Exploring the Exumas
07 December 2016 | Little Farmers Cay
Nov. 30 – Dec. 6 The strong breezes of the last few days began to abate, so we picked up and moved to be close to town for errands the next morning. We saw Christiaan and Elise also into town before their departure to eventually make their way back to Curacao. We hope they have a great voyage! Around midday we left Georgetown and headed out Conch Cay Cut for the 25 nm trip up the Exuma chain to Adderly Cut. It was a good downwind sail in 14-18 kts but fairly rolly out in Exuma Sound. We made our way through Adderly Cut and SE to an anchorage off Lee Stocking Island near an abandoned research station. This spot was once the site of a very active marine research center from the seventies until it closed in 2012. There was an amazing amount of infrastructure left in place and it was eerie to walk by ourselves around this ghost town. (See Cruising World/Exumas Ghost Town  on the web for more details on what we encountered there). In one building there were several dozen large aquaria left in place, and another with file cabinets still containing research documents and summaries, data discs and so on. Apparently dozens of people worked here for several decades then seemed to have left in a hurry when funding dried up. Further down the western shore of the island was a picturesque beach with coconut palms lining the shore. We found a trail that leads up to the summit of Perry’s Peak, the highest point in the Exuma chain at a whopping 39 meters above sea level with great views at the top. Perry was also the founder of the marine research facility. It seemed as though we had this entire island to ourselves, and saw only a few passing boaters but no one ashore here.
On Saturday we hoisted anchor and moved the approximately 2 nm to Leaf Cay. From there we dinghied ashore to a beach on the western tip of the island and were met by dozens of pink iguanas. It seems that various small tour boats stop by here and feed them, so they’re on the lookout for handouts once they see a boat landing. By Sunday the wind was coming around to the east and getting a bit bouncy at this location, so we moved back to the great spot off of Lee Stocking Island to spend another day. Somewhere in this timeframe we had our first gear breakdown that required some attention. The generator up and quit very suddenly in the midst of battery charging and water making. After working on it for a while, it seems that either the injector pump or fuel shut off solenoid had failed. And of course neither part was amongst our spares inventory. As a result we’ll be testing the ability of local operations to have parts delivered from the states. We’ll see how that goes, but have planned not to let it mess up our cruise up the Exuma chain over these next weeks. On Monday the 5th we headed back out Adderly Cut into the boisterous Exuma Sound once again and headed north to Cave Cay Cut, just a few hours of sailing once again on a run. We found an anchoring spot west of Musha Cay in what we learned is being called “Copperfield Bay”. It turns out that the famous magician, David Copperfield had purchased Musha Cay and about ten other islands nearby and created an ultra-exclusive resort here. The whole facility can accept only 24 guests at one time (or fewer) with daily rates of $39,000 to $56,000!! Just now, the resort seems to be vacant. [on the web, look up Musha Cay resort]. Next day we made our way through some rather torturous navigation through shallows on the banks on the west side of the island chain to Little Farmers Cay. We aimed to dock at the small marina there known as Farmers Cay Yacht Club—no one else there but we did get a prompt return call on the VHF from the proprietor Roosevelt Nixon, who helped us get tied up and gave us advice on what to do here, where to go as well as served a great lunch of cracked conch. Later we made some calls about parts needed for the generator then took a walk to town. The locals at the dock were happy to show us the native green turtles, rays and nurse shark in the small harbor that were excited to be hand fed cracked conch as well! Afterwards we met fellow cruisers Bill & Helen from Alembic who had anchored in the harbor later in the day. We all ended up at Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill on the opposite side of the island for drinks & dinner (as the only customers). A previous attempt to arrange for dining at the famous “Ocean Cabin” was thwarted when a call to the premises informed us that owner/chef would be in choir practice that evening so would be unable to serve dinner. We shared some great stories of places visited with Bill and Helen and hope to remember half of the ones they mentioned to visit ourselves in the coming months.