New Blackfly Lodge at Schooner Bay, Abaco, Bahamas

This is a reprint of an article in The Nassau Guardian published: Dec. 19, 2012

Schooner Drives $100M in expenditure

Abaco town to comprise 50 homes by end of 2013 and a host of businesses, including Blackfly Lodge, Blue Rooster, Harbour General Store and Cabana Beach Club.

Jeffrey Todd
Guardian Business Editor

Published: Dec. 19, 2012

Schooner Bay will have up to 50 homes completed by the end of next year, according to its chief developer.

Orjan Lindroth, head of the Lindroth Development Company Limited, estimated that the Abaco development has generated more than $100 million in direct expenditure over the last few years, taking into account the land, servicing, construction, sales, stamp duty and property tax.

While 120 Bahamians now work at Schooner, the community is just getting started. Lindroth said 2013 will involve 30 core infrastructure projects, marking a true coming of age for the town.

“Conventional developments are often subsidized by government,” he explained. “We build places that stand on their own feet and grow on their own, by interacting with the local community.”

Schooner, considered an “incubator” for small business, has secured investors for a host of projects in 2013.

The Blackfly Lodge is perhaps the most recognizable and high-profile opening early in the new year. This internationally recognized brand will open its doors in 2013, offering bone fishing excursions with full hotel and restaurant services.

Blackfly Lodge nears completion

Other businesses breaking ground next year run the gambit of goods and services. Albert’s Conch Shack, an organic farm operation, Harbour General Store, Cabana Beach Club, a police sub-station, an all-age school, a medical clinic, laundry facilities and a health and wellness pavilion should provide Schooner with many of the staples that make up a community.

Blue Rooster, a popular retail shop on Harbour Island off Eleuthera, has reportedly committed to another shop at Schooner Bay in 2013.

In January, the Schooner Air Club will begin offering regular air service between the capital and Sandy Point, with flights leaving on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for just $200 per round trip. The community’s harbor is already open for business.

A number of other facilities are hoping to attract a diverse crop of visitors. For example, the Schooner Bay Institute, comprising 10 bedrooms, has been earmarked for visiting academics. Invited guests will stay free of charge, apart from food, to inspire research and community.

“We want to create things that will build the place. If they can come here and live here, we can attract other interesting people as well,” Lindroth told Guardian Business.

George Mason University in the U.S. is already scheduled to stay at the institution next year.

Meanwhile, designs are underway for a “meeting house” for those arriving on corporate retreats, capable of seating up to 150 people.

In addition to the 60 houses, Schooner should have no shortage of general accommodation. The Harbour Bed & Breakfast, for example, is being spearheaded by Schooner resident Dr. Larry Carroll. An entirely separate hotel, featuring two or three-bedroom bungalows on the beach, will be built by the main developer.

Schooner’s permanent residents are equally diverse.

While the development features large, multimillion-dollar houses, loft-style homes with a view of the harbor are going for just $200,000. All four of these compact dwellings are sold, although eight more will be built next year.

What it adds up to is a buzz of activity that’s rapidly approaching critical mass. Lindroth reports that 75 percent of the investors are actually Bahamian, a number of whom are well-known physicians. With a focus on green living, Schooner’s ongoing mantra is not just sustainability. Lindroth wants the community to be a unique reflection of modern, Bahamian living.

“In The Bahamas we should create places for Bahamians first, and invite foreigners second,” he explained.

Yellowdog at Blackfly Lodge

Well, we’re getting closer and closer to the opening of the new and improved Blackfly Lodge in Abaco Bahamas. Here are a few photos from our friend Ian Davis of Yellowdog Flyfishing Outfitters in Montana. Ian does a tour of the Bahamas each season to visit his Yellowdog destinations to insure that the lodges are fully functional and actually have what they say they have. Yeah, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!!!!! Ian is an excellent fisherman and a very demanding businessman so you can always rely on his recommendations for a lodge.

Current Lodge
Meal Time

As you can see from the pictures, Blackfly Lodge is nearing completion and final decisions are being made regarding the final functionality of Blackfly.

New lodge construction
Captain Clint Kemp and Captain Paul PInder

As Blackfly Lodge was being conceptualized by the partners, we decided to name the lodge rooms after famous fisherman rather than giving the rooms numbers. I remember a trip that I made to Haiti many, many years ago and I stayed at the Grand Hotel Olafson. It was an incredible 19th century Gothic gingerbread hotel in the middle of Port-au-Prince and at one time the original mansion of the Sam family had been a US military hospital in the thirties. At any rate, I stayed in the Sir John Gielgud Suite and I have remembered the name of that room for more than 30 years. “This is what WE should do”, I thought, “since we are building a legendary fishing lodge, we should name our rooms after legendary fisherman.” Why my partners let me have a room I’m not sure, but look for the Vaughn Cochran Suite where room number 8 would have been.