Of Fish and Cracked Conch
13 January 2012 | Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club, Little Farmer’s Cay
The day started with the luxury of showers for all. Once we were all clean we lifted the anchor and took the boat to the dock at Staniel Cay and filled the water tanks. I don't think I mentioned yesterday, but we caught up with Ed and Karin of Passages, who were also anchored at Big Majors Spot. Unfortunately, we needed to press on towards Georgetown, and they are staying at Big Majors Spot through the strong winds that are predicted for Sunday, so we didn't get to spend any time with them. We did get to see them again this morning as they were coming into the Staniel Cay Yacht Club to use the Internet. We told them we were headed for Little Farmers Cay and they suggested we might want to go outside, that is go through the cut into the Exuma Sound, rather than stay to the west of the islands in the shallow water. Since there was almost no wind it made sense to do that.
We'd never gone out the cut at Staniel Cay, so I took up a position on the bow. It was pretty straightforward. The tide was going out, so the current was with us. There is almost always some turbulence at the cuts, even with the light wind we had today, but it wasn't much and soon we were out in the sound. This was the first time Rick and Tracy had been in really deep water here. Not far offshore the Exuma Sound is over half a mile deep. The water is the same bright, cobalt blue we saw crossing from Florida, and Rick and Tracy were as impressed with the beauty as we always are.
What little wind we had was right on the bow, so there was no point in raising the sails. We motored along and Bud and Rick took turns trolling. Rick got a strike, the first we've gotten trolling. Then when we were right outside the cut we were taking into the Farmer Cay area Bud hooked a fish. Rick was at the helm and slowed and turned the boat. I grabbed the net off the arch and gave it to Tracy while I went to get my camera. Tracy netted the fish, which was a barracuda and was hard for her to hang on to. Bud brought it aboard and I took its picture. It was too big to eat (large barracuda can be poisonous) so Bud managed to get the hook out of its mouth and release it. The picture is in the gallery.
As soon as that excitement was over we headed into the cut at Little Farmers Cay. We called on the radio and confirmed that the channel had not been altered by the hurricane and that there were available mooring balls at the Farmers Cay Yacht Club. We wound our way back in and picked up the same mooring ball we used last year, as it's one of two used for the fuel tanker and we know it's strong. The long thin line they had on it last year to use to snag and pull up the actual mooring line was gone, but I managed to hook the mooring line itself and Rick put both our mooring lines through it at once, so we were moored in no time.
Bud, Rick and Tracy took the dinghy in to pay for the mooring and ask about the Internet (included in the price of the mooring). I stayed behind as I'd been fighting a bit of a headache. I got this shot of the three of them headed to Little Farmers Yacht Club. Once they got back we got together our things (and Fuzzy) and took the dinghy to the government dock in the center of the settlement. Little Farmers Cay is generational land, the land is held in common by the descendants of the original settlers. There are only about 55 full-time residents. We tried for bread at the bakery and general store, but they were out of it. The woman did give Bud a recipe for fried biscuits, which he might try. We went up to Ocean Cabin Restaurant for drinks. They have a terrace where we can sit with Fuzzy. While there we decided to come back for dinner. It wasn't too late to make reservations, so we told them we'd all like cracked conch. Terry Bain, the proprietor, told us it would be ready at 6. We took Fuzzy back to the boat and gave him his pill and fed him. He hadn't eaten any of his food when we had to leave.
The cracked conch dinner was very good. We all had the pigeon peas and rice as a side. It also came with a spicy hot cole slaw. While we were there another four people came in. Before we left Terry Bain brought out a sheet that had a history of Little Farmers Cay on one side and the lyrics to a song (sort of a Little Farmers Anthem) on the other. He had recorded music and we all sang the song. It was a lot of fun.
When we left it was dark. I thought it would be hard to find our way out the channel by the government dock and back to the boat, but the hardest part was seeing to get into the dinghy. Bud and I then had to take Fuzzy ashore, he'd eaten most of his supper while we were gone. I almost fell in the water with Fuzzy in his front carrier as I tried to use the bottom step on the dinghy dock ladder at the Farmers Cay Yacht Club and the step was under water and quite slimy and slippery.
After Fuzzy was safely back in the boat, the four of us chatted in the cockpit under the stars for a while. Now the rest are in bed and I'm trying to get this blog written and posted tonight. It was another fun day. We are sure going to miss Rick and Tracy when they go.