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Fuel for Thought in the Abacos

I know it’s not everyone, but I think plenty of cruisers revisit the same old haunts they like because those places are a known quantity: The same food, the same slips, heck even the same people are there at the same time every year. That sounds like a recipe for “comfort zone” to me. And that’s fine for some folks who don’t want to push it.

But you sometimes have to set a course beyond the comfort zone: Have a look behind the curtain every now and again. Maybe get a taste of what those early explorers felt when they sailed off the edge of the paper chart depicting the Known World…

Of course, I’m not suggesting anything quite that extreme (though you may need to buy some expanded charts, in both electronic and paper versions, to be smart about it). But I am suggesting that perhaps you should look to go somewhere beyond where you’ve been before. Maybe you should pay a visit to the Bahamas.

Here’s my point. I recently passed through Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco in the Bahamas, and got to talking to Andrew Sweeting, director of the resort. We talked about the world-class fishing and I wondered aloud what it’s like to always live in sight of that heartbreakingly beautiful blue-green water we all need to see now and again. “I do visit Florida regularly—that’s what allows me to live on the island full-time,” he said with a laugh.

Interestingly, he also told me the marina is the largest fuel retailer in the country, and it stands to reason. First of all he’s got a tremendous protected marina—the largest in the Bahamas—with a road-serviced fuel dock. That means the fuel—60,000 gallons of diesel and 30,000 of gasoline—comes by truck, not by barge. Because Abaco Beach Resort hosts numerous big-game fishing tournaments, it wouldn’t do to run out, so they keep those tanks topped up—that keeps the amount of water in the fuel to a minimum. But just in case, they test the fuel regularly and put it through a serious filtration system. Also, his location makes sense for folks pushing beyond to top up before leaving.

Fuel like that can give you the confidence to go exploring, and maybe push to the edge of your charts. And on your way back home, stop at Abaco Beach Resort to fuel up at the marina and maybe pay a visit to the pool bar, where you can share the stories of what you saw on your voyage. Who knows? You may meet some new friends and make a plan to see them, same time next year.

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