Bahama Treasures – SeaBird Air Day Trip by Seaplane
If you’re going to The Bahamas, consider the Abacos and the smaller barrier islands to their east, known as the Loyalist Cays, for a great day trip by seaplane. The Abacos are often called the jewel of The Bahamas and it’s no wonder. The pace is slower than Freeport or Nassau and the locals are very accommodating. You can take long walks on white beaches, dive or snorkel the reefs, or go fishing with some local guides. At night there are bars and restaurants for socializing, but no casinos or discos are found here. It’s very much a family atmosphere.
We went there with our kids, and grandkids, and it was one of the best trips we ever took. There’s something for everyone. Flying into Hope Town Harbor you can’t miss the famous candy striped lighthouse. You can walk to the top for a fantastic bird’s eye view of the surrounding cays and I highly recommend doing so. Tying the seaplane to a mooring in the harbor, we rented golf carts and went off to explore the historic colonial homes painted in shades of pastel colors. Should you want to know more about what makes these the Loyalist Cays, read “Wind From the Carolinas” by Robert Wilder. It’s a part of U.S./Bahamian history I never knew until after visiting there.
We unloaded our snorkeling gear from the seaplane and rented a Carolina skiff to get us around the area. Then we headed south to Tilloo Cay for some fish spotting and treasure hunting. To us, treasure usually consists of sea shells (vacant ones, of course) and sand dollars. While snorkeling in Tilloo Flats, we found large orange starfish, many bleached white sea biscuits (related to sand dollars) and fragile sea urchins. It’s amazing that a creature with such painful spikes can leave behind such a beautiful skeleton. Sometimes the patterns that nature creates are astounding. We rode the currents in the flats and the boat followed.
On the way back we stopped for lunch in Lubber’s Quarters, a great spot for the kids to jump in the water from the dock. They found a giant conch shell bigger than their heads with a small inhabitant – a young octopus – who took off in a flash. We headed back to Hope Town for the return to Nassau. Everyone had to stand on the seaplane floats while the pilot gave them an impromptu fresh-water shower to rinse off the sand and salt before departing. What a great day trip!!
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