Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jumentos Cays & Ragged Islands

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We departed Georgetown in mid-January after a two week stay. Here we're motoring across the gin-clear White Cay Banks on a windless day enroute from Georgetown, Great Exuma to Thompson Bay, Long Island.

We spent a few days in Salt Pond/ Thompson Bay before sailing west across the Comer Channel to Bailey Cay on the "South Side" of Great Exuma. From there we sailed south to Flamingo Cay in the small chain of islands known as the Jumentos. Here, Kathy is standing on a sand spit off Double Breasted Cay, while Carina was anchored off in the distance all by herself.

Cleaning our day's catch of Conchs on a nearby beach. It's not as messy as cleaning back on the boat....
.... and cleaning conch or fish off the boat just provides food to encourage the sharks to hang around the boat more than they already do. This is a 6' Lemon Shark that liked to visit us with a few other of his "friends".

Maxine Wilson, who runs the market in Duncan Town, hosts the annual Valentine's Party. It is held at a beach side picnic pavilion on nearby Hog Cay that was erected by cruisers and locals over the years. Maxine provides all the food and drinks.  

35 Cruising boats arrived for this year's festivities. Here, cruisers as well as the local Ragged Islander's participated in an auction with goods donated by all the cruisers. $2000 was raised for the Duncan Town school children.

It's been two years since we last saw 74 year old Edward Lochart who lives alone with his dogs, goats and chickens on nearby Buenavista Cay.

One day, while beach combing for sea glass and sea beans on a small barrier island off Ragged Island, Kathy came upon this small tube with a flotation collar and wire antenna. It is a fish tag that (use to) emits GPS signal and collects other data. We emailed notice of our recovery back to the manufacturer listed on the tag, Wildlife, along with the special ID #. We subsequently were contacted by a researcher at the Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, CA. with some interesting info and return shipping instructions for further data recovery. "This particular tag was deployed on an Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in Canada during the fall of 2010. It only stayed on the fish about a 100 days before popping off about 1000km northeast of the Bahamas." It must have spent a few years in the North Atlantic currents before washing up on the rocky shoreline of Adeline Cay.

While we were in the Ragged Islands, this 30'ish foot long sailing vessel filled with 58 Haitians refugees was stopped by Bahamian Defence Force offshore while attempting to enter Bahamas. They were stopped and then flown from Ragged Island to Nassau for eventual return back to Haiti. The boat was left anchored off Percy's place on Southside Bay.

Crew of one of the multiple work skiffs that belong to the Long Island fishing vessel "Summer Crab" came into the Buenavista Cay anchorage one evening around sunset. They had been out on the banks fishing for several weeks. They were in great need for some rum and beers and we were in great need of some lobster tails. Everyone was happy!

Under sail approaching Hog Cay Cut. We had 3 excellent days of sailing with winds and seas aft of the beam. Sailing from Hog Cay (in the Jumentos) to Buenavista Cay; Then on to Water Cay on day 2; and from Water Cay through Hog Cay Cut (in the Exumas) arriving back in Georgetown March 5th. 

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