Plan Your Charter

Itinerary

This Bahamas sailing itinerary will take you north and south of bustling Marsh Harbour to explore the nearby islands and cays on an adventure ideal for the entire family in the sheltered Sea of Abaco. One day you’ll be anchored off an uninhabited cay to snorkel on coral reefs in crystal clear water with excellent visibility, and the next you’ll be strolling the quiet streets of towns that were first settled hundreds of years ago (see Abaco Highlights and maps). Anywhere you go the sailing is superb.

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Example 7 Day Excursion

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Final Morning

Day 1, Man-O-War Cay

Marsh Harbour to Man-O-War Cay – 4 nm. A short sail to the northeast takes you from Great Abaco across to your first cay, a quiet island community with a population of about 200 residents. Boatbuilding has thrived for about a century, and it’s in evidence as you walk about the village and the surrounding area. There are restaurants serving island fare, but your need to plan on enjoying your “Happy Hour” on board since Man-O-War Cay is dry. The two anchorages inside Man-0-War Cay Harbour are nearly landlocked, inviting for a good night’s sleep. If you get a late start do not worry, sail out of Marsh and anchor for the night in Matt Love Cove just outside the harbour. (26.33N – 77.035W)

Man-O-War Cay is a quiet community of roughly 200 residents, many of whom earn a living in the boatbuilding trade, which dates back about a century. The original settlers, who first came to the cay in 1820, farmed the land, but they eventually gave it up in favor of crafting vessels from wood, such as the famous Abaco dinghy. In keeping with tradition, no alcohol is sold anywhere, but cruisers are welcome to enjoy sundowners aboard their yachts. Exploring the village on foot is a delight, taking you into some unique shops or to one of the casual restaurants for conch fritters. The white-sand beaches on the Atlantic side are stunning, making Man-O-War Cay yachting an unforgettable experience.

Things to do

Take a walk and browse the canvas wares at The Sail Shop, the wooden handicrafts at Joe’s Studio, and the intricate half-model boats at Emerson’s Shop. If you are in the mood for some local food, check out the Dock & Dine Restaurant at Man-O-War Marina, the Hibiscus Café, Sally’s Take Away, and the Tamarind Tree Shoal. Enas Place has homemade pies, among other casual fare. Golf cart rentals are available from Water Ways Rentals.

Facilities

Dockage, fuel, ice, water, and provisions are available.

Day 2, Great Guana Cay

Man-O-War Cay to Great Guana Cay – 8 nm. You will want to under way early for a great start to the first full day of your Bahamas sailing itinerary, taking you to your first stop at Fowl Cay Marine Park, (about 3 nautical miles from the northern tip of Man-O-War Cay (26.38.21N – 77.025W). The snorkeling at this park is excellent. After enjoying the sea life on the reef, sail or motor over to Bakers Bay, a tree-lined cove at the northern end of Great Guana Cay. The view to the west from the anchorage affords a sweeping vista of the Sea of Abaco, particularly beautiful as the sun begins to set. Dockage and moorings are available on the south end of the cay, where you can take the dinghy ashore and dine at one of several restaurants. It’s only a short walk across the island to the Atlantic side and the miles of white-sand beaches and the reefs beyond.

Known for its expansive white-sand beach on the Atlantic side, Great Guana Cay is sparsely populated with few stores or restaurants. It’s an incredibly scenic island, one that will inspire you to return for more fun. Cruising in Bakers Bay, the prettiest anchorage in the vicinity, is a great way to end the day.

Things to do

Dive Guana is a full-service dive shop and offers bicycle rentals. There are several restaurants, including Orchid Bay Restaurant, Docksiders,
Grabbers Bar & Grill, and Nippers are definitely lively and hopping most weekends and you must try the Guana Grabber! It is definitely the place to party.

Facilities

Dockage is available at Orchid Bay Marina on the south side of Settlement Harbour. Provisions are available in town.

Day 3, Green Turtle Cay

Great Guana Cay to Green Turtle Cay – 12 nm. This passage takes you briefly into the Atlantic and blue water as you sail northwest past Whale Cay, then duck back inside and sail nearly west to clear the shoals before turning northwest again to reach the harbors and anchorages at Green Turtle Cay. After your first two nights spent in relative seclusion, you can opt for civilization at the marinas or anchor out to enjoy New Plymouth and its museum, sculpture gardens, and restaurants.

New Plymouth, the quaint village on Green Turtle Cay, is the epitome of Bahamian charm with its narrow streets, white picket fences, and brightly painted buildings. First settled in 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, it grew into the second largest city in the Bahamas by the 1800s. Now it’s known for its shops, restaurants, and historic sites popular among boaters, making New Plymouth yachting a delight. The two main harbors are White Sound to the north and Black Sound to the south.

Things to do

Check out the photographs, paintings, and artifacts detailing the history of New Plymouth at the Albert Lowe Museum. The bronze sculptures at the Memorial Sculpture Gardens feature busts of important figures in Bahamian history, and the Captain Roland Roberts House Environmental Center is a great place to take the kids to learn more about the ecology of reef systems. Popular restaurants include the McIntosh Restaurant and Bakery, Laura’s Kitchen, the Wreckin’ Tree Bakery and Restaurant, the Plymouth Rock, and the Pineapples Bar and Grill. The Bluff House and the Green Turtle Club in White Sound are both excellent. Or walk to a favorite local bar, The Sundown Cove and sip the specialty of the house – a Gumbo Smash!

Facilities

Dockage, fuel, water, ice, showers, laundry facilities, provisions, and taxi service are available.

Day 4, Treasure Cay

Green Turtle Cay to Treasure Cay – 24 nm. Get under way early for your last leg north in the Sea of Abaco to swim, snorkel, or simply explore the beaches and nature walks on Manjack Cay, anchor for lunch at 26.50.5N – 77.24.04W) a secluded cove and enjoy a refreshing swim in peace just a quick sail of about 5 nautical miles. The locals pronounce Manjack as “Munjack” or “Nunjack” and it’s a delightful spot. The easiest anchorage lies between Manjack Bluff and Crab Cay. Set a course southward for Treasure Cay, known for its resort and world-famous white-sand beach arching in a crescent for over three miles. Dock at the marina and go ashore to dine at one of the restaurants.
Treasure Cay was developed as a resort in the 1950s, the first of its kind in the Abacos. It has since grown into a thriving tourist destination famous for its beautiful crescent-shaped, white-sand beach ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports of all kinds. Treasure Cay cruising is a must during any charter in the Sea of Abaco.

Things to do

The 3-plus-mile white-sand beach is the main attraction at Treasure Cay, where you can swim, sunbathe, or enjoy any number of watersports. Book a scuba diving excursion, play a round of golf at the 18-hole championship golf course, or schedule a game of tennis at one of several first-rate tennis courts. A visit to Treasure Cay wouldn’t be complete without stopping for drinks at the appropriately named Tipsy Seagull bar. The Spinnaker Restaurant is located near Treasure Cay Marina.

Facilities

Dockage, fuel, showers, laundry facilities, and provisions are available.

Day 5, Hope Town

Treasure Cay to Hope Town – 18 nm. It’s a straight sail of about 15 miles on a heading just south of east to Point Set Rock, a track that promises swift and easy sailing in a balmy northeasterly breeze. As you reach the rocks, Man-O-War Cay will be to port, and Elbow Cay, home of Hope Town at the north end of the cay, will be off the bow. Elbow Reef Lighthouse rises above the low shore, a landmark in these waters for well over a century. Hope Town Harbour is nearly landlocked, has full-service marinas, moorings, and numerous attractions, including several excellent restaurants. A museum, art galleries, boutiques, a bakery, a dive shop, and other businesses are in Hope Town, which is restricted to pedestrian traffic only. Snorkeling on the reef on the Atlantic side is good along most of Elbow Cay.
Elbow Cay has much to offer cruisers, including historic Hope Town, White Sound, and Tahiti Beach. Snorkeling, scuba diving, watersports, shopping, and fine dining are all popular pastimes. Yachting in Tahiti Beach waters is a highlight of cruising to Elbow Cay.
Hook your mooring ball in Hope Town which are available and can be reserved in advance of your arrival. No anchorage is available in Hope Town Harbour. Anchorage is available north of the harbor off Eagle Rock. Dockage is available at White Sound, and there’s an anchorage off Tahiti Beach.
Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available in Hope Town.

Things to do

The Wyannie Malone Museum is named for Hope Town’s founder, Wyannie Malone, who fled her home in South Carolina because of the American Revolution. She began the settlement of Hope Town with fellow refugees in 1785. The museum is a fascinating homage to this turbulent time in British and American history, which helped give the Bahamas part of its unique character. Naturally, a climb to the top of Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a must; the views are extraordinarily beautiful. There are a number of eclectic shops. Restaurants include Cap’n Jacks, Club Soleil, Harbour’s Edge, Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Munchies Take Away, and Rudy’s Place. At White Sound, you’ll find the casual elegance of the Abaco Inn and the Boat House Restaurant.

Facilities

Dockage is available in Hope Town and White Sound. Fuel, water, ice, provisions, Internet access, and golf cart rentals are available.

Day 6, Little Harbour

Hope Town to Little Harbour – 20 nm. Sail westward to clear the shoals extending out from Lubbers Quarters Cay, and then continue the southern leg of your Bahamas itinerary to the exquisite snorkeling and scuba diving at the Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park. Anchor off Sandy Cay, in the park, and head to the reef to view the sea life and the undersea caves. This area of the Abacos has roughly 150 species of birds, sea creatures, and plants. Farther south on Great Abaco, you’ll find Little Harbour, a secluded anchorage (moorings are available) that is the site of a small art colony. Relax aboard and watch sea turtles and porpoises swimming near the yacht, then go ashore to dine at Pete’s Pub, an open-air bar that also features an art gallery.
If there ever was a place that time seems to have forgotten, it’s the picturesque and secluded anchorage at Little Harbour on Great Abaco. A narrow spit separates the harbor from the Atlantic – the surf booms and the balmy trade winds gently sweep across the white-sand beach. The abandoned lighthouse perched on the spit stands as a lonely sentinel, a vestige of the past. Best known for the internationally acclaimed artist, the late Randolph Johnston, who established an art colony at Little Harbour with his wife, Margot, in the 1950s, the arts still flourish in this idyllic place. Yachting in Little Harbour waters transports you back to a time when the Bahamas remained an undiscovered paradise

Mooring

Moorings are available. The anchorage is well protected and holding is good.
Dinghy dockage: A dinghy dock is available.

Things to do

Apart from the natural beauty of the beach and the caves on the west shore of the harbor, Pete’s Pub is the major attraction. The owner, Pete Johnston, a son of Randolph and Margot, includes an art gallery in his waterfront restaurant and bar. In the nearby foundry, open to the public, he makes life-sized bronze statues of marine creatures and other objects, as well as intricate jewelry. Pete’s Pub serves casual fare, quite appropriate for the setting, including hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, chicken, and fish. There’s good snorkeling on the nearby reef.

Facilities

No facilities for yachts are available.

Day 7, Elbow Cay

Little Harbour to Elbow Cay – 15 nm. Head north for the last full day of your Bahamas experience. Once past Pelican Cays and the jaunt west to clear Tilloo Bank, at the south end of Tilloo Cay, you’ll turn north toward Lubbers Quarters Cay, a 300-acre private island dotted with a few homes and cottages. A channel runs between Lubbers and Elbow cays, where you’ll find magnificent Tahiti Beach and its resident giant starfish clearly visible from the deck of the yacht. Anchor there for a relaxing lunch before sailing the short distance to White Sound, at Elbow Cay, to dock for the night at one of the marinas. The famous Abaco Inn offers informal gourmet dining and the beach on the Atlantic side of the cay is minutes away by foot.

Elbow Cay has much to offer cruisers, including historic Hope Town, White Sound, and Tahiti Beach. Snorkeling, scuba diving, watersports, shopping, and fine dining are all popular pastimes. Yachting in Tahiti Beach waters is a highlight of cruising to Elbow Cay.
Moorings in Hope Town are available and can be reserved in advance of your arrival. No anchorage is available in Hope Town Harbour. Anchorage is available north of the harbor off Eagle Rock. Dockage is available at White Sound, and there’s an anchorage off Tahiti Beach. Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available in Hope Town.

Things to do

The Wyannie Malone Museum is named for Hope Town’s founder, Wyannie Malone, who fled her home in South Carolina because of the American Revolution. She began the settlement of Hope Town with fellow refugees in 1785. The museum is a fascinating homage to this turbulent time in British and American history, which helped give the Bahamas part of its unique character. Naturally, a climb to the top of Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a must; the views are extraordinarily beautiful. There are a number of eclectic shops. Restaurants include Cap’n Jacks, Club Soleil, Harbour’s Edge, Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Munchies Take Away, and Rudy’s Place. At White Sound, you’ll find the casual elegance of the Abaco Inn and the Boat House Restaurant.

Facilities

Dockage is available in Hope Town and White Sound. Fuel, water, ice, provisions, Internet access, and golf cart rentals are available.

Final Morning

Elbow Cay to Marsh Harbour – 10 nm. Although you won’t want to sail back to reality (you can always come visit the Abacos again!), the final leg of your charter will be a glorious sail north and then west back to the Moorings base. Please check in by noon.