YOU WILL NEED camera; binoculars; possibly swimming kit; a car with (if you are going to get seriously stuck in at Pete’s Pub) a non-drinking driver; good appetite; and if you get weather like we did, something waterproof to wear…

ROUTE  Turn right at the end of the drive, head north past Bahama Palm Shores until you get to the right-hand turn to Cherokee / Little Harbour / Winding Bay. Take the made-up road to the end, following the right-hand bend that will bring you to Cherokee. You will pass the Abaco Club, Winding Bay, a Ritz-Carlton enterprise. It doesn’t need any meagre publicity from this quarter – just ask Sandy what you have to do to play golf there, eat there, use the spa, buy a cabana and so forth. 


Photo Credit: Simon Rodehn

Continue to CHEROKEE, park and have a wander round this charming settlement. It poured when we went and we were barely able to leave the car… so any description I could give is obscured by extreme wet, low cloud and yes, a touch of gloom. Not even any birds to report. Explore for yourself, why not. Thanks to Simon Rodehn for his fine aerial views of the Abaco Club Cherokee (and see his aerial view of LITTLE HARBOUR at the end of this post).

CHEROKEEPhoto Credit: Simon Rodehn

After you have had a look round Cherokee, drive back the way you came, past the Abaco Club, until you get to a right-hand junction with a sign to Pete’s Pub and Little Harbour. This is described on the map as ‘dirt road’, which doesn’t do justice to some of the impressive rocks en route. However, with care it is easily negotiable by car. Carry on until you get to Pete’s, which is a good place to leave the car and explore from.

LITTLE HARBOUR is a good place to wander round. Nice boats for a start; the renowned Johnston’s Foundry, with examples of its work scattered round; the Gallery, which is well worth investigating; a shell-strewn beach on the back-side (as it were). And Pete’s Pub for excellent sustenance at the end of it all… fresh fish of many kinds, and a lot more besides. Here are some pictures – I haven’t attempted to photoshop them to disguise the fact that the weather that day was… inclement. Bleak, even. On a sunny day, when you go, it will surely look better…





THE BEACH Shells, but no idea about the swimming: thwarted by drizzle!

PETE’S PUB & GALLERY Here is the direct link to Pete’s, where you will find all the info you could wish for about the Pub, the Foundry, the Johnston family, cottage rental, fishing and the locality generally. There are also plenty of excellent pictures, so check it out for a far sunnier view than I have provided here.


NOV 2012 Addition


AND FINALLY… a great aerial view of Little Harbour, looking roughly north. Click or double click image to enlarge

Photo credit Simon Rodehn (CHEROKEE COTTAGES)



You will need: One truck with plenty of fuel (for the return journey); courage, patience and determination; picnic; bird book – borrow the HALLETT (KS copy) from Club library; camera / binoculars; willingness to cope with and explore derelict buildings; good shoes if you want to walk from the lighthouse; life insurance if you want to climb the uninvitingly hazardous lighthouse stairs

Map credit as elsewhere

Like marriage, this expedition is not by any to be undertaken lightly or ill- advisedly… Driving to the lighthouse at Hole-in-the-Wall involves a 15-mile (each way) return journey on a track south from the Highway. It starts promisingly but gradually turns nasty as the track degenerates. Rental cars are banned; Sandy will have strong views about using the Club car… Realistically, it can only be done in a truck. We took a truck… I don’t want to be unduly off-putting but we were still considering turning back at mile 14. Especially at mile 14. The view is as shown below for most of the way, the trees thinning out as one nears the coast.An optimistically good stretch of track

During the journey, you pass through the heart of the National Park, breeding ground for the Abaco Parrots. Uniquely for this species, they nest on the ground in limestone holes, making them vulnerable to predators. Logging roads cross the track at regular intervals, and are a good place to pull in and look for the birds of the pine forest –from large red-tailed hawks through gray catbirds, loggerhead kingbirds and hairy woodpeckers down to small warblers. If you take a picnic with you, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to bird watch.Loggerhead Kingbird in the National Park

This is what you will find when (if?) you reach the end of the road…

Park here. Mind the rocks. Far from advisable to continue further…

Hole-in-the-wall Lighthouse and outbuildings

The Entrance

No sign of renovation in Spring 2010

Land’s End – the southern tip of Great Abaco, and a good place for whale-watching

The internal staircase – access is easy, the door isn’t even kept shut let alone locked

THE UNEXPECTED REWARD for our endurance was to find, beside the path back to the car, a small group of Bahama Woodstars. This is the endemic species of hummingbird, and they are rare where there are the Cuban Emerald imports (at Delphi, for example). The ones we saw were all female – the males are iridescent green with a purple front. They were amazingly unafraid of us, flying back and forth around us,  and quite happy to perch almost within arms’ reach and watch us watching them. They were completely enchanting, and cheered us up for the forthcoming journey back – fortunately it gets easier – and a picnic by a logging road once the track-terror had subsided.

STOP PRESS: Courtesy of batfa242 / Panoramio who braved the dodgy-looking spiral staircase in the lighthouse, here is a fantastic shot of ‘Land’s End’ taken across the lamp and through the glass. Many thanks for permission to use this – it makes me regret not having had the spirit of adventure to make the climb… Double-click for a very detailed view, including the in-built fresnel lens… (and see HOPE TOWN LIGHTHOUSE post)

POST SCRIPT: I am very grateful to Marinas.com for permission to download this wonderful aerial image of Hole-in-the-Wall lighthouse and its outbuildings, looking towards the southern tip of Abaco. They have generously enabled a completely cost and watermark-free download. I have added the © detail. Thanks, guys. 


Ricky ushers us into his spacious, comfortable truck: 6 denizens of Delphi eager for adventure. Most have already been on a morning trip to see the Abaco Barbs (wild horses) of which more in a separate post. rollingharbour suffers from an unfortunate but mild form of equine indifference disorder, so gave it a miss.

 We set off north on the highway, checking cameras, binoculars and other essential expeditionary impedimenta. Meanwhile, Ricky reveals his knowledge, experience and huge enthusiasm… this extends way, way beyond mere birds to the trees and plants, to poisons and herbal remedies, to geology and speleology, to geography and history. Soon we reach our destination, confident in Ricky’s renowned ability to know where the parrots (and many more birds besides) are to be found. We don’t have to wait very long – about two minutes after we turn off the highway, in fact… The parrots favour the Gumbo Limbo Tree (Bursera simaruba) as pictured, which invariably and most conveniently grows next to the Poisonwood tree (Metopium Toxiferum) and is its antidote. That’s the first place to look.

 ABACO PARROTS (Amazona leucocephala bahamensis) Here is a selection of our photos of these fantastic birds. I hadn’t expected to see so many, for so long, and at such close quarters. Their colouring was extraordinarily vivid, with a slash of blue on the wings. This was especially dramatic in flight. One parrot, shown below, had red frontal markings that extended almost to its tail. Ricky hadn’t seen one like it before.

CLICK on the images to enlarge them significantly [Mrs rollingharbour reports that this is as yet a theory and may not work in practice]

CAPTION COMPETITION (NON-COMPETITIVE): 3rd image down – what did parrot (a) say to parrot (b)?

To be continued… (I’m going to do this post piecemeal – other birds, flowers etc to follow)