Today’s post will cover our week between Staniel Cay and Little Farmers Cay heading to Georgetown. I believe I left off with our 2 day sail into Staniel Cay where we were greeted by the swimming pigs off the beach. Once we anchored, we quickly grabbed some food to offer the pigs. We got to shore and I couldn’t believe how big these pigs were. They were quite literally bigger than me, and as soon as they see a dinghy coming to shore, they start to come out into the water looking for the food. The little pigs were the cutest, one looking quite scrawny as it kept getting shoved out of the way by the big pigs with their snouts. We tried to feed the little ones when the big ones were distracted. After we had our fill of avoiding getting stepped on by hooves, we headed back to the boat for happy hour.
The next day, we went snorkeling over to Thunderball Grotto right outside of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. It was somewhat tricky to get inside, fighting a current swimming to the entrance from the dinghy. We squeezed between rocks, having to not only watch your head above water, but duck down to see what you might run into below the water as well. But once we got inside, it was a big cave with an opening on the top where sunlight came through. There was a ton of fish that were below the surface inside the cave, it was pretty awesome to see. [Insert GoPro footage we’re having trouble downloading software to edit here…maybe a future post we’ll get our act together]
After seeing that boats were anchored near Thunderball Grotto, we decided to move our boat over that way to avoid some of the upcoming wind in hopes of a less rolly night’s sleep. The next day we ventured into Staniel Cay to see what groceries they had, which was very limited. There was the little blue store or the little pink store which both had limited selection of any fresh veggies or fruit, and I believe I saw one loaf of bread between the two stores. We then went around to the other side of the island where we found another little shop that had a bit more to choose from and scored a bag of frozen broccoli, chicken breasts, ground beef, and a loaf of bread. Grocery stores on most of the islands have such a limited supply of just about everything. It’s nothing like in the states where you can run to WalMart or Kroger and pick up what you need anytime. It’s an adventure timing the supply boat and what store might get something fresh in than the couple of bruised apples you saw the day before. An example of one of the stores on an island is the blue building in the photo below, where the door was open…screen locked…nobody there…food inside…but nobody there to sell it when we came by. Ah…island hours.
That afternoon, Richard and Donny from Moon Shadow, decided to snorkel Thunderball Grotto again. They said it was a much clearer day underwater and they saw even more fish than we had the day before. I spent the afternoon looking at cruising guides with Dianna, and chit chatting. We then prepared to head towards Little Farmers Cay where they were having a big festival and regatta all weekend.
You can see the very official airport right in the background of the bar and beach. There’s no security…we walked down the runway in between planes flying in and taking off to get across the island through a shortcut! And it doubles as a kids playground during the afternoons when the planes aren’t using it! Crazy!
Little Farmers Cay hosts the First Friday of February Little Farmers Festival aka the 5 F’s. They had a 2 day regatta with Class C traditional Bahamian style sail boats. They also hosted the First Annual Cruisers Regatta. After talking to a couple of boats, we decided to sign up for the Cruiser’s Regatta and have a few other people crew on our boat. When we went to the yacht club to sign up, they wrote our name down on a sheet of paper and said we’re signed up. No other questions asked. So we asked, when is it going to be? Where do we need to be? Typical questions we thought… To which we left even more confused. They announced on the radio that morning to sign up before 11:30, so we signed up and were first on the list about 9:30. When we left, he said the man in charge wasn’t even on the island yet, but to come back about 11:30 or 12 and the race should start about 12. We asked, so…should we come back in our dinghy or sailboat, and come back where exactly. He just repeated to come back and check later and the race would start maybe about 4:00, maybe today maybe tomorrow. Our thought…race starting at 4:00? Sun sets about 5:30/6:00….how in the world does this regatta work? Well, this is how it is on the islands…true display of island time.
We checked back in about noon, but again the guy in charge of the racing was still not even on the island yet (he was supposed to be flying in). So, we figured we’ll just wait to see if they make another annoucement on the radio and wait until we go into the yacht club for the happy hour they were hosting for cruisers (complete with free food and free drinks) to kick off the festival weekend. When we got there, which was supposed to start about 4:00, we found out 4:15 is too late when people know it’s free food and drink. We barely got some peas and rice and bite of chicken, but they made some mahi mahi special for the last group of us that didn’t get the chicken. We missed the rum punch, but scored a few of the last Kalik beers which we gladly accepted. There were probably about 100 people in this small yacht club all chatting about their cruising which was really a fun event. We saw the man we had signed up for the regatta with and he said there was a second boat who had signed up and we’d be racing the next morning at 11. Which we thought was odd because thats when the real class C regatta was also beginning… The next day we listened on the radio for any further annoucement about the cruiser’s regatta, where we finally heard that it was cancelled due to low sign-ups. The way we see it, we were the first to sign up, so we came in first place in Little Farmers Cay Cruiser’s Regatta.
We headed to the beach after a quick lunch on the boat (tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…) and started to watch the regatta. While there Richard got a conch salad which consists of fresh conch, onion, tomato, little bit of pepper, lime juice and orange juice. I got a beer and caught up on some emails and facebook enjoying their free wifi. We pretty much spent the whole afternoon there before dropping the computer back off on the boat and continuing to another couple bars which we heard had games going on with bottles of vodka as prizes. This we could not pass up. Quickly on our way to the bar, we peeked into the grocery store because we heard the mail boat was supposed to be bringing some food in, but alas, there was not much to choose from here either. So, onwards to the bar. They had a couple of fun games, where we actually did win a bottle of vodka! The first game consisted of popping a balloon between a couple….use your imagination to understand how without using hands. The next game is what we won, where the women had a plunger tied between her legs (a new one thank God), and the men had to hold a roll of toilet paper between theirs and the first couple to get the roll of toilet paper onto the plunger handle won. I believe there will be pictures on the Ocean Cabin’s website at some point because I didn’t have my camera doing this… We did however lose the egg toss where you won a dozen eggs, which is what Richard really cared about winning. We continued socializing and had a couple drinks before heading to get some dinner and dancing to finish out the night. We found a tent that sold BBQ (bahamian style) chicken and pork, with corn on the cob, and peas and rice for $8 which is a steal and it was so good. Photo below is the conch salad shack where the chef is an island native who makes the “best conch salad on the island” where he was making bowls full day after day on the beach.
On Sunday, it was the Superbowl, which was kind of funny since most cruisers are so disconnected from the outside world, someone asked over the radio in the morning who was even playing. We just listened for which bar had the best specials that night. We headed back into Ty’s which was right on the beach and enjoyed some rum punch’s and fresh fried chicken wings. And they came around a few times to hand out shots to everyone in the bar. It made for a pretty fun evening, even though most of the game we spent on the outside patio to avoid the noise and cheering since we personally didn’t care to watch the game.
The next day we continued South towards Lee Stocking Island. We decided to put our fishing line out and see if anything happened as it would be a couple hour sail. About an hour before we would be arriving to the anchorage, we got a snag on the line. It was a few minutes of bloody chaos getting the fish up onto the boat. But we got our first catch! I called over to Donny to tell him we got dinner because once we got the fish into the boat and had blood everywhere we didn’t really know what to do with it, or what it even was. It turned out to be a Dorado about 28″ long. After discussing our bloody cockpit mess, we now know to squirt rum/vodka something into the gills of the fish to calm it down. Richard was so excited to catch it, between radioing about what to do with it and making sure the fish didn’t flop out of the boat, I quick grabbed the camera and caught a picture before the fish lost all it’s pretty coloring. We just kept it in a bucket of water after draining it and decided to wait to fillet it once we got anchored.
We now had a couple of great dinners ahead of us! We ended up getting 4 good size fillets and enough other pieces for fish tacos which we fried up in flour and coconut oil, adding some fresh made cole slaw on our last couple of tortillas.
On the island was a deserted marine biologist lab and housing. If I’m remembering correctly it was deserted in 2013, and was starting to be overgrown and buildings were in disrepair. It was kind of eerie walking around because of so much of their lab equipment was still in various buildings. Whole boxes of test tubes, aquariums, buckets, etc. was just abandoned. There were homes, a dive shop, labs, even an airstrip, all left to just rot away…
The weather was changing quickly so we only spent one night at Lee Stocking before continuing to Georgetown. The wind was still not very favorable, but the following days were hardly any wind and we didn’t want to just be motoring an entire day. So we left Lee Stocking about 9am and had a rough ride out the inlet, but once we were in the blue water, it calmed down some. We ended up tacking back and forth about 6 times and decided not to put out a fishing line that day. We made it into Georgetown and anchored just before sunset, so about 6pm. It was a long day but we ventured over to Moon Shadow where we grilled the fish fillets with Donny and Dianna with some rice and more cole slaw. Dorado fish is basically mahi-mahi and it was a great couple of meals.
Next update, I’ll catch up with our time in Georgetown and onwards!
Thanks for reading!