Little Farmers Cay
07 January 2007 | Ocean Cabin
I started tracking the weather a bit more actively a few days ago, looking for a good window to make the run to Georgetown on Great Exuma. My parents wanted to see the big island. The Great Exuma Airport (which actually qualifies as an airport) is a good way to hop back to Nassau where the folks had a flight booked for the 10th. Worst case we could always fly them back from Staniel, Black Point on Great Guana or even Little Farmers Cay.
Little Farmers is a short 14 mile trip southeast from Staniel. The wind wasn't really cooperating but we decided to get as far south as possible and Little Farmers was a good target. We were going to anchor on the west side on the deeper water route to hook up with our friends on Eyran. As we passed Black Point they hailed us on the VHF. They were staying the night there. Why? Laundry. The Black Point facilities are apparently a little more developed than those at Staniel. We agreed to meet up at Galliot the next day, one island south of Big Farmers.
The channel between the southern tip of Great Guana and Little Farmers looked like a better spot to go ashore, the town seemed to be mostly around the small harbor on the East side of Little Farmers. The track through the channel to the anchorage tucked up behind Great Guana was shallow and intricate. My crew had been undergoing water reading training for the past few days and I felt like they were up to it so we targeted the most secluded anchorage spot in the area. The holding was marked as poor but some locals had placed moorings on sand screws just of the Great Guana beach. We carefully threaded our way through the passage between the islands with Hideko on one bow chair and Mom on the other. Dad covered the port side and I kept a look out to starboard and everywhere else I could.
The current was strong, a sand bar rose up in the middle of the cut between the islands and some small waves were breaking on the reef that lies just outside of the turn into the beach. It was our most delicate anchorage entrance yet. Thanks to the great depth callouts from the crew we didn't hit anything. We tried to take the last mooring ball of the five along the beach but I started to see numbers on the depth gauge beginning with a four so we settled on the second to last buoy. I think that our depth meter is about a foot conservative from the waterline but I like to treat it like the real thing.
I took Roq to the beach where an old steel trawler was resting five or six feet above the high water mark. I wondered about the old boat's story. How did it get there? Did everyone get off ok? From a distance it looked almost whole, sitting proud and upright on the sand. Roq and I were both bare foot so we decided not to explore the rusty interior.
We walked back to the dink and I loaded old Roq into the back seat of the boat. The beach had a shallow approach so I had to push well out into the water before I could hop on and fire up the outboard. I should say, "try to fire up the outboard". The rip cord on our Yamaha had stuck once during my reversed gas line antics off of Key Biscayne, but has never been a problem since, until today. No matter what I tried I couldn't get the starter cord to pull. It was completely locked up. If you ever want to get intimate with the current in a place, try rowing against it. Better yet, try it with a 65 pound dog sticking his nose, tail, butt, etceteras, in your face.
I made it back to the big boat after my afternoon workout and quickly set about taking the outboard apart and, kids now gone, spouting some choice language. There is a locking mechanism on most outboards that keeps you from starting the engine in forward or reverse, and ours now stops you from starting the engine in neutral also. This lock is not present on the 2 hp Yamaha but I suspect the liability lawyers have made it standard issue the rest of the way up the line. After locating the lock and confirming its guilt I removed said device. I'm sure that I will burn for it but at least I won't go floating off into the deep blue with a perfectly good outboard that wont start. I'm quite capable of running out of gas and hooking up the fuel line backwards on my own, thank you. We do have to be extra careful about starting 'er up in neutral now of course, but it seems to pull easier (maybe my imagination...).
We went ashore on Little Farmers at the government dock. The little harbor has rocks and reef around the opening and some shoal water on the interior. The government dock is on the near side of the south end of the harbor. A few Little Farmerites were chatting on the dock dressed in their Sunday go to meeting clothes. They greeted us and directed us to Ocean Cabin the center of cruiser activity on the island (which consisted of us tonight). We tried to always dress up a bit (golf shirt and shorts with no holes?) in the evening out of respect for the Bahamians who are always properly dressed unless working on the docks or some such.
Terry, the proprietor of Ocean Cabin greeted us warmly and served us up some Ocean Cabin Rum Punches. Wow, careful with these. They're blue and they have a bad attitude. We all had lobster dinners at the great price of $20 a piece. The OC has a nice book exchange as well as tee shirts and Little Farmers Cay flags (the only Cay to have its own flag so we're told).
After a wonderful dinner and some great conversation we bid Terry adieu and headed back to the dinghy. It was a very dark night as the moon had not yet risen. The stars were magnificent. The dinghy ride was interesting. Nothing like the sound of breaking waves that you can not see to sharpen your senses. We carefully piloted out of the reef at the entrance to the little harbor and across the big harbor toward a mono hull who was moored near by. Complicating matters was the fact that our anchor light had given up the ghost several nights back. We left the transom lights on but the wind had pointed the transom away from us. I was envisioning all sorts of Gilligan's Island scenarios but doing my best to backtrack while Hideko managed the flashlight up front. Shortly thereafter we caught site of Swingin on a Star and headed home for the night.