Tuesday, July 6, 2010


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.


  1. I'm obsessed with Colt's story. Glad you're taking the time to keep tabs on him and tell the world!

  2. Why do I get the feeling that he painted himself in the corner, and that he might not be able to get out of there?

  3. Level XXX, the ultimate challenge on Grand Theft Auto/Boat/Plane... The problem with any addiction including adrenaline is that it takes more and more to get you off.

  4. Matt, that's what I was thinking. He's raising the stakes (not just crimes against one community now, but it's gone international), he's on a small island he isn't familiar with and he's going to stand out like a sore thumb there. I'm afraid the end is near, and it's not going to be good.

  5. I just browsed your web site and it is fascinating. I want to read all of the stories, but alas, I can't do it all in one day. I will be revisiting.

  6. Uuggh. I'm going to obsessively check this blog and also the local outlets for news of Colton's inevitable capture the next few days. I so hope that no one gets hurt.

  7. I can sure hear the energy you have for this new development. Itsnt it crazy that he broke into a cafe you have been to also - 3000 miles away!
    I guess its a small world after all.

    Great to hear the developments from someone who isnt trying to make a name for themselves/money/etc - I have heard Colt knows how to speak Spanish. This is sure to become very interesting - I do not believe Colt would have "cornered" himself, or trapped himself... thats absurd... The kid is apparently brilliant. I do not think he will be caught.

    Great work Bob, and you may want to advice your friend on installing pick-proof locks + alarms. LOL.

  8. Hi there, Mr. Friel!

    I hope you're doing well up there in my dream spot to live in! :)

    Thank you so much for all of this coverage. I can say this for Colt ... he may be a criminal and he's done a heck of a lot of harm, but that boy has seen more of the world than I ever will. And he's too brave for his own good.

    What makes me the saddest about this entire situation is that a kid this smart should be doing so much with his life. He could have been in the Air Force. He could have worked with computers or become a physician. The entire world was at his fingertips and instead of living in it ... he's trying to bend it to his will.

    I waffle so much on where I stand when it comes to Colton. Should he turn himself in? Absolutely. But should he spend the rest of his life in the system? No, I don't think he should at THIS point. Sadly, I think he will either wind up dead or doing something far worse than he's done so far.

    I hope with everything in me that no one dies.

    You take care of you and yours and have a safe summer. Again, thank you so much for this website.