Staniel Cay to Farmers Cay
We wanted to spent a few more days in Staniel Cay after the anchor incident, but decided to move back around to our original anchorage just off piggy beach the next morning to avoid any additional mishaps. We were thankful that we got out unscathed and didn’t want to stick around tempting fate any longer than we had to. While having post PTSD drinks aboard Dealer’s Choice that night, we met a group of twenty-something cruisers – we’re NOT the youngest ones! – who also had some issues that same night. Turns out their anchor not only dragged, but got wrapped around their keel, all during the pitch blackness of night. You could just hear the F-bombs coming from their boat. Damn. They were able to recover pretty quickly, but I can only imagine that they had one hell of a stressful night and were in need of some serious down time in the form of a white sandy beach the following day. This little cruisers beach had some grills and cornhole (which is Matt's favorite game), and it looked like people had been adding little bits here & there for years. It felt good to go to a beach and have something to go there instead of just staring at a stretch of white sand. And socializing with other people beside each other was needed too :)
We had agreed to take two of the “kids” – Alex and Charlene – to George Town with us, since that’s where we were headed anyway and they needed to meet her parents who were flying in from (you guessed it) Canada for a 10 day vacation. Their friends who’s boat they were staying on – Brian and Cass – had to stay in Staniel Cay since her sister was flying in the following day. Sound confusing? It wasn’t. We gladly offered up a ride because they were super cool people who we’d be doing a huge favor for, and that’s exactly how you meet new friends and get a few extra karma points on your side. Win-win all around. As they were dinghing over to our boat, I had a complete mind fart and totally forgot their names. How embarrassing. This trip could go one of two ways – extremely awesome or terribly awkward. Luckily awesome won out, and we all felt like we were old friends in no time. We really enjoyed having people onboard since for the past four months it had been just Matt and I and we could really use some additional dynamics to the group. Plus it felt like we were hosting, which we love to do, so we were really looking forward to the trip south.
George Town was still about 60 miles away, which is quite a hike especially with no wind to sail, so we decided to anchor in nearby Farmer’s Cay for the night. The guidebook said it was the second most populated settlement in the Exumas, besides George Town, and that it had a good pizza place which pretty much sold Matt and Char. We pulled in by late afternoon, dropped anchor, and headed into town eager to explore a new place and to possibly score a slice of that fabled island pizza. As we wandered around the deserted streets, we got to thinking that either the guidebook had a misprint or we were in the wrong place, because for it being the second largest settlement, there was absolutely no one around. We found the town “center” – and I use that term very loosely since there were maybe 10 people there – and were all sorta standing around scratching our heads thinking “is this it”?
We were approached by a guy named Carlos, who offered to take us on a free tour of “His Island”. It was obvious that he was very proud of his home and wanted to share it with everyone who visited. Glad we went because it turned out to be a pretty neat little tour. He pointed out lots of native plant life – guava trees, pomegranate trees, almond trees – that we would have passed right on by. We all even took turns cracking almonds for a bit. He introduced us to all sorts of people… most of whom seemed to be related to him in some way. Met his uncle who was an excellent wood carver, and who had a an old Polaroid picture of his wife and the original Colonel Sanders – of KFC fame – hanging in his shop. Pretty funny. When we asked about this being the second largest settlement in the Exumas, he just laughed and said that it was actually the smallest settlement, with only 55 inhabitants on the whole island. Ha. Epic fail, guidebook.
We stopped in for a drink at the local bar, Ocean Cabin, and chatted with the owner and his wife, trading recipes and stories. That really is the best part of traveling – meeting people from a completely different background in life and learning a little bit about their world. If we wanted to surround ourselves with the same, we’d be at a Sandals somewhere. On our way out, we noticed their sign out front. Pretty much sums up Island Living to a tee.
Made our way back to “town” to grab some fresh conch salad and ended up hanging out with the local fishermen for a bit. They were whipping up some pretty amazing looking food on their charcoal grill and were giving us tips on the best way to prepare seafood, including a lesson on how to crack and clean conch. Seems complicated. I think we’ll just continue to buy it instead. Tried to pay for the conch salad but they didn’t have change, so I bartered some cans of soda into the deal and a Char grabbed a chunk of what we think was parsnip to use in our own dinner later that night. Now that’s some serious negotiating power right there, folks.
When we were ready to head back to the boat, the nice police officer who was drinking rum drinks at the conch stand offered to drive us back. I’ll say it was quite the picture having four young gringos pile into an island police car with open beers in their hands. Definitely a first for me. He cruised right on down the airstrip by the marina like it was a road. Sure am happy there were no incoming flights. Not sure what we found funnier, the fact that he used the airstrip as a road, or that they have an airstrip on an island with only 55 people.