Cruising the Abacos, Marsh Harbour to Hope Town

Beach House and crew spent a week in Marsh Harbour enjoying the company of fellow cruisers and, of course, having repairs done. If things are going to break, this is the place to have it happen. Our windlass quit on us at Tilloo Cay and the thought of hauling the anchor and chain up by hand for the rest of the trip until we arrived back in Florida was not very appealing. Based on recommendations from other boaters, we took the windlass to a small repair shop called simply TSE that is across the street from Conch Inn and Marina. The owner Bryan did a great job for us and was able to repair the windlass instead of having to order parts and have them shipped in from the U.S. We also had him do some work on our spare alternator that was needed in case the current one fails, as it did on us once before. Bryan does work on electrical motors, starters, alternators, chargers, inverters, solar panels and a lot more. He can be reach by phone at 242-458-5418.



While we waited for the repairs, we tried the local cuisine at a quaint bar and restaurant called Conchy Joe's. The food was good and the price was right. There were 8 in our group and everyone enjoyed the evening. On Friday and Saturday nights, Conchy Joe's has a DJ and the music resonates across the entire harbor until late in the evening so anchoring close to them is not a good idea. We also joined other cruisers at the Jib Room restaurant at Marsh Harbour Marina for happy hour on Thursday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. There is a cash bar and the restaurant (which is only open on Wednesday and Saturday nights) allows the boaters to bring a dish to share. It's a great way to have a meet and greet. There were some boats that we had met in Marathon and others that we have spent time with in other areas of the Bahamas. These get-togethers are really fun and over the years we have made many long time friendships after meeting at pot-lucks. There was a good turn out and the food is always excellent. We provisioned at Maxwells, a large U.S. style grocery store a few blocks from the dinghy dock. There are a couple of large liquor stores with good prices for spirits and soft drinks by the case. The road along the harbor has several excellent restaurants and shops. But once our windlass was repaired, we felt the urge to move on. The entire Abacos was ours to explore this trip.



It felt good to hit the up switch on the windlass and have it haul the anchor and rode up once again. It was midday, but everything is so close in the Abacos that most transits are about an hour or two. Our plans were to go to Hope Town for a movie presentation at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge, presented by the Bahamas National Trust. No, this isn't a bank. It is the agency that oversees the national parks including the Exuma Land and Sea Park at Warderick Wells. Hope Town has a harbor that is full of moorings and anchoring is not allowed. There is an anchorage outside the harbor, but the winds were forecast to be in the 20-knot range by evening, so we opted to stay at the Lighthouse Marina, just inside the harbor entrance and at the foot of the Hope Town Lighthouse. The marina only has 6 slips, but the overnight dockage is only $1.00 per foot plus electric and water. For us, it's only slightly more than a mooring and it was time for laundry and filling the water tanks, so it was the logical choice. 



Hope Town is an incredible settlement with picturesque homes, good restaurants, gift shops and a super beach on the ocean side. Walking the beach was how we spent many of the hours during our stay. We climbed to the top of the lighthouse, walked along the narrow streets (no motor vehicles allowed), and ate at a very inexpensive take out called Munchies. The ice cream at Sugar Shack was the perfect treat after a long walk around town. Hope Town is one of those places that we visit and hate when we have to leave. It is, in our opinion, one of the highlights of our Bahamas visits. During this visit, almost every mooring in the harbor was occupied. The marina slips were not completely full, but close. Shore access is available at several dinghy docks along the harbor, including one at a small grocery store. Many of them require you use a stern anchor so dinghies aren't willy nilly at the dock. Hope Town Harbour Lodge and the Hope Town Inn and Marina are incredible facilities.


As much as we would like to spend more time here, the rest of the Abacos beg for exploration. We do have limited time since our insurance company wants us north of Jacksonville, FL by June first. That means our time will have to be rationed as there are still many more harbors we plan to visit and lots of small cays that are wonderful spots to anchor and snorkel. It is in the back of our mind that this trip is winding down, but not yet. Our next stop will be Man O' War then Treasure Cay and finally Guana Cay before we head through Whale Cay Pass and on to Green Turtle Cay. Winds are expected to pick up in a few days so we will need a spot to hold up until it blows through - Man O' War or Treasure Cay. We'll see which way the wind blows us.



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