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Abacos Yacht Charter

The Northern Bahamas, or Abacos, include the main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco, together with the smaller Wood Cay, Elbow Cay, Lubbers Quarters Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay, Castaway Cay, Man-o-War Cay, Stranger's Cay, Umbrella Cay, Walker's Cay, Little Grand Cay, and Moore's Island.

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Abacos Overview

The Northern Bahamas, or Abacos, include the main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco, together with the smaller Wood Cay, Elbow Cay, Lubbers Quarters Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay, Castaway Cay, Man-o-War Cay, Stranger's Cay, Umbrella Cay, Walker's Cay, Little Grand Cay, and Moore's Island.

 

Due to the shallow waters and abundance of reefs, cruising guides and charts are a requirement in the Abacos. Photo: neilrabinowitz.com

Getting there from Florida by air is easy. There are three main airports: Nassau International, on New Providence; Marsh Harbour, on Great Abaco; and Treasure Cay, on Treasure Cay. All have regularly scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and Miami. If you choose to fly into Nassau, Bahamas Fast Ferry operates between Nassau and various islands, including Sandy Point on the southern end of Abaco and Eleuthera.

Most charterers will start at Marsh Harbor and head into the Sea of Abaco, the shallow waters between the islands of Little Abaco and Great Abaco and a chain of smaller islands to the east and north: Man-O-War Cay, Elbow Cay, Great Guana Cay, Green Turtle Cay, and Whale Cay.

These smaller islands to the east of Great Abaco serve as barrier islands between the Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and the contrast between the two is striking. In the Sea the water depths range from 12 feet down to nothing, but outside the depths quickly plunge, from 45 feet right off the islands to more than 3,000 feet only 4 miles offshore. The barrier islands make the Sea a wonderful cruising ground, with winds ranging between 5 and 20 knots, with the prevailing direction being easterly.

Due to the shallow waters and abundance of reefs, cruising guides and charts are a requirement in any part of the Bahamas, and no place more so than the Abacos. Guides such as the definitive Cruising Guide To The Abacos, by Steve Dodge, have hand-drawn charts and up-to-date information about anchorages and marinas. Another great resource are the Explorer Chartbooks, which are constantly updated. To keep up to date on the weather and local knowledge gleaned by liveaboards, listen in on VHF channel 68 at 8:15 every morning for the Cruiser’s Net.