Little Friendly Gatherings
14 March 2008 | Little Farmers Cay
Beth - hot
We thought we had seen the best of the Bahamas - the water, the sky, the friendly people, and then we moved again and saw even more. These Exuma Islands are so full of beautiful communities; we just keep shaking our heads and marveling.
After a day of "housekeeping" jobs in Black Point, we headed back to Madcap to make an early night of it - stopping on the way to chat with Laurie and Frances (Glory Days). They return to Manotick, ON each summer and are old hands at spending winters in the Exumas. One thing we were pleased to hear them comment on was the value of making the first trip a shakedown cruise. We sometimes wonder if we should have made additional purchases before we left, but they supported the idea of finding out what we need and don't need, and then getting it for the next time. It's the old "Just GO" thing. Too often, when would-be cruisers wait until they have every single item purchased and every detail planned, something happens and they don't make the trip at all. There are boaters here in every kind of vessel - beautiful or weathered - with up to the minute technology or with paper charts and VHF only - with all the mod cons or with the bare minimum.
We tucked into the southeast end of Little Farmers Cay again and tied up to an Ocean Cabin mooring. After settling ourselves down, we took a run over to say hello to our neighbours, Abbie, Jeff and little 9-month-old John on Last Paradise. Now there is a young family with adventure in their blood. Hailing from Michigan, they're full-time cruisers with experience in the South Pacific and with plans to sail back to New Zealand. When we admired their courage, Abbie just smiled and said "Captain John" is a fine sailor who requires them to adjust their timetables, but not their cruising lifestyle.
Ashore, we strolled up to Ocean Cabin to pay our $10.00 per night for the mooring and see who might be about. We found three very cheery fellows in the tiny bar - all from the Bahamian Patrol vessel we had seen tied up at the dock. We joined them and spent the next hour in gales of laughter as they joked and teased. Conversation ranged from their jobs (keeping an eye out for boats smuggling drugs or humans) to our itinerary, to their favourite methods of making peas'n rice, to the Family Islands Regatta at the end of April, with a whole lot of good-natured ribbing of each other and of us. The Peas'n Rice bit was fascinating - I don't even remember quite how we got into it, but I mentioned that I'd been experimenting with ways to prepare it and all of sudden, two of them were telling me how they make it. These men know their way around a kitchen!
Cruisers kept strolling in... Sandy and Dana (Sol Purpose), Bruce and Carla (Deuces Wild), Jim and Nancy (Solitaire) and their guests Lori and Dana, Jeff and Abbie and John (Last Paradise). Terry and Ernestine Bain are the owners of Ocean Cabin and they kept everyone supplied with Kalik, all the while accepting reservations for dinner and directing VHF callers to their moorings. Their daughter, Khadejah, arrived in from school and flung her arms around her parents with a big hello. Two other daughters are in Fort Lauderdale - one in high school and one in university. We saw some pictures and they are all lovely.
On the way back to the dock, we stopped to request some fish from Jeffery and he later met us at the beach with freshly caught grouper fillets and a bag of lobster tails. Oooh - we'll eat well for a few days. For dinner, I pan fried the grouper and made a new kind of rice and beans - this one with kidney beans and coconut milk - and a bowl of cole slaw. My plan had been to make a banana cake but the warm breeze and starry night made me want to get out of the galley. Perhaps tomorrow...
Friday night ended with full stomachs, and full hearts - full of this beautiful place with welcoming Bahamians, the camaraderie of fellow cruisers, the caves and coral heads and fishing spots we'll explore over the next few days. Tomorrow is the All Age School Fair - with games and food and music.
The wind has pretty much died down and we'll have a few days of light and variable wind before the expected northerly on Sunday night and Monday. This may be a very good spot to be tucked away.