Signs that you have a possible Abaco Addiction:
You drink your morning coffee at work out of a Nippers 16 oz tumbler.
You know the difference between a Nipper, a Grabber, a Blaster, and a Shotgun.
The smell of boat exhaust combined with the scent of sunscreen and dead seaweed makes you mildly aroused.
You own at least one really ugly bracelet/anklet/necklace made out of beads/shells/hemp that you bought after drinking one too many nippers/grabbers/blasters/shotguns/goombays which made you think it was really pretty at the time.
You believe that souvenirs are fleeting, but a good scar from a fall at Nippers will last a lifetime.
You know exactly how long it takes to go .7 miles in an electric golf cart with 3 cases of Kalik in the back.
You read the Abaconian online for fun.
You have showered with a lizard in the bathroom more than once. And you liked it.
Your screensaver and/or computer desktop are of North Guana, Gillam Bay, or Tahiti Beach.
You know all the bartenders on all the Cays on a first name basis.
When you are thinking of making a purchase, you automatically think of it in terms of how many days on Abaco that would be.” A new TV? That’s 2 days on Abaco! Let’s buy this one. It’s only worth 1 day.”
When someone asks you about your hobbies or interests, it always includes the word “Cay.”
You know how to operate a generator and you don’t own one.
You have alerts on your smartphone to remind you when the Cracker P’s Full Moon parties, the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party, and the Barefoot Man Concerts are. Even if you aren’t planning to be there.
Your house is on fire and you only have time to save one thing, so you grab your Dodge Guide and run.
You know all the words to Thong Gone Wrong.
When someone asks you for a key you automatically think of an island instead of a small metal thing that opens a door.
You keep your passport and a pair of flip flops on you at all times….just in case.
You have a playlist on your iPod called Treasure, Guana, Elbow, or Green Turtle.
Each time you cross something off your list of things to do on your next trip to Abaco, you replace it with at least 10 new things.
When someone asks you the question, “When are you going back to Abaco?” you always have an answer.
Hello. My name is Vicki and I am an Abacoholic.
We have returned to this tiny outpost in the Bahamas 9 times. Guana Cay is only about 6 miles long and less than ½ mile at its widest point, but there is something about this tiny speck in the sea that keeps calling us back.
With an endless chain of cays, some inhabited with quaint settlements and gorgeous beaches, and others home to nothing more than blinding stretches of sand and a few curly tailed lizards, it’s easy to return to the Abacos again and again and never feel like you have visited the same place twice.
We awoke at the inhuman hour of 2:30 a.m. in order to be in the air by 3:30 a.m. It was still dark out and seemed like a ridiculous time to depart, but when we landed in Marsh Harbor at 9:00 a.m. and realized we still had an ENTIRE DAY before us…it all became worth it. Travel day was over and we hadn’t even had breakfast yet.
Not to mention that back home, it had been hotter than 400 hells for weeks. Used to temps in the 100s, we didn’t know what to do with temps in the 80s along with a delicious breeze.
We easily made it to the ferry dock in time for the 10:30 ferry and even had time to grab a little breakfast at Curly Tails.
A bahama mama and conch fritters can be considered breakfast, can’t it?
In a place where a triple order of macaroni and cheese and a beer can be considered lunch, of course it can.
We were on Guana by 11:00.
We were in Bella Vita by 11:15.
We were at Dive Guana and on the boat by 11:30.
Gotta’ love Guana.
The weather was stupid beautiful. Water as calm as glass. Only a few puffy white clouds in the sky. It seemed like the perfect day to visit the most beautiful beach in the world – the north end of Guana Cay.
We were distracted along the way by giant starfish. Our friends had never seen a giant starfish party, so we stopped to introduce them. They thought the spot was so beautiful and the starfish so magnificent and the boat so fun that they really didn’t see how this trip could get any better.
My goodness. They had no idea what they were in for.
We spent the next few hours showing them some of what they were in for.
The beach on north Guana is still as beautiful as ever. Baker’s Bay has not managed to ruin it. Yet.
I was in such bliss, floating in the clear water, that I didn’t notice how quiet everyone else had gotten. I looked around. Where was everyone? We were just going to float around for a bit and then head back for an early dinner. Where did they all go? Did they leave without me? Oh my goodness…..WAS I MISSING THE MACARONI AND CHEESE???????
That’s when I saw the bodies on the beach.
Do you know what happens when you wake 3 people up at 2:30 a.m., rush them around for about 12 hours, then deposit them in heaven and lay them in the warm sunshine?
I know it appears alcohol was involved, but what you see here my friends is nothing more than bliss and sunshine induced exhaustion. They all literally fell asleep on the beach.
Like a good friend, I photographed them all while they weren’t looking, in their various stages of awkwardness. It’s the risk you take when you travel with the Vickirazzi.
Although, being photographed in unflattering positions is not the worst part of falling asleep on the beach. It was trying to all that sand out of places God never intended it to go.
By the time we got back to the house and cleaned up, our friends were literally dead on their feet. Matt and I sent them off to bed and wandered over to Grabbers.
It was a beautiful night. The sun was setting, colorful lanterns were bobbing around on the breeze, and there was live music. I got my first Grabber of the trip, kicked off my flip flops, and dug my toes deep into the sand.
I thought things couldn’t get any better, but that’s when the waiter told us it was Rib Night. I don’t know if you have ever had Grabber’s ribs, but they are so good they make you want to swallow your tongue afterward just to get the last bit of taste off your tastebuds.
I promptly put in my order and was told I had a choice of sides. Oh my. He started the list and I stopped him as soon as the magic words came out of his mouth, “macaroni and cheese.” I have an obsession with Bahamian macaroni and cheese. I never eat the stuff at home. In the Bahamas, it’s an entirely different animal. It’s a giant wedge of baked cheese and noodle perfection that you can pick up with your hands and eat. I mean, if you wanted to. Not that I have.
“You get two sides,” he said.
And indeed I did.
Two sides of macaroni, that is.
Not only is Grabber’s rib plate delicious, but it is HUGE. He brought us 2 plates that held enough to feed Pharoah’s army. We ate until we nearly burst. Our attempt to finish 2 rib plates with potato salad and double mac n’ cheese was an EPIC FAIL.
Look away, folks. It’s not pretty.
I woke up with a macaroni hangover. Have you ever eaten so much the night before that you wake up still full?
But it was Sunday and I had a buffet to work up to later, so we hopped in the boat and headed over to Shell Island.
Shell Island, properly known as Spoil Bank Cay, is the product of some dredging that was done in the late 80’s to create a cruise ship channel. Today, it is the perfect uninhabited cay to look for countless seashells. Or swim in the shallow water. Or drink beer.
It’s also incredibly beautiful.
By noon, the macaroni monster was back and it was time to head to Nippers.
I don't think there is any room for neutrality where Nippers is concerned. With Nippers, you either love it or you hate it.
I love it.
I love the colorful surroundings.
I love the view of the ocean.
I love the frozen Nippers.
I love watching the crazy people (and sometimes being the crazy people).
But most of all…..I love the buffet. I can have all the macaroni and cheese I want.
I had read that there was going to be a full moon while we were on Guana, but I didn’t expect to see it on Sunday afternoon at Nippers.
You never know what you are going to see at Nippers on a Sunday.
We had some good, clean fun, a few Nippers and a lot of sun. We all headed home for a much needed afternoon nap.
I woke up later with my mouth tasting like the bottom of a birdcage and I think I still had sand in my shorts, but I had survived another Sunday at Nippers and no one had a black eye. We’ll call that a success story.
Dinner took us back to Grabbers. What can I say? When there are only 3 restaurants on the island, you do find yourself at the same places again and again. Grabbers just happens to be our favorite for dinner. We split a pizza, drank a lot of water, and called it a day.
The boys had decided to try their hand at bonefishing on this trip, so I found myself being dragged out of bed at 5:30 a.m. so that we could be on the boat by 6:00 a.m. in order to make it to Green Turtle by 7:00 a.m.
Watching the sunrise from the boat was worth getting up so early for. The water was calm and peaceful, turned golden from the sun as it climbed higher into the sky.
We pulled into New Plymouth right at 7:00 and sent the guys off with Rick Sawyer while we walked around town a bit.
I think New Plymouth is my favorite settlement. It just has so many colorful cottages and boats. There are picket fences with flowers peeking through and quaint porches littered with seashells.
We also stumbled upon the New Plymouth Feral Cat Morning Association. These guys gave me a look that said, “Move one step closer with that camera lady and we will eat your head.”
We grabbed us a cart from Kool Karts, who has always been incredibly accommodating whenever we have shown up without a reservation and said, “You got a cart for the day????”
We decided to take in all the sights by driving all the way to the Green Turtle Club for some breakfast. It’s a good way to take in all of the sights.
At the Green Turtle Club, I saw a breakfast item that intrigued me. Always one to try something different, I went with the “Traditional Bahamian Breakfast: Tuna and Grits.”
Tuna and grits? I like tuna. I like grits. I like shrimp and grits and tuna and grits wasn’t that different. I mean, it was some crap out of the ocean served with some grits. This had potential. Besides, it was a TRADITIONAL BAHAMIAN BREAKFAST. That was cool, right?
I learned that there is a reason we don’t eat tuna with grits at home.
Tuna and grits is not a breakfast food just because they say so. Just because the cat had kittens in the oven doesn’t make them muffins.
After breakfast we made our way over to Gillam Bay. It was obvious that Gillam Bay Beach had taken a beating.
The beach has definitely sustained some damage since I saw it last, but it was still beautiful.
We lounged in the glorious sunshine, walked waaaaaaaaay out into the bay looking for shells, and splashed in the clear, cool water.
We were having such a great time, we almost didn’t notice it was time to go get the guys.
When we got back to the New Plymouth dock, expecting the guys to be waiting because we were already late, we saw them out in the bay….still fishing.
That’s never a good sign. When you’ve had a successful fishing trip, you’re back at the dock on time. When you haven’t….you’re out there in the bay in town trying for that one sad, last ditch attempt to catch something.
When they finally came into the dock, they rambled off something about the moon and weather and blah…...blah..blah….…fish feeding at night….blah…blah…blah….a shark ate the one bonefish we hooked…blah…blah…blah. That’s about all I caught, because I’d sooner have a conversation about the Norwegian krone crisis of 1992 than I would about fishing.
In short, they had a really fun time, hooked one huge bonefish that a bull shark fought them for as they tried to get it into the boat, but they didn’t catch much because the conditions just weren’t right and the fish weren’t biting that day.
We decided to try something new, since we were on our way from Green Turtle back to Guana. We made a slight detour and headed to Treasure Cay.
Because the conditions were optimal that day, this was a piece of cake.
Treasure Cay was OFF THE CHARTS GORGEOUS. It was so beautiful, it hurt my eyes to look at it.
We anchored and headed in.
We were just in time for lunch at Coco Beach bar, where one can find the most fun and delicious frozen drinks EVER.
After some grouper and fries and a mango daiquiri, it was time to walk to the point.
This is a beautiful beach walk. The water is clear and shallow, sandbars pop up just off the beach, and little treasures like tiny sand dollars are sprinkled about in the sand, just waiting for you to find them.
We soaked it in until we knew it was time to head back to Guana. The boat ride from TC to Guana was equally simple. Not much to it in a small boat.
We spent the late afternoon on “our beach” at Bella Vita before deciding it was time to hit Grabbers for the sunset. This required cleaning up a bit first, because when I come in from a day on the boat and in the ocean, I look like I have been beaten with a wet squirrel.
We got ourselves together and made it over to Grabbers in time for the sunset. What we didn’t expect, was that they Regatta Party was going on that night. I have never seen so many people at Grabbers. It was a lively night and fun to sit back and watch.
We had a couple of Grabbers and enjoyed the fun, but decided to head over to Nippers for dinner because Grabbers was so crowded. The poor overburdened wait staff had been reduced to two speeds: slow and stop.
Dinner seemed best found elsewhere on that particular night.
We opted to eat indoors and enjoy a little quiet and a little air conditioning. I loaded up on some more fried stuff and mac n’ cheese and rolled myself right on to bed.
With no real plans for the day, we decided to boat over to Hopetown. Our friends wanted to try to find some things for their kids and that seemed as good a place as any to do it.
Hopetown is always fun. We sent the guys to see Gary at the Reef Bar while we shopped a while.
It was getting close to lunchtime. We have never made it over to Cracker P’s and I decided today was the day. We boated over to Lubbers Landing and pulled up to the colorful Cracker P’s dock.
Heck, just reading the signs on the dock were entertainment enough for me.
I also liked the polite way they made sure you knew not to bring in your own beer.
I started off with a shotgun and the smoked fish dip. Oh….that dip was good.
Then it was time for a beach burger and some more macaroni and cheese.
I was beginning to worry about what all those bricks of mac n’ cheese were doing to the inside……so I thought it best to throw a little coconut pie on top.
The food was delicious and the atmosphere was fantastic. Breezy and relaxed with dogs at the bar. This was my kind of place.
Since we were so close, we decided to end the day by joining the afternoon boat party at Tahiti Beach.
We made one final stop on the way back at Fowl Cay for a snorkel before heading back to Guana. We saw the usual assortment of colorful fish and one good sized black tip shark. Every time I see a shark, I get so excited that I forget I even have a camera. Besides, I figure not drawing attention to myself by waving my camera around is a good call in those moments.
We cruised in late and headed over to Grabbers for the final meal. We had some frozen Grabbers and cracked conch before calling it a night.
We headed to the 8:00 ferry, sorry to go, but still basking in the glow of a wonderful vacation. We'd had a great trip. No one got a black eye, no permanent scars, and no one fell off a golf cart. We'd had four great days with wonderful friends and beautiful weather in the best place on earth. I wandered through the settlement to get one last look.
As we waited for the ferry, I realized that each trip to Abaco just seems to get better. These islands, the people, the amazing beaches and beautiful water…. it’s hard to capture in words or photos just how wonderful this place is.
Hmm.....maybe I should quit telling everyone.