Monday, February 11, 2008

For our frozen boating and fishing friends up North..

After having the boat out for several days, we were able to get it launched Saturday morning and we spent about half of both Saturday and Sunday cruising around just enjoying this winter weather. The winds have been reasonable, and the seas down to just a few foot of swell. The skies have been mostly clear, such as at sunrise today:

Jon is having a reasonably good time so far this week. He especially likes hearing that the weather in Massachusetts is 18 deg. F tonight with a high of freezing tomorrow. Meanwhile, in the TCI, he has tied into a couple small Yellowfin Tuna, and a nice little Skipjack tuna.

Of course the old man gets to handle the bloody parts, like standing by with the gaff:

And, of course, actually using the gaff:

I will spare you the details of what became of this feisty little tuna after this photo was taken. Let's just say that it got a little messier before we cleaned it all up. I am SO glad we got the washdown option for the boat. Makes it easy to hose it all off while still out at sea fishing.

Hey, nobody ever said fishing was pretty. It can be pretty good tasting, though.

Marinate in teriki and ginger, then grill it. Nice.

The YFTs are so cute when they're young, aren't they?

(if you need a hint here: I ain't the young one)

Yesterday we decided to try taking the boat into Turtle Cove Marina. This is the first time we have boated into that harbor. We have heard tales of how tricky the cut through the reef is. We have heard of people coming to some grief on the coral along the channel. We hear boats heading for Turtle Cove on the VHF radio quite often requesting assistance from a pilot boat to navigate through. But since we might someday be wanting to come into Turtle Cove to hit the start of a fishing tournament we decided to do it first in bright sun on a calm day. That's opposed to us trying to find it for the first time in the early morning hours. This way, we can have a trail of dots on the GPS to follow next time.

The path even looks a little complicated on the chart for the area:

All those white areas are reef structure. There are also numerous coral heads along the way. Another view of it is from Google Earth, and in this one you can get more of an idea what the area really looks like:

Now that's some serious reef right there.

Some of the buoys are a little confusing from a distance, and there is one spot, in particular, where the navigation is actually pretty tight by any standards, even on a calm day. In this photo, you might be able to see where we need to keep the boat. Which would be between those buoys. And away from that coral:

But of course being the unusually lucky folk that we seem to be, we made it through just fine without needing to call for help. We now have two dotted lines stored on the GPS that should make it a lot easier next time. And that MAY be later this month in another wahoo/fishing tournament. We haven't decided how bad we want to embarass ourselves for those t-shirts, yet.

This is the entrance to Turtle Cove, which is all but completely hidden from view until you come around that last green buoy:

There are some nice properties surrounding the entrance, especially on the narrow spit between the cove and the ocean:

Many of these are available for rent, if anyone is interested in a nice place on the beach for a vacation. Right next to a great protected marina with restaurants and shops.

Once inside the cove, hanging to the right ( we drive on the left here, but most boaters still use the international rules) you have a choice of going left directly into the mooring and dock area, or swinging around Little Diddle Cay straight ahead. The abandoned structures are part of the old Third Turtle Inn, which was, I believe, the first hotel on the island:

Plans have now been approved to build another resort on this site, to be called the New Third Turtle Inn, I think:

Coming around Little Diddle Cay you run right next to the dock where many of the local dive boat operators are based:

Turtle Divers has been around a long time. We have been told that the owner is a Jack Russell Terrier fan, but we have never met him. I am sure the day will come.

Next to Turtle Divers is the Tiki Hut restaurant, which has been detailed in previous posts. But this is the view from the water, don't cha know...

There is a nice paved boat ramp here, which doesn't seem to be too busy at the moment:

and the reason might just be that most of the boats in here this time of year are too freaking BIG to use a boat ramp. You won't be buying a trailer with one of these babies.

Ah, every radio capability known to man, and a stabilized antenna to keep in touch with internet and the latest satellite television. Roughing it doesn't have to be a pup tent and beans, I guess.

There is a good fuel dock near the ramp:

complete with a local version of a Wyland painting.

I don't think it's an actual Wyland Whaling Wall, but you never know. I suppose it's conceivable that he once staggered out of the Tiki Hut and someone handed him a can of paint.....stranger things have happened.

Continuing around the NW area of the cove there are some moorings for sloops, and more private homes:

Nice place. I guess a realtor might use this to stress the old "location, location, location.." adage, with Turtle Cove, Providenciales, TCI being a good set of the three.

And to the right, tied up to what used to be Diddle Cay, are a number of motor boats:

I think it's kind of classy to have the "little" dinghy painted to match the boat:

even has the same name.

And of course just when we think our little 22 footer is a decent fishing boat, somebody has to show us up with a heap like this:

Ouch. THAT is one sweet sportfisherman.

Here is the pointy end of "Barracuda", and their chase boat. We had posted photos of their stern in a previous visit to Turtle Cove from the land side.

That's a pretty sexy boat too. I love the portholes, although of course it's not set up for fishing. I guess with a chase boat like that, it doesn't need to be. Probably not too cost effective to use the big boat trolling...

Different boat, same designer and manufacturer. They do have a creative flair with portholes.

Skipping over photos of boats that I have previously posted on this blog, we come to the end of the marina. This is the entrance side of the Tiki Hut, and another hangout for local fishing charters:

Headed back out and retracing our route we pass more and more decent motor yachts down for the season:

Man, there must be six, maybe seven hundred bucks worth of boat in this marina!!

Cruising back out we pass the Sharkbite restaurant on the right. This is another of our favorite places for lunch when we can sit outside. I don't know if we are dressed for it today, in this mid-February weather:

This is a canal entrance right next to Sharkbite. It does not connect to the ocean through here. The fixed height bridge limits the size of the boats that can go through it, but for a small boat similar to ours it is navigable.

There are canal-side homes and building lots along it past the bridge.

With the frigid gales and blowing snow of mid-February behind us, we decided it was time to head home. Those are condos behind us:

(see, I told you we were not dressed for sitting outside in February weather)

Leaving Turtle Cove we took another pass by the Third Turtle Inn site, and I was very interested in how someone had cut a shelter into the limstone cliff, and cut steps out of the solid stone. It gave me some ideas for a driveway problem we are having at the new house:

On the way out of the marina, we passed another motoryacht "La Vida" coming in behind the pilot boat. They had been approaching the reef when we started our way in through the buoys.

I was interested to see that the pilot boat is a panga design, a 26 ft. version with twin outboards.

We had planned to do some more fishing on the way back to our home marina, but as those last few photos are beginning to show, the afternoon thunderstorms and squalls were threatening, and our guest had enough sun for the day. It's really easy to overdo the sun thing here. The winds keep you cool, and you don't realize the intensity of the solar radiation this close to the equator.

So, I got through another complete post without a photo of the new house. That's two in a row!! But I can't do it 'cold turkey', so here's a photo of one of the falcons sitting on a cactus in our soon-to-be-yard..

That was taken yesterday afternoon.

He ( or she, I didn't get THAT close) let me approach up to about 20 meters before flying off to another cactus across the "street":

and that's not a bad photo with which to end a post.


Anonymous said...

please protect yourself from the sun wear a hat and cover your arms.Skin cancer can kill.
Ahmed Mahomedy
South Africa

Anonymous said...

Hey gringo, i've been reading this since it was on tht. Looks like my wife and I will be going to north caicos in june and staying at the blue rondo. I never considered the tci until I started reading from your threads and seeing the pictures. Looks like paradise and I can't wait. Love reading the blog, thanks. jeremy

heinz said...

Every time I see the pictures, the water amazes me! You must let us know how the driveway turns out. a high of 30 with snow in DC today, so I am envious!

Malicious Intent said...

MMmmmmmmm, grilled tuna.
sigh...looking out my window at freezing rain.
Mmmmmmmm, grilled tuna. I think I need to go call my sushi place now.

Anonymous said...

June should be a very nice time to be on North. We love the summers here. Almost all the winter crowds are gone to their summer places. The water is even more beautiful, and we get some of those glossy, low-swell days offshore. The fishing is good. The diving is the best it ever gets, and that's saying quite a lot for here. We are weather freaks, and start getting some absolutely incredible electrical storms around that time. There is a greater risk of having a rainy day on vacation, but it beats the windy days we are having right now. It's sunny, but the water is rough when it's windy. And if you go to the beach ( we rarely do) you can get sand blasted until you find someplace out of the wind. But that's also easy to do, since there are beaches on all sides of the islands. One side is always in the lee. The really hot days here are in September, when it can get up into the mid 90's. It doesnt typically feel that hot if you stay in the shade, as the Trade Winds keep it feeling cooler.

As for the sun protection, yeah, we are aware of it. Our architect has also warned us, as he has had a small problem with it himself after his aprox. 20 years here. ( He's Norwegian and light skinned)

We tend to try to keep some sort of a tan year round ( not difficult). I worry that if we keep out of the sun too much, there will be a day when on the water I will be unprepared and something will happen that keeps me out in the sun longer than planned and I will really burn. It has happened before.

It's also totally impossible to keep out of the sun here, unless one stays indoors all the time. That never happens.

As for the driveway, we have a plan. We are thinking that we will cut down into the crest of the hill portion of it about two feet deeper. We can use that rock (that part of the property is solid rock) to build a retaining wall for the second driveway. It will give us some rock ledges to use for creative landscaping and cutting steps to the house. It would lessen the difference between the high part of the drivewy and the garage from 10 ft. to 8 ft differential. But that will have to wait for a "Phase 2" thing. It's not part of the current scope of work.

Meanwhile, our builder is trying to make the slope as manageable as possible. We will be out there again today and I can take some more photos if people are still interested in the house.

Anonymous said...

That little falcon is, I think, an American Kestrel - are they in the islands year-round, or are they visitors for the winter?