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sailing the abacos

Sailing North, The End of The Abacos

Hope Town is the end of the Abacos for us or at least as far south as we are going to make it. Why? The short answer is we’re on a schedule and oh baby, do we hate schedules.

Schedules are like dictators. They take away freedom, squash curiosity and threaten chaos if not adhered to.

However, there are rare cases where a schedule is necessary (unlike dictators).  For us, coordinating family meetups is one of those times. Jason’s family is flying into the Bahamas from all different parts of the country to meet us and see our new catamaran.  It’s a rare occasion to get everyone in one location (typically only happens at weddings or funerals) and while we hate to cut our time here short and backtrack…it’s family we’re talking about.  We are willing to make the sacrifice. 😉

I am certain drone shots make everything look more magical and has me hoping to be a bird in my next life.  Sky high views and fishing all day, doesn’t seem like a bad way to live!

sailing the abacos bahamas

Speaking of fishing, you’ll be happy to hear we have since caught more tuna and a nice round of mackerel.  I’m still in need of a good fish identification app to help me learn all the different fish types.  I just can’t seem to find one I like.  If you have an app, or a printed guide you use, I would love to know what it is.

Sailing The Sea of Abaco

I see why so many cruisers rave about sailing in the Abaco’s.  It is generally protected from the east and west with shallow water and plenty of anchorages.  With winds typically from the east, cruising north or south is like a dream for those of us with sails.

sailing the abacos

We had already hit so many great islands throughout the area, however we found a few more gems as we backtracked and focused in on new spots to drop the hook.  For our fellow travelers headed this way, we’ve highlighted some of our favorites from the trip below.

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map

Nautical Miles Sailed: 143
Dates: December 1-12, 2016

Man-O-War Cay

We originally planned to visit, but when we heard it’s a dry island (meaning no alcohol is sold) we were out!  Just kidding, we’re short on time and needed to keep moving along (but you do need to bring your own booze).  Supposedly it’s a picturesque little town with homes that are built like ships.  Cruisers from all over the Abacos talked about the quality of the Dock and Dine restaurant along with the local ice cream at Island Treats.  There’s a wrecked ship and reef for scuba called the USS Adirondack, and plenty of beaches to explore.  In other words…we need to come back.

sunrise on a sailboat

Fowl Cays National Park

This spot is not to be missed!  There is a day anchorage, or fair weather anchorage, on the SW side of Fowl Cay.  We chose to cruise up on the dingy from our spot at Man-O-War North, which is about a five nautical mile round trip.  We read reports of multiple mooring balls however we only located one off the northeast tip of the cay.  The reef we found was loaded with fish of all sizes, and as usual some creepy barracuda lurking off in the deeper water.  There’s loads more to explore by snorkel or scuba but we spent a couple hours swimming around and by the time we hopped back in the dinghy we were nearly popsicles.

snorkeling Fowl Cays National Park

In and Out of The Atlantic – Unmarked Cut and The Whale

We took the unmarked cut between Man-O-War and Fowl Cay Preserve and it was a perfectly fine transition into the deep Atlantic Ocean.  We snagged our first tuna, even if it was just a skipjack, but we ended up throwing him back because we couldn’t properly identify him fast enough.  The fishing out here is supposed to be amazing, but our sail was too short to hook another one.  From the outside we sailed back inside through The Whale without any issue.

traveling cats

Little Abaco Island

In anticipation of a blow from the north-northeast, we dropped the hook at the Crab Cay East Anchorage.  We stayed for three nights and didn’t see a single vessel.  We paddled through the shallows and small rock formations that surrounded us in search of lobster but we only found shell remains and a few pockets of junior lobsters, surprising since it looks like lobster heaven around here.  We found a small wrecked boat while lobster scouting and Jason was surrounded by half a dozen small sharks while paddling back to the boat.  A little exciting and scary at the same time.

Great Sale Cay

Prepping for another big blow (welcome to winter in the Bahamas) from the north to northeast then switching straight east, we decided to hunker down at Great Sale Cay.  We were one of a half dozen boats but there was plenty of room for us and then some.  When the wind calmed down we paddled over to the mangroves and saw dozens of small sharks, loads of sea turtles both big and small, a spotted eagle ray and lots of water fowl.  We heard from some locals in Green Turtle that Great Sale is THE spot for lobster, however we only found a few hanging out near Curry Creek.  We also took Singa for a walk on the beach at low tide.  There’s a fair amount of sand plus ruins of a building that’s long gone.

Never Enough Time

There are plenty of places we missed in the Abaco’s like Sandy Point, Moore’s Island, The Marls, Hole in the Wall Lighthouse, Abaco National Park, Nippers and so on.  It’s hard to squeeze it all in one trip and we didn’t want to try.  Missing a few must-see’s gives us a reason to come back.

What else did we miss?  If you have your own Abaco Island favorite to share please do in the comments below!

 

Gear Used In This Video

Cameras Used to Capture This Video:

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (25)

  • Scott S.

    We stumbled across your videos on youtube a couple of weeks ago and are thoroughly enjoying them. We’ve visited Abaco every other year since 2010. I got a chuckle out of referring to a “cay” as a “k” with the subsequent editing on the screen. When we visit, we stay in or around Elbow Cay. When you get to Man O’War, don’t miss the sail shop where a group of ladies sew away making handbags and such.
    Really have enjoyed your videos. Brings back great memories and makes us long to go back. Be safe, keep up the great narration.

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  • Tev

    What a bummer to throw back an edible fish! Why don’t you have something to put them in like a cooler/tub with water, until you can identify what it is. Keeps them alive and fresh until you either throw them back or prepare them for dinner.

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  • Claudio

    Say hello to Brazil, we are in love with your way of life, inspiring us to the bones!

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  • Pete Naylor

    Love your blog and vids. We have cruised the Abacos several times. This year it’s Exumas in April. Fish Rules is a great fish ID app that does not need the internet to run. Happy Sails.

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  • Michael

    Jacques Cousteau stated decades ago that he would never eat fish from the ocean anymore. There is good reason to stay with the vegan diet.

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  • Tom Hathcock, M.Photog., CPP

    Nice drone image on your last video…. NOW…. and I know it might be a tab tricky…. can you get some drone footage while you are under full sail? I know, I know… it would really be scary to attempt.

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  • Scott Nansen

    When either one is near water in open water do the smart thing and wear a pad, oncell over board in the ocean with tide currents and waves the persons head quickly disappearso. Get the picture

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  • Bahamamama penny

    Zac Novak’s – from 5 Novaks and a Bus-mom here. We are in Thompson Bay , Long Island. You going to make it this far south? Here till end of April. Would love to meet you!!
    Enjoy family. Zac and family were here a week early Jan. Had a blast!

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  • mary

    Give it some time. You will know every edible fish if you already haven’t learned it by now.

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  • We’re loving hanging out with you on your amazing journey! Hubby has had to change his diet, so fish is becoming a mainstay. BUT we also just learned nearly all fish have mercury, some less and some more! But the research we did, seemed to focus on USDA facts. Not sure if mercury is a worldwide problem (says it travels half way around the world). Have you discussed this in the past? I think we’ve seen and read most of your posts and videos. This is one interesting article and it contains b/w pics of many fish to avoid!

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  • Diane Sanderbeck

    I think it was Jason who asked about a way to identify fish. I did a search for “fish identification charts” and clicked on images and some pretty clear pics came up you could probably save and study to learn your fish. There was even one chart that told if the fish were good to eat and how to catch ’em! I’ll find a way to send you those two. You’ll learn your fish. A net might be helpful too. Have fun! Loving your vids!

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  • Tracy H

    The spinnaker was new, right? You were talking of painting the hull this year, the yellow would be sooo pretty. I’m hooked on your blog and getting lots of great information from your RVing one. Kudos to you both for living the dream. Best to you both and happy sailing.

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  • Nancy Fernandez

    That was a shiny fish. Poor Nikki had to give up another one. Great video as always. Loving the drone! Happy Sailing!

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  • Deborah Kerr

    Thanks for letting us sit at the helm!! That was a fast sail, felt like a motorboat race!! lol Also, from a previous video, thank you a million times for showing the floor plans of the sail boat – I had a difficult time in my head trying to figure out how everything fit. You 2 seem so responsible – my motto is always “safety first” and I think that’s yours too 🙂 Safe travels >>>>>>>

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  • Brian

    Another great video. Love the shots from the Drone. Does the drone have pontoons so you can land it in the water?

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  • Scooter trash

    Skipper doodle!!!! Skips are good to eat if you boil and remove the dark oil. This is the tuna used for cat food. Loaded with healthy oil but very fishy tasting. When you boil the slab the oil rises to the top, then remove and throw on open flame.

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  • You must go back to Man-O-War as it is extremely charming. We visited on our sailboat about 15 years ago and have wanted to fo back ever since. Go to the canvas/sail loft if it’s still there.

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  • Jenna

    My husband says looked like a skip Jack, not very good to eat…

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  • Kel

    You are right — the drone is like a bird’s eye view. Beautiful!! I always enjoy your videos and pictures.

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  • As always, love the video, it’s so beautiful there, I’m jealous. Sitting here in the desert of Arizona on BLM land. I dreamed of sailing as a youth, but never got far from land. RVing is the next best thing. Keep up the great videos and blogs.

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  • Steve

    If you want to be a bird in your next live, be a bird that has a great range and that no other animal particularly likes to eat. Then become a Hindu!

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  • Francisco Braga

    Hello guys, I have a boat and venture out to the gulfstream, there is a book that I use its called “sport fish of Florida” also they have “sport fish of the Atlantic” the author for both of them is Vic Dunaway, you can find them on Walmart or any reputable fishing store. Also for increasing your chance of landing good fish, use Islander lures, color black and red and use some inline planers #3 would be the best, with a lever drag shimano reel and a beefy rod. Good luck out there.

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