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JUMENTOS CAYS '08

Adventures in the Jumentos '08 

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 Cay, Jumentos

 

 

 

Beachcombing on the ocean side of Raccoon Cay

 

 

 

 

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 Atlantic

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Hog Cay

 

 

 

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 trailhead

 

The fishing with pole spears appealed to the men whereas the women liked the beachcombing better.  When we went out for fish or lobster we used the term "bugging", meaning "going after bugs (crawfish)". 

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 Vista Cay

 

 

Bob cleans his catch at Raccoon Cay

 

 

 

 

 

The girls prepare a lobster feast on Nauti-Nauti

 

 

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 day!

Albert, from the fishing vessel Destiny, takes charge of cooking snapper and lobster in a pit of coals on the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nauti-Nauti with their Queen Conch shell

 

We took 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 the sand

 

 

 

 

 

Cave on the Atlantic side of Water Cay

 

 

 

 

 
     



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Last updated: 12/12/08.