Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)


Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour needs no introduction. The place is an integral part of Abaco life, in much the same way as the Elbow Reef Lighthouse. Everyone knows that one runs effortlessly on beer and rum; the other on kerosene and a bed of mercury (just don’t mix up which is which, and best not to drink the mercury). Some visitors may happily while away an hour or three at Pete’s, not knowing of the amazing sculpture gallery almost next door, where works from the historic Johnston Foundry are displayed. Here is a taste of what you will find there.

Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)

In the 1950s Randolph Johnston built a bronze casting foundry at Little Harbour that is still very much in use today. Much of the wonderful work produced by members of the Johnston family over 3 generations can be found on display in the Gallery. Here you will find genuinely locally produced sculptural works of art ranging from the simple to the incredibly complex. Some large outdoor pieces can also be found dotted around the settlement – here, a huge ray; over there, a pair of leaping dolphins.

Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)

Unsurprisingly, the sculptures on display mostly relate to the sea, which laps the shoreline only a few yards in front of the gallery. These are works of art, and of skill refined over decades. They do not come cheap. There are however smaller and less expensive items to tempt the visitor who may have a baggage allowance to live down to. Here is a snapshot of some of these.

Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen) Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)Pete's Pub & Gallery / The Johnston Foundry Little Harbour Abaco (Keith Salvesen)

You might be entertained by this short video, which will give you an idea of Pete’s set-up at this unique off-grid settlement. And if you do visit, coincide with a mealtime – the freshly caught fish is outstanding.

All photos: Keith Salvesen, with thanks for permission to photograph some of the artworks on display. Video by Pete’s! [PS I have not been paid for my writing, not even a beer…]



A Guest Post by Amanda Diedrick of GTC – check out 

“Several years back, on a family road trip to the south end of the Abaco mainland, we took a quick swing through the settlement of Cherokee Sound. Though our stop was brief, I was enchanted by the beauty of the tiny town and its breathtaking beach.

bahamas, abaco, cherokee sound, marsh harbour

Earlier this year, I finally got the chance to get back to Cherokee. I spent an afternoon wandering through this small fishing village that, by comparison, makes sedate Green Turtle Cay seem like a lively metropolis.

Similar to Green Turtle, Cherokee was originally settled by Loyalist descendants who supported their families by fishing or building boats. Today, fewer than 200 residents — most of whom commute to other parts of Abaco for work — call Cherokee Sound home.

Though Cherokee’s streets were virtually deserted on the hot June afternoon I visited, I did spot a group of primary school students enjoying recess, and I met a few locals while photographing their quaint, colourful homes.

bahamas, abaco, cherokee sound

And then there’s that beach. That stunning, unspoiled beach. And jutting 700 feet out into the clear water, a beautiful old dock which, according to the sign posted nearby, is the longest wooden pier in the Bahamas.

bahamas, abaco, cherokee sound, pier Until a few decades ago, the only way into Cherokee Sound was by sea. And given the shallow waters surrounding the settlement, an extended pier was a necessity. These days, with a paved road connecting Cherokee to the rest of the Abaco mainland, the dock functions primarily as a tourist attraction.

Casuarina Old Jetty

The Old Jetty at Casuarina, Abaco – the pre-road shortcut to Cherokee (RH)

To get to Cherokee Sound from Marsh Harbour, head south on the main highway and turn left when you reach the sign below:

bahamas, abaco, cherokee sound, pete's pub

Follow the winding road until it ends at Cherokee Sound. The drive from Marsh Harbour takes 30-45 minutes or so.

Cherokee Sound jpg

Between the highway and Cherokee, there are two key points of interest and they could not be more different. Pete’s Pub and Gallery is a rustic, off-the-grid, on-the-sand restaurant that serves up local seafood and stunning ocean views, while the Abaco Club at Winding Bay is a manicured beachfront resort with a spa and fitness center, full-size golf course and pro shop.

If it’s meal time or you’re in need of refreshments, I’d suggest stopping at Pete’s or the Abaco Club, as there are no restaurants in Cherokee Sound. Nor are there any hotels, though a quick online search reveals nearly a dozen vacation homes for rent in or near the village.

bahamas, abaco, cherokee sound

Below are a few of the photos I shot that afternoon. And if you’d like to know more about Cherokee Sound and its history, here’s a great article by Abaco Life editor, Jim Kerr.



Little Harbour Abaco, Aerial View -Simon Rodehn annotated

Little Harbour Abaco, Aerial View (Simon Rodehn)

There’s relatively little that a casual investigator can discover about the ruined lighthouse at Little Harbour, Abaco. This hurricane-damaged wreck is Abaco’s third and largely unknown light, after the icon on ELBOW REEF and the desolate but romantic HOLE-IN-THE-WALL that stands on the southern tip of Abaco, down 15 miles of dodgy track through the National Park. Two specific sources of information begin our tour of the “Old Lighthouse at Little Harbour.


“LITTLE HARBOUR Date unknown (station established 1889). Inactive. Ruins of a 1-story concrete keeper’s quarters, known locally as the “old lighthouse.” A modern steel framework tower carried an active light until it was blown over by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012; Trabas has Darlene Chisholm’s photo of the toppled light. A photo and a very distant view are available, and Bing has a satellite view. In an aerial view of the harbor, the light is on the peninsula at upper right. Located at the entrance to Little Harbour, about 25 km (15 mi) south of Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island. Accessible by a short walk to the end of the peninsula sheltering the harbor. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: unknown. ARLHS BAH-021; Admiralty J4576; NGA 11808.”

The “Old Lighthouse” – Little Harbour, Abaco

Abaco Escape  – Sandy Estabrook’s essential GUIDE TO THE ABACOS

Often overlooked is (or should we say was) the “Old Lighthouse” as it is called. It was established in 1889 at the entrance to of Little Harbour channel, the southern entrance to Abaco Sound. Once it was a manned light, with the lighthouse keeper and his wife being the only inhabitants of Little Harbour. Of course the keepers are long gone and so is most of the house. The light tower was converted to solar in modern times but was dealt a devastating blow by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Access is via a path which starts from the shoreline and winds up the hill through seagrapes and bush. Few people venture up here these days. If there is a big ocean swell running, walk down to the cliff top in front of the lighthouse, where you’ll find a blowhole known as the Dragon. Depending on swell height, it could be roaring, snorting and shooting out clouds of spray. Sandy Estabrook

Photos referenced by Rowlett  – see extract above

Note the steel frame tower on the right, a structure replacing the old light destroyed by Hurricane Floyd in 1999; and itself toppled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012


Lighthouse ruins, Little Harbour Abaco, Patrick Shyu

Lighthouse ruins, Little Harbour Abaco, Patrick Shyu. The only interior shot I could find. Note the fallen steel tower (2012) (and seen from the outside below)

Lighthouse ruins, Little Harbour Abaco - Patrick Shyu

Lighthouse ruins, Little Harbour Abaco – Patrick Shyu

Little Harbour lighthouse Abaco - Darlene Chisholm

Little Harbour lighthouse Abaco, post Hurricane Sandy – Darlene Chisholm

Little Harbour Lighthouse Ruins, Abacos - MV Shingebiss

The Old Lighthouse ruins, taken during a cruise (MV Shingebiss)


In the header image, the location of the Light, looking very roughly north, is shown as a grey pimple on the eastern peninsula that forms the Little Harbour bay. There is no other building in this area. Below are some additional aerial maps showing the path to the Light and its relative remoteness. It is not covered in the wonderful book on Bahamas lighthouses by Annie Potts entitled “Last Lights” (2011, Fish House Press). I surmise that this small Light was more of a beacon to pinpoint the location of the entrance to Little Harbour, and perhaps to enable triangulation with the large lights at ELBOW REEF and HOLE-IN-THE-WALL.

Little Harbour Lighthouse 1 jpg copy

Little Harbour Lighthouse 2 jpg

An unusual aerial view of Little Harbour Lighthouse from the north, showing the path to it. You can see the ‘modern steel framework tower’ referred to in the ROWLETT entry above, replacing the original lighthouse tower destroyed by Hurricane Floyd and later toppled by Hurricane Sandy.

Little Harbour Lighthouse

Little Harbour lighthouse

Credits:  Simon Rodehn (LH aerial view – thanks again!), Rowlett’s Lighthouses, Sandy Estabrook / Abaco Escape, Wiki Map, Patrick Shyu, Darlene Chisholm, MV Shingbiss,


Bahamas van Keulen Map clip copy 2


To begin with, here is a fabulous recent photograph of the actual Hole-in-the-Wall taken by well-known Abaco nature tour guide Ricky Johnson. This picture inspired me to delve into the history of Abaco and its the southernmost extremity, to see how far back it can be traced; and how the island’s recorded history has evolved since the Columbian era.

STOP PRESS March 2017  Thanks to the many people currently viewing this post & sharing it around. It was written, of course, before Hurricane Sandy converted the Hole into a Gap. There are links at the bottom of the page to some posts relating to the new ‘Gap-in-the-Wall’. In 2015 I went on the BMMRO research RHIB close to the hole / gap. If you are interested in the story and close- up photos, you’ll find them at HITW UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES ONE (past) and TWO (present & future).

(Photo Credit: Ricky Johnson)

I started by trying to establish the earliest map, and the earliest mention of Hole-in-the-Wall. I don’t have access to written archival material, so I looked instead at historic maps of the Caribbean / Bahamas / Lucayas. The very earliest, from the late c16, simply depict the Bahama Islands / Lucayas as rather random-looking blobs which bear little relation to their actual geographical location or their shape. The islands mostly have quite different names, or variants of familiar spellings. Over the course of 5 centuries, one can trace the progress of place names to those used today – including of Abaco itself. The gradual development of settlements can also been seen – at Little Harbour, Crossing Rocks and ‘Cheeric Sound’, for example, as well as on the ‘Keys’.

The trail starts in the c16. The earliest map I have so far found is the Abraham Ortelius map of 1592, which is a good example of the rather basic map-making of the time. It is quite hard – near impossible – to relate the position of ‘Haraco’ to the other islands depicted.

ADDENDUM I have now uncovered an even earlier and far more ambitious map published in 1550 by the Spanish cartographer Diego Gutiérrez. His incredibly intricate map, for the period, is decorated with volcanos, mermaids, monkeys, and variety of fantastical sea creatures. The first image is a detail of the whole map, showing the Bahamas, a sea monster, and a graphic shipwreck. I have also included an image of the whole map so that the extraordinary range and complexity of this early map can be seen in its entirety.

This colourful and charming 1679 map shows that a very basic style of mapping was still common in the c17

This famous map by A.M.Mallet from 1683, with its enjoyable sea battle vignette, is another good example of the very general nature of the maps, although the design and draftsmanship has advanced considerably

Things become much clearer and more detailed in the c18. The relationship of the islands to each other is shown in geographic reality; and many more details and place names are included. The earliest specific reference to Hole-in-the-Wall (as it now is) that I have so far found is in a 1738 map by Johannes Couvens & Cornelius Mortier. ‘Abaco’ is now spelled as we know it, with ‘Hole in the Rock’ clearly marked. Little Harbour is mentioned, as are 2 ‘Keys’, presumably indicating settlements. 

A 1750 map by Robert of Paris shows the southern tip of Abaco as ‘Trou dans le Roc’. You’ll have to trust me on this – the writing is tiny and impossible to enlarge legibly. The French name is not just because the map maker was French, but probably because it was the name given by French settlers who are believed to have lived in that part of Abaco in the c18 (and quite possibly earlier). Many more settlements are shown, especially on the Cays.

The Cartographer Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, in a 1764 map, also used the french name, though in the plural ‘Trou dans les Roches’, as this much enlarged portion of his ‘Cartes des Isles Lucayes’ shows. Little Harbour – ‘Petit Havre’ – is again included as a distinct settlement, and a few Cays are also named.

John Blair’s map of 1779, below, shows clearly ‘the Hole in the Rock’ – indeed, it is the only named place on Great Abaco. The southern end of Florida looks worryingly fragmented…

For the new century, a map by George Cook dated 1800 shows the first appearance of Little Abaco as a separate entity. Again, Hole in the Rock is the only place on Great Abaco that is marked. Maybe this evidences a continuing significance as a navigation aid.

The good clear map by Thompson dated 1815 provides plenty of excellent detail hitherto lacking in maps of the northern Bahamas. Another name for Hole-in-the-Wall has crept in, shown as ‘Hole of the Rock’. There are some oddities here. A ‘Rocky Point’, usually associated with the south west coast below Sandy Point, is marked on the east coast. Little Harbour is shortened to L.H., indicating perhaps that it had become a familiar enough settlement to warrant abbreviation – unless it stands for Light House, referring to the long-defunct lighthouse there… The word ‘Kay’ is used, a half-way house between the earlier ‘Key’ and the later ‘Cay’. The positions of the Kays seems (now) amusingly off-cay – indeed the relative scales to the main island are quite strange. Green Turtle Cay is some way nor’-nor’-west of Little Abaco…

Harrison’s much simpler map in 1818 also uses ‘Hole of the Rock’, which is the only place shown.                              

As the  c19 progressed, far more sophisticated and detailed map-making – including nautical charts – was undertaken. This extract from a much larger chart by Edmund Blunt from 1827 is the first mapped reference I can find of the name change from ‘Rock’ to ‘Wall’. It is also the earliest I have found Crossing Rocks mentioned on a map, though apparently as a shipping warning rather than an indication of a viable settlement. Walt Disney has yet to visit ‘Key Gorda’.

A new name for the southern extremity entered the scene in 1833 on Thomas Starling’s map of the West Indies. The tip is simply called ‘Light Ho. Pt’, with no reference to Holes, Rocks or Walls – an interesting variation (see below). I have found no other instances of this name.

The interest lies in the fact that the evidence suggests that the Lighthouse at Hole-in-the-Wall was not actually completed until 1836, yet Starling was specifically referencing it 3 years earlier. One could deduce that there was already a basic lighthouse of some description there, soon to be superseded; or perhaps that construction of the Lightstation had already commenced in 1833, and Starling was confident of its eventual completion and wanted to be ahead of the competition… On the left is the notice at the lighthouse station today.


For a time, maps continued to use ‘Rock’ rather than ‘Wall’ – the 1843 Findlay map has reverted to ‘Hole in the Rock’. Great and Little Abaco are again separately named.

In 1857, a very detailed nautical chart of the area was published. The survey seems to have been carried out by the British Navy for the French, and now detailed depth measurements enter the picture. It seems that new techniques have recently been discovered. I have used only one of the 3 areas mapped, a detail of the southern tip of Abaco. Here, in french, we are back to ‘Wall’ rather than ‘Rock’. For the first time, the lighthouse and associated lightstation buildings have been included, but I haven’t been able to decipher the words in brackets under ‘Phare’.

Mitchell, in a far more basic (pretty border though) 1872 map,reverts to ‘Hole in the Rock’

Two near-identical maps were published in the late c19: the first, by Hardesty, New York, in 1884; the second, by Rand McNally, in 1890. Extracts are shown below, side-by-side. This time, both clearly show ‘Hole in the Wall’. Cay is still spelled ‘Key’. And for the first time I have seen, Cherokee gets a mention as ‘Cheeric’ or ‘Cheerie’ Sound.


In the final year of the c19, George Cram of Chicago pubished the most ambitious map of the region so far. By 1899 shipping routes were so well-established that they could be added to maps, increasing their usefulness and therefore sales. He’s back to ‘Hole in the Rock’, though. The names of the Cays are more familiar here, and Pelican Harbor is now included. Cherokee is still in its early form.

The c20 saw the use of the name ‘Hole in the Wall’ becoming predominant, as shown on this Waterlow’s map from 1919. The map also uses the modern-day ‘Cherokee Sound’; and surprisingly this is the first map I came across that names Marsh Harbour (and also Wilson City). The map also marks all Bahamas lighthouses (oddly, although ‘Hole in the Wall’ is marked on a similar map from that period by Harrison & Sons, the red dot for the lighthouse is missing there – presumably in error, since the lighthouse was well-established and functioning at that time). I am left wondering when the hyphens became included in ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’. They are not universal, I have noticed, but seem to be the preferred usage nowadays, making the place a lot more niggly to type!

To end with, a photo of the lighthouse (now automatic) and some of the abandoned buildings. For an account of an intrepid trip to this part of South Abaco CLICK ===>>> ‘TO THE LIGHTHOUSE…

  • This post is by no means exhaustive, and any suggestions, additions or corrections are welcome by way of the COMMENT box or by email to
  • Apologies for the very small writing on many of the maps, but in most cases it was not possible to enlarge the image further without also making the written details illegible. 
  • The photos, apart from Ricky’s, are mine. Acknowledgement is given to the variety of sources used for the map extracts, which come mainly from catalogues / sales advertising or open online archives. Any problems? Let me know!

POST SCRIPT: I am very grateful to 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. 

AFTERTHOUGHT I have received a query as to exactly where the eponymous Hole in the Wall, or Rock, can be found in relation to the lighthouse. At the foot of the page is an annotated map which I should no doubt have provided in the first place. The consensus of those who have walked to it (I haven’t yet) is that you’d be well advised to wear walking shoes / boots. Mary Wallace Chamie in a recent POST (check out the link for her VG photos, of which I have included 2 small tasters) says this:

“At first the hike was easy as we followed a cement path through a maze of sea grapes and then hiked further down until we reached the beach.  We took a left at the beach and started hiking across limestone that was full of potholes and sharp edges.  We walked carefully through the maze until we reached a point where we could finally see the Hole in the Wall.


We then headed back across the limestone craters and up the hill to the lighthouse.  One suggestion I have to any beach comber who takes this hike.  Wear your walking shoes! ” 

To which I can now add this ‘distance shot’ from the sea, which makes it all completely clear. I have contacted the photographer via Panoramia but had no reply. Credit as annotated. If you are the photographer, Hi!. And if you object to its inclusion, please let me know and I’ll remove it…










Besides ‘living shells’ with occupants in residence and shiny recently-vacated shells, there is a third category of shell: the skeleton. I am sure there’s a better or more technical word for these. They aren’t fossils in the strict sense of remnants from a past geological age, but merely worn by the waves and bleached by the sun over time. Here are two examples (from different beaches) which show the intricacy of the part of the shell you don’t normally see: the interior

A shell skeleton from Little Harbour, in situ on the beach on a cloudy day

The same shell washed, with a wonderful pink tinge in sunlight

A strange corkscrew skeleton shell from Sandy Point. I’ve no idea what it is, nor how any creature can have lived in or around it, nor what it must have looked like when complete. Any ideas? Please use the comment box… Thanks, Kasia, for your ID of both as conch skeletons. The first obviously is, but the second puzzled me… until she pointed out that conchs build their own shells round themselves to their own designs rather than go to the one-stop conch shell shop. So if a conch starts wrapping itself comfortably round its own corkscrew, this is what you get

(Mrs rh quite rightly points out that my shell photos are unhelpful without a ruler to give an idea of size. Point taken. Too late. These are medium size…)



 AUGUST 30 (post 2 – Pathfinders Task Force Assessments)



21.30 GMT DOWNLOADABLE  & PRINTABLE VERSION of the Pathfinders Task Force SWEAT-MS [Sewer, Water, Electricity, Academics, Transportation, Medical, and Security] ASSESSMENT FOR ABACO. This assessment gives full details of the state of the electricity supply in the various parts of Abaco, with detailed maps and photos of supply problems caused by Irene – for example, Sandy Point was without electricity when the assessment was made…  CLICK===>>> PTFSWEAT-MSAssessmentAbaco

19.30 GMT DOWNLOADABLE  & PRINTABLE VERSION of the Pathfinders Task Force Rapid Damage Assessment for Abaco. The maps are incredibly helpful in revealing the extent of damage found in many areas – Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Sandy Point for example – graded by severity.  CLICK===>>>  PTFRapidDamageAssessmentAbaco

Thanks to Bahama Islands Info for putting it in the public domain – much easier to read! TO SEE WHOLE ARTICLE CLICK LOGO===>>>  


I have already provided the links to this report in my earlier post today. This one deserves its own space. Over the past few days I’ve had a vast number of hits from searches including the words ‘Abaco’, ‘Irene’, and ‘Damage’ in various combinations. Clearly many people are desperate for information, especially as communications have been down completely in many places, and very variable elsewhere. Now at last there is available a detailed preliminary assessment of Irene damage on Abaco, with a report, maps and photographs, posted on BAHAMASLOCAL.COM  It will be of great interest to everyone on Abaco or elesewhere concerned to find out more about the effects of Irene on the Islands and Cays. I will add anything else that arises later today to the main post of today (see top of page for LINK), but I thought this report merited its own publication and title tags (for Google purposes). CLICK==>> BAHAMAS LOCAL 


             27 AUGUST: HURRICANE IRENE & ABACO                 THE AFTERMATH & CLEAR-UP

22.30 GMT NO NEWS – GOOD NEWS? It’s some hours since I last posted because there has been little more emerging that I can usefully add in the way of information or helpful links. I suspect that significant communications problems are continuing today. Having just completed a further trawl for today’s news and online sites, I think I can fairly summarise the overall situation by saying that the extent of the damage caused by Irene has mercifully been rather less than expected; that no serious injuries have been reported; and that the snippets coming out of the various communities of Abaco indicate that most are as ok as one could hope in the circumstances.

I’m stopping for now, and I will provide any available updates tomorrow morning UK time, ready for when Abaco starts the day. I have now had a vast number of hits – more than 10,000 – over the last 3 days, and I hope a few people at least have found the blog helpful. Thanks for looking. I suspect that once communications are back to normal, I will be returning to the main idea of the blog –  the wildlife of Abaco – and my normal 20 hits a day! All the best for the rest of today. rh

16.00 GMT FURTHER NEWS: MARSH HARBOUR; TREASURE, GREEN TURTLE, MAN-o-WAR, ELBOW & GREAT GUANA CAYS; CHEROKEE & SANDY POINT Further to the Post below at 14.00, The Tribune has published further details of the situation on Abaco and the Cays. You will find additional information about specific areas in the forum posts below the main article, which also includes confirmation that “in South Abaco the communities of Cherokee and Sandy Point have reported minimal damage”. There is also the first news I have seen regarding members of the Haitian communities, who “were among the 300-plus residents who made use of public shelters during the storm, and were relieved to find the damage to their homes was minimal”. CLICK===>>> THE TRIBUNE page 3

14.00 GMT NEWS OF MARSH HARBOUR, TREASURE CAY, GREEN TURTLE CAY, CHEROKEE & SANDY POINT There are detailed Irene reports in The Tribune covering the last 3 or 4 days in the Bahamas generally. The latest post, from 19.30 LT last night, is most helpful for Abaco, so I reproduce it in full: 

THE TRIBUNE Friday, August 26, 2011

7:31pm – Phone lines are still down in Abaco, and there is no telephone communication with the cays, but The Tribune has learned damage to the islands is not as catastrophic as some may have feared. There has been some flooding in Green Turtle Cay, reportedly two feet of water at some buildings in New Plymouth, and wind damage to buildings on the north coast.

Flooding has also affected settlements on the north coast of Great Abaco Island, and Little Abaco Island in the north, with water flooding in the road at Coopers Town, as well as parts of Crown Haven, and there is up to four feet of water in parts of Blackwood.

Although trees are down, utility poles are down, and water has prevented road access, in the north end of Abaco, there has been no major damage, loss of life or injuries reported.

Marsh Harbour was spared flooding, as the storm attacked from the south, bringing down trees and utility poles, and tearing boats from their moorings, but today the community was out clearing the roads and putting things back in order.

Electricity is slowly being restored in Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay, although landlines are down, some cell phones are working.

Marsh Harbour airport will open Saturday morning.

In South Abaco communities in Sandy Point and Cherokee have given similar reports of damage, of fallen trees and utilities, and minimal damage to buildings, as well as some flooding.   CLICK FOR MORE===>>> THE TRIBUNE

12.00 Noon GMT I have just got hold of the latest update, with today’s date, from the DELPHI CLUB Rolling Harbour (south of MH, Cherokee and Bahama Palm Shores,and north of Schooner Bay and Crossing Rocks) The news is good, (but it is worth repeating that the club is on a cliff above the beach, so has been spared any problems from the sea – other places will not have been so fortunate) 


27 August 2011

Contact at last and very good news – no major damage.

Caroline, who is currently caretaking the Club, is very badly shaken but she reports that, apart from some flooding and some minor breakages, there appears to be no serious damage to any of the buildings. Even the beach steps appear to have substantially survived.

The gardens, however, are blitzed and will require major reconstruction.

All in all, a very lucky escape.

11.00 GMT RUDDWIRE has put up a 5th storm update from Marsh Harbour. The Irene problems are light. His flight from MHI was rescheduled for today.  Click the name above to link.

10.00 GMT Hope Town Inn& Marina Facebook page (and see below under Media / News Links) is active and has posts from people asking for info and providing some. Photos are promised. One to keep an eye on. Re LITTLE HARBOUR to enquirer Brooke Lee, the message I had from Pete’s Pub yesterday afternoon was “Things down this way seem good”. has a 39-image slideshow of Abaco damage: CLICK===>>> ABACO DAMAGE 

Craig Roberts has posted a number of photos on Picasa from the BAHAMA BEACH CLUB Treasure Cay (hope you don’t mind me giving the link, Craig)

ABACOFORUM.COM (Irene pages): I have now had a chance to have a quick scan here – a few new posts. In summary, I get the impression that there is quite a lot of damage to trees and foliage etc, as expected, but thankfully rather less than expected to property – not structural, anyway.

PEOPLE So far I have not come across reports of any injuries (or worse, DV). STOP PRESS: this  still holds true 7 hours later at 17.00

09.00 GMT Marsh Harbour & Airport News (courtesy of Abaco Beach Resort / eTurboNews): There does not appear to be any serious damage to Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour, Abacos, Bahamas, post-Hurricane Irene. Guests and staff remained safe, secure, and dry during the massive hurricane that hovered over the resort yesterday. This weekend, engineers and surveyors will take a professional look at structures including the docks, which are described as “looking fine.” The hurricane caused minor damage to the resort’s exterior and landscape, with some tree and solar panel damage.

AIRPORT Although Hurricane Irene disrupted the outbound/inbound Marsh Harbor flight schedules, flight service to/from Marsh Harbor is scheduled to resume by Saturday, August 27. 

08.00 GMT  The “rollingharbour”wildlife blog has had more than 8000 hits in the last 48 hours (daily average 20!) so I guess a few people are finding the info I have been able to provide useful, especially with communication links with the island bad or (mainly) non-existent.

Today I will try to post as much as I can about the after-effects of Irene on Abaco from whatever I can get hold of (special thanks the Pete’s Pub, Little Harbour for the email yesterday). I hope to try to be as location-specific as possible – I had a lot of contact yesterday from people worried about relatives or friends around the Island and Cays. Scroll down this page or use the ‘Previous Posts’ section of the Sidebar for news of the last 2 days. Since Wednesday I have also learnt how to tweet, so check out that section near the top of the Sidebar.

We wish all other places in the path of Irene well, of course, but thankfully no more need for 3-hourly storm map updates here. I will put up or provide links to any amazing images, such as the space station fly-over posted yesterday. Meanwhile, here is a recap of useful links to media and news sources to check for updates now that the storm has passed

MEDIA & NEWS LINKS an excellent resource that has featured very good making gifsfilm reports from Janine Stanwood in Marsh Harbour, with sensible and measured studio commentary as the situation developed.Well worth keeping an eye on this site. rh rating ***** for information and good reporting

HOPE TOWN INN & MARINA Good Facebook videos of Irene in action have been posted during the last 2 days, and now worth checking out for Elbow Cay updates. [Not looked yet, while I get this post done]

ABACO FORUM.COM the well-known local Abaco resource. NOTE the posts go backwards so click through to the end page. The posts about storms are in a  confusingly random order from 2006 to date, so check the dates as you read through – the majority of posts related to previous years. As yet – presumably because comms are down, there are relatively few posts for Irene. These are bound to increase over the next few days


WUNDERGOUND: To check out the wide variety of trackers, forecasts, radar maps and so forth, all on one convenient page CLICK===>>> IRENE

For more technical weather and tide stuff check out  BAROMETER BOB

The photograph below was taken by Caroline Stahala on the afternoon of 24 August, at Rolling Harbour on the east coast of Abaco about 25 miles south of Marsh Harbour, down towards Crossing Rocks. Irene was about 300 miles south 






Peter Mantle has just sent me the latest news blog entry from the Delphi Club, Rolling Harbour (down the east coast between Cherokee and Crossing Rocks, or more specifically Bahama Palm Shores and Serenity Point). It includes an awesome image courtesy of McIDAS. The news there is, overall, quite encouraging.

Delphi Club News/Blog


26 August 2011

The eye of Hurricane Irene passed over the Club at about 5pm GMTyesterday. Irene, a Category 3 hurricane, is one of the biggest storms to hit the Bahamas for many years. With constant wind speeds of 115mph, gusting to a reported 143mph, and with associated storm surges of up to 11 feet, Irene posed a very serious threat to property and life on low-lying Abaco.

We eagerly await news from the island. Initial reports from the Club (remarkably, there were still limited telephone links as the eye passed over) indicated that damage to the gardens and landscaping was extensive but the buildings appear to have largely held up – some external lights blown off, fences down etc but nothing too serious.

The beach steps were still standing at that point, but that would only have been half way through the ordeal and we doubt they will withstand the pummelling by what are still very angry seas. Waves were breaking on the cliff face fully 36 hours before the hurricane actually arrived.

Communications with the entire island have now been lost. We hope the “second half” was OK too and that the rest of the island has escaped so lightly. More news as it emerges….

See also the Rolling Harbour blog site for fuller details [rh note – if you are reading this, you are here already…]



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)