In The Bahamas, Rediscovering Abaco by Boat

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There’s no one on the beach at Matt Lowe’s Cay, just a row of dancing palm trees. 

The water is that unmistakable cerulean that you only find in the Sea of Abaco, a shade unique in The Bahamas, a destination with its own encyclopedia of blues. 

There’s too much of a chill to take the dinghy to the sand; but it doesn’t even matter. 

All you need to do is look and feel the crisp air and admire the beauty of this place. 

This is the essence of The Bahamas: the water, the quiet, the natural environment, the endless rewards for making the journey. 

It’s the feeling of adventure — that, even just for a day, you’ve discovered this little cay just for yourself. 

And none of that has changed, even as the last 15 months have put Abaco to the greatest test in its history, a hurricane followed six months later by a pandemic. 

Abaco is in the process of being reborn, from the constant rise of steel in Marsh Harbour to the marvelous renaissance of the Abaco Beach Resort.

The MarineMax 362 at Boat Harbour.

And you can really only see it on a boat, the way Abaco is meant to be seen, the reason Abaco has always sung a siren song for lovers of the sea. 

We’re exploring Abaco on a MarineMax 362, the newest boat on the Sea of Abaco and a thrilling power catamaran that’s just about designed for these waters. 

In a significant step for Abaco, MarineMax Vacations just opened its first-ever base in The Bahamas in Marsh Harbour this month, partnering with Navigare Yachting to offer a special kind of experience for the archipelago. 

It’s based at the Conch Inn Marina, which is itself in the midst of a dramatic transformation project — because, as you begin to see, all of Abaco is rebuilding in earnest. 

THE NEXT STOP is Man-o-War Cay, a place whose legendary history cannot be broken by a storm. 

Man-o-War Cay.

It was here that the Albury family cultivated what has become the home of the most storied boatbuilders in The Bahamas, and a stop here is almost an obligatory tribute. 

The more stops you make, the more you being to marvel, not just how much is open and how much is back, but how much there is to discover. 

bahamas abaco boat adventure
A table with a view at Firefly Sunset in Abaco.

You can tie up at the lovely Firefly Sunset, for a lunch or a night, or head for Green Turtle Cay, or journey south to Little Harbour, get a slip at the Abaco Yacht Club and spend a day sipping Kalik at Pete’s Pub. 

Or you can just go find a little cay somewhere in the Sea of Abaco, and make it your own. 

Of course, it’s this boat that is making the journey, a customized Aquila 36 that’s equally adept at adventure and entertainment. 

To put it plainly, this thing can go.

It’s the perfect way to get around Abaco quickly, meaning you can see and enjoy more of the islands than you otherwise might. 

bahamas abaco boat adventure

But it’s also a sleek, ultra-comfortable boat that’s designed for having fun; whether you’re sunning on the wonderful fold-out seats on the bow or listening to the spectacular sound system or enjoying an evening rum by the neon LED lighting. 

The new-look Hope Town Inn.

THE FINAL, ESSENTIAL stop is Elbow Cay, the centuries-old pulse of these little islands, home to the symbol of Abaco — the red-and-white-striped lighthouse on Elbow Reef, the only manned lighthouse on earth still powered by kerosene. 

The iconic lighthouse.

And as you draw in to Elbow Cay and you see those stripes, still intact, still brilliant against the green of the palms and the mangroves, you’re reminded that Abaco hasn’t gone anywhere. 

And this is the way to discover it again. 

For more, visit MarineMax Vacations.

The Bahamas is open for tourism, with entry protocols centered around a five-day PCR test requirement (you can find more information here). 

— CJ