Hope Town on Elbow Cay, Abacos

Friday, June 16, 2006

026-32.520 N
076-58.080 W
Marine forecast for this location

June 16, 2006

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

Wow, this title is a mouthful, but it accurately describes where we are. We're in a beautiful little town known as Hope Town. The guidebook describes it as one of the most picturesque settlements in the Bahamas and I would agree. All of the houses are brightly painted with Caribbean colors and contrasting trim. For me it's very reminiscent of Oak Bluffs on the Martha's Vineyard. Most of the "streets" are wide enough to fit golf carts down them easily, but on occasion you'll find full size vehicles squeezing their way through.

The most obvious landmark has to be the candy stripped cement lighthouse which towers above the countryside. It could easily be transported back to New England and it would fit in perfectly. It was built in 1863 and still uses a kerosene fueled mantel with a huge Fresnel lens made up of curved glass prisms which can cast a beam 20 miles. At night you can see the beam sweep overhead on a constant basis. They let you go to the top of the lighthouse where the mechanism is housed. That's very interesting, but the view from the top is spectacular! It's a sight not to be missed!

One thing that's very obvious is the locality to the US and the land/housing prices. A 1 acre ocean front lot (with electricity) on a neighboring cay was available for the rock bottom price of $525,000! Many small houses were going for $1.5M and above in Hope Town and larger places were $4.5M and up! The problem is that before long there won't be any locals left as no one will be able to afford to live here, other than the rich Americans.

I was surprised at the number of waypoints that it took to get here from Little Harbor. The water is very shallow (when you have 10' you're happy) and there are many places where sand banks come out miles from cays. The 10 mile trip as the bird flies probably was 15 over ground and utilized as many waypoints. Everyone seems to utilize "The Cruising Guide to Abaco" by Steve Dodge which provides waypoints and safe routes. As a result you find everyone making turns at the same points. Its funny to watch a squadron of Sea Ray powerboats in route to the same location. There's the leader and a bunch of boats following behind. The lead boat makes a turn and one after another the others follow. It reminds me of watching a mother duck with her ducklings in tow.

According to the aforementioned guide, there's supposed to be good snorkeling just north of here near Johnny's Cay. We checked it out and couldn't find anything worth staying in the water for. Yes, there were coral heads, but they were covered by algae. Perhaps we missed something, but I doubt it.

The cruising guide suggests that there you need to go into the main harbor to pick up a mooring in order to visit Hope Town. You can, but there's a wonderful anchorage just outside of the harbor channel with nice sand to anchor in. However, we're anchored in about 6' of water, so pick your anchoring spot carefully!

Today we're headed over to Marsh Harbor on the mainland to check it out and pick up some supplies. That's a whole 5 miles away. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 868

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abacos 

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