However, in the northern Bahamas, only 180 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, lies the area commonly known to sailors as the Sea of Abaco. It's protected from the open Atlantic by an 80-mile-long chain of cays that stretch from Walker's Cay, in the north, to Little Harbour, at the southern end. The cays sit atop the world's fourth-largest barrier reef, which creates an ideal place for sailors of different skill levels to charter boats safely and sail them close to shore. And perhaps surprisingly, it's not very crowded. All of these favorable circumstances convinced my wife, Trish, and me to start our chartering business, Sail Abaco, here.