Sunday, March 19, 2017

Little Farmers Cay

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daylight savings time snuck up on us last night, and robbed us of an hour of sleep!  Fortunately, we didn't need to leave until 9:00 am in order to catch Adderly cut at high slack tide, so the loss of sleep didn't get us so bad as it would have if we were starting out at 6 am!

Today, we had a different problem.  The distance from Adderly Cut, where we were leaving, to Farmers Cut, where we were going, is only about 15 miles.  At our usual rate, this would only be about a 3 hour trip.  But that would put us at Farmer's cut right at the peak of the ebb tide, flowing against the wind! This would produce rage conditions in the cut, something we wanted to avoid. We needed to travel REAL slow in order to make this trip take 6 hours  so we would arrive at low slack tide.

So, once through Adderly, and out on the Exuma Sound,  we set just the jib and shut off the engine.  And we were doing 3 1/2 knots, which is STILL too fast!  We decided to let it be, and take a look at the conditions at Farmers Cut when we got there.

Once again, Joan trailed a fishing line.  This time, she got one nibble but that was it. No fish for dinner tonight!

As we approached Farmer;s Cut, we were about an hour and a half away from low tide, and the water was still quite churned up.  Whitecaps went out for several miles into the Sound.  So, we turned East, and sailed out several miles and back, killing time!  When we finally returned, the transformation was amazing, with no whitecaps or chop.  We motored on through, followed the twisting shallow channel in, and anchored in a beautiful patch of sand between Little Farmer's Cay and Great Guana Cay, just across from the Farmer's Cay Yacht Club. 

Farmer's Cay Yacht Club
"Yacht Clubs" here are quite unpretentious, and the restaurant and bar are open to all.  This one is run by a charming gentleman named Roosevelt Nixon.
Joan Chatting with Roosevelt Nixon

The history of Little Farmer's Cay is interesting. It was settled by a freed slave woman from Great Exuma named Chrisanna. She moved to little Farmer's Cay with her two sons and daughter.  The sons later bought the island from the British Crown, and willed it to their descendants as "generation property".  This means that it can only be owned by their direct descendants or their descendants spouses.  Today, most of the 70 or so people who live here are related.

Little Farmer's is known for the "5Fs" festival: Farmer's First Friday in February Festival.   Food & fun, including Bahamian sailboat races, where the boats start out at anchor, and at the start the have to raise sails and sail off the anchor!  Unfortunately we were about a month too late for this.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hiked around the island today, from one end to the other, starting at Farmer's Cay Yacht Club on the North end.  While we were there, we put in a reservation for dinner, pre-ordering our meals as seems to be common down here.

Once off the  YC grounds, its about a 15 minute walk South, past the curving beach known as "Big Harbor",  to get to the center of "town".  On the way, we passed the island's cemetery, with its handmade headstones dating back to the 1800's.

Bridge leaving the YC
"Are we there yet?"
Handmade Headstones
The center of most of the businesses is clustered around the government dock in a small cove known as "Little Harbor".  Its a landing point for many of the charter tour boats that come in from other islands. 
Government dock on Little Harbor

 On the dock, you can purchase a conch salad, watching as its harvested and prepared.  Doesn't get any fresher than that.  The conch guy has been throwing the scraps in the water for so long that all the rays, sea turtles, and sharks constantly come by for the free food.  He's even got them conditioned.  He bangs on one of the pilings with a hammer before throwing the scraps, so when he wants to "call" them for the tourists he just bangs!
Who rang the dinner bell?
Hey! Who invited this guy?
Is it time for my close-up?
So, then the conch guy asks Joan if she wants to feed the turtles.  Of course, she says "Yes!", and the next thing you know, they're both in the water hand feeding a turtle!

Up the hill from the dock is the Ocean Cabin Restaurant. The proprietor there is the originator of the 5F's festival, and is quite a character.  The "hours open" sign gives you some idea.

If you can't read it, it says:

Most days, about 9 or 10
Occasionally as early as 7
 But some days as late as 12 or 1
We close about 5 or 6 but maybe 4 or 5
Some days or afternoons we aren't here at all
And lately we've been here all the time,
Except when we're someplace else...
But we might be here then too

We originally planned to stay here only two days, but our next planned stop, Black Point, has no shelter  from West winds, and another westerly is coming, so we'll stay put here for another two days before continuing north.

Life is good

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