Westerlies and Refugees

Hog Cay, Ragged Islands — 01•08•23

After spending a few days at Hog Cay and having no luck spear pole fishing here, it was time to pull anchor and head up to Racoon Cay. I had good luck fishing Racoon Cay last season, but the usual spots were not as productive this time. I did grab a Triggerfish, for fish tacos.

Triggerfish for tacos

I went out on a few fishing expeditions with some other boats and while productive for the other boats, I again came up empty.

Racoon Cay, Jumentos Islands — 01•11•23

After a few days at Racoon, it was time to run to the bottom of Ragged Island and tuck into the notorious hole. It lies between Ragged Island and Little Ragged Island. This spot is aptly named “Between The Raggeds”.


The Ragged & Jumentos Islands have very few spots to hide from strong westerly winds. This spot on the charts looks unnavigable, but seasoned cruisers know the route and claim it’s a great spot to hide from west winds. It was a short sail and I had the anchor down outside the entrance by 1500 (3 pm). I planned to head in through the secret route at high tide the next morning. I dinghyed in and talked to a few of the boats in there, to make sure the route I had was good.

Ragged Island — 01•12•23

0800 (8 am) anchor up and heading to the unmarked route to “Between the Raggeds”. Wabi Sabi who I had been fishing with up at Racoon, headed in before me, which made it easy as I just followed them in. Once in I was able to find a spot to anchor. There were only a handful of boats currently, but it quickly filled up to over 16 boats by the time the blow came in.

Between the Raggeds
Between the Raggeds

Between the Raggeds is a very special place and some cruisers don’t want too many people to know about it. But I think the cat is out of the bag as it filled up for this blow.

Awoken by Refugees — 01•14•23

Early in the morning, I heard yelling of some sort. Before I could put my head out to see what the commotion was, the VHF radio was lit up, with cruisers asking what we should do.

On the uninhabited Little Ragged Island were about 60 Hattian refugees yelling for our attention. Hattian refugees ending up in the Bahamas is pretty common. We weren’t sure what to do so we “volunteered” two of the cruisers (Rick from C Language and Ryan from Wabi Sabi) to take some fresh water over to them and see if we could talk to them. Another cruiser called the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, which had a station on Ragged Island.

Haitian Refugees
Haitian Refugees – (sorry for the low quality)

When our “volunteered” party showed up to the mass of refugees everyone got quiet. When our party left the group of Hattians looked dejected and were walking back to the other side of the island.

What was reported back to us was the refugees had one person who spoke English and while everything was translated they all listened quietly and intently. The story was they left Haiti bound for the United States they landed their boat here on Little Ragged Island at night and when they walked around the island and saw the mass of cruising boats they thought they were in Miami. They asked how far Miami was and if we thought their boat could get there. They were not even halfway there and with this blow happening it would be all upwind. When they were told that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force had been contacted and should show up shortly, they were dejected. They knew that that would mean deportation back to Haiti.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force sent over a few local fishing boats to shuttle the refugees to Ragged Island. Now to put it in perspective there are only 40 people who live full time on Ragged Island. We were told they were detained till they could be deported back to Haiti.

Haitian Refugee Boat

The next day I went over with Louie & Deb from 360° to get a look at this boat these 60+ refugees were hoping to sail all the way to Miami.

Haitian Refugee Boat
Refugee Boat
Haitian Refugee Boat
Refugee Boat Interior
Haitian Refugee Boat
They Had 60+ people on this 27′ boat in high winds and big seas, trying to make their way to Miami

After all the excitement of weathering a western blow in the Raggeds and Haitian Refugees, it was time to think about heading back up to Hog Cay.

Sunset over Ragged Island
Sunset Over Ragged Island