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The Abacos are a chain of islands located 185 miles northof the Exumas, and therefore most suitable for a two-weekcharter incorporating both island groups. This small,boomerang-shaped, archipelago, often referred to as the 'topof the Bahamas', is 130 miles long and is made up of GreatAbaco, Little Abaco and a sprinkling of cays. The islands are aworld apart from Nassau; a lazy spot where the pace of lifedrops almost to a standstill. There are no resort developmentsand no nightclubs (unless you count the weekly jump-up withmusic from local band The Hope Town Islanders), and bicyclesand dinghies far outnumber cars. The cruising grounds around this region have shallow watersand therefore are not suitable for yachts with deeper drafts, butthat also means there is a distinct and welcome lack of cruiseliners.However, for the right yachts, the Sea of Abaco offerssheltered cruising, protected from the wild Atlantic by a chainof barrier islands. ÊCruise around the islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco, andanchor off the many scenic cays that surround them. From the maintown of March Harbour on Great Abaco, cruise across the Sea ofAbaco to Elbow Cay and step ashore in Hope Town. There are justtwo narrow streets here, charmingly named 'Up Along' and 'DownAlong', along with one of the most iconic landmarks in theBahamas: a candy-striped lighthouse. This is also the place to headif you want to see the islands' famous clapboard-cute, pastel-coloured houses surrounded by white picket fences. In the evening, take the tender to Cracker P's and join the localsat their legendary full-moon parties.A short hop across the water is Man-O-War Cay. Step backin time on this island, which has a long tradition of boatbuilding and is a pretty settlement for an afternoon stroll.Alternatively, divers in your group can explore inland blue holes,coral reefs and underwater gardens, along with marine pre-serves and ancient shipwrecks that abound to the east of thecays. Or stay above the water and join anglers from all over theworld as you fish for blue marlin, kingfish, dolphinfish, yellowfintuna, sailfish, amberjack, grouper and wahoo. Great Guana,which lies between Green Turtle and Man-O-War Cay, in particularshould not to be missed if you're a fan of fishing. Finally, cruise north to Treasure Cay off Great Abaco's eastcoast. Here you will find some of the best beaches in theBahamas and one of the finest marinas in the entire region. Theisland also boasts a scenic 18-hole golf course at the TreasureCay Golf Club. After your crew has replenished the yacht's provisions, spendthe afternoon at Green Turtle Cay. Often referred to as the jewelof the archipelago, the tiny island is surrounded by deep baysand vast stretches of beach. The interior is rich withforests, gentle hills and secluded inlets that can all be enjoyedduring a short hike. Alternatively, the water depths around hereseldom exceed 20 feet and coral gardens teem with marine life,making this a great spot for snorkelling.nYou can fly directly to Nassau in the Bahamas from many US cities,including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, as well as from many international destinations. For further information on chartering in the Bahamas, contact your CNI charter broker, see page 6 AUTUMN 2011I sea&iI61aboardashoreLOLA B 21.95m (72'), 6 guests from US$23,000 per week INSATIABLE 30.48m (100'), 8 guestsfrom US$29,500 per week Opposite page:beachlife in the BahamasBelow: the Atlantis resort on NassauPhotography: Shutterstock / All right reserved

62Isea&iIAUTUMN 2011THE GREAT ESCAPE perfect persuasionThe 45.7m (150') PerfectPersuasion invites guests onboard to experience thevery finest charters PhotographyJérôme Kélagopian