A 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 Bahamas maps). And, of course, the sailing is superb.
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 plan on enjoying your sundowners 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.
View day 1
Man-O-War Cay to Great Guana Cay – 8 nm. Get under way early for a great start to the first full day of your Bahamas sailing itinerary, which will take you to Fowl Cay Marine Park, about 3 nautical miles from the northern tip of Man-O-War Cay. The snorkeling at this park is excellent. After enjoying the sea life on the reef, proceed 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.
View day 2
Great Guana Cay to Green Turtle Cay – 12 nm. This passage takes you briefly into the Atlantic 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. Whereas the first two nights of your Bahamas itinerary were 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
View day 3
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, a 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.
View day 4
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.
View day 5
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.
View day 6
Little Harbour to Elbow Cay – 15 nm. Head north for the last full day of your Bahamas itinerary. 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.
View day 7
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 10 A.M.