Visit the Out Islands of the Bahamas

Out Islands Bahamas

We are settled in at Ragged Island in the Southern Bahamas.  Life is real cruising here, there are  fewer boats here than in the Exumas, and the water is amazingly clear and full of life.

We left Georgetown 5 days ago, yet it seems we have been away for much longer. The trip from GT went outside from the southern channel and followed the deep water sound to Long Island, hoping to catch some Mahi as we went. The water was clear and calm, but we found nothing to eat. We worked our way into Salt Pond, Thompson Cove for an overnight stop, before proceeding through the Comer Channel, at high tide.

The trip was spectacular, as the winds were light and variable, and the horizon disappeared into the water. The depth through the channel was good, seeing not less than 2.4meters. You could see the ripples in the sand on the bottom, and count the starfish, as we passed through the water. The 6’ depth in front of us looked like 2 feet from the height of the fly bridge.

We made our way past the 9 miles or so of this skinny water and exited the banks at Water Cay. The water was so clear that we could see the reefs on the banks in 30’ of water.

I put my lures out with visions of Mahi dancing through my head. The water depth went off soundings (unreadable with our sounder past 1500 feet of depth or so. I followed a nice weed line and zing, one of the reels sings out. It suddenly stops fish off. I reel in the line to find my leader had been parted- no lure left. The second reel screams out, I get it out of the rod holder, and the fish is off, and so too is the lure.

This time the leader shows scrapes. I put out 2 more lures, and by end of the day, I have lost 5 lures. I figure that the Wahoo are running. They have rows of sharp teeth, and hit their prey from 40-50 deep at full speed, aiming at the head, then they come back to finish it off. My leaders made of monofilament line are no match for these super sharp toothed aggressors.

Highly disappointed, we make our way back through a cut in the reef and back onto the banks to anchor off of Flamingo Cay. We met about 10 boats in the tiny space of two anchorages. We had to drop the anchor 3 times before we found some good sand for the Rocna to hold in.
We watched as 3-4 additional boats came in and dragged their anchor around in the hard packed, rocky bottom.

I decided to jump in to check the anchor. We were in about 5 metres of water, nice and clear. As I swam forward, I noticed a big bull shark circle a coral head and bee line toward me. Jenny was still at the transom, I swam back and we both got out of the water, not before we saw a second big bull shark.

We learned later when speaking to another boat on the VHF that the local fishing boats anchor off the cay and clean their catch. The sharks have learned to associate the boats arrivals with food after about 4:00.

I lost two more lures on the trip, talk about dumb; doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

We moved on the next day to catch up with Clark and Michelle on Roam, and their friends, Mark and Michelle on a Manta sailing cat, called Reach.

We anchored off Double Breasted Cay, and we are now about 150 miles south of Georgetown.  It feels much warmer here as well. We dropped the hook in 2.4 meters of water in beautiful white sand bottom. We had about 10 other boats around us.

We did some snorkeling that afternoon, the reefs not as prolific as I had imagined. That evening Michelle (Roam) cut hair for anyone interested on the beach.

Next morning we did some snorkeling with Clark and Mark, and did find a couple of crayfish for dinner.

The weather is predicted to change and shift to a westerly direction, to WNW and then North with 20 knots from the North. We departed Double Breasted Cay yesterday, after I set up my remaining 2 lures with wire leader loaned to me by Clark (such a guy).

We trolled the 20 miles outside; I caught and now landed 4x barracuda. Crap…

We rounded Ragged Island from the south and made our way to Southside for a good anchorage from the predicted northerly winds.  Here we found about 6 boats, with a few that we heard on the VHF radio from Georgetown. God, they follow us everywhere.

Today, we are baking bread, the anchorage is nice and calm and no winds; A nice change in the weather.

Clark and I are planning to do some more free diving at slack tide. I am trying to get a few more crayfish in the freezer for the arrival of Jenny’s girlfriend, Elizabeth and her daughter Elise from the UK.  

And so life in the remote Bahamas goes. We have good internet connection from Duncan town, the only inhabited settlement in the Ragged Islands.

We went ashore and witnessed the prolific evidence of the damage from hurricane Irma, which made a direct hit here last season. I spoke to a middle aged Bahamian man named Wilson. He lives in a building which has an old airplane fuselage as its roof. It used to be a bar and restaurant, but has been closed for many years.

Wilson has a big job ahead of him, as he tells me his plans to repair the buildings, including the plane building, with debris piled 4-6 high along the beach, and many of the trees stripped bare to their trunks. He smiles and says,” it’s just Mother Nature. “And he seems very accepting of its results.

It must take a special soul to live in these outward islands. Duncan town has only about 60 residents, and it is the largest settlement in the area.

We will take a walk into town tomorrow perhaps. I am sure it will pull on my heart strings.


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