January 17 – January 22.
â€œDid you order this ride?â€
â€œYeah, I called in earlier on the VHF. You just didnâ€™t hear meâ€.
This is part of the playful banter among the core group of cruisers who come straight to the Jumentos each season. We are all anchored in Southside Bay, Ragged Island to ride out three, yes three, fronts coming through next week. We start the 1.5 mile hike into Duncan Town and come up on a pickup truck. The driver offers all ten of us a ride. Of course we climb in and hang on.
We are going to town for the big event. The Silver Tail gathering spot will open and serve lunch today. This happens once every two months on average. (The folks living in Duncan Town get what they need from the ocean or the mail boat. Not much dining out here.) Todayâ€™s lunch is probably a practice run for the upcoming Super Bowl, or the big annual Valentineâ€™s Day festival.
The group dines at Silver Tail, walks to Maxineâ€™s to conduct some business, and Oh, thereâ€™s that same red pickup waiting to take us back to the beach. We should probably donate some gas money this time.
We are just interlopers here. The regular cruisers are serious about their fun. They all have water makers, and skills like rewiring burnt out engine harnesses, adjusting fridge coolant levels, and diagnosing internal engine problems. They have gas generators to feed their power hungry freezers and water makers. They order the gas in 55 gallon drums, which come to Maxineâ€™s from the mail boat. One boatâ€™s electronic library has over 12,000 titles. (And we thought we were prepared because we have a monthâ€™s supply of water.)
They fish. Bill from Veranda trains me on spear fishing lobster. I actually get one. He gives me a couple more saying his wife Christy will kill him if he brings any more on the boat.
Duwan and I explore some of Ragged Island. Itâ€™s a big island. We briefly meet Percy who lives near the south side beach. He used to have a bar inside an airplane there, but itâ€™s closed now. We visit a little with Maxine. Weâ€™ve heard that sheâ€™s in her seventies, but thatâ€™s hard to swallow. She goes out often to gather conch and spear fish.
Interestingly, there are really nice roads crossing the island, and a nice runway. We get a golf cart ride from a local woman. She tells us the roads were paved three years ago. She is visiting from Nassau, but grew up here.
There is also a nice police station. The officer patrols in a shiny new SUV. Wonder why?
Mostly we see goats. There must be five times as many goats as there are people on Ragged. All the dogs on the island are tied up. But the goats roam free. They walk the streets as if they own them. But they wonâ€™t let us get too close. The young ones seem a little curious, but the adult ones have heard too many gunshots and seen their goat pals get served up as mutton.
We are closer to Cuba now, than we are to Georgetown, Great Exuma. Canadian cruisers can use this as a jumping off point to go to Cuba. We see no BASRA or Cuban patrols but every couple of days a USCG chopper zooms over the bay.