Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More misc. TCI and house photos.

"I think that cat is, like, way stoned, man..."

Cactii grow all over the place, like mini-saguaros. I think they are agave, but not totally sure. We have some big prickly-pear type cactii, too, except they have trunks like trees and I have seen them 8-10 ft. tall:

The stone cat is near a really neat cave. We went back and found another similar carving, more of a leopard shape but I didn't have a camera that time. I will get a photo next time we are there.
Here's another angle on the cat:

A local friend told us about the cave. We went looking for it from his directions (TCI people are terrible with directions, btw) and had a camera, and found the cat, but not the cave. next time we went looking, we found the cave and the other cat carving, but didn't have a camera. The cat is gazing out to sea. Our friend said it had been there long as he can remember and he was born here. The cave is easily big enough to live in, totally sheltered. And its hard to find. But the local kids party in it, obviously, from time to time.

Needed something for dinner yesterday, so we took the boat outside the reef with some lures and my last two ballyhoo. Caught a chicken dolphin and a barracuda, and then zipped back in as it was starting to blow pretty good. I snapped some photos as we approached the cut in the reef and thought I would post them. Nothing exciting, just day-to-day boat trip. This reef is about a mile offshore, and the depth drops to thousands of feet outside it within a half mile. The wind was blowing offshore, knocking the tops off the swells, but it made it pretty lumpy outside:

Ever notice how hard it is to get photos that actually show a 4-6 ft. swell? Pix never look like the real thing.

We were on Middle Caicos, and stopped at a local hangout called the "Passion Bar". Out front are two concrete pillars with bug lights under glass domes. I thought I recognized the domes, and took a close look to confirm...yeah, they are halves of a glass deep ocean instrument housing manufactured by Benthos, Inc. of North Falmouth, Massachusetts. I know the company well:

When I find something here I recognize from my old oceanographic days, and try to explain it, people look at me funny. Like trying to tell the guy who built this boat that "this glass is poured in a mold, and then the edges are milled so flat that the hemispheres seal together and are good for thousands of feet of ocean depth. The guy who put them together is named George Warner, and he lives on Cape Cod....and sometimes you might find some with some ports and feedthroughs because they sometimes have batteries and electronics inside connected to a transducer on the top which means they were used for LBL navigation systems...."

Oh, never mind. Yeah, it's a real nice boat. Let's go get a beer.

I have also found XBTs and sonobuoys by Sippican, Inc. and a subsurface buoy by ORE, Inc. washed up here. I used to be in that business, and its a trip to find this stuff lying around down here.

Here's a shot of the new resort going up at Leeward-Going-Through....near "Bird Rock" and "Heaving Down Rock"

Someone please forward this to the Hon. Michael Misick, or the Hon. Galmo Williams in the TCI government for me! Tell them I would love their approval on a Permanent Resident Certificate or "Belonger" status... I am doing my best to show people why they should visit the TCI...

I think I got a few dozen more sunsets and beach photos laying around somewhere, mixed in with boating and fishing stuff, too..

Here's the future patio. That thing in the back is the pergola. It will have a little square roof on the end section, and the rest will have cross beams set on end. Like I arbor. Its all about shade..

This will be paved underneath, and is sort of an architectural buffer plus it provides a place with mixed shade all day. They just knocked the forms off it this morning:

View from patio wall looking down. That's the Caicos Bank in the background. Its pretty shallow for about 20 miles or so, then its the reef again and deep blue after that.

We just got the Landy, a 2006 Defender TDi. Owner was transferred back to the USA, and its a right hand drive. We are having problems finding a trailer hitch for it. Nobody in the USA knows diddly about Defenders built after 97, and prices in the UK are astronomical due to the exchange rate. Plus I need a 2" tow ball and hitch for it to tow the boat, and UK hitches are 50 mm...and US aftermarket guys don't build anything for a 2006....I am probably going to find a local welder and design one myself. This would have driven me mental two years I just go with the flow. Cant find a trailer hitch? Build one.

Well, this is what the back of the Defender looks like. There are holes with threaded nuts welded on the other side:

and I found this guys version of a hitch that I like, and I contacted him, but he doesn't make them for Defenders...just the older ones.

So, since he wont sell me one, I think I will just modify his design. I need the receiver dropped down a bit, and I want a flat plate on top for a step.

Of course, what I would REALLY like is something like this:

But I am thinking that expecting to find someone who can fabricate me one of these is just a pipe dream...(pipe dream, ha ha...get it)

These guys are always around. When I hop in the water to go get conch, I just tell myself "hey they are just big fish. So don't be dumb and act like big fish food..." its worked so far..

There I was, free diving down at 14.7 ft inside the reef, making my way silently across the sea bottom, just about to run out of oxygen. My lungs were screaming for me to surface. I knew I didn't have much time left on that last gasp...

Then I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught motion. I swivelled my head to the left, and it was suddenly in full view right in front of me. That sight that free divers whisper about down here, a Queen Conch making it's move! It slowly extended its hideously clawed foot out an inch or so, sunk it into the sand, and with a sinister lurch, moved toward me. My heart thudded, and it wasn't just the lack of oxygen, it was a sudden thought, "was it making its attack run?" I couldn't tell, the conch settled into a waiting stillness. I could see its ominous black snout and beady little clusters of blue eyes considering me, and thinking about its next move. Or its next meal....

I had to decide whether to attempt to capture it then and there, barehanded, or flipper back up to the surface for another gasp of air. If I did that, I would be turning my back on it. Conch are unpredictable in the wild; it might just sit there watching me, it might make a run for it. You have no way of knowing. you have to take your chances.

I thought to myself, "if I miss this chance, I might never have this angle on it again..." and so I turned suddenly and my right hand shot out in a practiced move. I snagged the back of its shell on the first attempt! My fingers slipped into the smooth shell opening, and I could feel the black, fingernail-like claw retreat into the shell as I grasped it.

I then kicked for the surface, weighted down by a full grown conch that was still stunned by the rapidness of its sudden capture. Breaking the surface near the anchored boat, I mumbled out "Got another one...whats that, three to go?".

I made my way to the boat, and reached up over the transom to get the wily creature over the splash well before daring to let go. A slip now, and I would have to repeat the whole capture, but this time.......UNDER the boat!!

anyhow, I had four teenagers camped in the vacation home in addition to the wife and I, and teenagers get hungry. Six people to feed. Conch is cheap, and good. And a certain thing when fishing never is.

Cooper Jack Bight area:

Casurinas tree at the Meridian Club, Pine Cay. Also called Australian Pine, but they are not pine. Not even close. Dense, hard wood, with a nice grain. Great for grilling. I hope to make some furniture out of some of the driftwood when I finally, eventually, get a shop set up.

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