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What do you know about The Abacos? A Brief History…

Thousands of people visit the islands regularly and enjoy the sun, san, turquoise waters, local hot spots and restaurants and all of the in between. Perhaps you’ve already visited here, and absolutely loved it — because who are we kidding, everyone loves it! But, what do you really know about the islands?

First things first, The Abacos are a beautiful group of islands that are on the northeastern edge of the Bahamas. The islands are made up of Little Abaco, Great Abaco and 13 small cays and nearly 17,000 people call the islands home. Before this was a tropical haven for tourists (and locals) the land was inhabited by tribes of Lucayan Indians dating back to pre-Columbian times. Then, European loyalists arrived after running from the American Revolution. The Lucayan Indians had since moved away or were gone from the area at this time. The Loyalists came from New York and were very drawn to the land in the area, and all of its beauty. So then came the town of Carleton on Great Abaco. The new inhabitants were farmers, fisherman and salvaged goods from shipwrecks in the reefs around the Bahamas. As the group grew from 600 to thousands, the soil eventually depleted and cotton crops failed. So, the new residents headed off the island in search for a new home and left only a few hundred folks behind. Without all the crops, what were these people to do? Well, they went back to making a living utilizing the beautiful waters and all it had to offer. Because of utilizing the waters, The Abacos gained quite the reputation for boat-building. If you’ve ever looked around while visiting, you may have noticed all the pine forests throughout the island. These were ideal trees for crafting boats.

Fast forward to today, you could still say The Abacos are a regular refuge for people from all over. They come for an enjoyable escape and are welcomed by the warm sun and sand and refreshing waters. Now you can find tons of hotels, restaurants, bars and much more all around the islands. You can still come here to enjoy boating and fishing, which is highly recommended, but the waters are full of other activities like scuba diving, paddle boarding, snorkeling and kayaking too. When visiting The Abacos, make sure you ask locals about the history of their island to learn more in depth information that you may not already know, and visit the Wyannie Malone Museum for some fascinating visual and factual information. You won’t be disappointed with your visit to the islands.


Ready, set, dive. What you need to know about scuba diving in The Abacos

If youre unfamiliar with The Abacos, they are a group of islands and barrier cays in the northern Bahamas. This 120-mile-long chain of paradise is home to beautiful beaches, warm breezes, sunshine and, you guessed it, scuba diving adventures.

Now, if youve dived in the Bahamas before, The Abacos are a completely different experience. The waters are relatively shallow and most areas are 60 feet or less in depth. The fringing reefs youll find in these waters are extremely ornate. There is actually an extinct coral base with Star and Elkhorn corals growing on top creating the beautiful formations you will see. Youll also find cathedral-like caverns in the form of an underwater maze as youre swimming around.  These tunnels formed from tidal flow hitting against the base reef. Youll also be experiencing the third largest barrier reef in the world, which is saying a lot for a smaller island area.

With more than 100 miles of reef to explore, the visibility is ideal in the turquoise waters, and is usually over 100 feet. Of course, weather can affect visibility, but with lots of sunshine, The Abacos are considered a great diving destination all year round. Just a heads up, June through October is hurricane season and October to June is considered best for shark diving. Be ready to experience lush coral gardens, steep drop-offs, plenty of fishes and even friendly sharks and rays.

If you arent a diving aficionado, or are in need of a lesson, they are available. Here are some places you can work with to get your feet wet. 

Dive Time Abaco

Dive Abaco

Froggies Out Island Adventures

Above and Below Abaco

Lesson prices vary by each company and can range from $150-$350. If you are already an avid diver, you can pay for dive excursions as opposed to lessons. If you are already a certified scuba diver and are able to dive on your own, remember to bring your certification card for proof. Otherwise, you will not be able to venture off on your own, or will have to complete lessons again.

The Abacos are considered a great place to learn how to scuba dive. Before you venture out and dive in,you will first be introduced to all the pieces of scuba gear. Generally, with each of the businesses listed above, you will spend the first few hours learning on land and in a pool. This gets you comfortable with breathing underwater and you will learn skills like clearing your ears and how to use your buoyancy compensator (BC) inflate/deflate valve and how to ascend/descend properly. Some of the gear you can expect to learn about includes a face mask, BC, regulator, wet suit, tanks, snorkels, weight belt/weights, and fins.

Once youve completed your informational session, your instructors will take you out to the beautiful reef for some diving action. Have no fear, you wont be left completely alone when you are out on the water. Your instructors and scuba companies will be with you each step of the way to make sure you are comfortable and safe.

For those who want to expand even further than just initial scuba lessons and a single experience on vacation, you can also work on getting your own scuba certification. If you will be in The Abacos longer than four days, that is plenty of time for you to get scuba certified. If you would prefer to get certified with a local dive center near you, it can take a few weeks since classes are generally one to two times per week. PADI (Professional Association of Divers) classes are what are widely offered on the island. Again, if you are certified when coming to visit The Abacos and plan to dive, please bring your certification for proof.

More advanced divers can further their experience and gain other certifications, or take courses like advanced open water, air diving, underwater photo and several others. There is even an option at many locations to become a dive master if you are looking to make a career out of scuba diving.

The northernmost island of Walkers Cay has one of the most unique shark dives in all of The Bahamas. You can see groups of up to 150 sharks coming together when dive boat engines turn on in what looks like a coral arena. The sharks eat bait while divers can swim around with them. It may sound a little scary, but your dive instructors and guides will keep you safe.

These are considered the top Abaco diving locations:

The Towers: Huge coral pinnacles 60 feet tall, pierced with tunnels and caverns

Grouper Alley: 40ft. Numerous tunnels beneath a monstrous coral heads

Wayne’s World: 70ft. A tour of the outside of the barrier reef

The Cathedral: Huge cavern where shafts of sunlight dance on the floor

Tarpon Reef: High profile corals for a school of Tarpon and a huge Green Moray

Coral Caverns: A series of winding caverns filled with clouds of shiny Silversides

San Jacinto: 40ft.The wreck of a large steamship sunk in 1865

The Catacombs: A shallow sun-splattered cavern with abundant tropical fish

If you are ready to get your dive on, reach out to one of the local companies above or feel free to ask around at the Firefly Sunset Resort for some help, as someone will always be happy to help you have fun!


Top Things to do when Visiting Elbow Cay

Are you planning to come visit the beautiful islands of The Bahamas soon? If youre not, we highly recommend you do. While all the islands are captivating in their own ways, there is a special place in our hearts for The Abacos, specifically Elbow Cay. The turquoise waters, long stretches of sandy beaches, abundance of sunshine and wonderful locals are only a few things that should make this high on your destination list.

Even though there are obviously dozens upon dozens of activities and things to see and do here, we are going to focus on what is seemingly most popular. These are not in order of ranking, they are simply the highest ranked or sought after activities and places for visitors in Elbow Cay.

Sport-fishing ChartersPlenty of water means plenty of fish! If youre a fishing fan, you wont want to miss hopping aboard a sport-fishing charter. There is opportunity for reef fishing, deep sea fishing and fly fishing. We recommend two local companies you could use and get some yummy and large catches with. The first is A Salt Weapon Sportfishing Charters. The second is Local Boy Deep See Fishing. It will cost you a pretty penny at $500 for the half day and $800 for the full day with either company, but itll certainly be worth every cent. Boats leave from the main dock in Hope Town Harbour at 8:00 a.m. Make sure you bring sunscreen, a sun hat, cameras and drinks of your choice.

Wyannie Malone Historical Museum – This historical gem is in downtown Hope Town. If you are a history buff, or even just want to learn more about local heritage, then you should pop into the museum. Inside, you will learn about pirates, rum-runners, Lucayan Indians and wreckers. Gaze upon displays of ship building and ship wrecks and even hurricanes. The museum operates from November until August between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Adult ticket prices are $5 and children 5-14 are $2.

Scuba Diving – If you caught last months post, youll know we highly recommend scuba diving. You can take beginners courses, advanced courses and even become a dive master if you want to get a scuba career going. Youll have the chance to learn how to scuba first during your instructional lesson on land and in a pool, and then your instructors will take you out along 100 miles of beautiful reef. You will get to see tons of fish and friendly sharks, lush coral gardens, and swim through maze like caverns. There are a variety of local companies you can work with for your diving experience. Prices do vary by company, but can range anywhere from $150-$800 depending on what level of courses or trips you are looking to do. Here are a few we recommend:
      Dive Time Abaco

Dive Abaco

Froggies Out Island Adventures

Above and Below Abaco

Golf Cart Rentals – What better way to get around the beautiful island than by golf cart?        There are tons of cart rental companies available, some of which will even deliver your cart to  wherever you are staying. How convenient? A golf cart is a convenient way to see plenty of sights, get a nice breeze and cut down your travel time if youre visiting any other locations than where you are staying. Here are a few places you can rent your golf cart:

Island Cart Rentals

Hope Town Cart Rentals

Boat Rentals – If golf carts arent your thing, and you want to be on the water, there are plenty of boats for rent. Boating is a great way to see Elbow Cay all around, and even make your way over to other islands if that interests you. Calm blue waters make for the perfect water road for your boating excursion. The boat rental companies we recommend are:

Sea Horse Boat Rentals

Cats Paw Boat Rentals

Island Marine Boat Rentals

Water sports – Next up is some true fun in the sun, and the water. If you arent interested in diving deep into the water for scuba, you have the option to check out some other fun activities. These include snorkeling, kayaking , kiteboarding and paddle-boarding. If you are looking to enjoy one of these activities or any other water sports that may be offered, please reach out to our front desk as they can certainly assist you with rentals nearby. We do offer complimentary kayak rentals at Firefly Sunset Resort that you can enjoy.

Bicycle Rentals – The island wouldnt be complete without bicycle rentals! If you want to do all the leg work, and arent interested in a golf cart, bicycles are surely the way to go. You can take a bike to the beach, to dinner, or just for a nice ride in the sunshine. You can check out The Bike Shop, Harbours Edge, Sun Dried Ts and A&S for all your bike rental needs.

Elbow Reef Lighthouse – Of course we couldnt leave out this landmark. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse is probably the most recognizable landmark in this area. The red and white stripes can be seen from afar, and youll certainly want to see this up close, too. This lighthouse is actually one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. The lamp burns pressurized kerosene oil with a wick and mantle. The fresnel lenses concentrate the mantles light into a beam directed straight at the horizon Whoever is on duty as the lighthouse keeper has to wind up the weights every two hours in order for the lighthouse to be seen from 17 miles away. You can visit the lighthouse Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. It is closed for visitation on Sundays. If you arent afraid of heights, go ahead and climb the 100 feet to the top, and make sure your camera is ready for some beautiful photo ops.

Tahiti Beach – If youre unaware, Elbow Cay is known for its absolutely beautiful beaches. One in particular is Tahiti Beach. This isolated beach is at the far end of Elbow Cay. You can expect to see sparkling waters and white powdery sand. You can only access this beach on foot, or by riding a bicycle across sand and gravel paths from Hope Town, or you can take a private boat. Get ready to perfect your tan and hit the maximum level of relaxation when you decide to visit Tahiti Beach.

Obviously you cant go wrong with anything you choose to do when you visit Elbow Cay. There will always be fun in the sun, sand and water.




Getting Married in Hope Town? What you need to know about marriage licenses

 

Getting married in the Bahamas or Firefly Sunset Resort? You must obtain a marriage license from the Bahamas.

Here’s a great tip from one guest of our recent wedding –

“Our family booked the resort for a wedding and we were so pleased with everything!! It was beautiful, elegant and delicious! The staff was accommodating and the service was warm and friendly. One major tip to share though: when getting married in the Bahamas you must have a Bahamian marriage license or you can not get married. Give yourself enough time to go over to Marsh Harbor to get it, as you can’t get one on Elbow.”

 

There are several requirements for obtaining a marriage license in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Here’s everything you need to know to be legally married here:

Application for License

The couple must be in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the time of application for the marriage license.
Download marriage license application | Download application for certified marriage certificate

If you arrive via cruise ship, you’ll be required to obtain a letter from the Ship’s Purser/Guest Services confirming that you have met the residency period by being in Bahamian waters for 24 hours.

You need not apply for a license if you wish to renew your vows.

Please note: Marriage licenses and certificates are issued at the office of the Registrar General in Nassau. This office is open to the public Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Address: P.O. Box N-532 Nassau, The Bahamas Phone: (242) 323-0594, (242) 323-0595, (242) 323-0597 Fax: (242) 322-5553, (242) 393-7908

Residency Period

Couples may apply a day after their arrival and can be married once they receive their approved license the day after application.

Proof of Identification and Residency

Both parties must produce a valid passport, birth certificate, and photo ID. The parties must also produce evidence of the date of their arrival in The Bahamas. The Bahamas Immigration Card or entry stamp in your passport will suffice.

Blood Test

No blood test is necessary.

Witnesses

Two witnesses, who are at least 18 years old, must sign your marriage license. If it’s just the two of you, witnesses can be provided.

Fees

The fee for a marriage license is $120, inclusive of one certified copy of a marriage certificate. Extra marriage certificates are available at $20 each.

Apostille

Many countries now require that official documents, such as international marriage certificates, be certified by the issuing country. In The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, this means that an Apostille (a special seal) is applied by the relevant authority to certify that a document is a true copy of an original. The Apostille can be made available to you within 30 days of the request; the cost for each one is $120. Your wedding planner or marriage officer will assist you in this regard.

Divorced

If either party has been divorced, the original final decree or a certified copy must be produced. Where applicable, a translated, certified and notarized copy of the final decree must be produced.

Minors

Minors (under 18 years) may be married with both parents’ consent. Consent forms for minors are available at the Registrar General’s office.

Single Persons

If either party is single and has never been married before, a declaration certifying this fact must be sworn before a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths in the country of residence. This document must accompany the application for the marriage license. This declaration can also be obtained in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas from an attorney-at-law or notary public.

Widowed

If either party is widowed, the original death certificate or certified copy must be produced. Where applicable, a translated, certified and notarized copy of the death certificate must be produced.

Marrying Outside of New Providence and Grand Bahama Island

Couples wishing to be married on islands outside of New Providence and Grand Bahama Island can obtain a marriage license at the Administrator’s Office on that island.

MORE HERE: https://www.bahamas.com/marriage-license


Firefly Bar & Grill Closed Sept 25th – Oct 16th

If you will be visiting the area between September 25 – October 16, 2018please note *** Our Firefly Bar & Grill will be CLOSED. During that time, we will be adding upgrades and sprucing up the restaurant as we do annually. Thank you in advance for understanding. 



Get Fit at Firefly with CayLife Fitness

At Firefly Sunset Resort, we are always looking for new options for you and your family/groups during your stay. We have a plethora of outdoor sports. because of how lucky we are to be located on Elbow Cay – but sometimes, our guests want to workout like they may at home. We’re thrilled to have Cay Life Fitness to our guest and visitors at Firefly. Every 45 minute workout is different and varies from strength, endurance, balance, resistance, fat loss and muscle building. Feel free to ask our welcoming staff about these group workouts. There are also private sessions upon request.

 

Want to feel empowered? Look no further! Group fitness classes offer a safe, supportive envirnoment for people searching for a fun workout. Together with your peers and an encouraging trainer who ensures every exercise is performed effective and correctly, you’ll break a sweat without it feeling like a chore. 

The energy of a group makes exercise fun, motivational, and inspirational. Working out in a group can give us the confidence and support we need to unleash our true physical potential.

Caylife Fitness Group Classes combine elements of Circuit Training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as well as Strength and Functional Training. This training style has been shown to be the most effective method for burning fatand building lean muscle – so you’ll get the most out of a 45 min workout.

Come join me and a great group of people for a Sweat session at sunrise or a early morning 

Classes take place at Firefly Sunset Resort. 

 

Follow @caylifefitness for more information on the workout classes held here at Firefly.