Senin, 06 April 2009


The Jumentos - Almost completely uninhabited, there is only one little settlement which is located less than 100 miles from Cuba. These islands are considered remote even by Bahamian standards. Few cruisers visit the Jumentos chain, so the spear fishing and lobstering are pretty amazing.

Beach fire with our buddies from Miakoda and Side by Side

Trigger fish for dinner!!

White cliffs on Water Cay:
My monster Nassau Grouper:

To get to the Jumentos, we first had to make it through Hog Cay Cut. The tricky part about that is the cut only carries 0.9 meters (a bit less than 3 feet) at low tide. Our boat needs a little over 5 feet to float. The tides here usually fluctuate about 2.5 feet. So we had ½ a foot of wiggle room, assuming we didn’t find any rocks or mounds of sand that measured over .5 feet.

We arrived at the cut about 20 minutes before high tide. The weather was perfect. Sunny, and hardly any wind. There were hundreds of coral fans and fish in the cut. We also saw a school of about 6 stingrays. I watched the numbers on the depth sounder drop and drop and drop until they finally bottomed out at 5.4 feet. That was as low as it got, and we made it through with no issues. From Hog Cay we had a great sail down to Water Cay. Small waves, just the right amount of wind, warm sun, one of those days that most people would generally consider “perfect.”

Water cay is very long and narrow. Most of the island is made up of shear white cliffs. All very beautiful. We had a few sharks (the Jumentos are also know for the large number of sharks that come to breed in the shallow water) and barracudas swimming around the boats waiting for us to throw in some food.

The next morning we got up early to get the best of the last day of lobster season. We got skunked, only found 1! We settled for fresh fish and one lobster tail that day. As luck would have it, we later found all sorts of monster lobsters at the Cays further south that we traveled to… but it didn’t bother us too much that we couldn’t spear them. Our friends from Side by Side had been in the Jumentos for a while and had gathered up enough lobsters to share.

In general, the Jumentos were amazing. A true paradise. Beautiful untouched reefs, secluded beaches (wink wink), unbelievably clear water, tons of fish to be had for dinner…. I could go on and on. The trouble with all of this is that we found it very very hard to get comfortable. Things were perfect. So perfect that we actually started getting suspicious of our happiness. We were living the beginning of a cliché horror movie. The part where the niave kids show up to the remote island and everything is so perfect and they are so happy… then slowly the dream turns into a nightmare. LeeAnn and I both felt this way, but we told ourselves: “that’s childish and silly, let’s just relax, what could go wrong?”

We spent the next few days traveling south, and enjoying ourselves. We settled into a nice little routine. I would get up in the morning around 8:30 and read for a while. Around 11:00 AM we would go dive some of the most beautiful reefs I have ever seen to hunt for dinner. Come back around 4:00 and clean our catch. Dinner around was 5:00 or 6:00. Everyone would eat together. And that’s how it was pretty much everyday. The girls had their own routine. Swimming an exploring the islands. Combing the beach for shells. That kind of stuff.

Then one night I woke up to the sound of an engine. I assumed it was nothing but I took a look anyway. I went outside just in time to catch sight of a beat up old lobster boat leaving the anchorage. This was clearly a work boat , they didn’t have any running lights burning, but I could still make out a few shapes moving about on it. I assumed they must be fishermen looking for a place to hang out for the night. I went back to bed, and had a vivid nightmare about a freak storm coming out of no where and washing our boat up on the rocks.

I normally don’t have dreams, so I was really shook up. The next morning LeeAnn and I decided to head north. We got a lazy start and only made it about 20 miles up the Jumentos chain before we stopped for the night. There was hardly any wind, and I was really excited for a good nights rest. I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was a asleep for a good few hours before I woke up, again to the sound of an engine. We had our anchor light on, so I wasn’t too worried about being crashed into. I decided I would just go back to sleep and I was well on my way to that goal when I heard the soft thud of an engine engaging and voices whispering.

I was instantly on edge, and really pissed off. I couldn’t believe that someone was getting so close to us. The island isn’t big enough for this dude? He has to anchor by us? I jumped out of bed and was about to rip the hatch open when I noticed that the voices were speaking in Spanish. I looked out the window and saw the same lobster boat from the night before. The three men I could see aboard the boat were all looking towards mine, only about 100 feet off.

Maybe it was because it was dark… and your imagination is always more powerful at night, or maybe it was because of the horror movie cliché that was still floating around in the back of my mind, but suddenly I put a few things together:

1. We were all alone.
2. Bahamians speak English.
3. Cubans speak Spanish
4. Our anchor light could easily double as a homing beacon for anyone who might be looking for a boat at night.

I quickly turned on some lights inside the boat. And our visitors slowly motored away. Maybe it was nothing, but I slept with one eyeopen for the rest of the night.

We got up early the next day and made it to Hog Cay Cut. It was a very good feeling when we made it through the cut. I felt like a kid who had just snuck into his parents bedroom while they were out for the night. Somewhere you know you aren’t supposed to be, but if you are quick enough, and don’t move anything…. You just might get away with it.

An island to ourselves:

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