Duncan Town- Ragged Island

A short cruise took us to Hog Cay just north of Ragged Island. Another beautiful arcing beach greeted us, and we decided to make the 3+ mile dinghy trip to Duncan Town, the settlement on Ragged Island. Duncan Town is the only settlement in the area and dates back to the 1800’s. Population is rumored to be about 200. Access is not as straightforward as most settlements, since the channel that had been used for decades was blown shut by storms years ago, so there is no direct access for the mail boat or supply vessels. Consider that everything that’s needed on the island must come by water: food, dry goods, fuel- including fuel to power the generating station, building supplies; all must come by boat. Since there is no way for the mail boat to access the settlement, everything must be ferried from the mail boat to shore by small boats. We encountered an American fellow on our walk who was working at the new government dock and fuel tank facility that is under construction at the north end of the island. He works in a supervisory capacity, and was relating the difficulties in maintaining any sort of schedule. The Bahamian mindset is such that a schedule is just not part of the picture. The project he’s managing is months behind, and nobody gets too wound up about it. They were scheduled to pour concrete the day we spoke to him. The generator wouldn’t start, a part had to be sent to Nassau, too large to go by air, so the mail boat is the only alternative. The mail boat comes weekly, so a week up to Nassau and repairs, then back the following week, so no concrete pouring for at least two weeks. It’s the Bahamas, mon!

We stopped at Maxine’s grocery store, picked up a few oranges, and surveyed the store. Small, neat and clean, lots of canned goods, two coolers with some milk, eggs, no fresh produce or meats. We suspect the meat for the island comes from the goats we saw in town, and on Johnson Cay! We strolled to the south end of town for a wonderful vista of the south end of the island and the airport, and scanned the horizon to the southwest for Cuba, only 63 miles away! On our return to town we stopped at Sheila’s Fisherman’s Lounge to cool off with a Kalik. Sheila’s daughter happened to be close by and served our beers and gave us some local insight. Another local fellow said “Oh, you de folk on dem two boats come from the nor earlier…” Small town! We also learned that Sheila’s daughter knows Edward whom we met on Buena Vista. It’s “Bonna Vista” to the locals. When we asked if she knows Edward, she gave us a wide grin, rolled her eyes and laughed: “He my cousin!! We learned that Edward has a wife who rarely goes to visit, he has quite a menagerie of livestock, including turkeys, chickens, a peacock, and goats. And that he’s known to walk the beach all day – nude! We asked if Edward is a bit of a character… more eyes rolling! We got the impression not much happens in Duncan Town, and if it does happen, there aren’t too many folks who don’t know about it! The big event for the year is the Valentine’s Day party that the locals put on for the cruisers. Maxine shared some photos of some of the parties from years past, they put on a great spread, free food, and lots of cruisers come!

We returned to the boat and visited the beach with our cruising friends and the dogs, and had a late supper. We planned to leave the following morning (Thursday) to make our way back north to Water Cay, then Friday to Georgetown, and Saturday to Black Point, just hours ahead of the front predicted to pass late Saturday afternoon with winds predicted 26kt. Black Point will be a great place to ride out the blow, and we’ll enjoy revisiting the settlement there. Luc & Helene will be moving north at a slower pace toward the east side of Long Island, and then on to other destinations not yet decided. It’s been most enjoyable cruising with them, and we hope to reconnect in the coming weeks

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