In 1986 Ocean Cabin, a local pub, started the Farmers Cay First Friday in February Festival, which has become to be widely known as the 5 F’s.
There is anchorage and a mooring field in between Guana and Little Farmers, but the holding is said to be poor, and you do circles on the moorings from the current. So, with ENE winds, we anchored (along with 20 or so other boats) on the west side of Little Farmers for very good protection with only a slight bounce.
On Friday morning at 7:30 Captain Seas pulled in between the anchored boats, blasting Bahamian music and carrying most of the local boats scheduled to race in the island’s regatta.
(This is the same boat that delivers mail and provisions to the islands.) Set for 10:00 am, we overheard a VHF conversation with one of the cruisers who had volunteered to serve as “rail meat”, saying the race would not start until at least noon. (Rail meat consists of folks who hang off the lee side of the heeling boat in order to provide counterweight to avoid a capsize. If they fall overboard, they are left to their own devices in getting to shore. Thus, rail meat.) So, we decided to go ashore to explore.
We came across JR’s Wood Carving, well, JR hailed us and escorted us into his shop. Most of us could not escape without a purchase as a remembrance of the festival. JR is quite a colorful character.
We arrived at Ocean Cabin around 11 and the party was in full swing.
We decided to walk to the “yacht club” where the racing boats were being offloaded to watch the spectacle and have lunch. Over the course of two hours the six of us were served in consecutive waves, never simultaneously, the natives always seeming to be served first. We (eventually)enjoyed the typical Bahamian fare of peas and rice, potato salad, coleslaw, and either fried chicken or snapper. A good deal for $12.
The 10:00 race possibly to commence at noon started around 3:00 as clouds hovered on the horizon. We were all bundled up in fleece and wool hats as the temperature dipped to the low sixties. I know there will be little sympathy for us but it is waaay too cold for the Exumas!
First Edition hosted Celebrian, Blue Bay, Blue Blazer, and Plan Sea (Loretta and Jim from NJ) for happy hour. Ten bodies generated sufficient heat in the cockpit to be comfortable.