We started last weekend exactly how weekends should start…with a great boater’s get-together! The annual 5F “Cruisers Dinner” at Farmer’s Cay was put on by the Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club (FCYC) and was a fun event with free food and drinks. Yes, you read that correctly! Instead of charging a fee, donations were collected for the Farmer’s Cay All Age School. Wonderful! Certainly, that donation box got a lot of action, which made the event even more special.
The dinner was a very casual affair with grilled chicken, beans and rice and, of course, Bahamian mac & cheese. So much goodness on our plates! There was some room inside FCYC for people to sit and dine but most people hung out outside, sitting on rocks or along the sea wall to eat. And accompanying the delicious food? Lots of great conversation! Both Lola (Steve) and Sensai (Ted and Evelyn) were there but we also got to catch up with On Y Va (Elise and Ghislaine), a boat from our home dock at Trident Yacht Club in Kingston. On Y Va had started their adventures in the Bahamas six years ago, returning home every summer but enjoying their winters in the warm Bahamian waters. We also got to chat a lot with new friends we had met along the ICW and a few others that we met in the Bahamas. Conversation is very easy with our fellow boaters – we have so much in common, so much to discuss and everyone always has big smiles. Kindred spirits for sure!
Truly though, the highlight of the 5F festival was the sailing. There were two days of dinghy races held on Friday and Saturday, with many expert local racers from all over the Bahamas in attendance. Their boats are traditional Bahamian wooden boats, about 5 metres in length, powered by a single large sail; however, the most interesting bit is how the race starts. We are used to boat races starting with boats already under sail, jockeying for position near the start line until the start gun is sounded. Not here! These boats start out at anchor. When the start gun goes, the crew weighs anchor and the sail goes up. This adds so much more excitement to the race. What a treat to get to watch it all unfold!
With the Regatta finishing up on Saturday, many of our fellow boaters (there were close to 200 attending the festival) began to leave Farmer’s Cay. We were all well-aware of a strong winter wind storm that was forecasted to hit the Exumas in the coming week so getting to a protected anchorage was top of mind for everyone. Many boaters used the good weather on the weekend to relocate, either further south towards George Town or northward to one of the many protected anchorages in the Exumas. For us, we were delighted to have a perfect wind on Sunday to sail to Black Point Settlement, about 2 hours north of Farmer’s Cay. It was a beautiful one tack sail with a 21-knot wind pushing us along. As the anchorage came into sight, our buddy boat “Lola” hailed us on the VHF saying “Here we are, along with 100 of our friends”. Yup! It was a busy anchorage! Many of us from Farmer’s Cay had the same idea, including Sensai and On Y Va. Right away we knew that riding out this wind storm was going to be fun 😊.
Black Point Settlement is a lovely little village. We had skipped this anchorage on our way south but loved that we now had the opportunity to check it out. One of the things we have come to enjoy about the Exumas is that each town has their own character and you only come to appreciate that uniqueness when you stroll around, meeting the friendly locals and checking out the buildings and terrain. Black Point Settlement has lots of children around, very curious and excited about our pup Ocean. It was great fun to chat with them about their island, school and, of course, Ocean! We also got to meet a few ladies weaving baskets outside their home. Both are retired teachers and now they enjoy spending time on their craft, while chatting with passersby and keeping a pulse on the goings-on in their town. There is so much beauty to be discovered on these islands, beginning with the incredible waters, terrain and food but mostly with the residents, young and old, who share it all with us.
The strong winds are forecasted to hold through the weekend, so we will be staying put. Black Point Settlement is the perfect protected anchorage for the weather, while also giving us easy access to groceries and long walks. Oh, and they just happen to be having a Superbowl party at the local yacht club on Sunday and, well, we can’t miss that! 😉
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.