Jumentos and Ragged Islands

By March 27, 2011Bahamas, Caribbean, Cruising

This week Michael and I toured the Jumentos and Ragged Island chain.  We did not leave until Tuesday, because of the front I mentioned last week.

Before we left we attended church on Morning Glory with the rest of the Texas Navy, plus a new addition in Marty and Michael on Solace.  In the afternoon they, Storyville, Pip Muh Bligh, and Kaleo came over and we played 12 sided Mexican Train (a domino game).  On Monday I ran the generator, because I was running low on power and everyone was giving me grief about not using it yet.  The front came through and brought 25 knot winds and rain, but we were protected so no big deal.  We did have movie night before we left.

Everyone thought we were crazy (they were saying the winds of 15-20 were kicking up 6-8 foot waves), but we pulled up anchor at 8am and headed out.  When we got outside Elizabeth Harbor we found 3-4 foot waves instead.  Sometimes you just have to go and check it out for yourself!!!  After three hours we were at Hog Cay Cut, which is a narrow shallow water channel between two islands.  By making it through at high tide we saved 20-25 miles of travel.  It is a bit tricky so I wanted to be careful.  Now that I have gone through I will not find it as big of a deal in the future, but you do have to make a 90 degree turn to miss a rock, but it is quite visible. 

Once through we had no wave action, since the islands blocked them and we sailed for Water Cay (known for the three blue holes a mile offshore on the 15 foot deep bank).  We got there around 4pm and decided to go over them with the boat.  The first two were really defined and we went from 15 foot deep to 125 feet deep.  The holes were a couple of hundred feet across.  Once we were done poking around there we took off to get to Flamingo Cay before dark.

We got up on Wednesday and started exploring the island by visiting the John T Davis (a shipwreck just offshore) and a hike to the north beach (we found a plane in the water five feet from shore and there were shrimp in a small rock lined, salt water basin).  I walked to the top of the island and climbed up the navigation light for a great view, but the best thing to do on Flamingo Cay is to visit the cave.  We drove the dinghy into it and there was a little beach area inside.  I climbed out a hole from the beach and we saw a soda straw cave formation.  It was very cool.

Once done with our exploits we sailed for Jamaica Cay.  Once there I explored the remains of a beach club and walked to the north side.  Here I found a cool sand and rock flat which is right at the tide mark (sometime above water and sometimes below).  I found it to be interesting.  I even found there were rabbits on the cay.  While I was gone a local fisherman stopped by and asked Michael if we wanted to come out to their boat and buy fish and lobsters.  Their operation was interesting and for $50 and a box of merlot ($8) Michael got us 35 small lobster tails, 10 stone crab claws, and 6 yellow tail snappers.  What a deal!!!!

The winds were very light and from the direction we wanted to go for the next two days, so we had to motor on Thursday and Friday.  We did sail under jib when we turned to go two miles to Seal Cay, but that was it.  We swung by Channel Cay in order to see the day beacon navigational aid before we had lunch at Nurse Cay.  After lunch we went another five miles and anchored off the very long and arcing beach (I walked along it in the evening) of Buenavista Cay.  On Friday we went to Raccoon Cay for lunch (this is Michael’s highlight of the week).  There is a Loyalist plantation ruin along with their hand dug canal for the salt pond.  I brought salt slurry and a big piece of salt back to Michael, who stayed and snorkeled the bay.  He found a nice coral head and showed me.  I also found 50-70 fishing pots on the island a couple hundred yards offshore (they must have been from a wreck).  After exhausting ourselves we spent the night off Ragged Island and visited Duncan Town on Saturday.  The town is small and very friendly.  Nurse Judy drove us to see the closed Eagle Nest bar, which has an airplane built onto the roof and was used as the bar.  We sat around and chatted with her for a bit when we got back before looking for internet.