Adventures in the Jumentos
Our trip to the Jumentos has, so far,
been the highlight of the winter. The Jumentos Cays, also known as the
Ragged Islands, are a series of small islands curving south and west of George Town. The most southerly island is a mere 60 miles from the south-east
corner of Cuba.
These islands are mostly uninhabited but extremely beautiful with long sandy
beaches on their west coasts and a mixture of coral and sandy beaches on the
Atlantic (east) coast.
Coral and stray fishing net on the Atlantic side of Raccoon
Beachcombing on the ocean side of
More beachcombing on Raccoon Cay
Parts of this island chain are open and
exposed to ocean swells from the east. Several of the anchorages have an
uncomfortable surge, especially when the winds get over 20 kt. We learned where
to anchor by trial and error so by the time we left, our anchorages had become
quite a bit more comfortable. Our days were spent having wonderful sails between the
islands, beachcombing on the east coast beaches (a beachcomber's paradise), snorkeling and spear fishing on the coral heads and gathering around the beach
bonfire on many an evening.
Our beachcombing crew at Raccoon,
including Patricia and Allan (Nauti-Nauti), Bonnie and Roger (Kokomo), Vicki and
Bob (First Look) and Judy
Our beachcombing adventures deserve a
paragraph all on their own. Every cay that we stopped at had a pathway
across the island to the Atlantic side. This ocean-facing side collected
all kinds of garbage, sea beans and treasures.
Bob with the first of his hardhat
collection - size extra giant
Beach treasures washed in from the
Each of us had our own specialty that
we collected. Judy searched for rarer sea beans and plastic sea beads.
Bob (First Look) was on constant vigil for hard hats ( and there were several).
Vicki (First Look) was captivated by sea glass. Meanwhile Ron collected
infants shoes/sandals and toys. At bonfires in the evening we would
describe some of our treasures for "Show and Tell". The lucky person who
guessed right would claim the item and either keep it or set it on the fire ring
to slowly melt. In short, a great time was had by all.
The girls enjoy happy hour before the
bonfire on Raccoon Cay
Getting ready to light the bonfire at
Beachcombers at rest on Buena Vista
Cay - the rag-tag three boats are joined by Dave and Kathi from Dyad
Cactus on the hike
The hikes across the various islands
varied from 1/8 mile to almost 3/4 mile. The going was rough at times over
coral and through thick underbrush; however, the paths were cleaned back fairly
well by previous cruisers and helped along by us.
Roger, Judy and Vicki mark the
The fishing with pole spears
appealed to the men whereas the women liked the beachcombing better. When
we went out
fish or lobster we used the term "bugging", meaning "going after bugs
Ron fillets a glass-eyed snapper
The lobsters here are actually very,
very large crawfish because they have no pincers. The only really meaty
part is the tail and they are delicious!
Ron prepares to catch "bugs"
Close-up of glass-eyed snapper
Allan displays his catch at Buena
Bob cleans his catch at Raccoon Cay
The girls prepare a lobster feast on
At the time we were in this island
chain, there were perhaps
ten other cruising boats. It took all of three weeks to meet them all
because of the many islands where they could anchor. We spent many a happy hour
with Allan and Patricia from Nauti-Nauti and Bob and Vicki from First Look, two
boats that we made the trip with. After the first week we started to
encounter more boats and expanded many of our happy hours on the beach to
include Bonnie and Roger on Kokomo, Rita and Will from Magic, David and Mary on
Mon Ami, Stephen and Penny on Rainbow's End, Don on Next Exit, Dave and Kathi on
Dyad, John and Jo Anne on Free Bird and Jerry and Donna on BlueJacket. Our final
bonfire at Buena Vista Cay included the fishing vessel "Destiny" with her crew
of ten out of Long Island. This was the best of all bonfires! Destiny
provided the lobster tails and snapper and cooked them in coals on the beach.
The other nine boats provided a potluck of dishes to compliment the fish - what
a feast! John from Free Bird and Dave on Dyad provided the music for some songs after dinner.
It was such a busy night for us, we delayed our trip back up to Water Cay for a
Albert, from the fishing vessel
Destiny, takes charge of cooking snapper and lobster in a pit of coals on the
Nauti-Nauti with their Queen Conch
Pioneer as far down into the Jumentos as Hog Cay. From there we took our
dinghy into Duncan Town on Ragged Island. Duncan Town is a very small
fishing community which has few amenities to offer with the exception of
Maxine's grocery store, a post office and a police station. However, the
people are extremely friendly and helpful and Maxine sells ice cream!!!
First Look, Nauti-Nauti and Pioneer
arrive at Duncan Town
Our time in the Jumentos was limited by
our stock of fuel, specifically gasoline for our generator and outboard.
So, after three weeks of great fun and exploring, we headed back to Water Cay to
wait for an opportunity to cross over to Thompson Bay, Long Island. At Water Cay we met up with Sally and Conrad from Its About Time.
They were just beginning their trip down the Jumentos chain and planned to stay
for at least three weeks. After a few days in Water Cay we crossed the
Comer Channel once again heading for Thompson Bay, Long Island, where we have
planned to spend a week exploring the island.
Judy and Sally on the
white cliffs of Water Cay
Conrad scouts out a huge ray as it buries itself in
Cave on the Atlantic side of Water Cay