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Jumentos – Part 2

Posted by on March 27, 2012

Mutton Fest  (Motto for the festival?  Mutton or Nutton….seriously)

Back when we were anchored in Thompson Bay, we met up with some other cruisers our age. Maxwell and Jen are from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and Dave and Jess are from New Brunswick, Canada. We had to split up for a few days to do various errands, but we met up at the Mutton Fest held at Clarence Town, Long Island on Saturday, March 17th.

Mutton Fest was similar to what would be a small local fair in the states, a celebration of craft and agriculture, with tents displaying and selling the crafts created by the people of Long Island. We enjoyed looking at the various straw creations, jewelry, carvings and homemade jams, jellies and hot sauces. There was plenty of traditional Bahamian food to enjoy as well. One of the best parts was the 5 for $1 conch fritters and the guava duff, a traditional Bahamian desert. They even had Guinness to help us celebrate St. Patrick’s day. We also bought a bag of really hot peppers for $2, the entertainment value alone of sampling these peppers over the coming days was worth what equated to 10 conch fritters.

There were also several events, including competitions for the fastest grouper skinning and fastest conch cleaning, which were quite educational to watch!  In addition, a competition for the best mutton dish was held among the local school children. Because tourism is so central to the Bahamian economy, culinary trade education is very important, and there were some fantastic dishes on display.  After the judging, everyone was able to sample the entries. Several presentations sponsored by the government encouraged local farming and provided education on lionfish cleaning and cooking.  The evening ended with a rake and scrape band and a singer flown in from Nassau to entertain for the event.

Sabrina and I knew we had to be in Georgetown to renew our temporary visas by the 27th (which is where we’re anchored now) so we decided that heading back to the Jumentos for a few more days to fish and lobster would be fun. Maxwell and Jen’s freezer was also getting bare, and they had arrived at the same conclusion, once both boats decided to go, we twisted Dave and Jess’s arms until they came along too.

The Jumentos

We left on Monday the 19th after all boats were readied and we had taken on water and groceries. The sail to Flamingo Cay was largely downwind, and we made great time, even getting to wash the sails in a couple of afternoon thunderstorms.  We anchored off of Flamingo Cay that night with many Bahamian fishing vessels that had been fishing the area over the season.

The Jumentos are excellent for spearfishing and lobstering, and on Tuesday we got to work. Maxwell is a great spearhunter, and I learned a lot from watching him dive and following his search patterns.  We found conch, lobster, hogfish and grouper.

The days were pretty similar.  We’d get up, get some coffee and breakfast, wait till the sun was higher in the sky and then we’d go fishing. After fishing we’d relax and then meet up for dinner, dessert, or drinks at a boat. We went hiking one day on the island and saw the old plane wreck on the north shore. We took the dinghy to the “drive-in” sea cave and then climbed out the back to the top of the island. We hung out on the beach, and one night we even had a bonfire.

One day we were out fishing and a Bahamian diver on the cliffs flagged us down, his outboard engine was stuck trimmed up out of the water and the boat and captain were in danger. Luckily they got the anchor down, before they got sucked out to sea, but they were fully in the “rage” of the waves that built in the cut.  Maxwell and Dave tried to drag their boat out of danger with on dinghy but the current was too strong for the small boat and they took the captain in to the larger “mother ship” to get help.  Sabrina, Jen and I picked up the diver in our dinghy and took him to meet up with the other fishing skiff that came out to help. We stayed nearby to make sure they didn’t need further assistance and there were a few hectic moments as both Bahamian boats had waves cresting all around them. They made it back alright and thanked us for our help. I hesitate to think how long they might have been stranded without a radio if we hadn’t come along.

We had a blast hanging out with people in the remote islands of the Bahamas.  There’s no civilization, but the ladies had fun trading bread recipes while the guys perfected various recipes for rum punches. We shared dinner responsibilities, traveling from boat to boat and generally just enjoyed getting to know people better.  Dave and Jess told us the cool places to go in Nova Scotia while we filled them in on places they need to stop on the Chesapeake Bay. We talked with Maxwell and Jen about cruising in the Caribbean and what we were both planning on doing after cruising. The group split up on Friday when Dave and Jessica made the trip back to meet up with family flying in. We parted with Maxwell and Jen on Saturday but promised to meet up again very soon.

Needing to make it to Georgetown on Monday, on Saturday, we decided to make the most of our last fishing day in the Jumentos. We woke early and did one last snorkeling trip at Flamingo Cay to gather some conch for lunch before moving Joint Venture 10 miles north to Water Cay. Once the anchor was down, we wasted no time suiting up and jumping back into the dinghy for an afternoon snorkeling session. The current was running quickly over some beautiful reefs, so we employed the “drift snorkel” method and let that help us quickly cover large areas of the reef. It did take some swimming to maintain a position once a fish caught our attention, but our efforts were not wasted, and we found a lobster and a nice grouper.  After cleaning the conch and fish, we headed to bed to rest up for our early departure to Georgetown the following day.


We had a beautiful sail on Sunday. We were pleasantly surprised with slightly stronger wind than was forecasted and very happy not to have to motor the whole 45 mile trip. After much debating which path to take back to Georgetown, our route took us through Hog Cay cut, which carries only about 6 feet of water during high tide, so our timing had to be perfect. Fortunately, it was and the sun was high, enabling great visibility of the reefs through the cut, and we passed uneventfully, arriving in Georgetown mid-afternoon.

On Monday we completed the extension of our temporary visas at the immigration office. We then toured Georgetown, bought some items we needed, and came back to the boat for fresh grouper sandwiches.  Georgetown is somewhat like what we imagined, but we haven’t fully been able to “figure it out yet.”  A lot of boats have already left to go north for the winter, so the cruising contingent is not as large. We’re going to try to tour all the hot-spots in town while we gather supplies and then we’ll be headed out for an unknown destination later this week.

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