Once we reached the Exumas chain of islands in The Bahamas all of our moving days have been short trips of no more than three hours of cruising to go five to fifteen miles as the osprey flies (there are no pelicans or crows here). This trip took us from Black Point on Great Guana Cay to Little Farmers Cay. After getting to know the folks at the school, restaurant and laundramat / spa at Black Point, BB and crew again followed Salty Turtle to the next island south – Little Farmers Cay. This was another short eight mile trip with a bit of a loop at the approach to the anchorage to miss the shallow sand bar. We anchored just off Hawk’s Nest point which on the weekend gave Beulah Belle a premium location to watch the C class sailing regatta.Our first two full days at Little Farmers gave us very calm wind and sea conditions and engineer Wally took lessons from Vic on Salty Turtle to change the prop shaft zincs on Beulah Belle. Our zincs had last been changed in August, just before leaving Oriental, NC on our way north to Chesapeake Bay. That was six months ago, and we were maybe a month late in replacing the old zincs which had done their job well in sacrificing their metal to the sea while saving our shafts and props from the deadly water disease called galvanic corrosion. It was less than a two hour job taking deep breaths and diving under BB with snorkel gear and fins to take off the old zincs and bolt on new ones. We hope that these last until we get back to the USA in late May or early June – we don’t have another spare set onboard. Engr Wally took the rest of the day off and enjoyed the evening happy hour and beautiful sunset.
Our friends Vic and Gigi onboard Salty Turtle had made plans to go to the All Age School on Little Farmers to take their annual school pictures. There are only 10 students at the K thru 8th grade at the school here, and they are being taught by a couple from Guyana, South America. The school has been blessed by the cruisers over the years, and they have a wonderful library and a computer set-up so every student has a terminal at his / her desk. We hope to help the school at Black Point to have a similar system, and with the help of the cruisers maybe the kids at Black Point can also have a computer system and access to the marvels of the internet with teaching aids similar to what the home-school kids have in the USA. With a good tutoring routine this might eventually keep the high school age kids at home instead of having to go to Nassau.
The big attraction drawing us to Little Farmers is their 5F’s Festival – “Farmers Cay Festival First Friday in February”. This is a “Home-Coming” event for the 60 or so local residents. The festival brings family back to the island for a long weekend, and a special boat from Nassau brings 200 to 300 people to the island to have a reunion with family here on Little Farmers during 5F’s, and to enjoy the food and festivities associated with the sailing regatta. Eleven boats came from several islands around – our favorite was “Smashie” who was towed from Black Point to Little Farmers by Salty Turtle. The boats are locally made ”C” class that are 18′ long with a 42′ tall mast and single sail. They have a full keel and are steered by a big rudder. The fun part is watching the four or five man crews sit on out-rigger boards to give the captain an advantage when tacking and sailing into the wind. We’re not sailors onboard BB, which made the whole event even more wonderfully mystifying to us. We watched from high up on BB’s flybridge and also from our dinghy as the boats raced on the course which was laid out among the 80 or so visiting boats in the anchorage. We were part of the course! There were two races the first day (Friday) and three races on Saturday with huge trophies awarded after the last race Saturday. The presentations stretched way into the night with speeches and back patting, and politicking for more budget dollars for next year’s festival. Our favorite boat Smashie won the first race (YEAH!!!) on Friday, but crashed out in the first race on Saturday (BOO!!!). Their mast broke clean in two about five feet up from the deck. Salty Turtle left early on Saturday to tow Smashie back to Black Point. BUT, arrangements have already been made for a new mast, and Smashie will be able to go to George Town for the regatta there the week after Easter in April. BB and crew will be there with Salty Turtle!!!
Another of our highlights from Little Farmers was being introduced to Terry Bain. Terry is probably the strongest voice in the islands to keep the islands protected from over-development, and especially from selling the islands to foreigners (think Johnny Depp and David Copperfield) who tend to make the islands and beaches totally private and off limits to all who would like to enjoy their beauty and natural resources. Terry owns and operates Ocean Cabin which is the best restaurant and bar on the island (the only other is Ty’s Bar and grill). Just taking the time to go to Ocean Cabin and meet Terry and his wife Earnestine and enjoy her Chicken South lunch and talk about the Exumas makes any trip here worth the effort. There are no markets or fuel available here, so we had to be prepared with food and water and the such for our week long stay.
From Little Farmers BB and crew will turn around and go back north to visit Pipe Creek and wait in this hidey hole for the next weather front with west and north winds to pass thru.
Hope you enjoy the pics.
We had a couple of calm days to work on the prop shaft zincs, and after the second day The water was so clear that we could see what the light current did to shift the anchor chair from one direction to another. If you imagine closely you can see the individual chain links that are 8′ deep. Amazing!
The races start “Lemans Style” – with anchors set and sails down. When the starter drops the flag two crew plull in the anchor while two other crew raise the sail. It is one minute of exciting chaos that often determines the winner.
Beulah Belle was anchored just off one of the three course markers. We had many requests to come onboard. The trouble was the next day the marshall changed the course and we could only see the boats sailing past and in between the other boats. We got in the dinghy and followed the boats around the course for one race – it was a hoot
!The two boats here are “Whitty K” on the left and “Smashie” on the right. They were the class of the field. Smashie won the first race, and Whitty K won all the other races – almost by default once Smashie broke her mast during the third race.
Three boats contesting for the second marker by Beulah Belle. We look forward to seeing these boats again at George Town where they will have two classes of larger boats. The class A boats will have 12 to 14 man crews that put six men on both of the “out-rigger” boards. Can’t wait.