A Travellerspoint blog

June 2014

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 8

It was a helluva ride.

Day Eight Itinerary: Lee Stocking Island to Stocking Island (30 miles)

It was our last day. Matt and I decided to spend the morning watching the sun come up on the other side of Lee Stocking Island.

A quick dingy ride and a very short hike up a hill put you on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The sunrise with the waves crashing into the rocks below was magnificient.

Moments like that are why you spend a week on a boat, even though you know it won’t be easy. You don’t get moments like those every day.

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We took a quick dingy ride before heading back to the boat. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure those 3 dogs look “bad.” I think one of them is actually SMILING.

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When we got back to the boat, I made pineapple pancakes with maple syrup that Syd had brought all the way from Canada.

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Then it was time to make the long trip, back through the cut, onto the open ocean, and 30 miles back to Stocking Island.

The weather was looking a little ominous, but it was far enough behind us that our passage was clear. We all settled in for our last ride.

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When we arrived at Stocking Island, it was lunch time. We celebrated our return to Great Exuma with frozen banana daiquiris with a spiced rum floater.

Yay! We had made it back intact! And we were all still friends!

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John, Teresa, Matt and I wanted to dingy over to the Chat N Chill for lunch. Keith and Sydney looked at the sky and said, “You’re crazy,” and stayed on the boat.

Either the rest of us aren’t very smart or we had simply gotten used to being rained on at least once a day.

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While the rain held off, we had a great time with fresh hot burgers, ribs, and cold drinks.

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And then the rain came.

I always get amused on travel forums when the inevitable question pops up, “The forecast shows rain every day while I am there. What can I do?”
First, IT RAINS EVERY DAY IN THE ISLANDS. EVERY. DAY. That is something you should just go ahead and assume. It’s right up there with the sun rising and setting.

Second, why do we care if it’s raining if we are IN THE OCEAN? We are going to get wet anyway. Wasn’t that the plan when we jumped into the water? If we are already wet, why do we care if we get wetter? Are you worried your clothes will get wet? It’s a SWIMSUIT PEOPLE.

And what happened to those days when we were little kids and we BEGGED to go outside and play in the rain?

So, when it rains when you are on vacation you have two choices: 1) Sit inside and complain about it to all of your friends on Facebook, or 2) EMBRACE THE RAIN.

We embraced the rain.

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We swam in the ocean. We tried to walk a line strung up between two trees. We found a tire swing. We danced. We played volleyball (badly). We gave the rain the middle finger.

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We finally made our waterlogged way back to Island Girl. Because the weather was not stellar and because we needed to refuel the boat before turning her in the next morning, we all decided to make our way back across Elizabeth Harbor and spend our last night docked at the Exuma Yacht Club.

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Besides, the Yacht Club was supposed to have a fancy restaurant. Despite the fact that the Yacht Club seemed to be more about cement block walls and old kayaks than gleaming mahogany and billiard tables, we were hopeful.

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The Yacht Club had a nice bar. That was promising.

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The Yacht Club had beautiful décor. The furnishings were nice, the lighting dim, the aesthetics top notch.

Unfortunately, that is where the awesomeness ended.

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It’s important to note that I can eat anything. I mean it. I can eat god awful tasteless food if that’s all I have. I can eat food that’s been undercooked, overcooked, or badly cooked. I can eat food that has gone well beyond its expiration date.

Once, at work, I dropped my vege burger on the kitchen floor. The kitchen floor at work. The one that gets mopped once every 17 months. I picked it up, rinsed it under the sink, and ate it.

When I say I can eat anything, I mean it.

I could not eat that food.

Worst. Meal. Ever.

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My dinner plate included a lobster tail that was so tough and dry I could not physically chew it, mashed potatoes that looked like potato soup, and sautéed vegetables that were so limp and tasteless that they weren’t worth the effort it took to swallow them.

How do you ruin lobster?

Sorry Yacht Club. You need to spend less time on décor and more time on food prep.

And the worst part wasn’t the taste. It was the all-night-bathroom-party that Matt and John had once we got back. As for me, I would have welcomed anything that expedited the exit of that meal from my body. Instead, I lay in bed all night feeling like a searing-red-hot brick was sitting in my stomach. I was pretty sure that my body was completely incapable of digesting that unchewable lobster and was simply going to have to pass it through whole.

That brought us to our final morning and return home tired, nauseous, lugging suitcases filled with wet, smelly clothes, and anticipating the 6 hour flight home IF we didn’t get delayed by weather.

Yeah. We were ready to go home.

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Admittedly, the week hadn’t been all fun and games and we’d endured a few challenges. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

I have already been asked, “Would you do it again?” and “Are you glad you went?”

Maybe there were a few tense moments, tears were shed, a few body parts got banged up, some things got messy, and we had to work a little, but it was completely worth it to be rocking gently to sleep to the sounds of the waves and the smell of the salty air each night. To wake up each morning to hot coffee made in a stainless steel percolator on a gas stove that I had to light by hand. To see the most magnificent sunrise each day over the beautiful water of the sea, the boat rocking gently back and forth, my friends around me. To spend each day cruising along, watching the color of the water change from absolutely incredible to simply impossible. To enjoy the remote cays that you can only see by boat and to meet the sweet and generous people that live there, to enjoy their fresh baked bread, to watch their children laugh and play at the water’s edge. To spend the entire day with friends that you love and who love you, even when you call them an a$$hole and throw a chart book at their head. To experience something you can only experience on a boat, on the water, surrounded by friends.

I’m not one to listen to country music, but I was outnumbered on the boat and got to listen to more country music in 7 days than I have listened to since puberty, but I remember the lyrics of one song I heard on that boat sinking in on a day when everything was a pile of miserable crap one minute and we were in heaven on a cloud the next:

Bad times make the good times better…..it’s a helluva ride…..it’s a helluva life.

Yeah. That pretty well sums it up.

Would I do it again? Of course I would.

It was a helluva ride.

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Posted by vicki_h 07:09 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay blackpoint lee_stocking_island stocking_island Comments (7)

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 7

Rum Punched.

Day Seven Itinerary: Blackpoint Settlement to Lee Stocking Island (30 miles)

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The next morning, we woke up in a bit of a Happier-Hour-Rum-Punch stupor.

Vicki: “Where is my other shoe?”

Matt: “I don’t know. Have you seen my phone?”

Teresa: “What the hell is wrong with my hair?”

Vicki: “We decided to wash it in the sink at Scorpio’s, with hand soap, remember?”

John: “Is this frosting in my nose?”

Matt: “Seriously. Has anyone seen my phone?”

Vicki: “My head hurts.”

We found Matt’s iPhone at the bottom of the ocean under the public dock and we all swore we’d never drink 2-for-1 rum punches again.

At least not until the next time someone offers us 2-for-1 rum punch.

We had to leave early because we had a long sail ahead of us. It was about 30 miles from Blackpoint to Lee Stocking Island. I made egg sandwiches so we could eat on the go.

Every time I used the oven, I had to turn on the gas flow, light a match, and stick my head inside. Somehow, I just think they could come up with a better design.

Once I had managed to toast 12 pieces of bread (one piece at a time, one side at a time, since the broiler was only about 4 inches square) and cook the eggs without blowing up my head, we set off.

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We had a pleasant and uneventful sail. The morning weather was great and we enjoyed the constantly changing color of the water along the way.

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We arrived at Lee Stocking Island around noon and found a beautiful beach anchorage.

We set up the boat bar and I made champagne punch. Then I whipped up some pizzas for lunch (toasting the pizza crusts. One. At. A. Time.).

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Matt and I took the dingy over to a pretty beach that we had passed on the way to our anchorage. As we neared it, the sky started to turn dark.

We got the dingy anchored just as the sky opened up. It POURED.

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Why is it that, even though you are in a swimsuit, on a beach, in the ocean, getting wet when it rains seems like an unacceptable option? It's a lot like why a dog gets mad when you blow in its face, but it loves to stick its head out the car window.

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When the rain stopped, we headed back for Island Girl. When we got there, the rest of the group wanted to take the dingy over to the beach at which we were anchored and explore. We all headed that way. Just as we got there, the sky literally opened up and dumped all of its contents on us. Everything. Like all the rain intended for at least 3 countries for the next four weeks dumped right on top of us.

What we didn’t think about at the time was that it was also dumping on the boat, which was currently unattended, meaning there was no one to go around and close the hatches.

Congratulations! Wet beds for everyone! Yay!

Seriously, I don't think we would know what to do on this trip without our daily afternoon disaster. It had come to be expected.

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We looked like a laundry boat again. My bed was soaked. We had to dry the entire kitchen with towels. John smashed his toe on an open hatch and was bleeding. I had developed some kind of rash. Matt’s iPhone was dead. Sydney had killed her Kindle. Teresa’s foot was still purple. Keith still had that black eye. We all had random bruises, moldy clothes, smelly bathrooms, and sand in our sheets.

It didn’t matter. Our spirits were high. We were on Island Girl and we were having a great time.

We had a sunset party with wine and fruit and cheese. We turned up the music.

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For dinner, we had a smoked pork butt that I had carted all the way from TN, baked beans, something “like” cole slaw made with the random ingredients we found in the Exuma Market, and deviled eggs.

For dessert, we made s’mores on the grill (which Matt discovered was never broken…the guys just hadn’t turned on the propane….d’oh!).

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Posted by vicki_h 05:47 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay blackpoint lee_stocking_island Comments (2)

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 6

Take Two Rum Punches & Call Me in the Morning.

Day Six Itinerary: Staniel Cay to Blackpoint Settlement (6 miles)

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We enjoyed a peaceful morning at Big Major Spot. Maybe the rough patches were finally behind us and we’d have smooth sailing (pun intended) from this point forward.

It's funny how you never get up hope....

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We all wanted to see the pigs again, so we took the dingy back to Pig Beach. We had heard from other cruisers that there were baby pigs. We had not seen them the previous day, so we were hoping they’d be out.

Who knows, maybe the baby pigs would be "adorable." Everything is cute as a baby.

We needed baby pigs!

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I'm sorry. Even as babies, these pigs are not adorable. They just aren’t.

Okay, well, maybe this little guy was kind of cute in a "my nose is too big for my face and I have serious eye boogers" kind of way.

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After the pigs, Matt and I took the dingy for a ride over to Sandy Cay. The water was simply ridiculous on the ride over. It looked unnatural.

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When we reached Sandy Cay, a tiny uninhabited speck with an amazing beach, we had it all to ourselves. A sandbar was just beginning to form.

It was perfect.

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We headed back to Island Girl in time to get back to Staniel Cay for low tide. The group wanted to snorkel the Grotto again and we needed to get fuel and ice at the marina. I was also still determined to find those hot dog buns.

I bet that Yacht Party had hot dog buns.

The short ride from Big Major Spot to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club was beautiful.

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The first thing we learned at Staniel Cay was how not to dock a catamaran. As we neared the dock, Matt jumped off with the rope. Then there was a lot of shouting of random instructions. Matt, John, and Keith all started going in different directions. There was more shouting. The boat suddenly jerked into reverse. Matt was still holding the rope. Matt nearly lost an arm. Keith leapt off the helm. The boat was still in reverse. The rope went in the water. There was more shouting. More running. We finally got the boat in place. Matt regained consciousness, checked to see if he still had 2 arms, and picked himself up off the dock.

Success?

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The guys focued on water and fuel and I walked back to the Blue and Pink Stores. Maybe some hot dog buns had materialized overnight.

No luck.

Apparently, finding hot dog buns in the Exumas is like spotting a unicorn.

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We headed back over to Thunderball Grotto for another snorkel and to grill the leftover hamburgers and (bunless) hot dogs for lunch. It was as beautiful as it had been the day before.

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The grill wouldn’t light. Despite my insistence that we could, indeed, cook hot dogs and hamburgers on the stove, the guys kept working on the grill.

Remember how I said a man will put a bike together wrong 4 times before he'll read the instructions? Yeah. It was something like that.

An hour later, looking at the tools strewn all about the deck, getting hot and hungry, I started yelling.

You know that person that is really bossy, always talks but never listens, has a really bad temper and is always starting fights?

Apparently, that’s me.

I cussed everyone out. Matt threw a few hamburgers in the ocean. Sydney got a headache. I started crying. John was just happy that he wasn’t the one fighting with me this time. Teresa just wished her mattress was dry so she could go hide in her cabin. Keith popped open a beer and wondered why the hell he was on a boat with these people.

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After lunch (cooked on the stove) and a second round of snorkeling, we pulled up our anchor and headed toward Blackpoint Settlement on Great Guana Cay.

We stopped on Bitter Guana Cay, just before Blackpoint, to see the endangered Rock Iguanas.

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Blackpoint Settlement is touted as the largest settlement in the Exuma cays. I think I expected it to be bigger, but I should have known better after George Town.

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This time it was John & Matt who leapt off the boat before even getting a shower. They were headed to Scorpio’s Happier Hour where they could drink and play pool without any women glaring at them.

Teresa went in to town hoping to find some shops still open.

Sydney still had a headache and was sleeping in her cabin.

I grabbed a quick shower and had Keith take me to the settlement dock so I could find Teresa. He stayed with Sydney.

I found Teresa and she told me the guys were at Scorpio’s.

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We headed that way and found a seat at the bar. The guys were playing pool. We ignored them. They ignored us. It was all very 7th grade.

Teresa and I found that Scorpio’s was still having what they called “Happier Hour.” This meant 2-for-1 rum punches. Since they were only $3.50 each, it seemed like a good idea to drink as many of them as we could, despite the fact that they could have stripped the paint off my house

I was feeling happier already.

After a few rum punches, we forgot to be mad.

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Lessons Learned on Island Girl So Far:

1) Every morning is going to be sunny and fun.
2) Every afternoon one of three things is going to happen: a) Someone is going to get hurt. b) We are going to break something. c) Vicki is going to get in a fight with someone.
3) Every evening all the ills of the day can be cured with rum punch.
4) No one has proper bathroom signs.

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See? We were getting the hang of it.

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We walked down to Lorraine’s Café for dinner. While the pig feet and sheep tongue souse sounded mighty tasty, I went boring and got the ribs.
Not expecting much, I was surprised at just how good the ribs were. Although, it could have just been the rum punch. It made everything seem awesome.

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For dessert, the waitress brought us a plate of the ugliest, but most delicious little cupcakes ever.

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It was late. We stumbled down to the dock and suddenly realized we didn’t have a way to contact Keith and let him know we were ready for a pick up.

We yelled. We jumped up and down. We whistled. Finally, he came to get us and we made a bone-jarring, wet, and slow dingy ride back to the boat at oh-dark-hundred.

Posted by vicki_h 05:13 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay blackpoint Comments (1)

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 5

I Smell Bacon.

Day Five Itinerary: Little Farmer’s Cay to Staniel Cay (16 miles)

We woke up not completely hating each other and figured that was a good enough reason to continue on.

Mornings on the boat were my favorite time. Not only was the sky painted in soft colors and the world still soft and quiet, it was the point in each day where no one was mad, we weren't lost, and no body parts were getting broken.

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John & Teresa’s bedding still wasn’t dry and we’d been schlepping it in and out every day hoping it would eventually dry out so that they could return to their cabin. At this point, pieces of their bedding were getting seriously moldy.

We stowed their moldy, wet stuff back inside, made a quick breakfast, and bid "good bye" to Farmer's Cay.

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We were headed for Staniel Cay. As we moved along the inside passage, through shallows, past sandbars, beside uninhabited cays, EVERY DAY was simply amazing.

The water in the Exumas beats anything I have seen anywhere. It's simply mesmerizing.

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We made it to Staniel by 10:30. We wanted to snorkel at low tide, so we moored near Thunderball Grotto.

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We took the dingy in to the Yacht Club to grab some lunch. They didn’t start serving lunch until noon, so we did the only other thing we could. We drank.

Besides, when you've endured a couple of tension filled days, there is nothing wrong with an 11:00 a.m. buzz.

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The girls decided to walk up to the grocery store. We had some leftover hot dogs and were still determined to find the elusive Exuma hot dog buns.

Staniel Cay has two small stores. Combine the contents of both stores and you have the equivalent of a badly stocked 7 Eleven.

We tried the Blue Store first. They did not have hot dog buns. But they did have peanut butter and dish soap, so it wasn’t a total loss.

We walked over to the Pink Store next. They did not have hot dog buns, but they did have Ruffles. Unfortunately, they also had a complete lack of air conditioning or breathable oxygen inside. We almost died.

Really.

But it was worth it for the chips.

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We returned to the Yacht Club for a quick bite before returning to the boat to snorkel the Grotto.

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You know how some things get really trumped up and, when you finally get to experience them, you find that they are severely overrated? Like visiting the Empire State Building, overnight travel on a train, or anything in Las Vegas?

Thunderball Grotto is not one of those things.

It is just as amazing as you think it’s going to be.

The Grotto is a marine cave that you can swim into at low tide. A hole at the top lets shimmering shafts of sunlight beam down into the water below. Underwater is teeming with fish and beautiful coral that you can see in water that is as clear as glass.

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When we’d had our fill of the Grotto, we moved the boat over to Big Major Spot, home of Pig Beach, to anchor for the night.

Apparently, our invitation to the Yacht Party had gotten lost in the mail.

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I saw an article on Huffington Post that said, “You can swim with adorable pigs in the Bahamas.”

I saw another online article that read, “It's decided: there is no better combination than adorable pigs and a tropical island. There exists on this humble planet a place where humans and wild pigs can frolic on a tropical beach together.”

Okay, let’s get a couple of things straight, because I don’t want anyone to be misled.

Yes, there are swimming pigs in the Bahamas. Yes, they are kind of cool.

But adorable they are not.

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Nor can you “frolic on a tropical beach together,” unless your definition of “frolicking” involves running for your life with a two-day old bagel in your hand while being chased by 5 giant pigs who outweigh you by at least 100 lbs or beating pig hooves off the side of your dingy with a pool noodle so he doesn’t sink you both.

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We swam with the pigs. We fed the pigs. We watched Sydney get chased down the beach by the pigs (my personal favorite).

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We spent the rest of the beautiful afternoon on the boat doing our thing. Apparently, my thing is jumping on the trampoline. Apparently, enough rum can make a person think that is an ACTUAL TRAMPOLINE.

It’s not.

It's a lot like jumping up and down on the sidewalk.

But good luck telling me that after I have had a few rum punches.

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The afternoon was enjoyed on the boat, doing absolutely nothing. It was heavenly.

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We had discovered “Taste & Sea” Restaurant on our previous trip to Staniel Cay and had actually enjoyed it more for dinner than the very slow and very overpriced Yacht Club. So, everyone got cleaned up and we headed inland to celebrate our first day at sea where nothing got broken, no one got hurt, no one cried, and no one got in a fight.

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We celebrated with rum punch, coconut shrimp, and key lime pie.

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And then there was Bobby.

We loved Bobby.

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When it was time to leave, Sydney left a huge tip with a note, “Please use the extra tip money to give Bobby a bath.”

We had made it through an entire day without tearing anything up, getting lost, or getting in a fight. Things were looking up.

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Posted by vicki_h 07:10 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay Comments (3)

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 4

Day Four: Mermaids and M*&%ER F&*@ERS

Day Four Itinerary: Rat Cay to Little Farmer’s Cay – 24 miles

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I don’t know about everyone else, but I woke up EXHAUSTED.

We had survived Sailing in the Bahamas for Dummies on Day 1 and hoped the learning curve was going to get easier.

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Our plan for the day was to sail from Rat Cay to Rudder Cut Cay, where we would anchor for lunch before continuing on to Little Farmer’s Cay where the first “settlement” after leaving Great Exuma waited for us. We were looking forward to finding the submerged piano sculpture that was rumored to be off Rudder Cut and have a dinner at an actual restaurant where we could eat at a table that didn’t rock back and forth and require you to hold onto your silverware to keep it from sliding into the floor.

The morning sail was uneventful. The water was beautiful. Starfish the size of dinner plates rested on the sand below and the bottoms of the clouds overhead were tinted with turquoise from water below. Everywhere we looked, there was a different shade of blue.

We enjoyed a calm, peaceful ride, alternating between naps on the trampoline and reading on the back deck.

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We arrived at Rudder Cut Cay before noon. Rudder Cut Cay is beautiful, but the beach is off limits because the island is privately owned by David Copperfield. It holds the airstrip that transports guests to and from Copperfield’s gajillion-dollar-a-night private resort island, Musha Cay.

There were actually signs on the beach telling people to "keep off" and I have read that there are guard dogs that patrol the beach to keep riff-raff like us away.

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It is said that David Copperfield had a sculpture made from a mirror finished piano that is a replica of a life size Steinway Concert Grand Piano. A mermaid sits on the bench, a sculpture fashioned after the woman who was Copperfield’s girlfriend at the time the sculpture was made.

Adam, the guy who checked us out on the boat, told us he’d never been able to find it. Finding a piano in the ocean is like trying to find a fart in a sandstorm.

We didn’t have a chance.

But we really wanted to find that piano.

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Matt and John swam back and forth across the bay where we believed the sculpture to be. Back and forth. Back and forth. Forth and back. Back and forth.

Just when we were about to give up, a day tour boat passed and stopped at the cave on Rudder Cut. Matt swam over and asked them where it was. They directed us to go back one bay, around the point. "Once you see it, you can't miss it," they said.

They were right. From the surface, it looks pretty much like a piano in the water.

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I hate to overuse the word awesome, but it was AWESOME.

I mean...A mermaid! And a piano! In the water!

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We planned to visit the nearby 2 mile sandbar, as low tide was just approaching, but some ugly clouds and choppy waves were approaching too, so we decided not to try our luck.

This was as close as we got.

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Instead, we made lobster rolls with lobster Sydney had brought down from Canada and buttered, toasted baguettes. Apparently, Syd does not like it when her hands smell like lobster. I was starting to wonder if she was going to make lobster salad or perform a rectal exam.

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The morning had been fantastic. Our spirits were high. We had found the mermaid. We were sailing through the water like a hot knife through butter. We had a fantastic lunch instead of a rectal exam.

We had this Bahamas sailing thing DOWN. We were IN THE KNOW. We had this.

Life was good.

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Until we got to Little Farmer’s Cay.

We were moving along fine, having just reached Little Farmer’s Cay, and then, all of a sudden, there was a JOLT. And we weren’t moving anymore.

Damn.

One minute, the sun is shining. You’re sipping a rum punch. You’re cruising along with your favorite song playing and then. Wham. You’re on a sandbar.

The boat guide says, “If you do hit a sand bar, the first thing you should do is shut off the engine. Make sure that everyone on board is okay, because there is sure to be a hard jolt, and if you are not prepared for it you may go flying and get hurt. “

That’s as far as we got before the fight started.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get as far as “Stay calm. Getting irate will not help you dislodge your boat and it will only make things worse for the people on board.”

Fingers were pointing. Charts were flying. Sydney was waving her arms. Teresa was crying again. John and I had a shouting match that would have made our mothers wash our mouths out with soap. Everyone blamed everyone.

Thankfully, Matt kept reading as the rest of us alternated between screaming, shouting, crying, and curling up into a fetal position and repeating, “Mommy loves Daddy. Mommy loves Daddy. Mommy loves Daddy.”

“Disembark and make sure that there is no structural damage. If not, then then push your boat backwards from where you came.”

Before we knew it, we were off the sandbar.

We all calmed down long enough to find some mooring balls and secure the boat. The mooring wasn’t strong and it looked like a storm was coming.

This caused another shouting match.

The women on the boat were demanding that we use the VHF to call the Yacht Club because the guide book said you could call them if you needed help navigating your way in and someone would help you.

A man will drive 40 miles out of his way before he'll stop and ask directions. A man will put a bicycle together wong 4 times before he'll actually read the instructions. Did we really think they were going to radio some other guy and admit they needed help navigating in?

Things were tense.

We finally called the Little Farmer’s Yacht Club and they told us how to get in and where to find a stronger mooring. When we got the boat secured at the second mooring, I practically leapt off the boat.

There are moments on a boat when the only thing that matters is getting off that boat.

Matt and I had Keith take us over to Little Farmer’s on the dingy and drop us off. I needed some “me time,” and Matt got dragged along for the ride.

Little Farmer’s Cay was unique.

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Little Farmer’s was settled by a freed slave from Great Exuma named Chrisanna. She bought the island from the British Crown and moved there with her three young children. Mostly undeveloped, this small cay is home to about 50 residents who are mostly descendants of the original residents.

There was nothing “fancy” about Little Farmer’s. It was simple and basic, but it was pretty. As we walked, we noticed most people were outside and every single person greeted us with a happy, friendly greeting. These people were not rich, but they were happy and they were kind.

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They had a very interesting Post Office:

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Given the sight of the Post Office and the Grocery Store, and the fact that there was an honor box on the beach where you could either buy a cabbage for $3.00 or drop off garbage for $3.00 (I never was sure ....), I knew Matt was making a mistake when he strolled into this Bar thinking he was going to find an actual BAR.

The rusted out Jeep should have been a clue. There were more posters of alcohol on the outside of the door than there were actual bottles of alcohol inside.

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There was a counter with 2 bottles of rum and a can of pineapple juice. Oh, and some warm sodas. He didn’t have any ice.

Well, once you are the only patrons inside, you are going to be ordering something, now aren’t you? So Matt had a rum and pineapple juice. No ice.

We met a man who was collecting buckets and had his tennis shoes tied with blades of grass. We found a tiny stray kitten. We were followed by laughing children.

We also found what appears to be the Farmer's Cay hotel, although, I would SERIOUSLY like to know who is going to walk up to that door, ring that bell, and tell them they want to sleep there for $10.

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Maybe if I had just spent 3 weeks on a life raft. No. Not even then.

Eventually, I had regained enough normalcy that I thought I could be with other people without slapping anyone, so we made our way to the Ocean Cabin, THE restaurant on Little Farmer’s Cay.

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Ocean Cabin is owned and operated by Terry Bain and his wife, Ernestine. Terry was born in the Bahamas but was sent to England and to Libya for his education. It shines through in his articulate manner and his ability to talk about any subject whatsoever. When you go to the Ocean Cabin, you don’t just get fed well, you get entertained and you get educated.

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When Matt and I walked into the Ocean Cabin’s small bar, the others were gathered around the bar, staring at a blue drink.

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“We’re trying to guess what’s in it,” Sydney said.

Terry told me that the drink was not blue, it was aquamarine. It’s the Ocean Cabin’s signature drink and it is pre-mixed in a jug, so you don’t get to see what actually goes into it. We spent a good 30 minutes trying to guess all of the ingredients. Spend a few days on a boat and that’s what happens to you. Everything becomes entertainment.

We finally managed to guess them all, but by then, we were all drunk, so no one remembers what they were.

So that’s how he keeps the ingredients secret. Terry is a smart man.

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We had pre-ordered dinner via VHF radio shortly before I leapt off the boat for sanity purposes, and as we moved into the dining room, delicious plates of food started arriving.

Matt, Teresa, and I all ordered the lobster. 1) The lobster tails were HUGE. 2) We have no idea how they cooked them, but they were the most delicious, tender lobster tails any of us had ever had. They had some sort of hot sauce butter mixture on them that was out of this world.

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After dinner, Terry told us that we could have any flavor of ice cream that we wanted.

As long as it was rum raisin.

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The drinks, the conversation, the amazing dinner, the ice cream….the long evening had been filled with wonderful things. And every time we thought that was it, it was like that old Ginsu Knives commercial.

“But WAIT! That’s not all. You also get seven free kittens and a new car!”

After ice cream, Terry went around and handed everyone a piece of paper. On it was a song.

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We sang it.

Together.

As a group.

We rocked it.

Little Farmer’s Cay –
smiling in the turquoise sea,
lazing in the sun at noon,
dreaming safe beneath the moon.
Where sky meets sand and sea –
my precious island, Farmer’s Cay.
This is home to me and it will always be.

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“But WAIT! That’s not all! You also get a bag of diamonds and a bubble making machine!”

Just when we thought there couldn’t be anything else, Terry showed up with a tray of shot glasses and a bottle of Nassau Royale liqueur, which he proceed to pour, light on fire, and teach us how to dip our fingers into it and take the fire to our mouths.

WE ATE FIRE.

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That’s better than 7 kittens and a bubble machine.

The best part was that Terry reminded us how much fun we were having and how much we loved each other. Spending the evening with Terry at the Ocean Cabin was worth getting tossed around, flooded, banged up, and run aground.

I even forgave John for calling me a M*&%ER F&*@ER.

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Posted by vicki_h 05:36 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay Comments (2)

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