December is exhausting! Between the tree trimmings, the open houses, and the cocktail parties, you’re drained. If you could only escape for a few days in the middle of the all the craziness, you’d return relaxed, recharged, and ready to listen to the repetitive festive music for the rest of the holiday season. The Bahamas aren’t that far way. . . .
But don’t go to Nassau. That would be as about as relaxing as your office party. For a real escape, go to the Abaco Islands. The Bahamas’ northernmost islands are known as the “Bahamas Out Islands.” The 120-mile-long chain is made of flat coral and limestone islands. Originally the Lucayans lived here, before Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution arrived in 1783. Today, the islands are known for their amazing fishing spots, deserted beaches, and small informal hotels.
The Delphi Club, on the main island of Great Abaco, is one of the small hotels. Actually, it feels more like a private house. A gorgeous, 18th-century plantation-style house. The lodge sits on a small hill overlooking Rolling Harbour and the vast Atlantic. The wrap-around verandas have panoramic views and a consistent sea breeze. The Great Room is elegant but not stuffy, with a long dining table, a fishing gallery, and an honesty bar. An infinity pool is outside. Beyond that, you find gardens full of bougainvillea and oleander, and an untouched forest. There is only one other house within a mile.
You spend the first day fishing with a guide. First, you go to the Marls, an area that covers more than 200 miles on the west side of the island. It’s famous for its bonefishing, but the morning is a little cloudy and windy—at least by island standards—making it difficult to see the silvery fish. It’s almost lunchtime before a fish bites in the seagrass. After a picnic lunch, you move to Cherokee Sound back on the east coast. The sky has cleared, the white-sand wading flats are sparkling, and the fish are biting. A 17-pound bonefish is the highlight of your day.
After such a great afternoon out in the water, you consider heading back the next day. But with only a few days on the island, you decide to sleep in. When you finally wake up, you swim laps in the pool. Two beautiful Bahama parrots watch you from a tree, while a Bahama woodstar sings in the distance. You walk along the one-and-a-half-mile beach, seeing more birds and plenty of crabs, but no people. You go kayaking just offshore, and then switch to snorkeling because the water is so clear. And you return to the club in time for a glass of chilled Meursault and canapés on the veranda before dinner.
As you eat a seafood feast for dinner in the Great Room later, you happily accept a second glass of wine. Bonefishing, swimming, and snorkeling were just what you needed. Now you can return to the holiday craziness with a big smile on your face.