Jimmy Buffett’s old boat is in town.
It’s a crisp December afternoon in Abaco, and “Fore Aces” is in Boat Harbor, a 124-foot-long message that one of the most important marinas in The Bahamas is very much back.
It’s not a surprise to the legendary singer-songwriter’s former yacht here in Abaco; this is The Bahamas’ boating Mecca, a place that’s drawn the navally inclined to its electric blue waters and green-hilled islands and cays for centuries.
And for nearly seven decades, they’ve started or ended or stopped along on their journeys in one place: the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbor Marina.
“This is the crossroads of the Abacos,” longtime owner Manny Alexiou tells Caribbean Journal. “We’re the hub.”
And so the dramatic reconstruction and transformation the resort has gone through over the last 15 months since Hurricane Dorian is that much more significant – both for Marsh Harbor and the Abacos at large.
Alexiou is speaking inside the sparkling new lobby of the hotel, which overlooks the resort’s beach, the aforementioned marina and the Sea of Abaco.
In many ways it’s a completely new resort, with a sleek, fresh decor, upgraded rooms and, most importantly, a new energy.
The marina is pristine, too, with boats like Fore Aces joined by a new wave of charter yachts and boats of varying sizes.
So are the beach and the campus itself, home to everything from a giant chess set to a playground.
And then there’s the restaurant, the Pool Bar & Terrace at Marinaville, led by the wonderfully talented Chef Deja Rutherford.
The latter has already become Marsh Harbor’s place to be, thanks to a steady diet of Goombay Smashes and some outstanding food, including the spectacular fish bites that should somehow find manage to find their way into your order every time you dine here (“The secret ingredient is fresh fish, ”Rutherford says).
And it’s all the more remarkable given that all of this was done in a period that saw a hurricane followed by a pandemic.
What hasn’t changed, even amid all of these challenges, is the raw beauty of the Abacos, the blue and the green and the joy of hopping from the boatyards on Man-O-War Cay to lighthouse-gazing in Hope Town to pulling up a dinghy to the empty sands of Matt Lowe’s Cay.
And the Abaco Beach Resort is where you do it from.
“You come and you can enjoy all of Abaco’s experiences right from here,” Alexiou says.
And that’s what travelers and adventurers have done for decades, and what they’re doing here once again.
Because while it may not be his boat anymore, it certainly knows how to find that one particular harbor.
See more in the latest CJ Video below.