Still Tuesday, January 29
Hold on to you reading glasses, here's another post blowin' yer way.
Noon came and Ron came back to take us ashore. We were met by the shuttle driver from the Abaco Inn, a resort on Elbow Cay where we would get to spend the next two days.
The Abaco Inn was absolutely wonderful and we soon came to feel that we were part of a country club type experience. Our room was at the end of a short trail, totally private and facing the Atlantic Ocean. When we slept we left the sliding glass door open and could hear the surf and feel the ocean breeze. We felt very safe here. The Bahamas have very little crime and people are very respectful of tourists. Tourists are their best source of income. No one wants to do anything to anger the tourists.
After putting the bags in the room we headed over to the bar for lunch and a Bahama Breeze, their specialty rum drink. They give you a free drink ticket when you check in so you can get started enjoying your stay right away.
For lunch Franci had conch chowder and a lobster po'Boy. Stephen ate a grilled fish po'boy. All the food at the Abaco Inn was gourmet and wonderful. We had met the bartender on the ferry the week before and we were all excited to see each other again. We offered her all the leftover food and dry goods that we had and could not take home with us. She was delighted to take it all. We became immediate friends. Izzy is her name, short for Izlane, a name we had never heard before. Ellen, the waitress, was also friendly and delightful.
After lunch we went back to the room to freshen up and to pack and reorganize our leftovers to give to Izzy. Franci took a brief nap. Stephen took a video tour of our surroundings. We had landed in paradise.
The manager, Tom, was always present and personably hostful to everyone.
Tina, the assistant manager, was much less visible and was usually in the back office no doubt doing bookkeeping, payroll, purchasing and all the other many important things it takes to run a successful business. The desk clerk, Nicola, was there all day to answer any questions we had, sell us souvenirs, or take care of any needs we might have. We eventually met Danielle, the evening desk clerk…also a treat. We quickly became very comfortable in our surroundings. It was apparently the slow season and we were close to the only overnight guests they had. Lots of folks came for lunch, happy hour or dinner. As we mentioned before, the food there was always gourmet and delicious.
Our first night there was a presentation on beach dune erosion at 5 pm. Lots of folks, mostly locals we presume, came to hear the presentation. Most arrived around 4 pm in order to have drinks before the presentation. They kept the night bartender, Ken, very busy. Later the bar filled up with a crowd of folks playing some sort of game with dice. They laughed and were having lots of fun. We went to sit outside so we could take in the ocean air and sounds. We were still overwhelmed by how beautiful this place is.
From just about anywhere you could see the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Sea of Abaco to the west. This is a really special feature at the Abaco Inn. The Inn stretches out for about a quarter of a mile. There is a main building with the office and gift shop, bar and restaurant. And there's a nice outdoor sitting area on the Sea of Abaco side by the bar.
On the Atlantic side there is a swimming pool area and several nice places to sit where you can enjoy the incredible sights and sounds.
They have four or five little cottages with two rooms each, back to back. Across the road were a couple of villas, sorta duplex style with two villas in each of the two buildings.
There are several houses for staff members. Tom lives in one of those. There is also a private peninsula across the road which has a dwelling or two on it. We understand it belongs to the Abaco Inn as well and that Tina, the assistant manager, gets to live over there.
The owner's house is a beautiful, architecturally designed home named the Shangri La. It is located on the top of a hill overlooking the entire Abaco Inn complex and has a view of both the ocean and the Sea of Abaco.
Most of the staff arrives on the early morning ferry that comes from Marsh Harbour, the largest settlement on the big island of Abaco. They are brought to the Inn by the shuttle driver, the same way we arrived.
For dinner on our first night, Franci ate “surf and turf”, steak and lobster served with kale and mashed potatoes. Stephen had grilled grouper, also served with kale and mashed potatoes. As mentioned before the food was always unbelievably delicious.
Coffee is served every morning beginning at 6am.
Tom was always there to make coffee and to greet folks. We noted that the same bunch of locals showed up each morning to start their day. We came to refer to them as the Men's Coffee Club.
The staff would arrive by ferry and shuttle at 8 am and the day began. For breakfast we enjoyed oatmeal with fruit.
Wednesday morning we rode bicycles provided by the Abaco Inn down to Sea Spray Marina. We enjoyed fantasizing how fun it would be to have a boat there.
Bicycles and rented golf carts are the main transportation on Elbow Cay. There are no taxis on the island. On our next trip it was suggested we ride a bit further to visit Tahiti Beach, a reportedly gorgeous beach with lots of palm trees.
After our outing, we returned to the bar for a Bahama Breeze and lunch.
The day clock said it was Wednesday. For lunch we tried a little lighter fare. We had salads, mine with coconut fried conch on top and Stephen's with grilled fish on top. Yum!
We had a delightful time visiting with Izzy, our new friend the bartender. After lunch we returned to our rooms to pack our bags knowing that we would fly home the next morning.
We came back to the bar in time to get a good visit with Ken, the evening bartender, before the crowds began to pour in for the evening's happy hour.
Dinner that night was lobster with rice and peas and kale.
This day we were feeling much more like socializing and we met a lot of interesting folks, many of whom own vacation homes in the Bahamas and come as often as they can. We met a couple from Maine and we had much to talk about since we will be there in May to pick up our own boat. With tihe help of a professional skipper and his wife, we get to transport our boat from Maine to Texas. We are so blessed and are learning to blog so we can share this adventure with our family and friends. Needless to say, we are unbelievably excited about it all.
Thursday morning we had to say so long to the Abaco Inn and all the wonderful staff members we had come to know and enjoy. We savored our last breakfast…..eggs benedict with lobster and bacon for me, oatmeal and fruit for Stephen.
We caught the 9:45 ferry to Marsh Harbour and began a long day's trek home.
This will be the last post for awhile. We return to the Abacos in April for another week on Moon Doggy, this time with our friends, Capt. Jay Moore and his sister, Lyse. After that we fly immediately to Bremen, Maine where we will begin the journey from Maine to Galveston on our own boat, Dolce Vitaville. Your bunk has been reserved!