Warm up and chill out at the same time on the beautiful Abacos islands of the Bahamas. Wiggle your toes in the sand and relax—you’re on island time.
There’s no better way to beat the late-winter blues than a flying trip to the Bahamas. Feel your spirits soar as you take in the white sand and turquoise waters. And here’s good news for pilots now flying under BasicMed: The Bahamas is the first country outside the United States to accept BasicMed for U.S. pilots flying in its airspace.
The Bahamas are so close! From Palm Beach International, it’s only 75 nautical miles east to Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport. Another 87 nm east and you’re at Marsh Harbour International on Great Abaco Island. Marsh Harbour is an Airport of Entry, so you can skip Freeport if you prefer. The Abacos chain of islands stretches 120 miles and boasts four airports and practically unlimited floatplane access. The boomerang-shaped Great Abaco and Little Abaco islands function as Abaco’s mainland. Great Abaco is the most populated island and offers modern conveniences unavailable on barrier cays, but even here, phone and internet service can be spotty. The best advice is to do as the locals: Don’t worry, be happy—you’re on island time!
A 10-minute taxi ride from the Marsh Harbour airport and conveniently close to the marina’s sailing and diving charters and restaurants, the tiny Conch Inn provides simple, clean furnishings. Conch Inn is owned by The Moorings, next door. Captain your own fully equipped private luxury monohull or catamaran yacht and use it as your floating hotel. If you desire, a skipper will accompany you the first day. The Abacos provide a protected boating atmosphere—you’re never out of sight of land. You can even cruise to dinner; all harbors and most resorts and restaurants provide public docking. Stop at Pete’s Pub and Gallery in Little Harbor, a tiki hut with great fish and cocktails, and visit their working foundry.
If you’d rather sleep on land, you can still rent a power boat from Island Marine in Marsh Harbour. Tool around for a while and then throw out an anchor and snorkel in the clear waters. Or try deep-sea fishing excitement with Captain Perry Thomas, who supplies quality equipment and a lifetime of knowledge. You’ll troll for mahi-mahi, tuna, or even marlin; he offers snorkeling adventures, too (call 242-577-0553). The Abacos are known for great sailing, and Captain John Sporck offers captained sailing charters on his beautiful, sloop-rigged, 33-foot monohull Skye Lark. He’ll even pick you up anywhere within the Sea of Abaco at no extra charge. You choose your adventure, whether a breakfast trip or sleepover. Optional instruction is included at no extra cost.
These turquoise waters seemingly demand you get under them, so try a dive or snorkel with Above and Below Abaco. Get up close to colorful reef fish and explore underwater caves. Bring home your own fantastic underwater photos and video by spending a day with Len Bucko, a former military aviation photographer. You’ll get classroom instruction, a dive-and-shoot experience, review and edit of your photos, and use of his equipment.
Six miles east of Great Abaco is the charming Elbow Cay, all pastels and palms. Walk or boat in to waterside Cap’n Jack’s for conch fritters, grouper, or chowder. Stroll through the tiny settlement of Hope Town and visit the candy-striped lighthouse. Grab a rum punch and unwind to sweet calypso music. Enjoy views of both the Atlantic and the Sea of Abaco from the Abaco Inn, or rent a private home through Hope Town Hideaways. Adventures abound on Elbow and the other cays: Secluded beaches, pig roasts, boat builders, a wild horse preserve, exotic birds, and mangrove swamps, are all within easy reach via boat. The party crowd ties up at Nipper’s on Great Guana Cay, just north of Elbow Cay. Trade the wintertime blues for blue waters in the Abacos!
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