Jumentos to the Raggeds Back to George Town
14 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
Sunny, Winds SW, 20 K
It has been a while since I have had internet service, so I apologize for this long winded blog entry.
On Saturday, February 25, we left George Town Bahamas to fulfill our goal of going to the Jumentos Cays and Ragged Islands. We got up at 5:00 AM, pulled anchor at 6:00 and along with Blue Jacket, 2 Outrageous and Grace V. headed to Water Cay which is the beginning of the Jumentos Cays. Unfortunately, there was no wind, so we had to motor. It was a long 10-hour day. I was so excited, I didn’t mind that we had to motor the entire trip. The clarity of the water was unbelievable. I counted 15 starfish that were laying on the bottom of the ocean floor. While standing on the bow of the boat, I saw two ocean tigger fish, a school of snappers, and a large grouper swim by. We arrived at Water Cay in the Jumentos at 4:20 PM along with Grace V, Blue Jacket and 2 Outrageous where we anchored the boat and took a long-awaited swim to cool off. Our friends from Grace V surprised us with some fresh buns that they baked during the day long trip. The buns were a treat that we enjoyed with our dinner that evening.
The following morning, we left the banks and went out into the sound as we headed to Hog Cay in the Ragged Islands. We motor sailed from Water Cay to the Nurse Channel. Once we entered the channel, we turned off the engine and enjoyed sailing the remainder of the day to our anchorage at Hog Cay. The next morning, we went scavenger hunting on the ocean side of the Cay. There are many treasures that make their way to the shoreline for cruisers to find. Amongst these treasures are “Sea Beans”. Sea Beans come from trees and vines that grow along tropical shores and rain forests all over the world. The seeds fall from the plants into rivers and creeks that flow into the ocean and make their way to beaches thousands of miles away. I was so happy to find my first sea bean. It was just sitting there on the beach waiting for me to pick it up. My friend Donna from Blue Jacket is what I call “A Sea Bean Magnet”. She found at least 15 beans that day. Me, I found 6 and that was okay. I have been looking for these beans for months, and now I am finally started to find them. There are many types of these beans. The types that I have found on Hog Cay are: the heart bean, the pearl and the hamburger bean. In my research of sea beans, the beans I found originate in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Another treasure I found on the beach is a green heavy ball, used as a float for commercial fishing nets. I used the float to make a sign to hang in the Hog Cay Yacht Club. The so-called Yacht Club consists of a thatched roof hut on the shore line of the beach. It is a nice hut used by cruisers and locals for special occasions such as Valentine’s day parties that are put on by the local Bahamians, to simple potluck dinners or sundowners. We simply love it here. Thank you to those who developed this special place.
On March 1, Ron put a reef in the main and headed out into the 20-23 knot winds for a spirited sail to Ragged Island. After we dropped the hook we had lunch and then headed into the island community of Duncan Town with our friends Jerry and Donna from the S/V Blue Jacket. It appears everyone in the town knew Jerry and Donna. After a 40 minute walk up a long hill we stopped at a local bar and met LaToya. Of course, Donna and Jerry knew the owner of the bar who is LaToya’s mom, Shelia. Next it was on to the little gift store “Gifted Hands” where we met Marjorie, then to the local food market where we met the sweet owner Maxine. Our last stop was to the town’s Administrative Office where Donna and Jerry were greeted with a hearty hug and we were introduced to Charlene. Here we were brought up to speed on all of the goings on at Ragged Island. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. After heading back to our boats we went over to Blue Jacket for a wonderful dinner and a game of “Sequence”. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
The next day we took the dinghy to a beautiful patch of coral and did some conch hunting. To call it hunting is a bit of a stretch, it is more like gathering. After the “gathering” we headed back to shore and Jerry taught Ron the fine art of conch cleaning. Imagine holding onto the insides of a greased giant snail and trimming away all of the nonedible parts. Once all that is done, you beat the meat with a tenderizing mallet until the meat is almost transparent. You then drag it through beaten eggs, flour and spices. Now it is ready to drop it into hot oil, fry it up and enjoy. It is called “Cracked Conch” and is simply incredible.
Later, in the day we headed back North to Hog Cay where we joined Grace V and 2 Outrageous. We also met another couple Gregg and Dahleen on S/V Xfill. While sitting out a cold front, we had many fun filled days of sundowners at the Yacht Club, snorkeling the beautiful coral heads and hiking and shell hunting on the pristine beaches. Our sundowners consisted of hanging out at the tiki hut enjoying pot luck dinners including a pizza party, sign making, playing games and ending each evening sitting in front of a warm bonfire.
On March 9, we continued working our way North to Racoon Cay along with Grace V, 2 Outrageous and Blue Jacket. Ron was invited to go lobster hunting with friends of Jerry and Donna’s. Their names are Bob and Vickie from S/V First Look. I went snorkeling with the rest of the gang. That evening we were invited to sundowners on Blue Jacket along with First Look. It was interesting listening to their stories of how they first met and their 10 years plus of cruising experiences they shared while traveling together off and on.
The following day we went North to Flamingo Cay where Ron speared his first lobster. He was quite proud of himself. Of course, we had a lobster and steak dinner to celebrate. Oh, I must also mention that we saw our first “green Flash” in Flamingo Cay. The green flash is an optical phenomenon that you can see shortly after the sunsets. It happens when the sun is almost entirely below the horizon with the barest edge of the sun-the upper edge -still visible. For only a second that upper rim of the sun will appear green in color just as the sun disappears into the water. Ron and I saw it for the first time after over a year of looking for it. And, now we are true believers.
I must say that while in the Jumentos, I am getting quite a collection of shells, sand dollars, sea beans and sea biscuits. Ron is getting concerned that we are running out of room on the boat for these ocean treasures. Most of my treasures will be shared with our grandsons Ethan and Eli.
Is it now March 13 and we had to say “good bye” to the Jumentos and head back to George Town to do some much needed laundry, refill the water tanks, replenish our fresh foods store and fuel up for future passages. We are not sure if we will start heading further North to the Abacos Islands or go south east to Long Island, Bahamas. Time will tell.
In the meantime, we hope our friends and family are doing well. We miss you!