After a few nights enjoying the several restaurants, bars, bakery, laundromat, and free WIFI at Blackpoint Settlement, it was time to get down to Little Farmers Cay for the legendary 5F festival.
The 5F festival is the First Friday in February Festival at Little Farmers Cay and has been held annually for over 20 years, originally organized by Terry Bain who runs a bar and restaurant called Ocean Cabin. This was a not-to-be-missed event and we expected to see lots of other cruisers, participate in events, and watch a sailing regatta of Bahamian sloops.
The sail down from Blackpoint to Little Farmers was uneventful and only took 3 hours. Since this was the Tuesday before the festival, we figured we would get a prime anchoring spot or mooring ball. But, come to find out, our friends on Magic and Veritas beat us there and grabbed the last few good mooring balls.
No problem, though. We grabbed one of the balls on the southeastern shore of Little Farmers for $25/night. It took us 6 tries to grab the mooring ball because there wasn’t any pennant to grab with the boathook! Finally, a boat on the mooring next to us dinghied out and inserted our mooring line into the mooring ball’s eye for us. Without them (thanks, S/V Voyageur), we wouldn’t have gotten onto the ball at all.
We only lasted on that mooring one night. It was just too rolly for us, with the boat rocking from side to side as the swells came in during flood tide (when the tide is rising). The “cut” or opening between the islands leading out to the deep ocean water was only a quarter mile away and directly facing us, so ocean swells came directly at us.
The next morning we motored a half mile north and dropped the anchor just off the beach on the southwestern tip of Great Guana. This little anchorage is shaped like a tongue and is only 50 feet wide and 300 feet long. It is very protected from wind and swells. It runs right along the beach, so you have to keep a good lookout. But if you run aground it is only sand. And, we briefly ran aground. But we were able to quickly pop into reverse and power back out of the shallows with our 75 HP engine.
Here is picture of the anchorage. Notice how the boats at anchor curve around with the beach.
A few hours after we anchored with our 60# Manson Supreme, our friends on S/V Lutra can along next to us and dropped two anchors in a “Bahamian moor.” This is where one anchor is upstream and the other is downstream. This is the preferred technique when there is strong current that changes direction twice a day because of the tides. We hadn’t yet used this technique but when Lutra dropped two anchors it forced us to follow suit. Otherwise, we would be swinging on the full radius of our single anchor and they would not be swinging at all–which is a sure recipe for a collision if the boats are close.
Since we had one anchor down in deep water, we had to drop the other anchor in 5 feet of water, which is too shallow for Real Life. So we loaded up our Fortress FX-37 (only 21 pounds!) and 50 feet of anchor chain into the dinghy and motored out 50 feet to drop the second anchor by hand. This worked well and the Fortress really dug into the sand bottom. We didn’t move at all during our stay at Farmer’s Cay even when we had 30+ MPH winds later that week.