The Warmth of Everyday People
Sometimes it’s the small, out-of-the way places that surprise us with big ideas. Ragged Island is such a place. Ragged Island only has nine square miles to its name with a population of 72; it sits at the bottom of a string of small islands – the Jumentos Cays and Ragged Island Chain – in the southern Bahamas. Community is important here; perhaps that is why they’ve learned to get along, embracing diversity along the way. There are three different faith traditions – Church of God of Prophecy, Baptist and Anglican – that come together under the same roof every Sunday morning.
The sea is the source of their livelihood; fishermen go out in the mornings and come back with boats full to overflowing with snapper and yellow tail and jacks, and enough conch to last all the way until next week Friday. Homes all face the ocean; at morning time Ragged Islanders only have to look outside to to be reminded of God’s bountiful creation. Ragged Islanders know the value of what sustains life: the sea, the land, and everyday people.
When visitors come to Ragged Island for bonefishing on wide stretches of glistening white sand flats, or swimming and snorkeling in Ragged Island’s aquamarine waters, or boating in and out of Hog Cay, Raccoon Cay and Double-Breasted Cay along the Ragged Island chain, Ragged Islanders treat them like family. No need for car rentals here, since there is only one road that loops around the island and everything is in walking distance. At sea, local boatmen will be your guides, taking you out on their own boats, and sharing their expertise – learned as children and as part of a local legacy of fishing and boat building across the community.
And, like most other Bahamian islands, Ragged Island has its legends: with names like Blackbeard's Bay and Blackbeard's Well, it’s clear that the infamous pirate found Ragged Island a good place for docking his ship and drinking water. What else he got up to here is for the local storytellers to tell.
Ragged Island has one harbour, one lighthouse, and Duncan Town is the name of its only real settlement. But for the visitor who appreciates rare simplicity and the warmth of everyday people, there is no place like Ragged Island.