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We're thinking of chartering in the Abacos this coming February. Has anyone done that? Is it a good chartering ground? What are the good companies to use? Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome.

We've chartered in the BVI, but are thinking about the Abacos to do something different. Also, we're hoping to cruise the Bahamas at some point, so we're thinking that a charter might be a fun way to get a preview. Would love to do the Exumas, but we understand there really are no chartering options down there. If we're wrong about that, don't be shy.
 

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Chartered there in Nov with Sunsail.

Excellent all round experience. Nice cruising area, no problems. Loved Hope Town and Little Harbor. Sunsail was good, only a few boats but staff were great. Nov was cold and quiet. Feb should be a little busier. Recommended.
 

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Capt Rich
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Abaco's

It can get cold in Feb or be nice and warm, if you are bareboating Moorings is great, if Crewed Moorings is Great...if Capt only, tell them you want info on Capt by 7 days out, including his time on the boats as captain (charter)they have some good ones, some new ones and some (see attached) ...This applies anywhere you hire someone to keep you safe..
North of Whale Cay (Green Turtle & Spanish) can be hard to reach in NE 20 winds be careful and ask for local advice if you need it...
Check with Troy at dive Guana if going north or anyone at Grabbers...before happy hour

Rich
 

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Will be there in Feb

Just booked my first charter with Sunsail, Marsh harbor for the 1. week in Feb. Don't know the area, so I opted for the Flotilla option. Good experience so far (communication wise)
 

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Can't answer your specific question, only want to add......
Be sure to make a stop at Nippers on Great Guana.

Also, if your into diving/snorkeling, the reefs off of Guana are fantastic in my limited opinion.
 

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Can't tell you anything about charter companies, but it's a beautiful area. Hope Town and Guana are great, and Man-O-War is a neat little island, too. (Make sure you're properly provisioned; it's a dry island.)

The walk to Nippers:


Man-O-War:


Sunrise at Marsh Harbour:
 

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the trick is to take a right and walk a half mile to high rocks before going out to the reefs...they are spectacular there whereas the ones in front of Nippers are pretty worked over or dead.
George,
We actually rented one of those flat bottom skiffs for a day at Treasure Cay and used the mooring balls located along the North Side of Guana. This worked out very nice for us. We found the snorkeling up there to be first rate.

I would imagine the mooring balls would be reachable in a good dinghy in the right conditions.
 

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I suggest you pick up a Dodge Cruising Guide before heading over. It will become your Abaco bible.

February weather can be really nice some years. Unfortunately, February-March is usually a pretty boisterous time in the Abacos, with lots of "northers" passing through. If the weather is good, the world is your oyster and anchorages become abundant. However, should the weather be unsettled, I suggest the following places to hang out in until the wind dies down.

Marsh Harbour is a great anchorage, but is open to a north wind.

Hopetown. Grab a mooring ball and have a blast! Great photo ops from the top of the lighthouse.

Great Guana is the home of Nippers (previously mentioned). Grab one of the Dive Guana mooring balls in Settlement Harbour and dink ashore. Sheltered spot, except in a west wind.

Treasure Cay. Anchor just outside the marina for $15/day and have full access to the resort's showers, pool, etc. Probably one of the most sheltered spots in the Abacos.

Little Harbour is the home of Pete's Pub and is a must see for the Abaco cruiser. Draft permitting you can slip into LH and actually swim back and forth from Pete's to the boat. However, given the amount of booze one is apt to consume at Pete's, I highly suggest taking the dinghy ashore. Will get a bit rolly in a north wind.

Man-O-War. Grab a mooring off Edwin's Boatyard. Great place to spend a day walking around the island. Look out for Miss Lola and her famous cinnamon buns. If the weather's good, anchor just north of the northern harbour entrance, behind the small rock outcroppings. From there you can dink into town or to the narrow causeway that fronts the Atlantic.

White Sound, if a lovely marina/resort is your cup of tea, Seaspray is the place to visit. Kept my boat there for three years. Always had a great time there, even when the wind kept me pinned to the dock. Junior will take good care of you.

I won't get into describing Green Turtle Cay, even though it's probably my favorite place in the Abacos. The reason for this is simple, The Whale.

In order to get to GTC you must leave the Sea of Abaco, via the Whale Passage north of Gauna, go out into the Atlantic, head north, then cut back inside once you are past the reef and the shallows. In the winter months, the passing northers frequently create a dangerous "rage" in the Whale. Only a nitwit would try to challenge these conditions.

Now, if you hit one of those glorious weather windows in February that allow you to transit the Whale, GTC is a fantastic place to visit for a couple days (plan on renting a golf cart). However, pay attention to the duration of your weather window! If it slams shut on you while your still at GTC, you'll never be able to get back to your charter base before you have to fly home.

I hope this information proves helpful to you. The Abacos are a great cruising ground and it is impossible not to have fun there!
 

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Allen - I took a 2 week vacation in the early 70's with a few of my friends. It was a sailing school and bare boat charter with CSY based, I believe, in Marsh Harbour. I remember some of the cays were very Victorian and conservative in there living style. For example, no short sleeves allowed. This varied from cay to cay. Is it still like that today? It still ranks as one of the best vacations I ever experienced.
 

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Wayne,

Never encountered anything like that. Shorts, t-shirt, and sandals is my usual and customary attire in the Abacos and I look just like all the other tourists.

Alan
 

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Man O War it was Cam. It was as if we were back in the days of the Puritans in New England. Church was held for the entire day Sunday.
 

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Nice shot of the entrance to the harbor/ Man o War

I was VERY fortunate to know a son of one of the early inhabitants of Man-o-War Cay that actually dynomited this entrance into what is now the southern entrance into this very secluded ( weatherwise ) harbor. Very, Very, neat little island.:) :) :) :)
 

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Wow, does this bring back memories. I was a captain for ABC, Hopetown '79-82. I am taking a charter group to Abacos in March 2010 and am trying to glean information. I can only imagine that it has changed a lot in 30 years. I wonder if I still have my mooring ball in American Harbour, MOW Cay. Guess I'll find out in March.
 
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