Just four years ago, Hurricane Dorian slammed The Bahamas. A year later, COVID-19 slammed the world. Between them, the two disasters erased any notions Florida Powerboat Club founder Stu Jones may have had about organizing a group boating trip to the Northern Bahamas for a while. Better to wait for the return of proper services and the end of travel-restriction headaches, Jones correctly reasoned, before leading a fleet of performance boats on the 80-mile trek from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the area.
Paradise revisited—after a four-year absence, the Florida Powerboat Club returned to the Northern Bahamas last week and returned Monday. Photos courtesy/copyright of the Florida Powerboat Club.
The wait ended August 8 when Jones led a group of 10 boats, including eight center consoles, one MTI catamaran and a Fountain Powerboats 38 Lightning sportboat, to Old Bahama Bay Resort in West End, Grand Bahama, and Port Lucaya. For the next four days, the group went island-hopping in the Sea of Abaco and explored the Grand Lucayan Waterway.
“Aside from just enjoying the immense scenery and pristine waterways, my goal was to show our club members some modern-day marvels of construction engineering that had long been forgotten—and to this day have remained abandoned and unfinished,” Jones explained. “We started with a quick cruise through the Ginn sur Mer Marina, which is possibly the largest marina excavation project ever undertaken in the Bahamas. It was abandoned in 2011 with the collapse of the Ginn enterprise.
“After a lunch stop in Port Lucaya, we continued through the Grand Lucayan Waterway, an equally impressive construction feat that was abandoned by a consortium of big-money overseas developers in the late 1970s,” he added. “That happened after Bahamas officially seceded from the British Commonwealth in 1976.”
Enjoy more images from the 2023 Florida Powerboat Club Bahamas Blast.
The group spent three days at the Hope Town Inn and Marina on Elbow Cay. Posting up in Hope Town opened an array of day-trip adventures for the group, and Jones and the more than two dozen Florida Powerboat Club members in the mix took full advantage of it.
“When you’re in Hope Town you can point your boat in almost any direction and—depending on the weather and sea conditions—there are dozens of places to visit,” Jones said. “I’ve always enjoyed Pete’s Pub at Little Harbour, which is just over 20 miles south from Hope Town in protected waters, so we headed there on our first day-trip adventure. I was happy to run into the owner Pete as we docked the boats, and we spent some time in his dockside man-cave before I joined the group for a barefoot lunch.”
The following day, the group pigged out at No Name Cay, meaning they got in the water with the island’s attention-hogging wild pigs. From there, they headed to Green Turtle Club and Resort on Green Turtle Cay. They ended the trip with cocktails at Grabbers Bed, Bar and Grill on Great Iguana Cay.
For the Bahamas Blast, Jones left his Top Gun: Flight 1130 Cigarette Racing Team 38 Top Gun sportboat stateside and caught a ride with friends. And that suited him and his sons, Tyler and Max, just fine.
For the Jones boys, this Mag Bay 43 center console was the perfect Bahamas exploration vessel.
“Riding with Simon Williams and his first-mate Dee Babcock on a brand-new 43-foot Mag Bay center console powered by triple 600-hp Mercury Marine V-12 outboards was one of the highlights of the trip for us,” he said. “Simon is a Fountain Powerboats dealer in Sarasota and a Florida Powerboat Club sponsor, and after selling most of his Fountain 38SCX center-console inventory he decided to give this new Mag Bay center console a shakedown trip ‘on its own bottom.’ Simon ran it all the way from Sarasota to Fort Lauderdale—and then joined us for our 700-mile Bahamas adventure before running the boat back to Sarasota.
“I really have to thank Simon and Dee for helping us pull off an amazing 2023 Bahamas Blast and celebrate our return to the Northern Bahamas,” he added. “It was epic in every way.”
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