Days 10 - 12: Little Farmer's Cay to Great Exuma
02.06.2018 - 04.06.2018
Day 10: The Exuma Blues.
Little Farmer’s Cay to Emerald Bay Marina, Great Exuma (35 miles)
It was our final day on the sea. Originally, we were going to keep the boat out 10 days, but shortly before our trip, we all (wisely) made the decision to bring it in early and spend our last 2 nights in a villa so that everyone could see a little bit of Great Exuma (but mostly because the guys decided they wanted to go bonefishing).
We had to make the final 35 mile stretch in one day, so it would be a long trip.
The day dawned with a spectacular sunrise.
Rather than spend a lot of time on breakfast, I made waffle sandwiches to go and everyone settled in for the long ride. This part of the trip would be remote and uninhabited islands, no real civilization to speak of. It was a long, final journey through hours of beautiful nothing.
We had learned to sync our rhythms with the tides. High tide? Move the boat. Or don’t. Maybe just sit and stare at the water. Low tide? Take the dingy and explore undiscovered sandbars or stare at the starfish on the bottom that look close enough to caress. Our skin was salty and our hair was sunkissed.
It was mid-morning and we were far….so far…..from anything. Blue stretched above us and as far as our eyes could see beside us, below us, with only the occasional dot of emerald green island to break it up. We were floating in a sea of gin clear water and we were perfectly alone. Wherever we looked, there was no one there. And it felt as though no one had ever been there. And we were perfectly happy with that.
After 8 days on the boat, we found ourselves lost between the sky and the sea, surrounded by blue. The colors of Exuma defied belief. The words to describe the color of the water haven’t even been created yet.
We officially had the Exuma blues.
And then we exited paradise and found ourselves at the Emerald Bay Marina.
Just like that.
We made a final lunch on the boat while we waited for our rental car: an antipasta platter and tortellini with salad.
And then we said "goodbye" to Lion of the Sea.
After a literal eternity (don’t get me started on Airport Car Rental and how grossly unreliable they were), we got one small car for 6 large adults (instead of the van we had reserved). One small car with a huge hole in the sidewall of the tire. One small car that made us sweat within seconds because 4 of us were crammed into the back of an economy sized vehicle. One small car on terrible roads with a tire that could blow at any second, particularly given the number of people jammed inside.
But our villa (https://www.vrbo.com/4715545ha) more than made up for it. The place was AMAZING.
And what a treat after being on a cramped boat for over a week.
We sprawled out in the spaciousness, drinking in the air conditioning, and lounging in the pool. With a couple of beaches within walking distance, it was a perfect place to wind away what was left of the afternoon.
Our original plans for dinner were to head to Shirley’s at the Fish Fry. However, given that our boat wi-fi never worked, we didn’t have a reservation. Thinking we could show up on a Saturday in June with a party of 6 and just sit down at Shirley’s was madness.
It was obvious there was no way they could accommodate our large party without making us wait until midnight or putting us outside with the horrendous swarm of mosquitos, so we cut our losses and headed back to La Palapa at Grand Isle, just a moment from our villa.
What it lacked in ambience and food quality, it made up for in proximity, lack of mosquitoes, and fast service.
Besides, all we really cared about was getting back to the house and sleeping in an ACTUAL BED.
Day 11: Chattin' & Chillin'.
The guys woke up early and headed off to meet their bonefishing guide. The plan was to meet up at lunch at the Chat n’ Chill.
With no galley breakfast to prepare for the group and all the girls sleeping in, I enjoyed a quiet breakfast and morning by the pool.
Shortly before noon, with me as the designated driver, we drove our small, crappy car to Georgetown where we caught a water taxi to the Chat n’ Chill on Stocking Island for their Sunday pig roast.
We two fisted while we waited for the guys to finish up their fishing and join us.
It was our last day together, so we made the most of it – drinks, barbecue, and swimming in the water with the stingrays that Chat n’ Chill is known for.
We wrapped up the day with snacks by the pool and dinner at nearby La Fourchette, an utterly delightful little restaurant not too far from the villa.
Day 12: Hey Now, Hey Now, Don't Dream it's Over.
Sadly, two of our group had to head home, so we did a late breakfast/early lunch at La Fourchette before seeing them off to the airport.
The Knoxville based crew was there for another day, so we moved from our posh villa to the much less posh (and somewhat moldy) Hideaways at Palm Villa to be close to the airport. Our 2 bedroom suite smelled strongly of bleach with an underlying odor of mildew and the hotel bar thermometer registered the inside of the bar at a stifling 96 degrees. Otherwise, it was great.
Because it was actually cooler outside than it was in the bar, we made the short walk to Jolly Hall beach. On our last trip to Great Exuma, it had been our favorite. Would it still be as beautiful as we remembered?
We lounged the afternoon away in the cool water before heading back to clean up for dinner.
Because we had been unsuccessful at Shirley’s the night before, we decided to give it another try and were glad we did.
We were seated immediately and had frosty drinks sitting in front of us within moments.
Shirley’s coconut crusted grouper was out of this world, as was the ridiculously decadent coconut cheesecake.
Not quite ready to let the trip end, we stopped at Blu for after dinner drinks and enjoyed one final, spectacular sunset.
The trip had been everything we hoped: (mostly) beautiful weather, great friends, and spectacular views through the Exuma Cays. We had truly been immersed in paradise.
But it was time to go home.
I only wished I could bottle the colors of the sea and take them home with me.