- Katharine Hesmer
DAY 36 | January 18, 2022
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Black Point, Great Guana Cay, to George Town, Great Exuma Cay, Exuma, Bahamas
Woke up to more rolling around like a bath toy this morning. It was ok though, as we are hitting the road once again and heading south for George Town. Ron told Skeet he was in charge of getting us out of the anchorage solo (!), and Skeet very confidently and capably took over the helm at the flybridge while his Dad worked downstairs.
It was a fairly smooth ride, so I was able to get some work done as we cruised along. About nine miles from Black Point, we passed the Farmer's Cay Yacht Club , a stop we had made on our trip in 2019. I'll never forget the kindness of the owners, Roosevelt and Shirley Nixon, who had already closed their kitchen for the day, but reopened just for us so we could eat dinner. Just incredibly generous people. I remember Mr. Nixon being proud that he was named for two presidents, and sharing the small-world news that his brother (or cousin?) was the name behind Nixon's — a super popular seafood market — that sold oysters in Wilmington. How crazy is that?!
Farmer's Cay Yacht Club on Little Farmer's Cay
Drone pic of Farmer's Cay Yacht Club from our 2019 trip with the Reddins. That's our charter boat in the foreground.
Skeet enjoying breakfast and doing schoolwork with his best buddy.
Steve is very versatile, and can go from helping you with homework to solving a mini crossword.
Just south of Big Farmer's Cay is Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay, owned by the famous illusionist David Copperfield. These islands are the home of Musha Cay Resort, which we did not see, but from their website, it looks pretty stunning. In 2011, Copperfield commissioned an underwater work of art installed just off shore that features a full-scale mermaid and a replica of a Steinway concert grand piano. Sounds crazy, but it's true, and we stopped by to check it out. It was designed as a fun "surprise" for snorkelers to discover, and would start playing music as snorkelers approached. I can't say for sure, but I doubt this feature still works as the sculpture has understandably taken quite a beating from the elements over the years. The current was incredibly strong and working against us, so Skeet and I couldn't get but so close, but we were SO glad we'd taken the time to stop and check it out. It was a really cool experience.
These are not my photos as I couldn't get this close, but they give you a better idea of the sculpture's scale and detail.
The current was so strong on our way back to KORKZcrew that Ron had to circle back around to pick us up. It was as if we were swimming in place.
As we continued on our trek to George Town, Ron called me up to the flybridge saying he wanted to show me something. It turns out he'd seen one of the boats we follow weekly on YouTube on KORKZcrew's chart plotter — Clarity, owned by Nick and Megan O'Kelly from Portland, Oregon. We knew they were traveling in the Exumas, but had no idea exactly where they were, and then boom — they appeared on our screen close by!
When you follow all the different sailors and cruisers on YouTube, you feel like you know them to some extent, because they do such a good job of sharing their day-to-day experiences on board their respective vessels. They've all taught us a lot over the years in preparation for the trip we're on, so we feel a sense of gratitude to these folks even though they have no idea how much they've helped us. I also think about the courage it takes to put yourself "out there" on YouTube, and to film your every waking moment. It must get exhausting, as the editing alone has to take days, and I'm guessing it gets old to have to videotape day and night. But I'm also aware it can be a very lucrative business, especially if you're Sailing Vessel La Vagabonde, which is the most popular sailing channel on YouTube, and makes somewhere in the ballpark of $15k every weekly episode. That's probably way off the mark, but they make money from Patreon, YouTube, sponsorships, and from the merchandise they sell, and they've earned every penny. They've worked really hard at this for seven years, and are now raising a toddler and a baby on board their 45' catamaran. Now that they have children, they often have additional crew members to help them, but have mostly accomplished all of these adventures completely on their own as they make their way around the world.
Anyway, back to Clarity for a moment. Or at least to the boat named Clarity 😂. When Skeet heard we'd just passed them, he asked us why we didn't call them on the radio. I was like, "What would we say? 'Hey we really like your show!'?" Skeet just couldn't believe we wouldn't even try to reach out to them just to say hello, so he took matters into his own hands and hailed them on Channel 16. Ron encouraged him to first ask if the O'Kelly's could see us on their AIS (Automatic Identification System), as we've been having mixed results with our visibility. We can see other boats like Clarity on our AIS, but have learned that sometimes other boats can't see us. At first, Skeet spoke with Megan on the VHF, and then Nick piped up with his very recognizable voice, and was incredibly friendly with Skeet. So nice. That exchange was really fun, especially for Skeet. I don't think he stopped smiling for the rest of the day.
Oh, and today offered up yet another KORKZcrew fish tale, and one with a particularly strange ending. Ron put out a line earlier in the day, and we both promptly forgot all about it, until I happened to notice the rod bending over more precariously than normal. We slowed down KORKZcrew, and as Ron reeled in the mystery fish, muttering “please don’t be a barracuda please don’t be a barracuda”, he felt ANOTHER big tug on the line, and something beat us to what we think was a King Mackerel in its former life. So Ron basically reeled in a fish head 😳, and I would tell you that it’s mouth was still moving, but that’s kind of gross and I’m far too polite to say such a thing.😬 Poor dude. It was either going to be our dinner or someone else's, and "someone else" pretty much won that fight.
Egads. I'll spare you the up-close-and-personal photo of our "catch" of the day. 😳
Around 4:00, we had George Town in our sights, and enjoyed cruising by all the different boats that were anchored there. George Town is a popular "stop over" for sailors and cruisers heading north and south, so it typically has a good crowd of vessels anchored in the bay, and again, they are predominantly sailboats in the 40' to 50' range.
Steve looks like he might fly away. Love those ears!
One of my favorite things about sailboats anchored at night is their mast lights that make it look like you're floating around in a small city. I didn't do the best job at capturing this on "film", but still thought it worthy of a mention as this image has stood out in my mind ever since my first sailing excursions with Ron years ago to Cape Lookout. All you could see were anchor lights and the stars in the sky. It's a pretty spectacular way to end the day.
7 hours underway; 48 nautical miles traveled