Little Farmers Cay was settled by a freed slave from Great Exuma who moved there with her two sons and daughter. Apparently her children did not have any hobbies other than creating children of their own, the plentiful Nixons and Browns. The English Crown willed the cay to her descendents as a generation property. We paid our twenty dollar a night mooring fee to the hard working, friendly, eighty years plus, Roosevelt Nixon.
It was good to be back in the Bahamas of its people rather than with the taint of tourists. I realize that I am a tourist too, but I am starting to feel Bahamian. Ya mon, whas da hurry? Farmers Cay Yacht Club is my kind of yacht club, laid back, good bahamian food (fried snapper, chicken, lobster or ribs with peas and rice) and with a happy hour that pulls in our fellow sailors with rum punch (the key is coconut flavored rum) and conch fritters.
Fortyish people, mostly Nixons and Browns, live on this three and a half mile island which has two very small grocery stores, one church and five bars. Captain Saynomore wanted to “see” all five. We have attached ourselves like desperate octopuses to Soul Divers as they are fantastic cooks, have wine (which I, GASP, am out of), are most excellent underwater tour guides and they have a snarky cat I love, Toby. Soul Divers often sets sail before sunrise and forgets to tell us where they’re going but we are clever at tracking them down (I have a nose for wine) and then we anchor right next them. Hi de ho neighborino! The four of us began our bar to bar hike around the island. We only found three bars but found island charm times five.
A comfy hammock made with a mattress in a fishing net
We visited a wood carver with a fruit tree garden. He gave us a tour of the pomegranate, almond, sarsaparilla, and odd fruits I’ve never heard of. The walk made us thirsty so we stopped at a restaurant. Read their hours.
There was a sign in the bar that said no swearing so we needed to remove Captain Tellsdirtyjokesregularly quickly. Removing Captain Onemorelastone from a bar is like removing a Remora from a Sea Turtle (I’ll explain later.) Especially when he has a new friend who thinks his ancient, worn out jokes are funny. But we finally managed by promising him there were more bars on the island.
See Speedy the hummingbird resting in the top right of the picture?
We walked into one of the small grocery stores which had less food in it than I had on Echoes but had the most glorious smell. The proprietors were sitting in the shade out front. I told them the smell of their store brought me back in time to my grandmother’s most wonderful kitchen. That would be my coconut bread, she replied. Is this coconut bread for sale? I asked. Five dollars. I bake right here, and she pointed to a kitchen attached to the store. Five dollars bought me a fragrant, warm loaf of golden, spongey bliss. I dreamt that night I was sleeping on a bed made of warm coconut bread.
By far, for me, the bestestest part of Little Farmers Cay happened below the water. There is a turtle and fish sanctuary right in the center of town. There is no fishing or hunting in these Green turtle breeding grounds but you are welcome to swim with them. The turtle man will give you conch to hand feed them with.
The turtle nemesis under Michelle Turtle is a Remora fish. Our family calls them Shoe Heads because the top of their heads are flat and have a shoe tread like texture to them. They have suckers on their front dorsels and attach themselves to anyone they think might bring them a free meal with a free ride. Ramone Remora took the conch that I am feeding Michelle in the above picture out of her mouth. Michelle slapped him up silly on his head with her fin, took it right back and gobbled it down.
Sadie is feeding Squirtle. These awesome shots are from Soul Divers’ gopro. I have now added a gopro to our never ending wish list of purchases for the boat next year, right below wine cellar. Who needs a bilge? Green turtles get their name from the green tissue under their skin. They can get over five feet long and weigh over seven hundred pounds. These guys were smaller but still breathtaking.
We also saw rays and puffer fish. Puffer fish have a permanent smile of their faces. When they are agitated or scared they can puff up to more than twice their size.
There were about ten turtles swimming around looking for conch handouts.
After swimming with our new hard hat friends we had conch salad ceviche that Carselle made for us on the spot right on the dinghy dock.
We had previously seen locals fighting over the conch penis and pissel when fisherman were shelling conch in Great Harbour. Both the pissel and the penis are said to be Bahamian Viagra. Captain Courageousanddofeelsorryforme ate them both. The little brown doodle is under the spoon and this is the pissel (also called a pistol). The pissel is a part of conch anatomy used in digestion.
The conch ceviche was spicy and out of this world. And this was the scenery as we waited for our ceviche to be made. There were Browns and Nixons returning from from fishing.
There were Nixons and Browns catching bait fish with a net.
Our turtle friends would visit.
I called this day Princess day because the princess was very, very happy. There was no B.P., no smelly meat juice in fridges, no roly polys, no yuckified sausage, no full waste tanks or hungry no see ums feasting on my every inch. Instead there were the many hued, turquoise waters of painters’ dreams, friendly turtles, spicy conch ceviche sprinkled with laughter and cold beers to wash it all down with.
And the next day wasn’t too shabby either. The next day we went lionfish hunting…oh my!
Photo credit Dr Googlesearch and Wickipedia
Lionfish are venomous and extremely invasive. They are prolific breeders and have very few predators. Their sharp spines are poisonous and they hang hidden upside down in crevices protecting their soft underbellies. They eat juvenile reef fish like pigs on a beach. They are dangerous to marine life balance. Most people do not hunt or eat lionfish because of their venomous spines but Matt and Sadie are both scuba dive instructors and are both experienced hunters. Equipped with sling type spear guns, thick gloves and a container called a zoo keeper to keep the fish in after its killed, we went lionfish hunting. Or at least they did, we just went along for the fun of it.
There was a dancing Sea anemone. Sea anemones are animals that use their tentacles to catch their prey.
Then we saw a gorgeous pufferfish partially puffed up.
And finally, Sadie and Matt found a lionfish hiding in a hole. They speared it and put it in their zoo keeper. Did I tell you lionfish is delicious? You just have to know what you are doing to clean one. Sadie filleted the small beauty.
I had never eaten lionfish. That evening Sadie brought over lionfish ceviche and I will never forget its succulence as long as I live. I declared it Princess day 2. It was a very good day.
The parts for our broken solar regulator have finally reached Fort Lauderdale. Next they are to be flown on a small plane to Staniel Cay. We will begin to make our way back up north to pick up our parts and end the arguments of battery use priorities. I’m tired of living in the dark but I do look my best. I miss my fan at night. However, these experiences are most definitely worth it.