After returning from our run to Staniel Cay to pick up a new watermaker membrane and a few odd parts we had flown in, we returned to Georgetown. It’s amazing how busy this place is. We hired a scooter for a dentist visit and change of scene, a great way to see Great Exuma Island for a day. Some nice views from the land side.
On the social scene, this time in Georgetown, we caught up with Our Rose (Richard, guest Michael & Jen), Kairos (Fiona & Graham), No Rehearsal (Annie & Daryl) and many others we have met along the Exumas BUT It was time to head south and away from the 290 odd boats in the harbor.
We headed out of Georgetown with Our Rose to the Jumentos Cays and Ragged Islands in the south eastern chain of the Bahamas. This chain of islands and cays is largely uninhabited, a place to get away from it all. There are no marinas, no place to provision and few boats, just natural beauty so you must be self reliant when coming here. We had a great down wind sail and even got our screechers out. Nice!
Our first stop was at Water Cay where we walked the beaches, enjoyed the peace & calm of empty bays and our own anchorage. We went out to see the blue holes, even managing to hunt out lots of lobster for dinner. At last, Yum!
At Flamingo Cay we got the kayaks down and visited some caves, walked across the island to a beautiful u-shaped beach where we found the wreckage of a plane on the shore. Lots of pretty beaches for a beach BBQ so of course, why not!
Man of War Cay was a good stop for a little snorkeling but as the wind was changing we decided to move on to Jamaica Cay where we would get better
protection. It proved to be a beautiful spot with rocks and small cays all around it. Some local fishermen gave Jen & Richard some fish so that was a bonus as we were invited for fresh fish dinner.
On our way down to Buena Vista Cay we tried our luck at fishing but all we caught were the big teethed barracuda. A front was coming through so we tucked ourselves into a couple of different bays on this Cay. On our walk along the western beach we met Edward a local Bahamian who is in the process of building a new home on the beach. Brett helped him fix his generator and he showed us around his small farmstead. Looks like a tough way of life here. I think he gets a lot of visits from cruisers.
At Johnson Cay we found a beautiful horseshoe bay and walked all over the rocky island. The wind was turning to the SW and so by dusk we had 3 more boats arrive to seek protection here from the apparent strong winds that were going to arrive. There’s not a lot of places in the Raggeds to seek out protection from South or West winds.
Plastic rubbish is something we see on many windward beaches. While the Bahamas has been reasonably clean you do still see a lot of rubbish and the eastern beach here at Johnson had rubbish. Shame! I’m not sure why but there are sooo many shoes found on beaches.
We decided to take advantage of some NW winds and did an overnighter to Hogsty Reef, a large circular reef in the middle of the ocean, on the way to Great Inagua Island. The weather was to be settled so perfect for such a place. There are a number of wrecks sitting on the reefs which you see from a distance. We tried some snorkeling on various bommies but were disappointed with the coral and fish life here. The reef comes up from over 1000 metres to 7-8 metres so there are crashing rollers from the swell hitting the reef and couple of Cays on the reef. Very pretty but a little rolly in the reef even with calm conditions.
Our final stop in the Bahamas was Great Inagua Island at the SE end of the Bahamas. It was a motor day as there was minimal wind. Oh well lots of odd jobs can get done including washing and cleaning the inside of the boat. Yes it’s not all fun!
Great Inagua Island’s claim to fame is the pink flamingos and the Morton Salt Company. The huge salt piles can be seen for miles.
We went ashore for a walk around the streets of Matthew Town area after finally sorting our dingey at the harbor. There is a sunken boat in the harbor entrance, which is a bit frightening to see as its big and as you proceed further in the rocky ledges and other wrecked fishing boats does not make you feel good about docking here. The town itself has approx 1000 people most of which are employed by Morton Salt company. Everyone we met on our walk was so friendly stopping to see if we needed a lift or giving us directions. We stopped at Heathers bar for a few beers, then on to her cousin Idels for lunch and finally to Heathers brothers bakery for fresh bread right out of the oven.
Off to see the old world of Cuba.