Retirement is Exhausting (but we wouldn’t have it any other way)!

Retirement conjures visions of sitting in a comfortable rocking chair on a long, shady, cool porch. A cold glass of ice tea leaving sweat marks on a side table. A good book open and facing down on your chest as you snooze away the afternoon. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Our retirement has been and probably always will be a roller coaster, constantly moving and changing directions with no notice. Fun, exciting, exhausting….that’s our life and we would never trade it for the porch life!

We had a wonderful month up in the Exumas then headed south, past the Jumentos and to the Ragged Islands where we are now. Along the way, we’ve traveled with new friends Ted and Jenny (Nordhavn 47, “Southern Star”) and Steve and Patty (Nordhavn 57 “White Raven”) and met up with old Manta catamaran friends, Mark & Michelle (Reach), Ralph & Leslie (Now & Zen), Ed and Cathy (What if) and Will and Rita (Powercat Majic). We even spent a few days next to our old Manta (Previously named Double Wide and now named Soujorn – congrats Karen and Duane!).

The Raggeds Islands are a group of islands south and west of the Exumas. Ragged Island, is the primary island in the group. It’s located at the southern end of the chain and is less than 65 miles from Cuba. At it’s peak, the Raggeds was permanent home to less than 200 souls, a few pigs and thousands of goats and chickens. Hurricane Irma (2017) decimated the area  and now there are less than 40 people are here, trying to recover what little they had (more on that in another post).

I wasn’t in the Bahamas in the 70’s, but those that were, say the Ragged Islands much like the Bahamas of their time – rugged, remote and unspoiled. Getting here is a bit dicey for a 6 foot draft boat displacing almost 100,000 pounds. From George Town, you have to head east toward Long Island, then cut back southwest and tiptoe through a shallow cut  in the banks called “Comer Channel” at, or near high tide. If you time it right (we didn’t), you can arrive at Water Cay in the Jumentos Cays before dark then continue the next day past the rest of the Jumentos and on to the Raggeds.

Is it worth the effort? Long white beaches, crystal clear water, abundant sea life, a sea of stars at night, and very few neighbors. Snorkeling and spearfishing are daily activities along with beach combing and hikes across/through the islands/cays. Spectacular sunrises, green flash sunsets almost every night and night skies so bright that you can almost read a book from the unfiltered starlight. A very few great people that share our love of the cruising life. No distractions, no politics, no cars honking, no deadlines, etc., etc. etc. Is it worth the effort? Oh, hell yeah!

Nordhavn 57 – White Raven at Big Majors

Nordhavn 47 – Southern Star

 

Roam and Reach at Sunrise off Hog Cay in the Raggeds

Southern Star, Roam, and White Raven leaving Big Majors, headed to Georgetown.

The beach at South Bay in the Ragged Islands

See through wake on a calm day in the Raggeds

Roam at sunrise off Hog Cay in the Raggeds

Majic at Hog Cay in the Raggeds

We made it to the Raggeds — YES!

The fishing in the Ragged Islands is Spectacular!!

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   4 Comments


  1. Bob T
      March 24, 2018

    Great pictures, what could be better? One of my boating friends says “Once you retire, you never get a day off.” Too true (although I’m just starting that journey.) Thanks for your great blog.

    • Clark Haley
        March 24, 2018

      Thanks Bob and Congrats on the new boat! We have limited internet here, but I was able to take a quick look. Lovely! See you “out there” in the future.

      Clark

  2. Karen
      March 25, 2018

    Oh my goodness, your photos are spectacular! Nice to have met up with you guys. We sailed up to the Abacos and will be around for the next month or so before heading back to Oriental. Amazing that we met up with two more Mantas in Marsh Harbor – Beach Magic and Va Nunc. Fun to compare boats. Take care!

  3. Mark Haley
      March 25, 2018

    Hey Clark & Michelle—Nice run to the Raggeds & the drone photos are awesome!
    Truly a beautiful place & how epic to catch up to Mark & Michelle & ex. Dbl Wide & the other Mantas. And I agree, why snooze away retirement when you can cruise.
    Love you guys & safe travels!
    Haley 3 & Cloe

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