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Our Planes Reflection Pointing the Way
T.C. Ferry Dock Restaurant
Green Turtle Club
Green Turtle Club Veranda Dining
Sandy & Debbie
Bluff House & Villas
Green Turtle Cay Cottage
Brentals Dive Boat
The Wrecking Tree
Miss Emilys new sign
Hope Town Harbour Lodge (view)
St. James Methodist Church
Abaco Inn (view)
Sign of the Times (Harbours Edge)
Sandy & Debbie at On Da Beach
On Da Beach Sign
Tropical Drinks at the Abaco Inn
HTHL Pool Bar - Where's Gary?
Sister Beth and Jack
Cousin John and Maureen
For Quick Access to the most recent update, just remember - AbacoUpdate.com
Sandy Estabrooks Abaco Guide
Periodic Update No. 2
Supplement to Sandy Estbrooks Guide to the Abacos, Bahamas
This was the year of the wedding. Some will recognize, jack of all trades , Preacher Vernon
View from Green Turtle Club Room
Hope Town Harbour & Light House
Turtle Hill Beach on a windy day - post Alberto.
Sunset from the Abaco Inn.
As part of update No. 2. All related material has been updated in the links of AbacoEscape.com There is a new slide show and many new faces in our Food, Drink and Bartender pages.
During the course of the year weve added a new Quick Access Address. Just remember, AbacoEscape.com
May 30th, Debbie and I were off on another pilgrimage to the Abacos. Not unlike previous years the first third of our trip was spent in Green Turtle Cay with the remaining two thirds in Hope Town. and a picture of my other Debbi, the Clubs bartender of 24 years. It was a timely article which had us salivating for a Tipsy Turtle. So upon arrival thats what we did - head to the Tipsy Bar for our complementary drink and to see Debbi and her infectious smile. She introduced us to the new "resort manager" of the G.T.C., Ben Parish, who recently moved to G.T. from a similar job in Colorado. - We were in time for 1:00 lunch.
In the past wed rent a boat straight away in Marsh Harbour and motor the 30 Miles to Green Turtle. This year we flew to Treasure Cay aboard 19 seater Beach 1900 Continental/Gulfstream plane via Miami from Tampa. Upon arrival, we hopped aboard the Bolo, the water taxi to Green Turtle Cay.
Featured in the Airline Magazine was a story on the Green Turtle Club
At the Ferry Dock we bumped in to old time friend and one time manager of the G.T.C. , Chris Farrington. He filled me in of some of the island happenings since last year and the popularity of his wife's (Julie) home rental agency on the Cay, Abaco Island Rentals..
We rented a boat for three of our six days from Donny Sawyer. Hes done away with his old 13 footers but his fleet of basic 17 whalers are no less for ware. Ours came equipped with one life preserver and a couple beer cans from a previous renter. Unfortunately, it wasnt till departure did I hear of a new boat rental agency on G.T. called Logger Head Rentals run by Darin Johnson 242-357-6664 or VHF 16. More on boat rentals.
The night after our arrival, The Gully Roosters, Green Turtles own and only full time band in all the Abacos showed up at the G.T.C. Its an every Wednesday occurrence in season. And where the Roosters go so does Johnny Cool, the islands premier dancer and bachelor. I swear his legs are made of rubber. The Roosters also appear at the Bluff House on Fridays. As of summer 06 their Club atop the hill in New Plymouth Roosters is now opened on Saturday including an all you can eat fish fry.
We attended one of Brendal Steven's dive picnics. Its a never miss and integral part of our trips to Green Turtle. We should add that this year, Brendal, my friend of 25+ years Brendal won the the Prestigious Bahamian Cacique Award for Sustainable Tourism. He no doubt is one of the main attractions on Green Turtle.
We visited New Plymouth a couple times, had lunch at the Wrecking Tree restaurant dining on my favorite Conch Salad. Ive mentioned before, the wrecking tree is about the only place that I know of, in all the Abacos that has conch salad as a full time item on its menu. After our lunch we hit the spot that put the Goombay Smash on the map and met up with Miss Violet at Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar and chatted for a while. Later, on this rainy day, a group of friendly travelers entered and spontaneously lively conversation begun. More on Green Turtle on our home page.
There is no doubt the Abacos have had more than there share of hurricanes since Floyd in 99. But frankly the Settlement of New Plymouth seems to be the slowest to recover with many boarded up and dilapidated houses within town. It was this year that we really took notice - Sad. And at the towns heart the once famous New Plymouth Inn is again boarded up for another season.
We've strongly suggested in ourHome Page, that one rent a boat or minimally a golf cart when visiting the Cays. On G.T.C. this is especially true and it took this trip to reaffirm this. For half of our six days we didnt have a boat or golf cart either. And without a golf cart, land transportation is non existent by the resorts and or town restaurants (unlike Hope Town). The exception being one shuttle ride to town from the Green Turtle Club to town and only between 10 AM and 1 PM! There are a half dozen shops to see in town and another half dozen restaurants if you have transportation. Places of note are Pineapples, Laura's Kitchen, Macintoshs Bakery & Restaurant and Mikes Sundowner to name a few.
On that rainy day mentioned above, we availed ourselves of the Clubs service, a ride to New Plymouth. We had to wait till the Wrecking Tree opened for lunch. Afterwards as it turned out we met up with a bunch of new friends at Miss Emily. We were starting to get into the Goombay Spirit when the driver came to take back to the club despite a request for an extended hour.
On another occasion, I inquired at the Bluff House would they pick us up at the G.T.C. for our dinner reservation. They declined and we canceled. I should point out if the resorts in this scenario were reversed the outcome would still be the same. The point being, rent a boat or a golf cart to get around as there is little cooperation between the two main players on the island.
Green Turtle Cays two major resorts, the Bluff House and the G.T.C. both require you place your order with your reservation. Both have effectively one seating 7:30. It is sort of batch cooking yet for the most part its quality and preparation will be to your liking. Hope Town resorts on the other hand present a menu at time of arrival and have seatings every half hour between 6:00 - 8:30.
On To Hope Town.
June 6th we headed for Marsh Harbour to pick up our rental boat for the remainder of our stay. A 22 footer was waiting for us at our always dependable Rainbow Boat Rentals.
This required a water taxi back to the Treasure Cay ferry dock ($10 Each) and a 30 mile ($75) Taxi ride to Marsh Harbour. Did I mention gas was $4.61 that day? After picking up our boat, there we headed out across the Sea of Abaco to Hope Town and The Hope Town Harbour Lodge. A few days later, we were to be joined by my sister and husband (Doylestown , Pa) and my cousin and his wife (Gwynedd Valley, Pa). Both couples booked in the hotel part of the lodge and both complained or water pressure problems to the point of being only trickle. (My suggestion stay in the pools side cabanas or cottages, or inquire if this problem has been resolved.)
Anyway we settled in and moseyed on down to the Pool Bar and had our complementary Reef Wreck. I was happy to see our old bartender friend Gary behind the bar. It seemed like it was only a few weeks ago that we were sitting at this very spot rather than fifty two.
The days passed doing our usual thing, hitting an out island place for lunch like Nippers, Cracker P's or Pete's Pub with a prior stop at a beach or snorkeling reef. Only this time we shared our fun with our newly arrived guests.
We used to stay at the Abaco Inn but in recent times switched to the H.T.H.L as it is the perfect place to get around. It has a dock for your boat if youve rented one. You can easily walk to Hope Town and its shops and eateries. The resorts at the other end if the Island will come and pick you up for lunch or dinner. The lodge has a lovely pool, pool bar and snorkeling reef. Their restaurant is consistently one of the finest in all the Cays. And adjoining the restaurants is Rays Place named after the owner. Its a night time spot reminiscent of Ricks Place from the movie Casablanca, and its all in view of the light house. And as far as the Abaco Inn is concerned, the last couple seasons we've heard of planned major renovations. Even blueprints have been seen. But as of this trip, nothing was in the wind.
Prior to departure for the Abacos, I had been in contact with a fellow named Tim from the Abaco Message Board who informed me of a wedding hed be attending at the Lodge while we were there. What I didnt know that there were two more weddings the same week! Since we new of the wedding and the fact that the dining room would be closed, we booked our dinner for that day at the Abaco Inn a couple days in advance.
Our opening photos features Vernon Malone, who has had the honor of joining over 500 couples in marriage. In addition to being a lay pastor of St. James Methodist Church in Hope Town, Mr. Malone is also a Justice of the Peace, local grocer and baker whose store is hard to miss when exploring Hope Town. For more on island weddings and marriage license requirements go to Barefoot Brides / Hope Town Weddings.com. Ask for Vernon's daughter, Bonny.
Our dinners were spent rotating between the Abaco Inn, H.T.H.L, Captain Jacks (still the cheapest), Harbour Edge and the Full Moon Party at Cracker Ps. Oh, we had a Couple lunches at On Da Beach. Its located about a half mile south of Hope Town. It opened last year. I have to say their grilled fish (wahoo) sandwich was the best Ive ever had. I have to qualify this by saying, you have to include the grilled vegetable topping (onions, mushrooms and red peppers)
There is always something going on at the aforementioned places, most of which are covered in our home page. But this year there were two new events that we never participated. Every Thursday there is a trivia contest at Captain Jacks restaurant. Our team, Motu Iti, consisted of my cousin and wife, Debbie and I. Well , we tied our old Bahamian friends Roy & Katie (from the Abaco Inn) and friends for first place. Even after the tie breaker we were still tied (sorry Roy, we got the answer first). Captain Jacks bought us all a round of drinks.
The second event, Ive know about for years but never participated and that is Karaoke night (Monday) at the H.T.H.L. I should say we didnt really participate but went and watched, drank a bit and enjoyed. Like I said every night something is going on usually in the form of a DJ or one man band. Sadly there is no four piece band like the Gully Roosters on Hope Town.
Aside from the partying aspects we hit the usual gift shops including Sun Dried Tees whose proprietor Brook, moonlights as bartender at Rays Place. Robby who also tends bar there and moonlights in Real estate. Then there is T.J., who when not serving drinks at Rays you find him at Curly Tails in Marsh Harbour. Pictures of all the aforementioned along with a bunch of others, have been added to our page on Food Drink and Bartenders in the Abacos
And speaking of moonlight, it made us laugh when we heard on the Cruisers net (VHF CH68 at 8:15AM) that folks were still leaving the Full Moon Party At Cracker Ps.
This trip was rather typical aside from the three weddings in a one week period while we were staying at the Lodge. Again we had the opportunity to share our fondness of the Abacos with my sister and her husband, adding this trip my cousin and his wife. Florida schools were on an Aug/May schedule so there were many families with kids on the Cays in June.
The only thing unexpected that happened was, one day when pulling up to Cracker Ps, a young lady came running out to the dock with an anxious look on her face and asked does anybody know CPR?. Well, my Debbie, a nurse, does. (I do to but decided to leave it up to the professional). She ran up the stars and found a elderly gentleman passed out. Probably the long flight of stairs did it. Seems he had a heart problem and was taking nitroglycerin when needed. IT WAS, and Debbie administered the drug provided by a relative. No CPR was necessary. Patrick the proprietor at Cracker Ps got on the VHF and called BASRA (Bahamas Air and Sea Rescue) and there were there in no time evacuating the fellow by boat to Marsh Harbour. Aside from that event, nothing else of significance happened. Even Hooters photo shoot came early this year, so we missed that. There were no capsizings or boats running afoul of the reefs that we heard about. No one in our group caught sea lice like Debbie did last year. Oh, I did hear on the Cruisers Net that someone aboard a boat owner lost their dog who jumped ship being attracted to a foxy poodle on the beach.
Tropical Storm Alberto had no impact aside from one windy day but in general it was HOT & Humid especially our last week. I think next year well shoot for May.
I may read more books on vacation in Abaco than I do all year. This years selection included amongst others, Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen which is a perfect read for an island environment. I also read a couple of informative books on the Abacos from the historical perspective and added them to a New Page on Abaco Books.
They can be picked up at the island gift shops. I strongly recommend them, especially for regular visitors.
Finally, as it turned out this year, our Continental flight has its US landfall and customs check in Palm Beach. It's was far simpler than Miami (or Ft. Lauderdale for that matter) especially when connection to another plane. Including baggage pickup, and all the formalities, we were at the departure gate for Tampa in about 15 minutes!