Off the Beaten Track -May 16, 2002
We've spent the past couple of weeks working our way through the Jumentos, a hundred mile crescent of islands in the southwestern corner of the Bahamas. We reached the end of the chain yesterday when we visited Duncan Town on Ragged Island. The next stop for those headed south is Cuba, 60 miles away across the Old Bahama Channel. For us, Miami is a 400 mile downwind passage to the northwest.
Duncan Town is the only community within the Jumentos. Its 125 cheerful souls share two phone lines. With the electronic connections being the way they are in this remote outpost, we would have put one of those lines out of service for the better part of the day if we had used it to e-mail a lengthy report with a photo attachment. We found the Duncan Town populace to be very friendly, but figured that reducing their contact with the outside world by half would probably strain the limits of their magnanimity. We decided to send this message via our ship's radio. Sorry, no accounts of epic proportions this time, and no photos.
We have two cruising guides that cover the Jumentos. The introductory abstract for one of the guides goes on at some length about the hazardous nature of the waters, the poor quality of the existing charts, the absence of all-weather anchorages, and the dearth of any services. It also mentions in passing that there are a lot of sharks and drug smugglers. The other guide waxes on about the islands' peaceful solitude, natural beauty, and pristine condition. The author claims he's reluctant to tell others about the Jumentos because he wants to keep them for himself.
is right? Since hardly anyone cruises the island chain, we pretty well
had to go and find out for ourselves. To learn what we've concluded, you'll
have to wait until after we arrive in Florida next week and have better
access to the internet. But we'll give you a hint. We're going back next
Cheers, David & Eileen