Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Grace Bay Beach

We boated back to Provo Friday night, found out the internet was down where we're temporarily camped til the house is built. Just got it turned on today. Phone company probs. There are always phone company problems. Unless there are water company problems or perhaps power company problems. What used to cause indignant outrage in the USA is now normal minor annoyances down here. It's just too common to get all worked up about.

We had power outages on and off all day Saturday. Early Sunday morning the wind was howling. We went down to Gilley's at Leeward for lunch Sunday, and there were whitecaps in the channel there. Most of the boats were in, tied up with double lines. Saw several flats boats tied up over in the lee of Mangrove Cay. Didn't get any photos, dang it. It was alternating rain squalls and I didn't want to get my remaining camera wet. It's the one I use for the aerials. I did snap some photos of the new house progress...but those wouldn't look much different to you guys. It does to us, of course. I have been playing with some pano software that matches up photos and puts them together automatically. It strips out a lot of the resolution, but its not so bad for emailing etc. Here's a couple of those, just for you photography types. This is the side of the house that faces the hill, taken from where the driveway is. This is three photos put together by the stitching package. Not much scenery - it's more about playing with the software:

The perspective is wrong, because I swivelled in one spot taking the photos...typical dumb ass east Texan. That open frame on the left is where there's going to be an outside shower,it will be enclosed in glass blocks. And this is four photos put together, the view from the hill looking over the salina to the WSW:

As you can see, I have some learning curve to muddle through, but it might produce some good photos after I mess with it for awhile. If I cant beat the crummy resolution thing I am going to have to come up with something else. (like quit messing around and buy a camera good enough to take a wide angle lens??)

I haven't yet posted many photos of the most popular beach on Provo, which is what people that live here call the island of Providenciales. Its the busiest town in the TCI, the closest thing we have to a city. Its not a city, of course. How can you have a city without a single red light or a MacDonald's? Its not the capital of the country, officially, nor the seat of government, officially. That's Grand Turk. But unofficially, Provo is the place. Grand Turk does have the new cruise ship terminal, where those giant floating cities can tie up and people can swarm ashore and buy souvenirs made in China or hecho en Mexico. They can spend three hours a the cruise terminal and tell people at home that they saw the TCI. Those ships are taller than anything man-made that many of the locals have ever seen before. They can have a cheeseburger in paradise courtesy of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville restaurant, and they can buy one of Jimmy's t-shirts with a parrot on it. I may even still have one of those myself, but mine probably came from Key West. I don't have one that says Grand Turk. It was closed the afternoon we were there. It only opens when the ships come in. The one on Key West opens whether a ship is there or not. I got married one time in Key West. But I don't hold that against the town, the island, or even the state of Florida. I am sure I must have done dumber things in different towns. Well, almost as dumb.

This is some of the beach at Grace Bay, on Provo:

Grace Bay beach stretches along the north side of the island, inside the reef. The water is warm, and crystal clear for the most part. The sand is as soft as baby powder, since its made from limestone. Its different from the coarser sand you get on continents, which is made largely of quartz. The sand here is very white. I don't think its as white as the sand I remember in Panama City Beach, but if not, its close.

If you bring your wife or girlfriend down and stay at one of the increasing number of new resorts here, you will most likely stay on Grace Bay. You can spend your entire vacation at Beaches or Club Med and don't really ever have to leave their care. Someone named Emilio or Tomas will bring you a drink right to your chair, and adjust your sun umbrella, and people will take you diving to a beautiful reef. Or you can rent a Hobie down the beach and go for a sail. They will arrange a fishing charter for you. It's a good place to be. It's not Cancun, nor Miami.

I have only been gone from the TCI for 24 hours at the moment. I haven't missed "home" this much since the first time I got sent away to Baptist Church camp. Some folks are island people, and some aren't. It's become pretty clear to me which type I am.

It has been difficult for me to get online here, though. Its a wireless system, and I can't get enough signal most of the time. I think its the wireless plug-in thing that goes into the slot on the side of my Dell laptop, La Gringa isn't having a problem with her Toshiba getting signal, which has internal wireless. Gotta be a better card I can plug in.

I am thinking of getting one of those little Olympus cameras that are shock resistant and waterproof to a few meters, just to have one I can carry more. I see lots of things I want to photograph, and 90% of the time I don't have a camera.

We spoke with Preacher earlier this week. He is going to deliver a catamaran to Jimmy on Salt Cay sometimes in the next month or two, and wants us to follow him over in the Andros and bring him back. That should be a good trip. Its 22 miles across open ocean, a mile deep, from South Caicos over to Grand Turk. We will try to get down to Big Sand Cay, and a few other places we been wanting to see on the way back. I will take a lot more photos than I usually take.

This isn't a vacation for us this week, its business tied in with a family reunion. We have to travel to the US to attend board meetings twice a year. We often ask ourselves where we would go on vacation from the TCI. Its common for people to leave there in late Aug or in September for a few weeks, to get away from the sun. September is the harshest month, as the Sun heads back overhead on its way south for the winter. But we find ourselves somewhat acclimated, and it doesn't seem unbearably hot to us. The problem with vacations is that there are not that many places left that I want to visit that I haven't already seen, plus the fact that I really like where I live now, and have a lot of things going on. I am planning to revitalize the aerial photo experiments, for example.

What was strange was landing in La Guardia yesterday, where the pilot told us it was 61 degrees. That was two degrees colder than the coldest night we had all of last winter, and its August. Now we are on Martha's Vineyard, and borrowing clothes. I brought only t-shirts, shorts and one pair of crocs. That's pretty dressed up, for me these days. The last time I had long pants on was in December in Pittsburgh. I haven't worn a pair of socks since early '05. I am usually barefoot ( and I am right now, its the principal of the thing.) Of course, my toenails look like something a sadistic character out of a Stephen King novel chewed up during a nightmare.

This is the beach where we usually go, when we do go to a beach:

There are some other beaches I want to get photos of. One we call "trash beach" not because it's ugly, but because all kinds of interesting stuff floats up there. You could fill a pickup truck with net buoys, for example. There's another beach like it on Salt Cay. And some photos I have seen of the 17 miles of beach on the outside of East Caicos makes me want to go spend a day there, too. I should be able to keep posting photos as long as someone wants to see them.

This is where we use the south Texas nautical term: "'Fizehew"

As in...I wouldn't take this boat much further in that direction, 'fizehew'.

We flew in in one of USAir's little Saab commuter twin turboprops. You know the ones, seating designed by a sadistic ergonomics engineer who was grudgingly forced to accommodate a convention of skinny hunchbacked Munchkin businessmen carrying nothing larger than a Blackberry? Only six people on the plane, typical NYC to the Vineyard group. Strange conversations. Sounding stranger than a Mexican to the untrained ear.

I was told that its supposed to be "up" in the low 80's by Saturday. Well, that's all well and good...I think 85 is the low-end of what the air conditioner is set to in the house we are staying in down in the TCI. And we only turn that on when we have visitors from El Norte.

I am north of you right now. And it's cold, and ugly. I think I am gonna get this blown up full size and stick it over the window here:

But the bright side is that some of the stuff I ordered online to be sent here has arrived, so I am gleefully cutting open Fed-Ex and UPS boxes. So far, I got a couple new Trevala jigging rods, two pop-up cleats from the good people at Andros, an amp, connector, and speakers to play MP3 on the boat. I am in the process of ordering a carb for our Brownie's diving hookah, and I am looking real hard at the Olympus 770SW camera, thinking I need a camera I can stick in my pocket and take with me everywhere. That one is pretty shockproof, and waterproof..sounds like the way to go. Frozen ocean on a tropical thread? Yer scarin' my dawg!

I got a lot of ice photos from when I lived in Mass and in Alaska....I don't miss it even a little bit. It's not natural for humans to live in places like that. Makes 'em mean.

No comments: