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Overseas Radio Network - Bahamas: The Abacos Islands and Hope Town

beach bahamasIn the Overseas Radio Network Show 6, Segment 1, we're talking about cruising destinations of the Bahamas:

  • Abacos Islands
  • Hope Town
    • Hope Town Lighthouse
    • Harbour Lodge
    • Waterfront Bars & Restaurants

GARY FRETZ: Ahoy, mates! You’ve tuned into “Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle”. This Gary Fretz and I have my co-hosts here today, Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft. You might be wondering why yachts makes the best escape solution. Well, it is because you can find live aboard yachts for $15,000, $15-million, and everywhere in between. They serve as your home and they provide inexpensive transportation around the world.

For a transcript of this podcast, click "read more" below.

 

GARY: Yes, it’s possible to sail around the world for next to nothing using windpower. And if you would like to know how to do that just stayed tuned.

ESTELLE COCKCROFT: Hi, guys. Today we will be talking about the Bahamas Islands and the reason being it is so close to the US it is easy to get to. It is beautiful. The people are really friendly. And it is easy to get in and out. Gary, give us your take of your favorite part of the Bahamas.

Abacos Islands

GARY: Okay, my all-time favorite area are the Abacos. And, in a nutshell, specifically the reason why I like the Abacos is that:

  • They have super clean, gin-clear water.
  • You can sail in a protected area.
  • They have white sandy beaches.
  • The people there like outsiders like Americans unlike some Caribbean Islands.
  • They have a great attitude.
  • The food there is similar to what most American are use to with plentiful amounts of fish.
  • There is low crime.
  • You can have a good availability of internet.
  • And you have quick and easy access to the US airport hubs. So like in the Abacos there are probably 8 to 10 flights a day out of Marsh Harbour and Treasure Keys.
  • They are only an hour away so if you have a medical matter or something else that you need to get back to the US for its quick and easy and relatively inexpensive to do so.

[Check out History of the Abacos Islands.]

Bahamas Cruising Permits

The other thing about the Bahamas, in general, is that you can get a cruising permit for 1 year. It’s $300 and, you know, the yacht can stay there for a year. Now immigration is going to want you to go through the usual paperwork which is not tedious. They let you stay up to 6 months which may be extended to 8 months. So if you want to stay longer, just go to the immigration office near by a few days before your stay is to expire and apply for an extension.

So you know, it is just a great all round place to go to. The other thing is that they kind of have an uncrowded friendly small town feel in most locations.

ESTELLE: That’s wonderful. Now I believe, Gary, that the Abacos is one of your favourite parts of the Bahamas island chain. I have to say, Stephen, and I particularly love it. We did sailing schools there for 3 seasons and without exception every single person who came to do the sea school with us on our boat loved it and went back for charters afterwards. So do you want to tell us a little bit about the Abacos?

Hope Town

GARY: Yes, sure. These are some of the “don’t miss stops” in Abacos. My #1 favorite place is Hope Town. It is really the quaintest of quaint. It is kind of a cross between a picturesque New England village, Key West, and if you know what Seaside is in the Florida Panhandle. It sort of resembles that. Now cars are prohibited in the town proper, so everybody walks or ride bikes or drives a golf cart. And the way I see it, you see a pace of life that existed 150 years ago. The people are very relaxed and friendly. These are basically British people that speak with a sort of old Elizabethan accent. And they have an affinity for Americans unlike some Caribbean Islands.

These Abaconians use boats like we use cars. So everybody is tied to the sea. There is also a sailing club in Hope Town which holds regular sailing races and social drinking events. So it is a great way to know people on the Island. The whole place is totally casual. And even though you might meet some business moguls there or even minor British royalty, everybody is very friendly and easy-going. I use to know a Lord and Lady Cavendish who lived there. And I got to know them through the sailing club and it was great fun to just kind of mingle with them.

Hope Town Lighthouse

Hope Town has an interesting light house it was built in 1863 because there use to be so many ship wrecks in the area. Fortunately, now we have GPS now, so that’s not the case. But this particular one is worth a visit. It is one of the only hand wound lighthouses left in the world. But the best thing about it is the view from the top. You can dock your dinghy at the dock, climb to the top. There is a spectacular view and there is a photo opportunity of the area from up there.


Harbour Lodge

Another part of town I love is the beach area north of town. It is mostly deserted and it makes a spectacular walk because it has white sand clear water just beautiful. Another highlight in Hope Town is the Harbour Lodge. It is a hotel situated on a high sand dune. And you can swim in their pool, drink at the ocean front pool bar overlooking the beach, and you can go snorkelling on a reef just 50 feet off the beach and just see hundreds of fish.

Waterfront Bars & Restaurants

Also, in Hope Town there are several waterfront bars and restaurants that have good food and great sunset views. And I like to walk along the main road there. It is called the Queen’s Highway. And actually it is just a 14-foot wide shaded road way. And I like to look at the 100 plus year old homes and wide front porches and wavy glass in the windows it’s just, Hope Town is just the quintessential Bahamian village that must be seen. So if you heading for the northern Bahamas, don’t miss Hope Town.

We are going to have to take a short break and we will be right back. And we will be talking about some of the really great place to go in the Bahamas. This is Gary Fretz and you are listening to “Yachts: The *Perfect Escape Vehicle” only on the Overseas Radio Network.

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