Raccoon Cay

We departed Salt Pond, Long Island at 10:00am on a Saturday morning; our galley shelves overflowed with fresh produce from that morning’s Farmers’ Market and our hearts were filled with well wishes from Penny, John, Cathie, and Gary. We set the main, hauled the anchor, and caught an easygoing easterly breeze bound for the Ragged Islands. During the daylight hours we would sail the Comer Channel and then at the top of the Jumentos Cays we would exit the banks and sail overnight through the deeper, ocean water. Below on the screen shot of our chart you can see our route. Waypoints 0029, 0030, 0031, and 0032 directed us through the Comer Channel to our exit point between Stony Cay and Arturo Cay at the top of the Jumentos Cays. Waypoint 0027 marked our entrance onto the banks in the Ragged Islands.


We sailed on a tack through the night, not our most comfortable sail. But the sky was clear, stars were shining, and there was not another ship in sight. Since the first night is always the most difficult to stay awake, and we were only sailing overnight, we changed shift every two hours. Just before sunrise we were making good time and decided to continue sailing all the way to the southern end of the Raggeds where we could round Little Ragged Island and arrive at Hog Cay. But a shift in the wind later that morning reverted us back to our original plan. We entered the banks through Johnson Cut on the southern end of Raccoon Cay. At 10:00am on a Sunday we dropped the anchor at Raccoon Cay, 24 hours from the start of our trip, and settled in for a few hours of sleep.


Rested and fed, we began our exploration of Raccoon Cay. We kayaked north of our anchorage at House Bay in search of a blue hole and on the way stopped to chat with our only neighbor (in the next cove) s/v First Look. Bob and Vicki shared some great info about Raccoon Cay and sent us in the direction of the trail to the blue hole. Once ashore we followed the shoes…


…along a narrow path…


…all the way (not more than 200 feet) to the blue hole. Or should we say, greenish-brownish hole. No diving into that!

I prefer the view across the banks.

Our next stop brought us to an old foundation and cistern. We didn’t pause there long. Although we enjoyed the singing of several songbirds near the fresh water cistern, we did not enjoy the abundance of no-see-ums and mosquitoes. We set out once again in the kayaks and returned to our anchorage at House Bay where we found a trailhead at the north end of the cove. The trail brought us to a salt pond.

We followed Bob’s directions and continued around the salt pond to reunite with the trail. It led us over the top of Raccoon Cay to the ocean side. We’d arrived a bit too early in the season for snacking on the not yet ripened sea grapes, but the view at the end was pretty as ever!

Mind the sharp objects in the bush!

Brian did plenty of spear fishing during our time at Raccoon Cay. I even got into the water with him to observe. For the very first time I watched Brian spear a fish! The victim was a bar jack. I heard the spear pierce the fish then watched the fish scurry away with a spear in it’s side as Brian swam to retrieve fish and spear. It was exhilarating! I remembered hunting once with my brother and feeling a bit grim as a squirrel fell from the tree (my brother has fantastic aim); apparently I am less fond of fish because my only reaction toward this hunt was, “Mmmmm, supper!” And of course, “Wow, that husband of mine is a mighty hunter!” I might ease my way into spear fishing…but don’t hold your breath. On the menu at Raccoon Cay were also lionfish and grey snapper. Even though the fishing was plentiful, Brian couldn’t resist casting his rod off the side of the boat. Too much is never enough! He caught a record, biggest fish yet on the lightweight rod, a yellow jack. I had to help with that one too, but since we already had supper the jack was released.

We ended our visit to Raccoon Cay with a campfire on the beach beneath a nearly full moon. There was not another person in sight that evening. We gazed into the mesmerizing flames with rum drinks in hand and Jimmy Buffet tunes playing from the iPad. Welcome to the outer islands of the Bahamas!

the Blue Hole at Hoffman Cay

We’re now on the eastern side of the Berry Islands after a beautiful sailing day to get here. Brian expertly navigated the coral laden inlet to get us behind White Cay, between Hoffman Cay and Devil’s Cay. When we arrived, we learned all too quickly how to scout out shallow water…by running aground. We had to use the dinghy and the anchor to get us off the sand. But afterwards we were anchored in 12-feet of water with plenty of swing room. An uninviting wind forecast meant we’d likely be here for several days.


On Monday we set out to find the Blue Hole on a tip our friends at Great Harbor Cay gave us. We took the dinghy to Hoffman Cay where we found a small white sand beach and could spot a trail leading into the brush.


We paused to watch a fish before hitting the trail. He didn’t seem bothered at all to have an audience. “Fishing here should be easy,” Brian hoped out loud.


The trail led us directly to the Blue Hole; a nearly perfect circular, very deep pool of water. What we thought would be an all day expedition, hiking the trail, took a mere five minutes. So we sat for a while observing the pool and then scurried to the bottom to investigate the cavern.




Fortunately, the trail continued onward beyond the Blue Hole. Off we go to see what we find!


It brought us to another small and equally beautiful white sand beach. (In another whopping five minutes. We were starting to hope there were enough small islands around to keep us busy for the next few days.)


We did stay at the beach for quite a while watching the fish. There were tiny minnows lining the shoreline and every few minutes a school of fish would come swarming in to eat them. Amidst this activity were two small schools of hound fish that would leap into the air now and then to gobble a minnow. On the beach near the tree line was a fire ring and some beach chairs that were in need of repair. We added a bonfire to our future agenda.

After exploring Hoffman Cay we headed back to the boat still with half the day to spare. These 6:30am mornings really make the day last! (We wake each morning to listen to Chris Parker’s weather forecast on our SSB receiver, channel 4045.) No sandy feet aboard! I’ll remember to rinse my feet from the dinghy next time.