Manjack Cay

Manjack Cay was such a special find!  We missed stopping here on our way south due to wind.  When we were in Hopetown our friends on Igloo told us about Manjack and how wonderful it was. We at that point decided to turn north and figured we’d stop there and anchor for a night or two.  What an incredible little island.  There is nothing there.  A couple of houses.  No water, electric, stores, etc.  A few anchorages and some nice beaches, reefs and a hike through the woods to the other side of the island.

We got anchored Saturday afternoon and quickly took the dinghy to shore.  We spotted a sign about pet chickens asking boaters to please leash their dogs.

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We had been told there was an incredible farm on the island with even more incredible owners.  I had also read about a couple of mile long walks through the woods to the Atlantic side of the island.  We set off on one of those.  It instantly looked like we were off the beach and in Michigan hiking through the woods.  Madelyn was tripping over tree roots and sticks and there were trees overhead blanketing the sunlight and blocking the heat.  There was even a cactus.

It was a beautiful walk and then out of nowhere the beach.  Gorgeous, undeveloped, Atlantic ocean beach.  I’m running out of adjectives.  We just walked around the beach a bit and talked to a couple from a sailboat for a little bit about what they had seen on the island.  Then we were anxious to find the farm so we walked back with plans to spend Sunday at the beach.

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Turns out the farm was at the base of the beach where we left the dinghy.  And indeed the couple who owns it were the nicest, most welcoming people you can imagine.  As most people in the Bahamas are.  But they were really great.  Anchorage full of boats and they welcome all of them to come walk around and share their beach and land.  They have lived in their house on Manjack for 25 years.  All rain water and solar power.  The husband told me that when the house is collecting rain water it’s not producing power and when it’s making power, it’s not collecting water.  Simple!  They have rain water collection all over the property and it provides enough for the house and for all of the watering in the garden.

The highlight of the visit for the girls, and the reason we were searching for the farm in the first place, was the baby goats!  Our friends were there when the goats were 1 week old.  They turned 4 weeks on Monday and were as cute as can be.  I know the girls want to blog about this as well so I will just post a picture or two and let them post the rest.  What an incredible experience for my city girls.  Leslie, the owner, invited the girls right inside their pen and quickly set up chairs for the girls.  There are two baby goats, Sadie and Abner.  They were asleep inside their little house in a little bowl curled up together.

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Their mom is Daisy.  Also in the pen is Aunt Mae – she is the milking goat.

 

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Aunt Mae – she was feisty!

 

Leslie mentioned how much milk and cheese they have.  I stopped short of mouth watering and begging her to sell me some of the cheese.  Anyway, we watched the goats play and took lots of picture and the girls played with them.  Maddy was sitting in her chair waiting to hold Sadie and Abner jumped up on the back of her chair to say hello.  It was just adorable to watch them all!

After the goats we moved onto the farm and met the pet chickens.  I have never seen such fluffy feathery chickens.  Leslie picked the rooster right up.  His name is Fred Astaire and she held him while we all got to pet him and feel his comb and skin.  We were a bit worried about being pecked but she knows him pretty well and knew he wouldn’t do a thing.

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Onto the garden.  I can’t keep a cactus alive so I was blown away by this garden.

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They grow all of their food.  They make a once a year trip to FL to go to Costco for coffee and peanut butter.  They mentioned they haven’t learned how to grow those yet.  But huge papayas all over the place, a key lime tree that produces 2000 key limes each year, a sour orange tree good for making lemonade and marinades, and none of that was even in the garden.  In the garden Leslie hydroponically grows strawberries. She showed us the water pump system they built that waters them 3x daily for 15 minutes and then recirculates any water that runs off to be used again.

Then we moved onto the beds.  Lettuce, red cabbage, rows and rows of kale, arugula, tomatoes, stevia, and the list goes on.  We tasted some arugula leaves.  No question the best arugula I’ve ever tasted.  And we all enjoyed the stevia leaves.  Yum, sweet!  Madelyn has turned into a germophobe so I was impressed that she agreed to try leaves right off the plant and liked it!  Leslie also has a mulberry tree and told us how she makes wine from the mulberries.

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Leslie and her husband were beyond welcoming.  Truly wonderful people.  After spending so much time with us on their farm they invited us back to the beach later for a bonfire.  The whole anchorage was invited.  They were out collecting wood for it.  We played on the beach for a little bit.  Someone (assume the farm owners) built this cute tiki hut with two hammocks and two swings under it. The girls loved it.  Can’t find much of anything closer to paradise than this quaint little island.

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We didn’t make it to the bonfire because it was too late for the girls but enjoyed smelling the campfire and looking at the amazing stars in the sky that night.  The water here was so clear that we could see everything as the sun was setting and after dark.  We had our under water lights on and the lights attracted all sorts of fish.  Ben spotted a huge squid just playing in the lights.  The girls found many sea biscuits as well.

We got up Sunday morning with hopes of spending the whole day at the beach and exploring all of the reef areas in the dinghy.  Mother Nature had other plans.  The beautiful Sunday we thought we’d have turned into high winds and waves moving in by late afternoon and much worse by Monday.  So, no more exploring. I suppose that  made Saturday’s few hours on Manjack that much more special.  Ben put the dinghy back up on the boat and we pulled anchor and off we went for the kind of long haul to Great Sale Cay.  It was easily our worst day on the water in the Bahamas and our worst night in the Bahamas.  The waves were big chop the whole way.  Just kind of miserable to be in.  Spray and salt water everywhere.  Not rocking and rolling which is what Madelyn hates, but just annoying chop and really strong wind.  We had a long trip and got into Great Sale fighting the wind to anchor.  It took Ben a few tries because the wind was pulling us so strongly.  When we anchor we tend to swing all over the place.  Ben and I basically didn’t sleep Sunday night.  After Ben was confident we weren’t actually dragging he was more relaxed but it was so loud there wasn’t much chance of sleep.  There were 25 mph sustained winds with a high gust Ben saw of 37 mph.  CRAZY.  All.  Night.  Long.  We would spin at high speeds.  Then the snubber on the anchor would grab and yank us back the other way.  And then repeat.  Over and over.  Finally very early in the morning the winds calmed.  We don’t need another night like that anytime soon.

That crazy night trying to sleep I was thinking of a Best and Worst list from the Bahamas.  Honestly other than that day and night I don’t have any worsts (just a lot of wind!). But I decided that for school the girls are going to do a Bahamas timeline project and then pick their favorites from the list.  We have experienced so many amazing new things and I want to make sure they are still present in their memories.  We will get to work on that soon so stay tuned.  And those super soft, adorable baby goats will be at the top of the list!

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