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There are really only 2 places to buy groceries on Guana Cay. The first is Guana Grocery, which is about the size of a small 7-11. The other is Milo's Fruit Stand.
Each day, Milo can be found at his stand, making shell jewellery and chatting with passers-by. As you can see, the stand is very tiny, and was recently fully rebuilt by Milo and several locals, after it was totally destroyed by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004.
What to buy: He sells his handmade jewelery, locally caught fish and conch which has been freshly frozen and an assortment of fruit and veggies, which changes daily, depending on what is available. Milo also sells T-shirts, including his famous 'It's Gooder in Guana', a take off on the old ad slogan 'It's better in the Bahamas'.
What to pay: As usual, prices are high, but please don't barter. If you can afford to get to Guana, you can afford a little more for his products. Their cost of living is very high.
Written Sep 17, 2005
Luggage and bags: You will definitely need a rolling cooler if you are staying at a rental cottage. On your arrival in Marsh Harbour, ask your driver to drop you at the grocery store and wait while you stock up on essentials. The selection in Marsh Harbour will be much better, and probably less expensive, than what is available on Guana Cay. We packed ours with our snorkel equipment for the plane, then moved the snorkel stuff into a backpack style dive bag on arrival in Marsh Harbour.
Also, when possible, stick to backpacks, so your hands will be free. Although your caretaker will pick you up at the ferry dock on arrival, depending on the location of your cottage, big rolling suitcases may be more trouble.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Here's where you can go really light. On Guana Cay, it is totally acceptable for ladies to throw on a pair of shorts over a bathing suit, even if going for lunch. Men can also wear a T-shirt but this is not required.
In a nutshell, for a week, you'll need:
If travelling non-summer, also bring:
Also, be sure to bring a large T-shirt or other form of cover up, as the sun there gets really hot, especially during the summer. SPF will help protect you from burning, but not from heat-stroke.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The usual, but don't forget sunscreen (30 SPF) and bug spray.
We brought Immodium, but never used it (and I always need it!)
Photo Equipment: Perhaps this is a bit extravagant, but think about splurging on an underwater housing for your digital camera. The 3rd largest barrier reef in the world is 50 feet off-shore in some places, and the snorkeling is amazing.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: We brought along 2 beach umbrellas to leave behind, but that was another story altogether. Great idea, but only if you have really packed light, and your cottage doesn't already have one.
We also brought along collapsible fishing rods & tackle, as well as our own masks, snorkels & fins. If travelling with kids, check to see if your cottage provides appropriate PFDs.
Miscellaneous: We found the Cruisers Guide to Abaco to be invaluable. Written by Steve Dodge, The 'Dodge Guide' as it's commonly referred is mandatory if you plan to boat in and around Abaco, as it has maps and charts indicating the location of all the shoals, reefs, rocks in the area, water depth, etc. Even if you're not boating, its a great reference tool, with tides charts, VHF listings, advertisements for local establishments, etc., as well as some great photos. You can order it online at www.whitesoundpress.com
I think another 'must have' would be a journal, to write down everything you did. We were so busy during our week, that if I didn't spend half an hour each morning recording what we did the previous day, it would have all been lost in a blur.
Updated Sep 17, 2005
Our last night on Guana Cay was very low-key, as we were all sad that we had to leave. Hubby fixed us up with a couple of his famous frozen Rum & Coke Roadies, and Koolade for the kids, and we headed across the road to the deserted Coco Paradise resort for a last look at the beautiful colours of the Atlantic.
While there, we noticed a couple of large hermit crabs scurrying around. Hubby rummaged around in the deserted kitchen and came out with an old, rusted chafing dish to put the crabs in so we could watch them. After a few minutes, we put in a piece of shingle they could use as a ramp to climb out. Let me tell you, hermits aren't that bright, as even when we put them on the ramp, they would try to climb back in. They finally figured out how to get out, but they must have thought they were on a very long road home, as they kept going round and round the top, sometimes lapping the slower ones.
After about 10 minutes, we decided they had had enough, and we picked them off the top, and let them go.
Written Sep 5, 2005