Archive for the Category »Little Farmers Cay «

Returning Through The Exumas

The past week has been punctuated by the sweetness of revisiting some of our favorite Bahamian islands and the inevitable departure of good friends.

The sands of Hawksbill beach

Over the past week, we’ve:

  • Sailed with “SYL” up to Little Farmers Cay and met back up with “Morning Glory.” We hiked across the island to walk along the Atlantic beaches, went to boat church and explored Oven Rock Cave.
  • Set the hook at Castle Beach near Black Point, where we first met “Morning Glory” a few months ago. Ranking as one of our top anchorages on the trip, we swam off the back of “SYL”, snorkeled and spearfished the nearby rock walls and conversed well into the night over highlights of the trip so far.
  • Docked for the day at Regatta Point in Black Point to do laundry and visit Lorraine’s cafe for Internet, home-baked bread and above all, her famous cracked conch.
  • Glided up to Staniel Cay on Thursday for groceries and more snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto. It was just as spectacular as before but this time the water was much warmer. In the afternoon we moved the big boats over to pig beach at Big Majors Cay to anchor for the night and see our grunting swimming friends one more time.

A colorful reef fish in Thunderball Groto

These folks didn’t know the pigs were hoping for a dinghy ride

  • Hugged goodbyes with “Morning Glory” as Friday made their departure for Florida.
  • Sailed with “SYL” up to Hawksbill Cay as Rusty radioed sail trim tips over to Matt. He was ecstatic at having Kaleo sailing so sweetly and grateful for Rusty’s advice.
  • Marveled at the most magnificent oceanside beach we’ve seen yet. A long hot hike over Hawksbill led us to a vista overlooking electrifying turquoise water with a powdery white sand beach that can not be done justice through pictures or words. Rusty even found a message in a bottle from a 5-year-old Bahamian boy named Truman. That’s two message in a bottles found on this trip so far!

The crescent beach at Hawksbill Cay


  • Reminisced with “SYL” about first meeting them one cold November day back in Kemah. Over dinner and Mexican Train we laughed at all the trials “SYL” encouraged us through as we made our way down the Gulf Coast, Bahamas bound.
  • Motored away from “SYL” on Saturday morning as we made our way north for Spanish Wells, Eluthera and The Abacos.

Overall, it was an enjoyable way to wrap up our time cruising throughout the Exumas. And while we will dearly miss “SYL” and “MG”, plans to meet back up while cruising the east coast have already been discussed.

More Little Farmers Cay

Sunday dawned with brisk winds, and without CP (no weather reports from him on Sundays), the morning was spent waking up late (8:00) and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. Around lunch, the guys dinghyied down to Cave Rock Cay to get diesel ($5/gal) and gasoline ($5.50/gal), filling everyone’s jerry jugs. After their return and a nap, we motored our dinghy over to the nearby beach for a hike to the Exuma Sound side of the island. Guided by seasoned Farmers Cay cruisers on s/v Solitare, we hiked over sharp volcanic rock and through thickets of briars and mangroves to the expanse of the Sound.

Exploring the Exuma Sound side of Little Farmers Cay

Everyone was on a quest for sea glass, broken pieces of glass that have been polished smooth by the oceans ever constant waves. Not only did we find green, clear, and blue (rare) pieces but also some beautiful shells and fan coral. The highlight of the hunt was finding a “hamburger bean” (with help from the eagle eyes aboard “Solitare”). The “bean” is from a tree that grows on the Amazon river which drops it’s seeds into the river. They float out across the ocean, “bounce” off the coast of Africa, then ride ocean currents up to the Bahamian and Caribbean islands to be found by cruisers like us. The bean can be polished with fine grit sandpaper to create unique jewelry. We also found two “Columbus” beans, a seed from a similar tree carrying the legend that Columbus always sailed with one in his pocket.

A view well worth the hike

Back on Kaleo, we made tacos with homemade tortillas for dinner. While Matt focused on rolling out wheat flour tortillas with a wine bottle as our rolling pin, I got to Skype with one of my dearest friends, Crystal, and with my parents and with Nana who was over at their house for dinner. We even took the laptop out into the cockpit for them to enjoy the sun setting over the island. Turns out, we may need an alternate recipe as the tortillas left something to be desired. They were about as thick as pancakes but they still tasted like tortillas and we figure that’s pretty good for our first attempt. After cleaning up the galley, we wrapped up the night with more family face time (thanks Skype!) with my godmother, Aunt Cherie and Uncle Ruel as well as Matt’s brother, Jeff, and our sister-in-law Mel.

Catching up with mom and Nana. (Thanks for the just-outta-the-shower pic mom.)

It’s Monday afternoon now and we’ve just wrapped up a breakfast and internet party aboard “Kaleo”.  The crews of “Storyville”, “Anchor Management”, and “Pipe Muh Bligh” ventured over to catch up on all things digital as we set up a shared internet network with the free WiFi we were able to access with our booster from the yacht club. As of now, we have loose plans to go lobster hunting with Steve and for a hike later this afternoon and, assuming the weather shapes up as forecast, we’ll head toward George Town on Wednesday.

We’re looking forward to reuniting the the rest of the Navy as well as meeting new cruisers and local while there.

Little Farmers Cay

Morning came on Friday as scheduled and we pulled up our anchor from Castle Beach and pointed the bow toward Little Farmers Cay.

Sailing south from Black Point to Little Farmers Cay
Our main pulling us through the clear blue water

Moments out of the anchorage we had the sails hoisted and with the brisk 20 knot wind Kaleo was running up to 7 knots under jib and main alone. The wind picked up a little so we doused the jib and ran about 6.5 knots down to the turn into Farmers Cay entrance. We motored slowly knowing it was a tricky entrance and on our first pass in, went south of the channel to stick our keel in the sand. Thankfully we easily motored off the sand bar and into much deeper water.

We dropped the hook near “SYL” and “Guiding Light” just as dark rain clouds developed on the horizon. It didn’t take long for them to break open and drench anything on deck but we were tucked securely below. An hour later, the tide went out and our keel was slightly bumping the sand below and with an even lower tide coming at 3:00 a.m. we had to move the boat. Shane on “GL” and Ted from “Morning Glory” came over to help Matt re-anchor the boat in a deeper spot near the yacht club, which allowed me to stay out of the rain – thanks guys!

Though we had plans to go to Oven Rock Cave, the rain convinced us that tomorrow may be a better day to check it out. So for pretty much the rest of the day, we took full advantage of the free Internet on the boat to Skype, email, and blog.

Saturday, all of the Navy awoke early to listen to Chris Parker and decided about making the run to George Town. The conditions would allow for a spirited move today or we’d have to wait until Tuesday when things are forecast to settle down. In the end “SYL”, “GL” and “MG” decided to make the run but we elected not to as the conditions, while sailable, would have been quite rolly for us. Though we’ll see everyone again in a few days, it was hard to see them go. Everyone brings a wonderfully unique personality to the Navy and it will be different without them for a while.

It was sunny but windy as we dinghyied into Farmers Cay to walk around. A small but quaint community, the little island offers most the things a cruiser needs except fuel and propane. After watching a local named Hall shell conch near the town dock, we stopped into the Lil Harbour Convenience Store and talked with the owner, Tasha. She was in the middle of eating her papaya breakfast and graciously shared some with all of us. She later recruited Matt and Troy to help her fetch a few more ripe papaya from the tree out back. We also tried another fruit she sliced up on the spot that’s a bit like a mild pomegranate though less sweet. She insisted that I try the blood-red fruit from her fingers as it was said to be good for infertility and protects against cancer. Thanks Tasha ;o).

Catching fresh papaya

She even hand wrote a few local recipes that she said we should try aboard our boats. After our fill of fruit and shopping at her store, the group walked up to the Ocean Cabin Restaurant and Bar. A Little Farmers Cay landmark, it’s been progressively added on to over the past 20 years with the help of passing cruisers. The interior rafters dripped boat signs and burgees from all those who lent a hand. Matt helped the proprietor with his website for a bit while we learned more about the history of the island.

The Ocean Cabin
The view of the harbor from the Ocean Cabin

Later in the afternoon Matt and the crew dinghyied up to Oven Rock Cave to go exploring while I took the opportunity to Skype with friends and family. Upon his return, Matt was convinced the the cave was once a pirate’s treasure lair. The entrance was an unassuming but large horizontal crack in a rock wall behind a thicket of mangroves. But upon stepping into the cave, it immediately dropped steeply into the Earth’s belly. At the deepest point was a large pool of water that everyone went swimming in and within the pool were four or five underwater channels that are explorable only with scuba gear.

The beach near Oven Rock

Matt returned to the boat on Steve’s dinghy with ours in tow. Turns out that Matt had just forgot to add oil to the gasoline which would have cause the motor damage had he continued to run it. Thanks Steve for saving us from a potentially ruining our dinghy motor. Have we mentioned that we love cruising with trusted and generous friends?!

With town already covered and sunset nearing, we elected to stay onboard for the evening despite a tempting invite to dinghy up to “Crow’s Nest” for a visit. It was a bit too far for our petite dinghy to travel without getting soaked so we made plans to anchor near them tomorrow.

N 23° 57.79 / W 76° 19.20

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...