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Ragged Islands

Irma Update for Ragged Island

Ragged Island was devastated by Hurricane Irma. Apparently, the seven people who were not evacuated from the island survived, but the town itself has been deemed “uninhabitable” by government authorities. Most of the buildings are leveled, except for the Silvertail Lodge and a few others, and no government structures were left standing. The oil depot at Gun Point was also wiped out. The folks that survived the hurricane have also left the island. This is sad news for the many cruising boats that visit the Ragged Islands during the winter season. There will be none of the already limited facilities available. Boats cruising to the Ragged Islands are truly on their own.

Bahamas Update after Irma

We have received bits and pieces of information from various sources and will continue to post them here as they come in. We invite you to post text and links and pictures as you get them.
Monty and Sara Lewis
Explorer Chartbooks

Peace and Plenty Hotel in George Town, Exuma, reported moderate damage to their dock but little damage otherwise.

Exuma Yacht Club suffered serious damage to its docks. A major rebuild will be required.

We had a report of Big Major’s Swimming Pigs with no harm done. The Central and Northern Exumas did not seem to suffer any damage except perhaps for beach erosion and some downed trees.

Long Island was spared any major damage. The odd thing was all the water being pushed out of the bank side, leaving the western flats exposed.

A video of Acklins showed a walk along the western shoreline revealing thousands of dead fish washed up. Again, water was pushed off the bank side exposing flats and habitats.

Ragged Island took a bad hit with buildings destroyed.

Bimini experienced water over the streets and many buildings with floors under water as well as marina docks under water and being hammered by waves. No report on the extent of damage.

Hurricane Irma and the Bahamas

We know that you, our subscribers to the Bahamas Chatter, are watching and praying that Hurricane Irma spares life and property as it passes through the Bahamas. We have let many of the facilities in the Bahamas know that we will be glad to post their updates and information here as they can send it. For any of you who have contacts and information on what is going on the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, and also suggestions for how to help, please send us a post here on the Chatter, or send an email to We will be faithful to keep this forum open for news.

We understand that BahamasAir has been flying residents off of the southeastern Bahamas and Ragged Island. As one Long Islander explained it, Nassau is the hub for all the Family Islands and when it is hampered, all of the islands suffer. It is not only the center for communications but also for distribution of supplies and aid.

Here’s a heart-felt reply to our note to Chub Cay Marina:

Hi. Thank you for your concern. After working so hard to get Chub back to where it was pre Matthew it is sad to see that Irma might undo it again. We have done all our preparation and have flown out most of our people. Now we just pray for the best. And not just for us but to all that’s in the path of Storming Irma.
Stay safe everyone. Life is more important than anything else.

Sailing with Our Kids in the Bahamas

We started sailing last fall with our four children ages 8 to 15, and within the Bahamas we’ve sailed from the Abacos all the way down to Ragged Islands and back! What we’ve been able to experience has accumulated to quite a bit, so I’ve created a small collection of A to Z places, educational themed activities and events that our children LOVED while we were out here. (In addition to typical experiences most kids would enjoy out here… (ie. snorkeling, diving, fishing, spearing, kayaking, swimming, paddling, hiking) Please know this isn’t a complete list of all possible experiences in the Bahamas, this is just our first season- we’d love to have you add to the list!

Allens Cay, Exumas

Iguanas: There’s a wealth of info available on these nationally protected lizards, proceed with some caution as many are aggressive.

Study of Microplastics: Water Sampling

Join in this collaborative conservation effort with other adventurers and scientists by collecting water samples or choose from other field studies you can help gather research for on your adventure!

Beuna Vista Cay, Raggeds

Local Culture

Visit with Edward and have him show you around his garden and small animal farm. He has a great knolwedge of the local flora as well.

Big Majors, Exumas

Swimming Pigs

Many of you already know about the famous swimming pigs, a picture is worth a thousand words, so stop on by and enjoy the novelty of seeing a four legged mammal swim for food!


Meal Assistance, Baking Desserts, Cook-Offs

Cooking in the galley has been one of the best experiences for the kids. Meal assistance, baking goodies for other boats in the anchorage and having an end of season cook-off was an excellent way for them to show off their skills. The cook-off consisted of the kids picking their menu’s: main dish, sides, drink and dessert recipes. Then shopping for ingredients at the local grocery (they had a stipend), prepping and cooking the meal. Then they treated the parents to a formal sit down dinner complete with service. They were judged on presentation, main dish (healthiness), drink originality (non-alcoholic), dessert, and clean-up. Winners all around were given rewards parents had agreed upon.

Christopher Columbus, Long Island, Exumas

Exploratory Routes of Discovering New World

Stop by the monument on the north side of Long Island and discuss the possible routes he took to discover the New World.

David Copperfield, Rudder Cut Cay, Exumas

Mermaid Piano

This is a popular snorkeling spot, but the back story is even more interesting. Have the kids try some of their own magic or read about his history via Wikipedia.



This was something we invested in before we came, but on most days the kids were using them as we ran out of the hard copy books we brought. Enlist in Kindle Unlimited and get some good book lists downloaded BEFORE you come as internet isn’t always on the free side.

Fun Runs and Festivals, Abacos, Exumas

Greater Abacos Family Fun Run, Color Run, First Friday in February Farmers Festival

There are lots of local races and festivals that may fall on a day you can participate or volunteer. They are a great way to enjoy and support the local communities and experience some Bahamian culture.

Georgetown, Exumas

Georgetown Regatta, Cruisers Community, Hiking Trails

There are many kid themed activities during this weekend of cruising fun, plan ahead to attend, its usually in February. There are some great hikes as well on Stocking Island and the cruising community is an easy way to meet other kidboats.

Green Castle, Darby Island, Exumas

Exploration and Discovery

This is on a private island with a no-trespassing sign. However if you ask for permission from the caretaker to view the castle, they will generally agree to the visit. The castle has a great history to it. The German owner, Sir Guy Baxter used it as a working plantation back in 1938 raising goats, and farming with cotton, palm oil and fruit. The mystery begins as to why he left… rumor has it he was expelled from the island for providing provisions to German Uboats during WW2, it’s anyones guess as to where he is now!

Hopetown, Elbow Cay, Abacos

Lighthouse History

Share some of the lighthouse backstory and the loyalist ‘salvaging’ of wrecked ships then experience all 101 steps up to enjoy the view. As an experiment, at night wake up the kids every couple hours and see if they can cut it being a lighthouse operator!

Hog Cay, Raggeds

Hiking, Beach Pavilion

This was a great stop down south for the kids to stretch their legs and enjoy some hiking trails to the ocean side of the Cay and enjoy some overnight campouts under the pavilion and caves.


Book Lists and Moments of Stillness

Being inspired as parents isn’t always easy… find some good books for you AND for the kids to get inspiration! Creating moments of stillness and reflection have been great breeding grounds for deep thought!

Johnson Cay, Ragggeds

Seahorses and Sliding Down Sand Dunes

This was an elusive fish for us to find, (you may find it some elsewhere though), the bay at Johnsons had several for us to enjoy. The role of seahorse parenting is especially interesting to talk through with the kids.


Sharing the Fun with Other Kids!

Hooking up with other kidboats has opened up new friendships for all on board, using the VHF for communication, finding blitz chess and scrabble lovers, and even sharing dinner meals just to name a few.


Invasive Species

Do some snorkeling and find the ever present lionfish, then discuss how this invasive species’ eating habits have effected and altered the ecosystems of the reef.

Lee Stocking Island, Exumas

NOAA Marine Research Center

Take an exploratory walk through a once working marine research facility and get a feel for what it was like to live as a marine biologist!

Manjack Cay, Abacos

Hiking and Serving

Visit with Bill and Leslie and offer to help with any needs they may have (trail or beach maintenance). While you’re there, kayak through the mangrove lined river– it’s a treasure trove of wildlife!

Mangroves, Abacos and Exumas

Ecosystem Extraordinaire

This is an amazing tree! Learn about the many benefits the mangrove offers to the wildlife around it and the sacrificial yellow leaf!

Normans Cay, Exumas

Snorkel a Commando Airplane, History of the Drug Trade on Island, Pond and Hiking Exploration, Hammerhead Breeding Grounds

This was by far our favorite cay to visit. What made it even more interesting was reading about it after we visited. Check out Turning the Tide by Richard Novak and his desire to run a hammerhead reasearch facility during the same time Carlos R turned it into a drug dealing haven. You can also hike to a trawler which was put on the hilltop as a warning for boaters to stay away! (Its near Skipjack Point). Diving the downed airplane made it all come to life and visiting the pond to see if we could see any hammerheads was amazing!

Oven Rock, Guana Cay, Exumas

Osprey Nest

Beach your dinghy onshore near Oven Rock and take a quick walk up topside to view an Osprey nest.

People of the Bahamas

Loyalists and their West African Workforce

Take the time to read about the history behind the people here in the Bahamas. Wind from the Carolina’s is an excellent read which details some of this history.

Queen Elizabeth II

British Commonwealth and its Monarchy

Nearly every community has a road highlighting the Queen’s role as monarchial ruler over the Bahamas. Checkout the political history and discover when the Bahamas became part of the British monarchy.


Star Constellation Project, Fishing Boat Visit

This was where we did our Star Constellation project, but you may find little light pollution all over the Exumas and Abacos. The kids were to pick a constellation and create a report and then present it to their peers on what they learned. (Credit to Rick on Makana for organizing this!) We also were able to visit with a local fishing boat that discussed with the kids the nature of fishing in the Bahamas and some of the dangers of overfishing.

Staniel Cay, Exumas

Thurnderball Grotto and Cliff Jumping

The kids enjoyed visiting the underwater grotto AND jumping at the adjoining Cay. We were anchored nearby in case they needed anything, but as long as you planned it with high tide, there were no issues.

Schools, Exumas and Abacos

Visit Bahamian Schools

The kids can visit a local school for a day and experience the local culture as well as plan it for an afternoon during PE to include some play!

Scavenger Hunt, Exumas or Abacos

Local Flora and Fauna Hunt

If you want to give the kids a more structured day at the beach, plan a scavenger hunt that includes local flora and fauna where the kids can identify and collect varying items of importance to the ecosystem. ie. Find a live conch, write group name on driftwood using what you can find on the beach, bring love vine, find some sea grass, collect 5 items of trash to dispose of… (Credit to Isabelle on Isla Bonita)

Treasure Cay, Abacos

Blue Hole

Rent bikes for the day and head north to find one of the best kept secrets of the area– the Treasure Cay Blue Hole! The ride took approx. 1 hour each way (we rode it with a 9 yr. Old).

Under the Bimini Basketweaving

Bahamian Basketweaving

Take some time and ask a local weaver if they will teach your kids how to weave baskets from the local palm trees which are abundant in the Exumas. They will enjoy the opportunity to teach the kids, and your kids will get some great handicrafts they can show off!

Vert’s Miniship Building Shop, Green Turtle Cay, Abacos

Mini-ship Building

Stop in and visit Vert and learn how he builds miniature ships for buyers around the world!

Waderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park

No Fishing, No Touch Protected Park: For Your Viewing Pleasure

This was a great place to see the majority of the underwater wildlife unaltered.

Whelk, Exumas and Abacos

Trying New Seafood

This is a mollusk that you can eat as an appetizer or side dish. You boil it for 10 min or so, then let cool and using a knife, you pull out the meat, trimming the dark skin off and eating the white flesh.

Xtreme Caving, Great Guana Cay, Exumas

Underwater Caving

You can dinghy up to the sandy beach near Oven Rock, then hike north along the rocky shore until you see a marked trail which leads you to the ocean side of the beach. The trail will fork, take the right one to a fresh water cave where you can find cave shrimp and explore the caverns– don’t forget a dive light!


Fishing from Your Boat

This was an enjoyable experience for all to line fish from the boat. We caught cero, mutton snapper, jacks, and way too many barracuda. Please do your due diligence and research which fish you can eat that don’t have ciguatera… and then see which fish we didn’t eat because of its possible contamination.


Reef Fish and Wildlife Fieldguides

This was an integral part to our enjoyment of snorkeling. Pickup DeLoach’s Reef Fish and Animal Identification Guidebooks (black covers) to help your kiddos classify what they are discovering!


Jamie Anderson

S/V Fezywig

New Explorer Chartbook Exumas and Ragged Island, Seventh Edition now available

7th Edition, January, 2014


Easy to use and fun to read, the seventh edition of the Explorer Chartbook Exumas and the Ragged Islands presents the chart coverage of the central cruising ground of the Bahamas. We have also given a complete facelift to all of our original Exuma charts–digitally redrawn to pinpoint accuracy using satellite and aerial photographs. We’ve also added two new charts–crossing the Yellow Bank and Emerald Bay. You’ll notice many new soundings, new and corrected depth contours, updated variation, notes on cuts and 15 new aerial photographs.  We’ve updated all of the cruising guide and Need to Know information including current phone numbers. The important services are shown accurately on the charts.

Order at Online Store at $59.95.


We’ve recently had several requests for information on pumpout stations in the Bahamas. If you’ve had any experience with pumpout facilities, would you share it with our subscribers. Where, when available, cost, level of satisfaction with the service? We’ll post the information on our next fuel and dockage survey. Thanks for your help in making accurate information available to our Bahamas cruising community.

Monty Lewis

Change in Bahamas Customs Fees

I looked at the Old Bahama Bay website and found this information re: as of July 18, change in fees for smaller boats (30-35′) …if true, this should probably be posted on your site, as it does double the costs for some boats (my 32′ ketch, for instance) from $150 to $300…

thanks and keep up the good work!


Darryl Forrester



p.s. We checked the Bahamas Customs website, and it does look like the new fee schedule is  in operation with 30 feet being the cutoff between $150 and $300 for the entry fee for yachts. Has anyone had any different experience lately”

Monty and Sara Lewis

New Explorer-Only Electronic Chart Data for the Bahamas

Jeppesen has teamed up with Lewis Offshore Ltd. to launch two new C-MAP by Jeppesen electronic charts developed exclusively with the highly recommended Bahamas Explorer Chartbook content. Available in both MAX and NT+, these two new titles bring the most accurate and up-to-date Explorer charts to a variety of compatible chartplotters and PC navigation. These new Bahamas Explorer-only charts can be purchased for $199 each.

You can order them from Go to the online store and click on the Explorer Electronic Chart category at the bottom. Order:  NA-M 05521, Southeast US and Explorer Bahamas, and N-AC 39121 Bahamas Explorer only.

New release of C-Map Bahamas charts do not have Explorer Chart data in many areas

Jeppesen has furnished us with a new release its electronic Bahamas Chart package for our review.  This version, C-Map NT Max, September 2011 (M-NA-M022-14) was reported to have fixed the problem of two data sources in the same chart area showing different detail.  As we were advised, no Explorer Chart data has been used in the Abaco, Grand Bahama, Little Bahama Bank area, and in the area east of the Crooked Island Passage, and the Turks and Caicos.  These areas contain only chart data from another source.  The remaining areas of the Bahamas are covered mostly by Explorer Chart data.  After reviewing the C-Map product we agree with Jeppesen that this release corrects the problem of commingled data from two sources on a given chart area. It now segregates the data into two areas–Explorer and other source data.  However, we find many inaccuracies in many areas not showing Explorer chart data.

The entire Little Bahama Bank area including Grand Bahama Island, Great and Little Abaco, and the Abaco Cays are void of any Explorer Chart data.  We found a number of known hazards to navigation shown on Explorer Charts and on previous C-Map versions missing on the new C-Map product.  We found courses drawn over shoal areas with no depths shown and depths shown in shallow narrow channels deeper than we have found to exist.  The typical pattern of the data from another source is a jumble of closely spaced strings of soundings in some areas and other important areas empty of useful data.  In a number of shallow areas, depths are shown generally deeper than we have measured.  No Explorer Chart data is shown east of the Crooked Island Passage.

In a few locations in the areas that are covered by Explorer Charts, US NGA and UK (British Admiralty) charts are shown instead.  These charts mostly are based on old surveys.  An example is the New Providence and Nassau area where these outdated government charts fail to show the Albany Marina and its approaches and also the current dredged ship channel, buoys, and pier configurations in Nassau Harbour.  Some coral heads and reefs that are hazards are not shown and some are shown that do not exist.

The few hours of reviewing this product leave us very disappointed with the Jeppesen’s decisions to eliminate Explorer data in favor of less accurate and less up-to-date material.  We recommend the charts in the Explorer Chartbooks be used as the primary navigation reference in the Bahamas and particularly in the areas covered by data from other sources.

The Explorer Team

Ragged Island Update

Maxine Wallace, who runs the grocery store in Ragged Island wants everyone to know that even though she is in Nassau ande till the end of January, she plans to return to Ragged Island to plan the Valentine Party again.  It will include the crew of the Captain C who saw the photos from last winter’s party and will not miss this one.  Also in the news, the Captain C will only be coming to Ragged Island 3 times a month this year.  Budget cuts have struck the mailboat.




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