Weeks ago, we got some great tips from an old sailing buddy at www.humbersport.net, Dave who is formerly of s/v O’vive and s/v Melusine (who we first met in 2003 in the Bahamas), for the Bahamas. Dave and his family live in Florida and regularly cruise the Bahamas. His favorite cruising locations for the Bahamas are in the Ragged Islands. These island cays border the eastern edge of a vast shallow area of water south of the Exumas. The islands provide shelter from the trade winds and deeper waters, yet provide easy access to fantastic coral reefs and fish. We had been looking forward with great anticipation to arriving at the Raggeds. We left Great Inagua the day after checking in to the country there, and sailed for one day and a night to arrive early the next morning on the 16th of May. The picture here is of the awesome sunrise we had before arrival. See the map below which shows the passage from Great Inagua. Zoom in to the north-western end to see the places we went in the Raggeds.
We chose to go to Flamingo Cay first. We arrived and dropped our sails before entering a narrow pass between ragged rock islands going from 1000 feet to 30 feet of water under our keels in less than a mile. We tried out a bay on the north side with a pretty beach, but there was a slight swell in the bay that would have made it uncomfortable at anchor. We moved to the west side of the island and anchored off a pretty bay with another white-sand beach. Later I went ashore and explored the beach, found a trail to the north beach (which was marked with flip-flops and rock cairns), and took pictures of the beautiful beach there (one of them is below). There are a few other photos of the beach in the album further below. Late in the afternoon we had a nice rain shower that rinsed the salt off the boat.
The next morning, I took Karen to three different beaches on the island. We took lots of pictures and found some beautiful conch shells on the beach. We also saw some interesting lizards with very curly (even coiled) tails. The next day, we left to move the boat to Water Cay – a 10 mile sail north east. We actually had to motor most of the way because it was upwind that day. We were amazed at the beautiful waters here. It was everything Dave told us to expect. We anchored in super shallow water near Water Cay. There was a rusty fishing boat shipwreck nearby. Later, Karen and I took the dinghy out to some coral reef and had a great snorkel. We saw very healthy coral, and lots of coral fish. There’s a bunch of underwater photos in the album below.
The next day, in addition to snorkeling, we got out my kite and special camera mount and tried taking some pictures of Tahina and the islands. Unfortunately, by the time I set it up, the winds had dropped. So, the Kite wouldn’t fly very high. But, we got a few good shots of Tahina anyway. We later took Tahina out a couple miles to a blue hole. This is a circular shaped deep spot which usually has a coral reef around it (possibly the reef and currents form the deeper hole, I don’t know). Anyway, I had already investigated it earlier and wanted Karen to try it out. Her back was bothering her though, so she missed snorkeling it. I saw some great fish there including sting ray, baracuda, dog fish, trigger fish, and had a huge swarm of jacks surround me for a few minutes (they seemed attracted to my bright yellow fins). Great fun!
We moved the boat to another anchorage on the north side of Water Cay after the blue hole. The next morning, I was up well before the crack of dawn and prepared us for a pre-dawn departure. That was when we sailed to Georgetown as mentioned in the previous post. Below is the photo album which shows you a few glimpses at the fantastic experiences and sights we had at the Raggeds. If we come back to the Bahamas, we are definitely going back there!