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Trip Report Sailing in the Abacos, Bahamas

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We recently returned from sailing with friends in the Abacos, Bahamas (January 2015) and I wanted to give a brief report. This was a new area for us to explore and being aboard a boat was a perfect way to see it. We flew into Marsh Harbor -a modern small airport. Customs was a friendly experience and then a quick cab to the marina where we were soon boarding a 41' Catamaran with friends. The company was called "Cruise Abacos". Very clean boat and nice staff. The topside lounge was very large and had a table and several sitting lounging areas, or you could venture on deck where the huge netted trampoline allowed seating above the water. Our shipboard quarters were in the forward right hull of the boat. It had a nice size bed, with a hatch overhead for airflow and plenty of storage. There were reading lights on both sides of the bed. The cabin was perfect for us, the only drawback was we had to share the bathroom due to the boat's layout. I would recommend if you decide to do a sailing trip, to get a boat that has private bathrooms for each cabin, if possible, for maximum privacy.

The first thing that struck us was how flat the islands are and how beautiful the water was compared to the more rugged terrain of the Virgin Islands where we had visited before. Within minutes the captain had us sailing along in turquoise waters enjoying the breeze and the warm sun. Each day we either anchored out in a remote island (sometimes just us) or we would tie to a dock ashore to explore a village. We could take a turn at the helm as well, if we wanted. The snorkeling was very good in some areas with beautiful coral and tropical fish and more grassy and less interesting in others. In general we enjoyed the anchoring out the most, but visiting Hope Town and touring the lighthouse was a shore side highlight. The 89' lighthouse tower has the Fresnel lenses, a kerosene wick and is hand wound every few hours through the night. The wooden staircase up to the top is not for the feint of heart.

Along the way we ate out at three really good restaurants and the rest were average, but in general we ate most of our meals on the boat and it was very good. The locals were very friendly and welcoming.

We hiked on a few of the islands and saw dolphin and turtles while sailing and kayaking. There were no decisions to make and no hotels to deal with packing/unpacking. In general we have never been so relaxed and would recommend this type of trip to anyone who wants something different from normal resorts/hotels cruises. If you can do it with your own group of friends like we did-even better. We were struck by how few people seem to visit this area but perhaps it was the time of year or maybe we were just lucky!

KC

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