Ragged Islands and fluid plans

We’re on the Banks, heading north toward Thompson Bay, Long Island. We have 70 more miles to go today, making it a total of 90 miles.

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Raggeds blogWe’ve been gunkholing it in the Ragged Islands, between Hog Cay, South side (for winds out of the north) and Racoon Cay. The winds have been pretty much non stop from the east seldom dropping under 20 knots.

The conditions make snorkeling and hunting pretty unattractive. We’ve been able to get out 3-4 times and we have several lobster in the freezer. We’ve had a few for dinner as well, so it has been productive.

We have spent little time in the Exumas this season, passing by the Exuma Park completely, not really interested in fighting for anchor space or trying to get a mooring. And the super yachts monopolize the prettiest beaches.

We spent some time in Georgetown with several hundred other boats. We caught up with Clark and Michelle on Roam II, their new to them Nordhavn 55. We met other Nordhavn owners there as well, Floating Stones N68, Bravo N63.

We left Georgetown about two weeks ago, eager to get away from the crowds of Cruisers Regatta. We’ve heard there are now 400 boats there.

We planned to head to Mayaguana, Bahamas then on the Provo in the Turks and Caicos. We need to get our Bahama VISA renewed if we stay past the end of the month.

We planned to do the extension in Mayaguana, but called the Immigration office to learn they did not have any Immigration staff.  So we decided to head straight to Provo.

On a short trip from Southside back to Hog Cay, our port stabilizer went out. It stropped responding and would not center. This is a major problem as we plan to keep on heading south to Panama, and functioning stabilizers are essential, for both comfort and for safety.

I called ABT and with their customer support staff, Daryl, we determined the Rexroth servo valve is bad.  The part is very expensive (over $3k) and is in California. I ordered it and will have it shipped to Ft Lauderdale, where I will fly back and pick it up.

I just do not want to take the chance of Bahamas shipping and beauracracy with the part. So we decided to head on to Provo with one stabilizer, which is about 60% effective. Okay a decent weather window and we will be there overnight.

We contacted Turtle Cove Marina, and learned that the entrance has silted to less than 5’ draft. We can’t get in. We called Blue Haven Marina at Leeward (where I used to moor Defiant), their docks are full except for the one with no power/water and it is detached from land.

OK. So now changed plans again, and we are now heading back to Georgetown and Emerald Bay Marina.

This cruising lifestyle requires adaptivity. Plans are drawn in the sand at low tide.

The Raggeds attract interesting cruisers. The islands are very remote, only one cell tower at Duncan Town, so at least communication is good. No supplies, although you can get limited stuff from Maxine when the mailboat comes in.

Cruisers here come back each year. Almost exclusively sail boats, and a lot of catamarans, the power boat is not really welcomed, barely tolerated, far too decadent for these hearty souls.

These handful of sailors come each year and spend 4-6 months. They know each other well, and we felt strangers. Clark and Michelle used to own a Manta Cat, and they have friends on Mantas. There were three of them, Now and Zen, What If, and Sojourn (Clark’s old Manta). We were welcomed by the Mantaneers as friends of Clark and Michelle. And we enjoyed their company.

Maxine built a hut on the beach at Hog Cay, where she put on Valentine Day party. We were invited and joined the other cruisers (over 20 boats) and the locals from Duncantown.

The cruisers put up a donation jar to help Maxine with the costs of the party. She cooked local Bahamian food, including curried Goat, turkey, fresh fish, peas and rice, mac and cheese. She also sponsors the beer for the party, ONLY for the cruisers (she keeps the locals out of the cooler).

It was a good time. Several of the cruisers helped with the clean up and the set up of the beach. We learned quickly about some of the cruisers who feel they are in charge. Jerry was running all over the beach, burning brush, chopping bush, telling others what needed doing. Then he would jump in and take over.

It was funny, Clark was cutting out a root left from a big bush that had been chopped away. Jerry started directing Clark the proper way to do it. Clark had sweat dripping off his brow, hot and dirty. He looked at Jerry and simply handed him the saw he was using, suggesting the Jerry should take over as he knows so much more about the job. And so Jerry hacked away for about 5 minutes, then sat down in the shade, the root still in-tact.

Soon after the Valentines day party, Roam headed back to Georgetown so that Michelle could fly to a baby shower.

We headed back to Georgetown, so that I could fly to Ft Lauderdale to get a part to repair the stabilizer.

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