How To Donate/Help Hurricane Relief

Dear Friends of the Fly,

Thank you so much for the outpouring of support you’ve shown us since Hurricane Dorian. We’ve received several questions from concerned guests and friends about various topics and thought we’d take the opportunity to address some of them here. 

We are very fortunate that all of our employees as well as their families have been accounted for. Right now, helping them get settled and see a path to move forward is our biggest concern. 

We are also spending our time supporting the relief efforts of the responders and community volunteers working around the clock, turning our kitchen into a place where they can come to get some food as they work to get Hope Town to a place where we can begin to rebuild. 

It’s our goal to do all that we can to rebuild Firefly Sunset Resort and begin to welcome guests again by next spring or summer. Still, the dust hasn’t quite settled enough yet to confirm this timeline is even possible.

For those of you who had plans to stay with us before then, we are more than happy to refund you as soon as we are able to do so. However, communication is still limited on the island and we are currently unable to access or use any of our reservation systems. Your patience is appreciated immensely during this difficult time. As soon as we are able, we will reach out to you directly to process your refund. 

If you’re interested in supporting relief efforts benefitting our friends, family, and neighbors here in Hope Town, please consider these Firefly approved donation sites:

If you are in the Charleston area, stay tuned to our social media pages for information on future drop off locations as more trips down to Hope Town are scheduled. 


Some Answers

The amount of support we have received since Dorian is beyond amazing. THANK YOU. Due to the conditions, we want to try to answer the questions as best as we can. These questions have come via all of our social media networks. 

1. How can I get the status of my relative/friends in Abaco? 

HTVFR are doing the best they can to account for everyone on the cay. Currently, we are monitoring this from Charleston so we are not in Hope town. We have relied on WhatsApp messages, Instagram, etc. to get the amount of info we have so far. Each day, we are thankful to receive more information. Like you, we are antsy but know those in Hope Town are doing their best in so many ways. There are several Google docs and websites that can assist you in looking.

2.  I want to help now, what do I do? 

Right now HT/Elbow Cay is uninhabitable. Only professional personnel are allowed on the island. The construction-based supplies are making their way here but due to the debris in the water and lack of docks, the delivery process is a work in progress. We are working with the Hope 4 Hope Town gofundme along with donations for the HTVFR. We do ask that when researching donations to Hope Town please keep an eye out for scammers. Sadly, there are false accounts out there.

3.  We have reservations for an upcoming trip there. What are our options for rebooking?

Currently, there is not a direct timeline of when Firefly Sunset Resort, Hope Town or Abaco will be functioning. Please have patience and a member of our staff will contact you. 

4. Should I pack up my boat with supplies and head that way? 

Not at this time. 

From Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue on 9/06/2019 – HTVFR Command has confirmed that all non-essential personal have been evacuated to Nassau via fast ferry Lady Daisy.

The boats will be returning to Nassau from Hopetown. We do not yet have a list people on those boats.

There are NO more evacuations for Hopetown.

There will be NO more evacuation vessels to Hopetown. Repeat, NO MORE VESSELS TODAY OR IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS for Hopetown.

Hopetown is asking all boats carrying materials to stay away for the day. Once again, Hopetown does not want any vessels with materials coming in today.

Please be advised HTVFR Command will be monitoring Channel 16.

Once we know when this is lifted, we will let you know. 

We do ask that you continue to gather donations like cleaning supplies, construction supplies, medical supplies, food, diapers, solar powered chargers, fans, etc. and water so that over the next weeks they can come to us. This hurricane relief for Abaco is not a sprint, it is a marathon and you are making a difference.


Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall on Elbow Cay

When I (Ryan Nelson) first posted about Firefly Sunset Resort closing due to Hurricane Dorian, the initial poster created said they would reopen on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019. Little did we know that Hurricane Dorian would make landfall on the idyllic paradise that Firefly Sunset Resort is on – Elbow Cay – as the most dangerous Category 5 hurricane, carrying the strongest winds in recorded history for the northwestern Bahamas.

Lorenzo and the hard-working staff know the intense preparation that goes into hurricane prep. Most of the staff are native Bahamians; and hurricanes and the prep that comes with these storms is something they’ve endured since they were children. Many of them also have worked in the hospitality industry for years, so their extensive knowledge on guest evacuations, structure stability, supplies needed, and more.

They worked overtime to secure the resort. But even with their professional preparedness, they could never imagine a monster hurricane with wind guests at 220mph beating Firefly and Elbow Cay. This is just one headline that makes you cry to read it. “Hurricane Dorian unleashes 220-mph wind gusts as it slams Bahamas:

As of today, 9/2, The cell service is very spotty (if any) as the hurricane is still slowly hovering over Grand Bahama and Abaco is still being lashed with storms. Ann Irvin sent me these photos this am. And they’re hard to look at.

According to Ann, “Georgia Peach is 3/4 gone …the resort looks bad hit BUT Lorenzo and all the folks that took shelter are safe and alive! Thank you Lord!” We don’t know all the devastation on the island at this time but we thank you for your support. Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages have been bombarded (in a fabulous way) with messages of Hope, Help and Love.

***For those wondering how these updates are able to be posted, I (Ryan) have worked for years with Firefly Distillery, Irvin House Vineyards and Firefly Sunset Resort on marketing/PR/social media and more. I am in Charleston and gathering as much information as possible to share with our visitors, friends and families. Please DM me on the Firefly Sunset Resort Facebook Page, Twitter Page and Instagram and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

PLEASE follow the Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue for news and updates!


Ready, set, dive. What you need to know about scuba diving in The Abacos

If youre unfamiliar with The Abacos, they are a group of islands and barrier cays in the northern Bahamas. This 120-mile-long chain of paradise is home to beautiful beaches, warm breezes, sunshine and, you guessed it, scuba diving adventures.

Now, if youve dived in the Bahamas before, The Abacos are a completely different experience. The waters are relatively shallow and most areas are 60 feet or less in depth. The fringing reefs youll find in these waters are extremely ornate. There is actually an extinct coral base with Star and Elkhorn corals growing on top creating the beautiful formations you will see. Youll also find cathedral-like caverns in the form of an underwater maze as youre swimming around.  These tunnels formed from tidal flow hitting against the base reef. Youll also be experiencing the third largest barrier reef in the world, which is saying a lot for a smaller island area.

With more than 100 miles of reef to explore, the visibility is ideal in the turquoise waters, and is usually over 100 feet. Of course, weather can affect visibility, but with lots of sunshine, The Abacos are considered a great diving destination all year round. Just a heads up, June through October is hurricane season and October to June is considered best for shark diving. Be ready to experience lush coral gardens, steep drop-offs, plenty of fishes and even friendly sharks and rays.

If you arent a diving aficionado, or are in need of a lesson, they are available. Here are some places you can work with to get your feet wet. 

Dive Time Abaco

Dive Abaco

Froggies Out Island Adventures

Above and Below Abaco

Lesson prices vary by each company and can range from $150-$350. If you are already an avid diver, you can pay for dive excursions as opposed to lessons. If you are already a certified scuba diver and are able to dive on your own, remember to bring your certification card for proof. Otherwise, you will not be able to venture off on your own, or will have to complete lessons again.

The Abacos are considered a great place to learn how to scuba dive. Before you venture out and dive in,you will first be introduced to all the pieces of scuba gear. Generally, with each of the businesses listed above, you will spend the first few hours learning on land and in a pool. This gets you comfortable with breathing underwater and you will learn skills like clearing your ears and how to use your buoyancy compensator (BC) inflate/deflate valve and how to ascend/descend properly. Some of the gear you can expect to learn about includes a face mask, BC, regulator, wet suit, tanks, snorkels, weight belt/weights, and fins.

Once youve completed your informational session, your instructors will take you out to the beautiful reef for some diving action. Have no fear, you wont be left completely alone when you are out on the water. Your instructors and scuba companies will be with you each step of the way to make sure you are comfortable and safe.

For those who want to expand even further than just initial scuba lessons and a single experience on vacation, you can also work on getting your own scuba certification. If you will be in The Abacos longer than four days, that is plenty of time for you to get scuba certified. If you would prefer to get certified with a local dive center near you, it can take a few weeks since classes are generally one to two times per week. PADI (Professional Association of Divers) classes are what are widely offered on the island. Again, if you are certified when coming to visit The Abacos and plan to dive, please bring your certification for proof.

More advanced divers can further their experience and gain other certifications, or take courses like advanced open water, air diving, underwater photo and several others. There is even an option at many locations to become a dive master if you are looking to make a career out of scuba diving.

The northernmost island of Walkers Cay has one of the most unique shark dives in all of The Bahamas. You can see groups of up to 150 sharks coming together when dive boat engines turn on in what looks like a coral arena. The sharks eat bait while divers can swim around with them. It may sound a little scary, but your dive instructors and guides will keep you safe.

These are considered the top Abaco diving locations:

The Towers: Huge coral pinnacles 60 feet tall, pierced with tunnels and caverns

Grouper Alley: 40ft. Numerous tunnels beneath a monstrous coral heads

Wayne’s World: 70ft. A tour of the outside of the barrier reef

The Cathedral: Huge cavern where shafts of sunlight dance on the floor

Tarpon Reef: High profile corals for a school of Tarpon and a huge Green Moray

Coral Caverns: A series of winding caverns filled with clouds of shiny Silversides

San Jacinto: 40ft.The wreck of a large steamship sunk in 1865

The Catacombs: A shallow sun-splattered cavern with abundant tropical fish

If you are ready to get your dive on, reach out to one of the local companies above or feel free to ask around at the Firefly Sunset Resort for some help, as someone will always be happy to help you have fun!


Top Things to do when Visiting Elbow Cay

Are you planning to come visit the beautiful islands of The Bahamas soon? If youre not, we highly recommend you do. While all the islands are captivating in their own ways, there is a special place in our hearts for The Abacos, specifically Elbow Cay. The turquoise waters, long stretches of sandy beaches, abundance of sunshine and wonderful locals are only a few things that should make this high on your destination list.

Even though there are obviously dozens upon dozens of activities and things to see and do here, we are going to focus on what is seemingly most popular. These are not in order of ranking, they are simply the highest ranked or sought after activities and places for visitors in Elbow Cay.

Sport-fishing ChartersPlenty of water means plenty of fish! If youre a fishing fan, you wont want to miss hopping aboard a sport-fishing charter. There is opportunity for reef fishing, deep sea fishing and fly fishing. We recommend two local companies you could use and get some yummy and large catches with. The first is A Salt Weapon Sportfishing Charters. The second is Local Boy Deep See Fishing. It will cost you a pretty penny at $500 for the half day and $800 for the full day with either company, but itll certainly be worth every cent. Boats leave from the main dock in Hope Town Harbour at 8:00 a.m. Make sure you bring sunscreen, a sun hat, cameras and drinks of your choice.

Wyannie Malone Historical Museum – This historical gem is in downtown Hope Town. If you are a history buff, or even just want to learn more about local heritage, then you should pop into the museum. Inside, you will learn about pirates, rum-runners, Lucayan Indians and wreckers. Gaze upon displays of ship building and ship wrecks and even hurricanes. The museum operates from November until August between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Adult ticket prices are $5 and children 5-14 are $2.

Scuba Diving – If you caught last months post, youll know we highly recommend scuba diving. You can take beginners courses, advanced courses and even become a dive master if you want to get a scuba career going. Youll have the chance to learn how to scuba first during your instructional lesson on land and in a pool, and then your instructors will take you out along 100 miles of beautiful reef. You will get to see tons of fish and friendly sharks, lush coral gardens, and swim through maze like caverns. There are a variety of local companies you can work with for your diving experience. Prices do vary by company, but can range anywhere from $150-$800 depending on what level of courses or trips you are looking to do. Here are a few we recommend:
      Dive Time Abaco

Dive Abaco

Froggies Out Island Adventures

Above and Below Abaco

Golf Cart Rentals – What better way to get around the beautiful island than by golf cart?        There are tons of cart rental companies available, some of which will even deliver your cart to  wherever you are staying. How convenient? A golf cart is a convenient way to see plenty of sights, get a nice breeze and cut down your travel time if youre visiting any other locations than where you are staying. Here are a few places you can rent your golf cart:

Island Cart Rentals

Hope Town Cart Rentals

Boat Rentals – If golf carts arent your thing, and you want to be on the water, there are plenty of boats for rent. Boating is a great way to see Elbow Cay all around, and even make your way over to other islands if that interests you. Calm blue waters make for the perfect water road for your boating excursion. The boat rental companies we recommend are:

Sea Horse Boat Rentals

Cats Paw Boat Rentals

Island Marine Boat Rentals

Water sports – Next up is some true fun in the sun, and the water. If you arent interested in diving deep into the water for scuba, you have the option to check out some other fun activities. These include snorkeling, kayaking , kiteboarding and paddle-boarding. If you are looking to enjoy one of these activities or any other water sports that may be offered, please reach out to our front desk as they can certainly assist you with rentals nearby. We do offer complimentary kayak rentals at Firefly Sunset Resort that you can enjoy.

Bicycle Rentals – The island wouldnt be complete without bicycle rentals! If you want to do all the leg work, and arent interested in a golf cart, bicycles are surely the way to go. You can take a bike to the beach, to dinner, or just for a nice ride in the sunshine. You can check out The Bike Shop, Harbours Edge, Sun Dried Ts and A&S for all your bike rental needs.

Elbow Reef Lighthouse – Of course we couldnt leave out this landmark. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse is probably the most recognizable landmark in this area. The red and white stripes can be seen from afar, and youll certainly want to see this up close, too. This lighthouse is actually one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. The lamp burns pressurized kerosene oil with a wick and mantle. The fresnel lenses concentrate the mantles light into a beam directed straight at the horizon Whoever is on duty as the lighthouse keeper has to wind up the weights every two hours in order for the lighthouse to be seen from 17 miles away. You can visit the lighthouse Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. It is closed for visitation on Sundays. If you arent afraid of heights, go ahead and climb the 100 feet to the top, and make sure your camera is ready for some beautiful photo ops.

Tahiti Beach – If youre unaware, Elbow Cay is known for its absolutely beautiful beaches. One in particular is Tahiti Beach. This isolated beach is at the far end of Elbow Cay. You can expect to see sparkling waters and white powdery sand. You can only access this beach on foot, or by riding a bicycle across sand and gravel paths from Hope Town, or you can take a private boat. Get ready to perfect your tan and hit the maximum level of relaxation when you decide to visit Tahiti Beach.

Obviously you cant go wrong with anything you choose to do when you visit Elbow Cay. There will always be fun in the sun, sand and water.


Firefly Bar & Grill Closed 9/25-10/16

REMINDER – Firefly Bar & Grill will be closed starting TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 until TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for updates. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

 


New Hours for The Boutique at Firefly

NEWS: The Boutique at Firefly has new hours. They are open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

We get new, unique gifts, accessories, clothing and more often, so please stop in and shop!

 


Rebuilding the Reefs – Don’t Touch the Substrates

Our friends at DiveTime Abaco are working hard with the Reef Rescue Network to place substrates amongst the reefs so that new coral can grow. Examples of the substrates are below so you know what to look for when diving. Please do not touch or remove these integral objects!

With the plethora of people in Abaco for Regatta Time in Abaco – we ask you to share this information from DiveTime Abaco.

From their Facebook page “Another day, another mission. We assisted our friends from The Perry Institute for Marine Science with the strategic placement of substrates amongst our reefs. These substrates will assist in the collection of coral spawn and allow new corals to be grown and then out planted as part of the Reef Rescue Network effort to rebuild the Coral reefs of Abaco. If you happen to discover these weird looking objects, please resist the urge to touch or take the substrates. Please spread the word. #reefrescuenetwork #divetimeabaco” 

 


Can you guess where this is?

Special thanks to Bill Waldorf for his spectacular photography.


American Airlines Now Offering Flights from CLT to Marsh Harbour

 

We are thrilled that American Airlines will be flying into Marsh Harbour. Making it even easier to visit Firefly Sunset Resort. We’re already booking up for 2019 so make your travel plans to see us now!

Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s dominant carrier, American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL), is bulking up its flight offerings to the Bahamas with weekly, nonstop flights to Eleuthera, a tiny, secluded island east of Nassau, and Marsh Harbour, a town in the Abaco Islands east of Freeport.

Both flights will start service Dec. 22, with ticket sales beginning May 14. The flights will operate on Saturdays year-round. Read more here….

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