Flight Lounge Anticipation
Hope Town Harbour Lodge Beach
That's me with Gary the Explorer
Todd & Mary on Light House
Abaco Inn's new deck
Todd at Pete's Pub Little Harbour
Wind down at Sip Sip
Pirates Cove Guana Cay
Lookin' up at Cracker P's (Lubbers Quarters)
The Happy Couple
For Quick Access to the most recent update, just remember - AbacoUpdate.com
Sandy Estabrook's Abaco Guide Update No. 6
A supplement to Sandy Estabrook's Guide to the Abacos, Bahamas
Locair's civil aviation terminal - St. Pete / Clearwater Airport
Our trip this year was too short, only eight days on Elbow Cay. As a result we bypassed Green Turtle this year, a first since discovering G.T. and Abaco in 73. As a result, this Update will be brief, primarily because there isn't too much more to cover that isn't included on our home page and in earlier updates.
The most exiting part of our trip was the wedding of my wife Debbie's son, Todd to Mary Salerno. It was Preacher Vernon's 738th wedding. The ceremony was a repeat of ours (no 618) of June 6th, just three years prior. Doing the math you can see Vernon averages 40 weddings a year on top of his grocery store and bakery business. Information on island weddings can be found at hopetownweddings.com whose proprietor is Vernon's daughter Bonnie.
Despite a couple changes in our departure schedule, our second most exciting experience was LOCAIR. It is the only carrier to fly nonstop from Florida's west coast to Marsh Harbour. There is no security to deal with so we could bring booze even diving knives. We flew from Signature Flight Support's civil air terminal (at St. Pete/Clearwater (PIE) only 45 min. from our home). The terminal is very nice and exclusive with snacks & coffee being served. Flight time for the 375 statute mile trip is 1 1/2 hours on a pressurized Metroliner III.
Customs on return was in another building - one agent, and it was in and out in ten minutes. All in all a great experience and the whole flight 1.5 hr. exactly! Now I hope they just stay in business in these difficult times. (Sadly they ceased Abaco Operations in early 2011)
Little Harbour Home with seldom seen Pelican
Upon arrival we picked up our boat at the new facilities of Rainbow Boat Rentals. Theirs is an easy to get to new location, just one block north of the end of Don Mackay Blvd. on the Harbour of course. Their location has to save you an hour or longer getting to the outlying cays as compared taking the water taxi. Or even compared to extra land taxi time to other agencies and the no wake zone in the inner harbor.
From there is was straight away to the Hope Town Harbour Lodge. After a quick lesson for Todd on tying a clove hitch knot and docking protocol, it was off to the pool bar for a "Reef Wreck". Since our last visit, bartender Gary has been moonlighting on Bahamian TV as "Gary the Explorer", a series of environmental programs relating to the Bahamas. His introductory video is featured on our video page.
The second thing we did was check in with Vernon to be sure paperwork was in order for tomorrows visit to the Government office in Marsh Harbour for the marriage license. Afterwards we hit Captain Jacks for dinner. Monday is bingo night and Mary won, treating all of us to dinner! Here I met the usual gang of locals that filled me in island happenings and controversies.
With the exception of Mary & Todd's Wedding Day (Bahamian Labour Day) the days were spent hitting the usual out island spots; Nippers, Grabbers, Pete's, Crackers etc. Add to that 4-5 snorkel dives at Mermaids Reef, Sandy Cay, Fowl Cay and off the beaches at the Lodge and Nippers. The latter two, highly over rated.
The morning of the wedding we took Todd & Mary up the 101 stairs of the light house for some pictures. We covered all basses. As for the wedding itself, it was a replay of ours three years ago. The service was at St. James Methodist church officiated by Preacher Vernon. As before his daughter Bonnie tagged along to take pictures with our cameras. Afterwards I took some photos on the beach and at "Ray's Place" at the lodge.
The shortness of this year's trip prevented some of our usual stops including Sip Sip, Bonnie's new wine bar of last year. Loosely translated Sip Sip in Bahamian, means gossip. We also missed stopping for a Java at the HT Coffee House. and we even missed annual stop at Iggy Biggy. And what is almost unforgivable, we failed to indulge in my island favorite, Conch Salad. What is it with conch salad on Elbow Cay anyway? Seems Elbow it's the hardest of all cays to find conch salad marking our first trip in years and not a wee taste.
Western view from Hope Town Lighthouse
Prior to leaving for this years trip, I casually mentioned to a Doctor Robert Carey a surgeon at Sarasota Memorial that I was going to the Abacos he told me he is eight generations Abaconian and more specifically from Hope Town! So naturally upon our arrival, we had to check the cemetery stones at the "upper graveyard". Sure enough there were two, Samuel (born 1890) who incidentally who had 11 children and his brother William (born 1885 only living 24 years). I mention this because I was told of an effort underway to restore the old gravestones that have lost their engraving over the wears of blowing sand and hurricanes. The photo at the right as it turns out is Tilloo Cay resident Donnie Carey, whom we visited with a couple trips ago is no doubt a cousin of the Doctor. Donnie wife Brigitte is an artist of some renown whose works feature island life and whose paintings can be found at her website and at resorts and galleries.
Some Info / Reminders to pass along.
◊ Expect lots of power problems until their new generation plant comes on line. Lots of private generators though.
◊ The Abaco Inn is undergoing some major renovations including a new deck by the bar facing White Sound. They also reopened and restored their our side Gazebo. Great for lunch or dinner.
◊ To avoid flies being attracted to your cheeseburger in paradise, sprinkle a few drops of Tobasco or Hot Sauce around the edge of your plate.
◊ Captain Jacks has Bingo on Monday, Trivia Pursuit on Thursdays.
◊ The Tiki Bar in front of the Sea Shore Villas on Guana has been upgraded and renamed Pirates Cove.
◊ There's is a new take out-food store on Elbow Cay, south of the Sugar Shack run by the Mackey sisters. It's on the road to the Abaco inn. Golf cart needed.
◊ Rays Place at the HTHL, the after dinner "Ricks Place" for a cognac and cigar, no longer allows smoking. (The harbour facing porch will accommodate you)
◊ Friday at the Hope Town Public Dock, you might catch the conch man selling conch salad and seafood.
◊ We first wrote about the Pacific Lionfish being spotted in '07. Now they are every where and so are the Lionfish derbys. More on lionfish on our Flotsam & Jetsam Page and a couple Videos are here.