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With one of the world's largest barrier reefs, a quarter of the world's coral lying in the waters and exceptional sailing conditions, a Bahamas sailing itinerary around the Abacos promises an unforgettable sailing vacation. Just a short distance from Florida these islands are a favorite among families, and loved by sailors the world over.

Day 1: Hope Town

The Hope Town lighthouse is one of only three kerosene-powered lights in the world, and all three are in the Bahamas.
Hope Town is the main settlement on Elbow Cay. It's another one of the picturesque villages built around a protected harbor that looks as if it might have been picked up in New England and dropped in the Abacos. Wyannie Malone, a loyalist who fled South Carolina during the American Revolution, settled in Hope Town in 1785. A museum named after her gives a fascinating picture of this turbulent time in British and American history.

Hope Town is the location of the candy-striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse that has been a landmark in the Abacos for generations. It was built in 1863 and was not universally welcomed by the island's inhabitants who, up until that time, had eked out a decent living from salvaging ships that were wrecked on the nearby reefs. Elbow Reef is one of only a few lighthouses left in the world that burns pressurized kerosene and therefore requires constant attention from the keeper. It is well worth climbing the one hundred and one steps to the top for the stunning view over the Sea of Abaco.

A Hope Town yacht charter affords the opportunity to explore the eclectic shops and excellent range of restaurants at your leisure. There are good grocery stores in Hope Town, as well as a pharmacy, bakery, and Hope Town Coffee House. Shops selling locally produced arts, crafts, jewelry and clothing are dotted through the village, which epitomises traditional West Indies charm.

Moorings: Moorings are available in Hope Town and can be pre-booked. There is no anchorage in Hope Town Harbor but dinghy dockage is available. The Lighthouse Marina and the Hope Town Inn and Marina both have slips
To Do: Shop, Visit the museum, Climb the lighthouse
Facilities: Bars and restaurants - Fuel - Water - Ice - Provisions - Laundry - Showers and toilets

Day 2: Man O War Cay

A picturesque village located on the north side of Great Abaco Island. Snorkelling and bone fishing, at your leisure...

Man-O-War Cay, like New Plymouth, was originally a Loyalist settlement and the population remains fiercely loyal to the British crown. The picturesque village is very conservative; a dry island with three churches to cater to a population of only three hundred Bahamians and one hundred and fifty foreign families. Located on the north side of Great Abaco Island, Man-O-War Cay is a long, narrow island, about 2 ˝ miles (4 km) long and only 10 metres wide at its narrowest point. Facilities for visiting charterers are comprehensive here. Man-O-War Cay is somewhere that has based its economy on boatbuilding and servicing the yachts that have been stopping here for years. There are grocers, gift shops and restaurants. Man-O-War Cay can be explored easily by bike or golf cart which is how the locals get around.

Watch out for the infamous Miss Lola and her golf cart, laden with her freshly baked cinnamon buns which some might consider one of the gourmet highlights of a Man-O-War yacht charter. Snorkeling, beach-combing and bone fishing are just a hint of things that can be enjoyed here.

Mooring: There are two main anchorages on Man-O-War Cay, sharing a common entrance on the east side of the island. The south harbor is more remote and there is a wider range of marina facilities at the north harbor, which also has moorings
To Do: Snorkeling, Fishing
Facilities: Fuel - Provisions

Day 3: Green Turtle Cay

Swimming pool and resort facilities are available at the Bluff House Marina. With many facilities and live music... Green Turtle Cay is deinitely worth a visit!

The charming picture-postcard village of New Plymouth is the best known of Green Turtle Cay's attractions and, when you have your had your fill of exploring its history, it's time to explore the rest of what this beautiful, unspoilt island has to offer. A Green Turtle Cay yacht charter allows you to discover secluded coves teeming with the ghosts of 17th century pirates and wonderful beaches. Coco Beach is a place of serene beauty with a crescent-shaped beach lined with casuarina pine trees, and Ocean Beach has exceptional reef snorkeling.

The pristine, turquoise waters offer fantastic deep-sea fishing and diving experiences. Two marinas attached to resorts at the northern end of the island offer a warm, Bahamian welcome to visiting sailors. The historic Bluff House Resort is set in 12 acres of grounds and has its own private beach. At the Bluff House Marina on White Sound, which has recently been renovated, the Jolly Roger Bar and Grill has its own pool and good facilities open to sailors on a Green Turtle Cay boat charter. The Green Turtle Marina also has excellent facilities, plus live music (don't miss the Gully Roosters if you're passing through on a Wednesday night!) and you're bound to make a few new friends at the nightly Happy Hour. Both resorts are renowned for the quality of their food offering, with both fine dining and more casual options. There's always plenty of excellent seafood. If you're lucky enough to find yourself on Green Turtle Cay on New Year's Day you will experience the island's Junkanoo - the Bahamas' version of Mardi Gras, Carnival and Mako Jumby all rolled into one riotous day of music, color and madness. Elaborate crepe paper costumes, goatskin drums and conch horns are the order of the day and the partying continues into the early hours.

Mooring: The Bluff House Marina has 45 slips. The Green Turtle Club has 40. There are anchorages at Coco Beach, White Sound and Bluff Harbour. Dinghy dockage is available in most places
To Do: Swimming pool and resort facilities, Snorkeling, Deep Sea Fishing, Diving
Facilities: Bars and Restaurants - Fuel - Wi-fi - Water - Ice - Showers and toilets - Laundry facilities

Day 4: Little Harbour

Little Harbour is a picturesque and secluded village that has been home to a community of artists since the 1950s.
Little Harbour, located on the east side of Great Abaco Island, is a picturesque and secluded village that has been home to a community of artists since the 1950s, when Randolph and Margot Johnston and their three sons made their home here. Randolph Johnston was best known for his bronzes using the lost wax casting method. Since his death his son Peter and grandson Tyler have maintained the foundry established by Randolph, using it to create life-size marine bronzes, furniture and jewelry inspired by the local flora and fauna. The foundry and accompanying gallery and shop are open to the public.

Little Harbour is surrounded by a beautiful sandy beach and offers a protected anchorage, overlooked by a deserted lighthouse. Pete's Pub, located on the beach and owned by Pete Johnston, serves lunch (be sure to try the fish burgers!) and a legendary rum punch. It's the ideal place to sit for an hour or three, watching the world go by. On a Little Harbour yacht charter the surf booms and the balmy trade winds blow as they have done since the beginning of time. Porpoises and sea turtles swim in the clear blue waters of the harbour and on its western side there are genuine pirate caves at the foot of the cliffs that are worth exploring. North Beach has a magnificent coral reef that makes for a fascinating snorkeling spot. The bone-fishing is excellent in Bight of Old Robinson.

Mooring: Moorings are available. The anchorage at Little Harbour is only 5 to 8 feet (2 -3 metres) deep and has a sandy bottom. Some areas are grassy and the holding can be tricky. Dinghy dockage is available.
To Do: Visit the foundry, Snorkel, Relax, Fish

Day 5: Great Guana Cay

Come and hire a bike or a golf cart to explore the island. You must visit the five and a half mile sandy beach... Great Guana Cay, a long narrow islet, is best known for the 5 1/2-mile beach that stretches along its Atlantic side. It is a remote and scenic island with few shops and restaurants and a population of only 150, who live in a settlement along the beach. Transportation around the island is by golf cart or bicycle.

Great Guana Cay is known for its loyalist culture and architecture, with some original loyalist houses remaining. The loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the British throne and fled the United States during the American Revolution. The island has one of the longest and best preserved elkhorn and staghorn coral reefs in the West Indies. The interior of Great Guana Cay is forested and home to a great variety of native and rare birds, including white-crowned pigeons and white-tailed tropic birds.

On the island's beaches, you can expect to find loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles. A Great Guana Cay yacht charter has more than a touch of Gilligan's Island to it. It's a great place to swim, snorkel, dive and stargaze. For an island with such a small population, Great Guana Cay has acquired a reputation as somewhere that knows how to party. Nipper's is the most famous of the local hangouts. Visit on a Sunday and check out the famous pig roast while you sample a rum cocktail or two and listen to Jimmy Buffet music. Thsi is stress-free living at its best.

Mooring: There are moorings available for a fee in Fishers Bay and at Settlement Harbor at the southern end of the island. Fisher's Bay has dinghy dockage as does the Orchid Bay Marina at the southern end of Settlement Harbor
To Do: Snorkeling, Diving, Hire a bike or golf cart to explore the island
Facilities: Basic provisions - Bars and restaurants

Day 6: New Playmouth

For the more curious explorer New Plymouth offers numerous historical and other interesting sights waiting for you to discover. The picturesque town of New Plymouth is often said to resemble a living museum. The town was originally settled in 1783 by Loyalists - American colonists remaining loyal to the British monarchy who fled New England at the time of the American Revolution. The clapboard cottages and white picket fences on the New Plymouth waterfront look as if they have been transplanted directly from New England.

The Albert Lowe Museum in the town is housed in a meticulously restored Loyalist house and the collection of artefacts, furniture and photographs does a good job of imparting a sense of how arduous life has been here in the Out Islands since the Loyalists first arrived. There is also a fine array of model ships made by the man after whom the museum is named and paintings by Alton Lowe, Albert's son, a respected local artist whose work appears on Bahamian postage stamps. The Memorial Sculpture Garden, across the street from the New Plymouth Inn, is laid out in the pattern of a Union Jack flag and honours some of the original Loyalist settlers and their descendants. The ecology of reef systems is well explained at the Captain Roland Roberts House Environmental Centre.

These days, the town is a popular stop-off on a New Plymouth yacht charter with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to interest modern-day sailors. The Wrecking Tree Bar and Restaurant on the waterfront is renowned for its grouper fritters and the Ocean Blue Gallery has a good collection of work by local artists. The two main harbors are White Sound to the north and Black Sound to the south. The Green Turtle Club and Bluff House at White Sound are relaxed places to chill out if you've overdone it on the history and are in need of a drink to restore equilibrium.

Mooring: No moorings are available but there are a number of marinas on Green Turtle Cay and some at resorts which allow charterers to use their facilities. There are anchorages at Cocoa Bay and Bluff Harbor. Holding is good in White Sound and there is space for anchoring. At Black Sound the holding is poor. Dinghy dockage is available
To Do: Explore local history
Facilities: Fuel - Water - Ice - Showers - Laundry - Provisions - Taxis

Day 7: Treasure Cay

Make sure you don't miss the charming inlet at Treasure Cay, and walk barefoot along one of National Geographic's top 10 beaches. Treasure Cay is home to one of National Geographic's Top Ten beaches in the world and it's easy to see why - it's a picture-perfect, crescent-shaped, white-sand beach that stretches over three miles (five km) just crying out to be enjoyed. It never seems to get too crowded either, which just adds to the experience and makes a stop-over here one of the highlights of a Treasure Cay yacht charter.

As well as swimming and sunbathing, the beach has a good range of watersports facilities including a number of dive shops which will arrange a scuba diving excursion if you don't have your own equipment. The Treasure Cay Marina rents out windsurf boards and hobie cats if you fancy a bit of a blast. Fishing is big on Treasure Cay, particularly sport-fly and bone-fishing, with marlin, tuna, yellowfin, snapper, barracuda, grouper and wahoo all there for the catching. The island hosts the annual Treasure Cay Billfish Championships in May.

On land there is an eighteen-hole championship golf course at the Treasure Cay Golf Club (it's the only golf course in the Abacos and is something of a draw in this neck of the woods) and several excellent tennis courts. And if that all sounds too energetic, you can always take time out and hit the Tipsy Seagull for a few drinks and shoot the breeze with other sailors who have gone in search of liquid sustenance. The Spinnaker has a pretty good American and Bahamian menu.

Mooring: The Treasure Cay Marina has moorings available for a fee. There is anchorage space available with good holding. Dinghy dockage is available
To Do: Watersports, Fishing
Facilities: Bars and restaurants - Fuel - Showers - Water - Laundry - Provisions

Tropical Yachts
4906 N Travelers Palm Lane. Tamarac, FL 33319
Tel: 1 (305) 735-3460 & (305) 593-8687

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