Colton Harris-Moore May Be the Only Non-Rum-Drinker in the Bahamas Today
So who do you call when you need information about something in the Bahamas but it’s after midnight local time? Well, last night I called an old drinking buddy who owns one of the world’s best beach bars in the Abacos, which are Out Islands in the northern Bahamas (I’ll name his bar once the rest of the media have the story… no sense in having him bothered all day with phone calls; he’s busy handling the music mix). I’d gotten wind that the stolen plane — which the FBI now says is tied to Colton Harris-Moore — splashed down off Great Abaco, and nothing happens in the Abacos without Johnny knowing about it. I called the bar and the party was still going full blast, but Johnny got on the horn and told me what he knew.
So, here’s what we have so far: The Cessna 400 did a controlled crash, a water landing in three feet of water off Sandy Point, which is at the southern tip of Great Abaco. The Abacos are an archipelago within the larger Bahamas archipelago, with a big-ass island called Great Abaco and a long string of barrier islands to its east that face the Atlantic atop an amazing reef. In the pantheon of the world’s best boating areas (at least in this hemisphere), the Abacos ranks right up there along with the British Virgin Islands, the Grenadines and the San Juan Islands. Colt’s now hit two of the four.
I’ve been to the Abacos more than 20 times. Great bonefishing and diving, and it’s where I caught my biggest blue marlin to date (Blood, Sweat and Beers). I've got other Bahamas stories on my bfriel.com website and you can also look up the Abacos on the official Out Islands website (myoutislands.com), where I did most of the photography and a lot of the text.
Colt made it out of the plane and waded ashore, then stole a car and travelled north to the main town of Marsh Harbour. Marsh is like a miniature Florida town in that on summer weekends it’s got as many Floridians as Bahamians. There are loads of expats, hundreds of vacation homes, a few resorts and probably five times as many boats as cars. Small ferry boats run from Marsh across the Sea of Abaco out to the barrier islands like Elbow Cay, Guana Cay, Green Turtle Cay and Man-o-War.
Last night, someone broke into at least two places in Marsh Harbour, the Fedex office and a restaurant called Curly Tails (great harbor view, and I highly recommend the conch fritters, crusted grouper and mahi mahi). Apparently they have video showing someone who looks a lot like Colt with a shaved head breaking into Curly Tails.
There isn’t much police presence in the Abacos, but The Royal Bahamian Police Force is sending reinforcements up from New Providence.