Friday, June 29, 2007

A mix of images

If you're reading this first post at this point I am going to assume you've decided to check this blog out from the beginning.  I'm thinking I should give you a bit of background information.  On us, and how this all started.

In 2005 we moved from the northeastern USA to the Turks and Caicos Islands.  This is a group of about 40 islands, and a whole bunch of rocks too small to be called islands, in a little country that is one of the countries that comprise what's called the British West Indies.   Only about 8 of the 40+ islands are inhabited, and the population of the entire country hovers around 30,000 people.  This means that this entire country has a smaller population than either of the two towns we left in the USA.   That was Falmouth, Massachusetts for me, and Sparta NJ for La Gringa.

When we decided to try the island life we were three humans and one small dog.  At least we thought he was a dog. He  seemed to think he was also a human. In the years since  we've become  full time residents of the TCI, we've gone though some changes.    One of those changes has certainly been generating content for this blog We didn't even know what a "weblog" was when we left the US.

We're ardent amateur photographers and this little country is about as photogenic as one would wish.  The land masses are not that dramatic for the most part, although the islands facing the open Atlantic to the east do have some great views.  But the water, oh the water is wonderful.  We spent our first couple of years just exploring and taking photos.  We didn't really do much with the photos.  We just get a bit of a grin when we get a good one.

In 2007, I joined a boating and fishing forum on the internet called "The Hull Truth".  It was a good source of information and advice on boating and fishing .  Local sources of information are very limited in the Turks and Caicos.  After I had posted a few tropical images of this little country south of the Bahamas, some of the other forum members asked for more photos. It was easy enough to do, as we had taken hundreds of them. At first, it was a mixture of images we had taken during those two years, in no particular chronological order.  Random shots.

When we eventually figured out how to start a blog we just copied the photos we had already posted on The Hull Truth onto the blog.  These first posts are mostly just random images that we took and thought other people might like to see.

Some TCI island boys during a model sailboat race on Middle Caicos. This was taken at the newly established and hopefully annual Valentine's Day Model Sloop Regatta at Bambarra Beach.  That first year we attended there were about thirty people there, total.  Boy, that sure changed over the years.

 This underwater image above is La Gringa Suprema using our "hookah" floating diving compressor setup.  We have a "Brownies Third Lung".  We have hoses and regulators to allow three divers to use the system at the same time, and the little compressor runs for hours on a gallon of gasoline.

 The compressor floats on the surface, and we tow it behind us as we explore the reef.  We've kept the hoses short enough to limit the depth, because it would be easy to get into nitrogen saturation issues with long hoses and a compressor that runs for hours.   The rules for breathing compressed gasses still apply whether it's SCUBA or  surface supplied.   I've been a diver for over 50 years now, and I'm still here.  So I suppose I do know a couple of the basic things about it.

It's much easier for us to work with a hookah setup than dealing with SCUBA tanks.  We don't have to fill them, we don't have to store, inspect, or transport them.  And with this hose setup, I can keep my experienced eye on a couple of guest divers.  

If you decide to keep reading this blog, you will see a lot more underwater photos as time goes on.  You'll also see lots of aerial photos, time lapse photos, boating and fishing photos, sailing photos...well you get the picture.  Nyuk nyuk nyuk.....a little expat photographer humor here...

 This is a place called "Devil's Cut" on Pine Cay, during the incoming flood tide.  We don't know exactly how it got the name Devil's Cut, but we suspect there has been more than a few boat hulls damaged over the years if people tried to run through here on high slack water.   The safe way through here is on the far side of that little island.

An aerial view of the  space between two islands.  The one on the left is Water Cay, and the island on the right is Pine Cay I don't know if this was always filled in, or if this is the result of Hurricane Donna in 1960.  That hurricane did a lot of damage here, and made major changes in the topography.  Moved a lot of sand around.    The point of land nearest us on the Pine Cay side is an area locally known as  the "aquarium". We've been spending a lot of time there.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more photos of all of this as time goes by.

This is a good example of a boat type that is a traditional Caicos sloop.  This boat,  "Ranger" shows how boats have been built here for generations by local boat builders. The TCI Maritime Heritage Federation organizes races with these hand built boats, which are faithful to a design going back hundreds of years in the Caribbean.

Here's a view inside the "Ranger" after I helped get it launched in Chalk Sound.   The bags are filled with sand, and used as ballast for the shallow draft boat.  Sometimes rocks are used.

La Gringa kicking back after a day working on a deck project at Pine Cay.  Yes, the water really is that color.

Sail Provo's "Arielle" from our aerial balloon camera. Owned by our good friend Jay Stubbs, Sail Provo operates three charter boats out of Providenciales. Two catamarans and a trimaran.

A wrecked freighter on the Caicos Bank.  Providenciales is two miles away. They didn't even come close to making it, if that was the intention.  Somehow, I think there is more to this story.

A Nassau Grouper, very common here. And delicious.

A small shark, also very common here, and we don't know how it tastes.  Yet.

Graffiti on Sapodilla Hill, Providenciales. There are names still here from the 1700's.

A stone cat on the south side of Providenciales, in a lonely area near a cave.
Nobody that we've asked so far seems to know who carved it. There are several of these in various states of completion.

A squid, surprisingly graceful, and great fun to watch if you don't spook them. And although we don't always see eye-to-eye like this, there's almost a hint of a glint of intelligence in there, I think.  Certainly there is an interest that comes across more as curiosity than it does anything else I could think of.

Someone made a swing along a stretch of rocky coastline on the south side of Providenciales.  The masts in the background are at South Side Marina.

The beach at Sapodilla Bay from the top of Sapodilla hill.

Another version of that same view taken and a more focused photographer.  This is Sapodilla Bay and Chalk Sound.

A Hobie cat get together on Little Water Cay.

The remains of a Haitian sloop that made it all the way from Haiti to the beach at Long Bay, Providenciales.  We're seeing these wrecked sloops quite often.

An underwater photo of a piece of an old wreck that we tentatively identified as being  from around 1750.   We anchored the boat to it before we realized what it was.   We've found igneous ballast stones, which are definitely not from here.  We've found an old anchor, and various other bits of metal.  We're also seeing broken wine bottles from a a time when bottles were blown by hand.  Further investigations are going on.

A view up the beach at uninhabited Water Cay, looking west.  This island is only moments from Providenciales.....if you have a boat.

After I posted these, people started to get interested, and asked for more photos. Having taken hundreds of them, I kept posting them, on a variety of subjects.

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