Monday, March 15, 2010

MOW Walkabout

We have been out exploring some of the other islands. Another one of our favorites is Man-O-War Cay. MOW is a very quiet and pristine island and in fact it is a ‘dry’ island, meaning that no alcohol is sold or served. The small flower lined streets remind me of Cherokee and you won’t find any signs of trash or a yard in need of grooming.

Many of the houses on this cay have Widow's Walks or Widow's Watches where the wives used to wait and watch for their husbands to return from the sea.

This house has a seperate little guest room that is aptly called a Snore Box.

The local population is all white and the Haitian workers that come over by ferry from Marsh Harbour during the day are all required to be off the island by nightfall.

The residents are very industrious and MOW is the boat building center of Abaco. Albury Skiffs have been made here since the 1950’s.
Originally they were wood, but they are now building gorgeous fiberglass replicas of their first models to keep the tradition alive.
Plus they continue to build their highly sought after center console boats.

MOW also is known for their own wooden Abaco Sailing Dinghies. Three new boats have recently been launched. Although much the same as the ones made in Hope Town by Winer Malone, they still have little differences.

Boat repairs and bottom painting of boats are also done here and the boatyard hauls boats out on a railway system.

While we were there, two wooden sailboats were getting painted and one was getting a new sailing rig installed.

The island has two protected harbors and the settlement waterfront is a busy one.

This is also the home of the Albury Ferries that carry passengers to and from all the different islands.

The Albury Sail Shop is also located along the waterfront, and not only do they make and repair sails, but they have all sorts of lovely high quality travel bags and sewn gifts.

The grocery store that is right on the water is also owned by the Alburys (are you noticing a trend?), and it is so organized that they almost follow you around and straighten shelves and replace the items that you bought as you pick them off the shelves.

A trip to MOW is not complete without having Lola pull over in her golf cart to offer you her famous homemade bread and cinnamon rolls. The rolls are especially delicious, warm and dripping with sweet frosting.

We have always enjoyed walking the length of this two mile long skinny island. The landscape is very diverse with lush foliage lined paths to the south, the settlement in the center, and ocean front trails to the north. At one point to the north, there is a causeway so narrow that the waves from the ocean break right over to the Sea of Abaco.
The southern trail winds its way around to a quaint Robinson Crusoe type open air cottage called the Owl’s Nest, complete with its own MOW Dinghy.

Man-O-War Cay may only be about 3 miles away from Hope Town, but as all of the islands are a little different from each other, MOW definitely has a flavor and character all its own.

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