Great Abacos Little HarborJune 11, 2016 on the Bahamas ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C
In the Bahamas, we became accustomed to infrequent and expensive grocery stores; restaurants which required a phone call in advance so someone could open the restaurant and catch food; secluded anchorages, and scant strangers. The Spanish Wells and the outer banks of Great Abaco were loyalist enclaves that have now been seemingly taken over by Floridians. For us, it was a stark contrast to the rest of the Bahamas. And all it took was an 8 hour sail from Eleuthera to Great Abaco. That’s exploring for you, traveling to new places, you find new experiences, people, and food you sometimes didn’t expect to see, meet, or eat (hopefully in that order).
Little Harbor – Southern Abaco
We anchored outside of Little Harbor, which is a shallow inlet to a protected little harbor. The dinghy ride into Pete’s Pub and Gallery is speckled with numerous green turtles. We even spotted the same colorful catamaran we saw in Deshaies, Guadeloupe. I took the sighting as a providential sign of good things to come, after all Guadeloupe was amazing.
We tied the dinghy to a piling on the beach and walked in barefoot to the open-aired bar. The ceiling was completely dressed in T-shirts stapled to the frame from undoubtedly rowdy, adventurous, and lively travelers. We meandered the sandy-floored bar and strolled over to the boardwalk which lead to a beautiful seaside beach. The bar was a bit dead at 5:00 so we were thinking of heading back. Until – a few sport fisherman wandered to the bar. We began to talk and suddenly, one of the men asked us out of the blue if we’d like a big grouper. Mike and I (stress on just Mike) have been attempting to spearfish – specifically hoping to get a grouper. We both laughed and said ‘hell yeah!’. We thought he was joking. He came back with another guy and asked, if we really did want their ‘excess’ catch of the day… We thought it through, we had a fridge, sure we could keep a fish. He had a deckhand wheel it on over. Within minutes, there was a guy and a wheelbarrow and the biggest dead fish I’d ever seen (42 pounds). The son of the skipper caught the mystic grouper at a depth of a thousand feet using an electric powered reel. They left it in the bin for us to take…. now what. The entry of this giant fish gathered a few locals who told us they know people who could help us gut the beast on the dock here and share in the meat. I couldn’t think of a better scenario. Mike went off to grab the chef who was on a boat in the harbor and I stayed next to ‘little beastie’. I got to talking with one woman and her daughter who were so kind and entertaining. She came back and took the cart saying, why wait for the chef, I’ll gut the fish for you now. Impressed, I said why not. She wheeled the fish to the end of the pier and I found out she grew up on a trimaran here in this very harbor. She knew everyone there was to know and talked me through gutting a grouper. Mike eventually arrived and we both got a lesson on the technique of gutting. As we watched, other locals came in and began carving at the head, discarding bits and pieces to the sharks below. The community that gathered around were so wonderful, we had a mini impromptu afternoon fish gutting party.
The locals told us of the amazing history of Pete’s Pub and Gallery. It begins with Randolph & Margot Johnston. They moved onto their schooner, The Langosta, with their children Marina, Bill, Pete, and Denny. In 1950, they sailed off in search of an island and new home, escaping the ‘megamachine’. They found Little Harbor which had little more than a thatched hut at the time. On the North edge of the harbor is a soccer field sized cave, this is where they made a home. Along with the bats and the crabs, the family built a home in paradise. Pete grew to be an artist and opened Pete’s Pub where tourists come for afternoon libations to this day.
We returned back to the boat with a healthy amount of fresh fish and cooked it. Just as dinner came to a close a harrowing wind swept through the anchorage. We checked our GPS and surroundings, we were in good holding but our neighbors…. well it appeared as if our neighbors had conjured the flames of hell on their stern! Not kidding. They must have left the cover of their grill open and the embers had turned to a full grown flame. Our neighbors stern moved and rocked with the pounding waves and whistling wind. A ray of light illuminated someone on the bow trying in vain to get more scope out on their anchor (scope is the amount of chain you have on your anchor; more chain = a safer holding) – poor souls. We looked over to the neighbor anchorage, where the sport fisherman were anchored. It appeared their powerboat and a nearby catamaran were both dragging. We watched the show continue until the wind decreased to moderate strengths.Read more