17 January 2011
The strong westerly' have settle down some and we're anxious to move on. Our plan is to leave our anchorage between the Majors and head to Black Point. This is a short but somewhat complicated passage 'cause when we leave the Majors we head out into Exuma Sound, travel a few short miles, through a cut back into Exuma Bank then around a point to Black Point. We want to go here because it' a fairly large settlement with intranet and laundry and other provisions. The winds are still brisk out of the west so in the Sound it is calm and pleasant. As we go through the cut, we are head on to the seas which have been kicking up for five days and it is anything but pleasant. Black Point is completely open to westerly winds and as we head into this harbour, we realize that it will be unpleasant at the least In fact, there are almost breaking seas as we reach where we would normally anchor and we don't want to stay here so we decide to forget the laundry and head down another twelve miles to Farmers' Cay.
We're beam on to the winds and seas and the early afternoon is a very pleasant sail along Great Iguana to Little Farmers' Cay.
Now we have a story to tell about this place. In 1999, we sailed with great friends Harold and Ann Raper on Rumpot from Georgetown up to Nassau and stopped in Farmers' Cay. It was a very memorable trip, one which inspired us to cruise the Bahamas like Ann and Harold. When we arrived in Farmers' Cay twelve years ago and went ashore, we met a local lady, burdened down with a load of frozen fish, lugging it up to her house on the side of the hill. Harold, ever gallant and kind, asked her if we could help and she graciously agreed for us to help her with her burden up the hill. She was so grateful that she returned to the small bar/restaurant which we stopped at with hand made baskets for Judy and Ann. Her name was Debbie and in a short period of time we exchanged our perspectives on each others' lives.
While Fredericton may not be large, in contrast to Farmers' Cay's population of some 48 souls it's a veritable megatropolis! Debbie was a proud and sensitive resident, most having descended from two lines of free slaves who purchased this Cay. Judy and Debbie hit it off and they bonded quickly. Debbie spoke of singing in the church choir and singing at funerals and weddings. Judy sang a song for her and it was a special afternoon. At Ann's suggestion, we had purchased and brought a whole bunch of toys and baubles for kids which we bought at the Dollar Store. Judy handed them out to the gaggle of kids flocking around us and we recall their eyes lighting up when we gave them crayons, coloring books, skipping ropes and other kids' stuff.
So fast forward twelve years and we land at Farmers' Cay, pick up a mooring and head into the settlement. We head to the same small restaurant/bar where we went to with Ann and Harold and inquire about Debbie. Sure enough, not only does she still live here but she's up the road at the church getting it ready for an important service tomorrow (Sunday). We head to the Church and ask a young local lady if Debbie is around; she is Debbie's daughter (turns out she recalled us giving her a skipping rope on our visit twelve years ago). We are reunited with Debbie who surely recognizes us and now has several grand children. It's a poignant reunion!
We moor in the harbour by the Farmers' Cay Yacht Club owned an operated by Roosevelt Nixon and his wife. They are most gracious hosts. We have a wonderful dinner of conch, fried fish and the local staple of peas and rice. We invite Roosevelt to join us and he regales us with any stories of this great island and its people.
We think we are so sophisticated and privileged but I am humbled by the life of these intelligent, industrious and resilient folks. We spoke of the many hurricanes they have endured and they tend to understate their fury. We spoke of the kinship and support on this island; everybody's a cousin.
Roosevelt was particularly proud because a new pastor of the local Baptist Church (the only church) will be inducted next week. She happens to be the first female pastor and a native of Farmers' Cay; and, of course Roosevelt's godchild. We ask if it would be appropriate for us to attend the church service tomorrow (Sunday) and he assures us we would be most welcome.