Serene: calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil.
Serene was just another 6-letter word, one that I had never used to describe myself, until we anchored in the Exumas. Serene was the perfect description of the anchorage at Little Farmers Cay. We were one of only 4 boats anchored there and it was gorgeous. It was a breath of fresh air to get out of Georgetown and into a state of peaceful quiet, so quiet we could hear birds sing on shore. The best part was the uninterrupted view of water and sky. The only thing I like to see between me and the line where the water and sky meet is a colorful sunset or a green flash! It surprised me how everything felt lighter and happier in the serene setting. I realized that I would probably judge all future anchorages on the serenity level of the Exuma islands.
As we headed north from Georgetown en route to Little Farmers Cay we decided to try our hands at fishing. Before leaving the states Scott purchased a rod and reel and some ballyhoo for bait. We had asked a few people for tips on fishing but we really had no idea what we were doing. I was thinking positive about having some fresh fish for lunch. (I know, we eat plant based but felt that we should try another true Bahamian experience). Scott didn’t know how to use the new reel so we loaded up Youtube to learn the ins and outs of blue water fishing and the process took over an hour to get everything set up. Finally I sat down to “fish.” I had only been fishin’ for about ten minutes when I felt a tug on the line. We were wearing our “marriage savers”, aka headsets, so I immediately started squealing into Scott’s ear, “We got a fish, we got a fish!”
It took a fair amount of muscle to simply hold the pole with only the bait causing a drag. It took about 5 times more muscles to pull the pole back to attempt the turn the reel a couple of inches closer. When my arms tired we switched places so I monitored the boat and Scott brought it in the rest of the way. I got the net and lo, and behold, we caught a Mahi Mahi. It was 29” to the fork in his tail, not a bad size. I felt quite sad about killing him and apologized to him as I did so. Then, back to Youtube to learn how to fillet the fish. I let Scott have the honor of filleting, then I froze and vacuum sealed all but enough for lunch. It was thrilling to catch a fish from our very own boat even if it was beginners luck!
We checked out Farmers Yacht Club which was unlike any yacht club in the USA, and Ty’s Sunset Bar and Grill that afternoon then headed to Big Majors Cay the following day. Yes, that’s where the swimming pigs live. We hadn’t planned on visiting the pigs but the winds were high and currents strong in Staniel Cay so we dropped the hook at the edge of the anchorage near the pigs. When someone asked me if we would go to Iowa just to look at the pigs I realized it was pretty silly to make a trip to see swimming pigs but since we were there…what the heck! We didn’t bother getting out of the dinghy because we didn’t want to swim with nasty pigs in Iowa so why swim with them here? They were quite aggressive, hairy, and ugly but at least we can say that we saw them.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club was a bit more like a traditional yacht club in that there was a very nice marina and an upscale restaurant. We got an eye full of the mega-yachts and super mega-yachts at this popular location. After provisioning and a two night stay we were ready to move on to the more remote Shroud Cay in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
Shroud Cay was more to our liking with fewer boats and tourists and a lot more serenity. A dinghy ride through the mangrove-lined river that connected the Exuma Bank waters to the Atlantic was a trip highlight for Scott. Seeing 5 turtles, the multi-hued water, sand banks, mild waves and ultra soft sand was an “unforgettable” scene for him. Go to your pantry and take out the sack of flour, stick in your hand and then you will know what the sand felt like!
Our plan was to arrive at New Providence on March 22, just in time for company to arrive on March 23. Scott is always hyper-focused on 4 different weather reports and they were all indicating high winds and rough seas approaching. He perseverated all night long on March 16 over the possibility that we might not be able to make it to Nassau in time. Since he always errs on the side of caution we skipped the northern Exuma Cays and headed straight to Palm Cay Marina on New Providence on March 17 assuring us an easy passage. Wouldn’t you know…the next day the front shifted and went south! Oh, well, we’ll make lemonade out of lemons and explore New Providence and hopefully make some new friends.