Abaco Island is the second Bahamian island and is best known as being a yachtsman’s paradise. With approximately 650 square miles of land that stretches over 120 miles of ocean, the islands of Abaco are a boating and sailing heaven. The two major islands are Great Abaco and Little Abaco with the off-lying cays of Man-O-War Cay, Elbow Cay, Guana Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Stranger’s Cay, Walker’s Cay, and Umbrella Cay. The island is also the third most densely inhabited island in the Bahamas.
Until the late 18th Century, the Abaco Islands were left unexplored. Around the time of the American Revolution in 1776, Pro-British colonists left the United States to establish plantations on the islands. In the 1800’s, the islands took on a New England character of sorts, with fishing, boatbuilding, and “wrecking” (the salvage of damaged ships) becoming the main source of their economy.
Such was the case when two businessmen from Nassau discovered silver and coins off the southwest tip of Great Abaco. The findings were traceable to King Philip IV of Spain and netted the businessmen $20,000.
Another story is about Evans Cottman, the doctor who believed in the old proverb that a man’s home is his castle. Cottman literally built his very own private castle on a hillside that overlooked Marsh Harbor. Today, it has been transformed into a café and gift shop where his daughter Gayle shares the panoramic view with those who visit the castle’s terrace.
Activities and Cultural Attractions
Cultural attractions include the historical site of the Hope Town Lighthouse located on Elbow Cay.