Beach Hut
April 27, 2021 (Day 5,078)
Spanish Wells, Bahamas

Yep, this'll do.

Go Slow
April 26, 2021 (Day 5,077)
Spanish Wells, Bahamas

Golf carts, scooters, flip flops - the best way to explore Spanish Wells.

The Final Tail of Two Lobster
April 23, 2021 (Day 5,074)
Eleuthera, Bahamas

Our last two lobster tails with a dusting of garlic salt, a daub of butter, and left to sizzle on the grill for fifteen minutes.

Color Palette
April 21, 2021 (Day 5,072)
Eleuthera, Bahamas

In 1885 American artist, Winslow Homer, was so taken by the color contrast at this skimpy section of Eleuthera that he painted the scene, naming the natural stone archway that once bridged the northern and southern ends of the island, Glass Window. Well, the Glass Window broke, or, more accurately, was swept away by a hurricane. A rather uninspiring, yet functional, concrete platform was put in its place. But the area still manages to draw an impressive number of tourists each year who enthusiastically clamber over the rocks, balancing as close to the crumbling cliff edge as they dare, to capture the unique scene - deep azure ocean to the east, shallow turquoise to the west - colors separated by just fifteen feet of limestone and surf, a shoreline that, sadly, is slowly losing its battle with the sea.

In stormy conditions the bridge has to close as wild ocean swell cascades over the road, tourists have been swept away, and in 1999, hurricane Floyd carried off the entire construction. A new bridge is in discussion, a thirty million dollar causeway, one high enough, and on the protected bay side, so daily commutes can go undisturbed, regardless of the weather. It will most certainly forever change this unique view and with it, the feeling that comes from balancing on a narrow platform, where the ocean changes color, from azure to turquoise, right under your feet.

Car Number 3
April 20, 2021 (Day 5,073)
Eleuthera, Bahamas

Duncan Town, the capital of the Raggeds, is home to about forty residents - not many cars here either.

Natural Inspiration
April 15, 2021 (Day 5,068)
Leaf Cay, Bahamas

Afternoon Bahamian light, dancing off a grassy seabed, just eight feet below the surface.

Where Giant Lobsters Lurk
April 9, 2021 (Day 5,062)
Flamingo Cay, Bahamas

Just outside this cave entrance, lurking around in the shadows, we came face to feeler with the biggest lobster we have ever seen. The feelers, or antennas, were over two feet long and attached to a body that had all the chunky substance of a British Bulldog. Lobster season is over, so it was safe, at-any-rate it was too big for our snare, and a crustacean that magnificent, who has likely be scratching around Flamingo Cay for over thirty years, well, it's best appreciated whilst diving, not dining.

A Curious Shark
April 8, 2021 (Day 5,061)
Flamingo Cay, Bahamas

Today we cleaned the hull, and perhaps it was the scrapping under the waterline, or more likely it was all the splashing around at the surface, but we attracted an impressive eight foot bull shark to the anchorage that began circling the boat. Bull sharks are considered to be one of the most dangerous to humans, and even though attacks are reported to be extremely rare, and this fish was probably just curious and no more of a threat than the two remora stuck to the keel, it was quickly and unanimously agreed that the hull was in fine shape and that it was time for an afternoon nap.

Turning Point
April 7, 2021 (Day 5,060)
Ragged Islands, Bahamas

We've made the turn. Dream Time's bow will now be pointing in a northerly direction for the next two months - the final thousand miles of this voyage, all the way back to New York. Yesterday we put Little Ragged off our stern, the last island in the Jumentos chain, to begin climbing latitudes. We're still island-hopping, anchored now off a delightfully secluded bay in the lee of Low Water Cay. We're the only boat here, and after sharing Little Ragged with two other boats, and Hog Cay with nine boats, it's nice to have our own swing room for a few nights.

Awaiting Inspiration
April 6, 2021 (Day 5,059)
Ragged Islands, Bahamas

Our newly discovered vintage glass floats have been cleaned, we now have a clear canvas, so to speak, on which to work.

A Little Ragged, But We Like It
April 4, 2021 (Day 5,057)
Little Ragged Island, Bahamas

We're anchored in a narrow passage between Ragged Island and Little Ragged Island. Charts show depths entering the passage are shallow - a mere eighteen inches at low tide, just four feet at high - but Irma, a category five hurricane, plowed through this island chain in 2017 ripping away most of Duncan Town and carving a deeper channel in her fury. So two days ago, ignoring charts and reading water color, we edged our way between the two islands and dropped the hook with two feet to spare under the keel.

Little Ragged is the very last island in the chain, it's the end of the line. It was also auctioned just last week as the largest private island for sale in the Bahamas - "730 acres of rolling forested hills and pristine beaches", according to CNN Travel, (actually it's mostly mangrove, swamp and scrub, with the highest point a modest twelve meters above sea level). The listed price was $19.5 million, bidding required a $100,000 deposit.

At any rate, Little Ragged is currently only populated by wild goats and geckos, and wanting to explore we decided to take a long stroll today around the eastern shoreline, the windy side, where surf crashes impressively into cliffs and cascades up remote beaches. We were beachcombing, searching specifically, and rather optimistically I should add, for antique glass fishing floats. We looked not at the high tide line but further inland, at the storm surge line, and remarkably, on the very last beach, on the very last island in the Jumentos, we found our prize.

It's likely that Irma, the category five hurricane responsible for carving a deeper channel into our anchorage, also carried these antique floats over the reef and a staggering five hundred feet inland where we discovered them buried amongst an impressive debris line - a sobering reminder of the unimaginable carnage that ravaged these islands four years ago.

Unlike our larger glass float (that's twelve inches in diameter) which we discovered in the South Pacific, these tiny orbs measure just five inches in width. They'll make a nice addition to our collection, and now that the world is complete (see below) our next etching project awaits.

The Whole World
April 3, 2021 (Day 5,056)
Ragged Islands, Bahamas

It took three weeks to hand etch the world onto the glass float we found in the South Pacific almost eight years ago. It's now suspended inside Dream Time's cabin - a floating light, and a fitting tribute to her voyage.

All etching was made using a cordless hand Dremel.

The globe carries six tall ships, three sea monsters, two compass roses and a mischievous wind cherub in the high latitudes. This tall ship shown above is crossing the equator after departing the Galapagos Islands (off its stern). Detail was tricky - the tall ship is only one inch long.

Dream Time World Tour 2007-2021

A Rugged Charm
April 2, 2021 (Day 5,055)
Ragged Islands, Bahamas

We are at the very end of the Jumentos Cays, a remote chain of tiny islands in the southern Bahamas alluringly described by cruising guide books as an "unpopulated wilderness".

They're also known as the Ragged Islands, which would be a fair and accurate description. With a foundation slab of fossilized coral and jagged ash-gray limestone rock, these isles are not the tropical paradise covered in a soft blanket of lush greenery and swaying palms one likes to imagine. Nope. Scrappy dry scrub and mangrove appear to be the only vegetation hardy enough to survive down here.

There are no services either, no marinas, fuel docks, resorts, supermarkets, or even a fresh water source for visiting boats, so cruisers who venture this far south must arrive prepared with enough water, food, SSB or satellite service for weather reports, spare parts and the confidence to MacGyver repairs should anything go wrong as help is a hundred miles and a day or two away.

You feel the isolation here. The chain is uninhabited and undeveloped save for Ragged Island, our current anchorage, which boasts a dusty airstrip and Duncan Town, the 'capital', although 'remote outpost' would be a more fitting description. It's currently home to about forty robust islanders, descendants from the intrepid settlers who began harvesting salt in ponds last century.

We've been exploring the island chain for a little more than a week, and while our first impression was one of mild disappointment - arguably many islands in the Exumas and further north in the Bahamas offer more attractive, safer, and convenient anchorages - we have been seduced by the island's rugged charm.

What the Raggeds offer the handful of mariners who visit each year, besides a healthy lobster and fish population, is solitude, a satisfying sense of independence, one similar in feel, if not degree, to the Tuamotus in the middle of the South Pacific. There's also an exciting tingle of adventurous vulnerability here, one that comes with a remote anchorage far from the crowds, and that's reason enough to stay for another week.