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20 April, 2015

On the Quiet… Abaco, Bahamas

Virgen beaches, cristaline water, Caribbean shells, english cottages by the sea, a unique and enchanting place. A fascinating vacation place for sea lovers, with lots to do, in the water and out.

The Welcome was unmistakable. In a slow Caribbean drawl, accompanied by a big hug from our host. We were in the Marsh Harbour airport, a small, homey place where everyone seems to know everyone… who’s coming, who’s going.

We departed the airport to our home, passing through quiet streets with pastel colored cottages adorned with maritime paraphernalia. The Bahamas was once a British colony and for the last 40+ years has remained a part of the Commonwealth). You can still see the influences of the British here in Abaco.

“Peas n’ Rice” is the name of our host’s lovely home. They have been residents in the Bahamas for the last 35 years. This is a place without pretense, familiar, relaxed, comfortable, and full of history. The house seems to float above the water, enjoying unobstructed ocean views on both sides. Here, there is no noise, no traffic, just the soft lapping of the waves, and the sea gulls’ calls. “On the quiet”, the local terminology for “relaxed”.

There are so many things to do in Abaco, especially in the water. Our experience was no exception.  After sitting down to a seaside lunch at home and the quintessential siesta afterward, we were sea-bound for a bit of night fishing on a pontoon, in front of Man-o-War island. In a starlit light with a calm ocean as our ally, we bottom-fished accompanied by good friends, a nice breeze, and our guides Ray and Juan. We caught some grouper and yellowtail, the perfect ingredients for our ceviche lunch the next day. After just a few hours of Caribbean breezes, great conversation and a starry night, we returned to our house completely adjusted to our new surroundings.

The next morning, after a delicious Colombian coffee in the privacy of our small cabana, we set off on foot to discover Marsh Harbour. We were impressed by the simplicity of the place. Dirt roads, rustic cabins, tropical flowers and gardens that have more the feeling of little Caribbean forests. Each house in this enclave has its own beach access, cabana and dock. Small, hand-painted wooden signs announce the names of each home… The Love Shack, Peas n’ Rice, Somthing outta Nuttin’, Runaway Hill, to mention a few. Some even have totems marking the distance to other better known places in the world.. Berlin, Miami, San Antonio. All painted in bright Caribbean colors and nailed on to a palm tree. Everything here is familiar. Everyone seems to know one another, including a neighbor’s Golden lab, who rides shotgun as if he were the driver.

In the afteroon, it’s off to neighboring Hopetown by boat, it’s famous lighthouse surrounded by small toy-like Victorian clapboard homes, the bay filled with sail boots of all sizes. We lunched in the garden of the Hope Town Inn, surrounded by people of all ages, on simple Bahamian food: conch salad, fresh fish, even hamburgers; and a hard-to-beat rum punch to go with it. After yet another siesta, we dined on seafood at Mangoes Marina.

Our next destination was Bakers Bay Marina, an exclusive enclave of golf and other Caribbean pursuits. Here amidst the exclusive, elegant homes and manicured lawns we were able to enjoy an al fresco lunch on the dock. Even though it’s rumoured that to apply for membership you must have 40 million cash in the bank, Bakers Bay still has that small hometown feeling (if you’re accompanied by the right people!).

Lastly, our trip wouldn’t have been complete with a bit of bone fishing in the miles and miles of surrounding sandbar. Alfred, my husband, met his guide at 7 am to go and try his luck with this difficult, spirited fish, known to give the most avid and capable of fishermen a great workout. They fished til noon, “catch and release”.   Supremely ecological.

It is impossible to imagine all of these experiences in such a short time period. All that’s left is time to plan our return with our own family. This time, we’d like more time to explore the world renowned Blue Holes, visit Treasure Cay and even go sailing.

We’d like to invite you to visit the properties we have for rent in this beautiful Caribbean enclave.


Category: Holiday Ideas
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