimming was not recommended.  Despite the poor water quality, there were a couple of turtles and dolphins that lived in the harbour.  We took refuge here on three different occasions when cold fronts went through.  The cold fronts brought wind shifts (from SE to S, SW, W, NW to N) and very high winds (up to 40+ knots).  Sometimes boats would be stuck on the bottom when the wind shifted, causing some boats to swing with the new wind and other boats to stay stuck on the bottom in the old wind direction … quite dangerous if you were close to a boat that was not moving (or not moving) with you.  Many dinghies were not secured to the mother-ship and went flying across the harbour during these storms.  Also a number of boats’ anchors broke free, sometimes causing collisions and always causing a need to re-anchor in adverse weather conditions.  In short, the harbour we love to hate.


Marsh Harbour.  At least all the boats are pointing in the same direction.  


The town did not have much going for it except the least expensive Laundromat in the Abacos ($2.00 / wash and a quarter for 2 minutes in the dryer).  There were also a couple of US-style grocery stores with US goods (at high prices) and mainly US produce.  There were several restaurants, mainly associated with the marinas that were moderately expensive and a few Bahamian restaurants modestly priced with limited menus. 


The one interesting building was the castle with two large square towers.  When we first saw the towers, we thought they were church towers.  They seemed very tall.  Our guest, Ellen, and Jane were on a walk and tried to find the castle, but the towers kept disappearing.  Finally someone stopped in a car, and asked us if we were looking for the castle.  She directed us further up the road, and we finally found the building.  Ellen’s guidebook indicated lunch was served in the castle, so she went up the drive and onto the porch.  Evidently they used to have a lunch restaurant, but it has not been in operation since 1998.  The owner of the house invited us in, and we found out she was the daughter of a doctor from the US who spent his life providing medical services to the Abacos when there were no other doctors here.  The doctor promised his wife he would build her a castle in the Abacos, and this house was it.  The towers were only 3 stories high; they looked so high because the house is on the top of the highest hill. 


The castle at Marsh Harbour looks bigger than it really is from a distance since it is on the highest hill