Like a Disneyland of The Bahamas, the Sea of Abaco is a perfect playground for boaters, which may be why I return periodically to eat fresh conch, stroll along white beaches and catch up with friendly locals. 

The sheltered waters of this boomerang-shaped swath of turquoise-colored water are roughly 60 miles long and five miles wide so it’s easy to visit in a short time. Only 200 miles from the southeast coast of Florida, the sea is a perfect weeklong boating getaway although some cruisers get lost in its comfortable ebb and flow for many seasons. Recently, I hopped a 45-minute flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Marsh Harbour to join friends aboard for a leisurely few days visiting two of its unique gems, Man-O-War Cay and Hope Town on Elbow Cay.

Strong trade winds sometimes cook up a local weather condition known as “The Rage” when winds gust into the 40s and the Atlantic serves up angry waves on the outside that make me grateful to be in the flat waters that rarely hold boaters captive in their slips. So, although we had a bit of crusty weather, we set sail east, from Marsh Harbour to Man-O-War Cay, only about 5 nautical miles away.