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Cruising & Chartering Returns to the Bahamas

DATE POSTED:April 13, 2021
Booking a catamaran charter means it doesn’t matter what’s open or closed ashore. Relaxation awaits on the foredeck.
Booking a catamaran charter means it doesn’t matter what’s open or closed ashore. Relaxation awaits on the foredeck. (Courtesy MarineMax Vacations/)

At the same time that everyone in the world has been struggling to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the Abacos in the Bahamas has simultaneously been working to rebuild from the damage Hurricane Dorian inflicted in September 2019.

“It was devastating, but so much has happened since then,” says Sarah Ann Showell, owner and director of the Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina, which is once again operational on Green Turtle Cay.

Repairs are continuing on Marsh Harbour, the much larger hub known for its bareboat bases, and in some cases, normalcy is resuming. MarineMax Vacations announced this past December that it was returning to Marsh Harbour in a new location, in partnership with Navigare Yachting, offering power catamarans along with Navigare’s sailing cats from a base at Conch Inn Marina.

“Hope Town is reopening. Green Turtle Cay is opening. Abaco Beach Resort is open. There’s plenty to do in a week,” says Raul Bermudez, vice president of MarineMax Vacations. “Abaco Beach Resort, they were actually housing that famous chef who cooked for everybody because part of their building survived. They were housing relief efforts, and now they finished rebuilding the restaurant and all the rooms are operational.”

Boaters do still need to plan in advance for an Abacos cruise, Showell says, even though there are fewer boats around in general. Green Turtle Cay, for instance, used to have three marinas, but two of them are still being rebuilt. That leaves her resort’s 42 slips as the only option right now.

But what’s there, she says, amazes boaters who pull in. Everything is brand-new in a place that most visitors haven’t thought about since they saw the photographs of devastation from Dorian.

”Everybody coming by boat is really surprised,” she says. “You can have white-table dinner service. There’s a full menu. A full bar. You would have no idea that anything had happened. Everything is as it should be, aside from people now wearing masks.”

Not everything is rebuilt yet in the Abacos, but Mother Nature is doing her part to bring back the archipelago’s beauty.
Not everything is rebuilt yet in the Abacos, but Mother Nature is doing her part to bring back the archipelago’s beauty. (Courtesy MarineMax Vacations/)

Powercats Available

At the new base on Marsh Harbour, MarineMax Vacations has a two-stateroom Aquila 36 Sport and a three-stateroom Aquila 44. Navigare Yachting has Lagoon sailing cats there as well.

Green Turtle

The Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina is fully rebuilt following Hurricane Dorian’s destruction in 2019. It has a marina for transients with 42 slips for boats as big as 140 feet length overall. The channel’s entrance depth is 7 feet. Reservations are highly recommended.

The club restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Outdoor dining on a covered patio is an option, with views overlooking White Sound Harbor. The on-site concierge can help guests arrange island excursions, fishing trips, scuba and snorkeling itineraries, and private-jet service to the islands.

Overnight room rates start at $219 and go up to $569 for water-front villas through the end of February. Rates increase from March through August. Specials are on the resort’s website: greenturtleclub.com