March 22, 2009.
Duncan Town turned out to be well worth the effort. And there is a bit of effort. The easiest way to get into town is to anchor at Hog Cay and dinghy in to Duncan Town over on Ragged Island.
Ragged Island is surrounded by shallow water with a single navigable channel that will only allow small, shallow draft boats to enter. It’s been dredged right though a mangrove swamp with mounds of conch shells lining the channel. So the conventional wisdom is to anchor in the protection of Hog Cay and take the dinghy for the 3 ½ mile ride into town. About 2 miles of the trip is through unsheltered waters so you can only make the trip on a reasonably calm day.
Duncan Town is the only settlement in the entire Jumentos chain. There are fewer than 100 residents on the island and they seem pretty happy to see anyone who takes the time to get here.
The surrounding shallow waters are a bonefisherman’s paradise. As a result, an entrepreneur is in the process of building a bonefishing lodge. There are a few cottages and a well appointed central hall/ pub. Fishermen fly into the tiny airstrip and spend time fishing the flats with a local guide.
The attraction for us was that the pub had Wifi, a flat screen television complete with CNN and cheeseburgers. This is the first time that wifi or a cheeseburger has been available in the Jumentos.
The Ragged Island Lodge was beautiful, comfortable and served a great platter of cheeseburgers and fries for $4.50. Combine this with free wifi and $2.50 beers and what more could you ask for? We spent several hours having lunch and catching up on our email.
While we were there Far Niente decided that they wanted to get going early tomorrow morning for Long Island where a friend has a wonderful waterfront home. My Destiny is also headed for Long Island so they opted to head out with them. They left us to our interneting and went back to their boats to move a few miles north to get a better jump on the morning.
We’ve been traveling with them since we left the states, so it was hard to see them leave. Saying good bye to good friends is one of the toughest parts of cruising but we know it’s only a matter of time before we run into them again.
Another concern is gasoline. By the time you get this far down the Jumentos having enough gasoline for the dinghy is starting to be a issue. We were fortunate to be able to fill one of our gas cans in Duncan Town for $5 a gallon. There’s no gas station, but if one of the locals has enough that he can part with some, they are happy to help.
We stayed at Hog Island for a few nights before heading a few miles north to Double Breasted Cay. The anchorage at Double Breasted is best used only during settled weather. We decided that we could spend a single night before a period of big winds from the east was due to arrive.
We dropped the hook at noon Thursday and hit the water for a little spearfishing. Between some limited time in the water at Hog Cay and here at Double Breasted we were able to take 5 more lobster, 2 grouper and 2 hog fish.
On Friday morning the wind was already starting to pick up a bit. We had intended to spend the morning in the water and then move the 4 miles up to the better protection offered by Raccoon Cay in the afternoon. There was a problem though.
When I awoke on Friday morning I had vertigo. There was no way I could get in the water or do anything at all. I was dizzy as hell and could barely sit up, let alone stand. We had made plans to spearfish with the crews of 2 other boats so Christy called them on the VHF to tell them that they should go on without us.
It turned out that the couple on Blown Away are an EMT and an RN and had treatment advice at the ready. One of the crew of Wild Card had experience with vertigo and still had some meds onboard. So I was drugged and back asleep by 0900. I awoke around noon and already had some relief from the dizziness.
I was feeling a lot of pressure to move the boat because if we had to spend the night at anchor there it would undoubtedly be a miserable one. Earlier, the crews from the other boats planned how they were going to haul our anchor for us and see to it that we got to Raccoon safely. We had only met these people the day before and they’d already assured Christy that they wouldn’t leave us here, with me being disabled.
Since I was feeling a bit better after my nap we decided to get underway as soon as possible. Christy wanted to wait for the others to get back from spearfishing but I wanted to get going while I felt okay. The sun was high in the sky which would aid us in reading the water for our reef strewn jump to Raccoon Cay.
The trip went well and we dropped the hook and I was back to sleep in just over an hour. Wild Card and Blown Away joined us in the new anchorage shortly thereafter.
Since then I’ve spent a couple of days reading and pretty much just laying around, medicated. I’m once again feeling fine so I think we’ll be doing a little diving tomorrow, we’ll see what morning brings.