The guide book reads "Cruisers must be totally self-sufficient here; there are no services to speak of in the entire chain." That line alone was enough to intrigue us into exploring the super-remote string of islands sitting below the Exumas.
We had heard about this place on our first trip through the Bahamas in 2010 but never made it there until now. The stories about the "fishing grounds" were always amazing but somehow it never worked out for us. This year the Jumentos Cays and Ragged Islands were an absolute MUST. That was settled before we even left the Chesapeake Bay in November.
They are called the fishing grounds because that is where the locals go to do their serious fishing. And if you have been following us for any time at all you know that we are serious about fishing too! Day one: after 3 hours out we returned with 2 hogfish and 3 lobsters. Day two: 5 lobsters, 6 conch and 1 hogfish. Day three: 8 lobsters. We ran into a big problem. Too much seafood! The only evident solution was to empty the freezer* of all non-seafood items. Of course we ate like kings from our fresh catch but it was too much to consume in one week so we made sure that we could save every little bit.
In packaging the fish and lobster for the freezer I learned a few tricks to save space. The lobster tails make a magnificent presentation when cooked in their shells. But those big shells take up so much room. A few years ago I remember seeing lobster meat, out of the shell, for sale in the grocery store in Marsh Harbour. So I knew what to do...and I de-shelled 7 tails that now take up less than the space 2 would have. Plus, with this much meat your recipes must go beyond steamed lobster with garlic butter!
Even if you are not into fishing there is so much to do and see in these islands. As we moved from one to the next we marveled at the beauty. There are a lot of beaches to walk and even cliffs to hike. The snorkeling is amazing. I was shocked at the size of some reefs. They can be really tall or low and long. And so different! I only recognize a few types of coral by name but there are so many kinds in all colors. Truly lovely to see.
I am not sure if we will make it there again this season but it is definitely on any future itinerary.
*Our freezer is very small to begin with. It is about the size of most people's lunch boxes...which makes the real estate that much more valuable!