29 January 2016 | Little Farmer's Cay
EVS: Stormy, then Hot and Sunny
We, along with Steve and MaryAnn on Living Well and Dave and Mary Alexander on Sanity II, have enjoyed several days at Little Farmer’s Cay, Exumas. We had planned to stay at Black Point until Wednesday, but the weather was forecast to change for the worse and we knew boats would be on the move looking for protection from the West winds that arrive with a cold front. So, to get ahead of the crowd, we came here on Tuesday and picked up three moorings (brand new nylon pennants and stainless thimbles) off the Little Farmer’s Yacht Club, owned and operated by Roosevelt Nixon and his family.
After picking up the moorings, we went to the club building to pay our mooring fees, figuring at least three nights here, and made reservations for lobster dinner the next (Wednesday) night. We ordered the lobsters grilled, with peas and rice, cole slaw, and Bahamian mac & cheese. Then, we went for a walk to the other side of the island (using the “airport” runway as a portion of the foot path) and visited Ty’s Beach Club, the base for the Festival of Little Farmer’s Cay on the First Friday of February (5-Fs). We all agreed that we had seen the 5-Fs once and did not need to stick around for another, and it was nice having the place to ourselves, without the madding crowd. The 5-F is a big deal for the island as many (perhaps a hundred or more) boats come to partake, as well as locals from the “family” islands. Because of bad weather this year, a lot of boats are stranded in Florida unable to cross the Gulf Stream. (For instance, the City Marina in Marathon, Florida, which is a favorite jumping off spot to the Bahamas, has 220 moorings and the field is full with a 60 boat waiting list. Boats simply are not moving, so we are glad we crossed when we did! If the boats do not get here, the 5-Fs will be a big disappointment for the islanders (about 55 people call this place home) and a major blow to their economy. For their sakes, we hope the weather settles down.
The lobster dinner was fabulous! Each of us (except for Lauren who opted for a smaller portion) had a half lobster tail – about 8-10 ounces of lobster meat. (Lauren’s “smaller” portion consisted of 1½ tails with almost as much meat.) The lobster was tender, juicy, and delicious with a nutty flavor from the grill. Mr. Nixon served us personally and brought out soup bowls of butter with which to douse our lobsters liberally. Roosevelt’s son, Julian, did the grilling but would not tell us his secret other than to say he did not use aluminum foil, so they were grilled open, meat down. We stuffed ourselves!
During dinner, Mr. Nixon proceeded to chat with us and answer questions and tell us a bit about himself. He is one of the few remaining Nixons on the island, which was acquired by his great (or great-great?) grandmother, a freed slave who, with her three children, acquired the island from the Crown and decreed it to their heirs as generation property. Mr. Nixon’s father died when he was very young. His mother moved the Nassau to support herself and her family, so Mr. Nixon and his two siblings were raised by their grandmother. When he was 14, like virtually all the islanders, he went to Nassau to continue his education. There, he worked in construction for about 30 years until he decided (about 26 years ago) to return to Little Farmer’s Cay to raise his family on his “home island”. His house, just down the road and along the coast from the Yacht Club, was built on land he selected because it contained the large Cassuarina tree beneath which his “Grammy” used to plait palm fronds for basket-making, tell him stories, and ask him about his studies. His eyes glowed as he spoke of his Grammy – whom he considers his real mother. Mr. Nixon got downright twinkly-eyed when he told us about meeting his wife of 56 years. They first met on Little Farmer’s when she and her two sisters visited the island as little girls (she was 5 and he was 7 at the time) with their father, an itinerant teacher. When next they saw each other, she was a nursing student in Nassau and – in response to his request to see her again after their first date – said “no way!” She had to complete her studies and did not want to be bothered by a man. Ultimately, they did marry, in their early 20s, and have raised three children and now seven grandchildren. He is a hale and hearty “almost 80” year old with an obvious love of life and family, especially his Grammy and his wife. Like many of the Bahamians we have met, the Nixon family is hardworking, values education, and strives to better the lives of their families – worthy values all.
Tomorrow, the three boats will separate with Living Well and Sanity II heading to George Town and Gratitude to the Jumentos and Ragged Islands. All three were going to go to the J/Rs, and Living Well may join us there after some time in George Town, but Dave and Mary have to get back to Florida before the end of February, when their son. Jeff. Is elevated to Colonel in the Air Force. So, tonight we are having a “separation” dinner aboard Gratitude, with a cake in honor of Lauren’s birthday later this month. It will be sad to see them go, but it is time to move on.