Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Low Cay" in Turtle Cove

We decided to take the little kayak (which we have now named "Low Cay") over to the Turtle Cove area. Plan A was to start in Turtle Cove, boat out toward the reef, go into Thompson Cove, and then return. This was the planned route, over and back:




We figured that if we pedalled around sightseeing in both Coves, and added in the return trip, this would work out to be about six miles of pedalling, with most of it in open water. This is all part of a master plan, you see. We want to get to the point where we are ready to take the little rubber boat from Providenciales across an appreciable stretch of open water to West Caicos, and back. That trip will be about six miles each way, as the Cuban Crow flies. So we are working our way up to it. We have been doing a lot of five and six mile kayak trips lately.

The boat ramp at Turtle Cove is probably about the best non-private ramp we've seen here yet:


This one actually has pavement extending into the water. A real luxury. Even though we did have to pay a Rasta-man dockmaster five bucks to use it. It was worth it.

There are about a dozen or so decent sport fishing type boats in the marina right now, including a number from the USA. There was a blue marlin tournament here recently, and this is considered to be the start of the bill fishing season . So while the winter time is when we see the 'cruisers', the summer is when we see the sport fishermen. Summer is also when we see more divers down here on vacation. That's when the water is at it's best. Clear, calm, and warm.

The first nice boat that caught our eye was the very slick "No Excuse" out of Islamorada:



At this point we departed from our game plan. We decided to check out the rest of the visiting boats in Turtle Cove, and to THEN decide whether to try for Thompson Cove. There was a squall line developing to our West, and we wanted to see what it was doing before leaving the marina in "Low Cay". I mean, it's a great little kayak and all, but it IS a rubber boat.

These big toys sure look different from down on the water looking up:




And as impressive a boat as "No Excuse" is, there were some even bigger ones around. We were very impressed as we slowly kicked our way toward this beauty, "Aquaholic" out of Boca Raton.




Man, what a boat. La Gringa and I were just wondering, if we sold our new house, and the Contender, and the Land Rovers, could we just get something like this and live on it full time? I swear this boat must have more square feet of living space than our little house does:




Of course reality set in, and we realized that not only would we still not have enough money after selling everything we own, we probably wouldn't even be able to fill the fuel tanks on this beauty. Still, one can dream.

There are always at least a few decent 'blow-boats' in the marina here, and it's no secret that La Gringa and I are sailors at heart. We always detour by them to take a look when we get the chance;





Come to think of it, there just are not many boats that we don't like. I mean, they are all different, and we all know that all boats are compromises. But they are all good at something. Here are a couple of local TCI boats:



Conch Pearls are very rare, and valuable by the way. We have not seen one 'in the wild' yet. But then we have probably only cleaned a few hundred conch so far, at most.


Coming around to the other side of the marina, and considering our own power boat as being 'extra small', in this photo you have small, medium, large, and in the background to the right, the extra-large.




We did have a reason for kayaking over to this side of the marina. We had been exchanging emails for some time with a member of a fishing and boating forum where we 'hang out' online . We knew he has been down here fishing and getting this boat together for it's new owner. So we thought there was a chance we might catch Sportfishermen.com member "reel fool" on the job.

And we did!:




Being so 'out of the way' down here we don't really get to meet many of the people we talk to on the internet. But it does happen every now and then, and yesterday was one of those days. We spent a half an hour ( five minutes if Jeff's boss is reading this) shooting the breeze while Jeff cleaned up the boat from their marlin fishing earlier this week. It's nice to be able to put a face to a screen name, and see that all these people we meet in cyberspace are, in most cases, reel people.

We continued to explore Turtle Cove. It all really does look different from water level. We saw plenty more beautiful boats down for the billfishing :



And we were able to get a really close look at the sloop that I have already talked about here in earlier posts. Man, is that sucker smashed or what?




We could read the name off the stern, "Alliance"




If it were not for those lift bags, she would fall over and sink in the slip. I think the keel is probably touching bottom already. This reminded us of our earlier conviction that if we ever do get a decent sized sailboat down here, it will be a catamaran. Monohulls are heavier than water. They have weighted keels.  Let the water in, and they sink. Catamarans might end up upside down. But they will still be floating.


We know which scenario we like better.

Besides, the specific catamaran we have in mind for ourselves would have probably cleared that reef that did "Alliance" in. And we have lots of reefs here. Just a thought.

We pedalled by the ruins of the original Third Turtle Inn. This was the first public accomodation/hotel on the island.




This was built as a ten room hotel in the mid 1960's. It was the only hotel on Providenciales for almost twenty years, until Club Med built their resort here in the early 80's.I bet these old stone walls have some tales to tell. There had to be some real characters coming through here in the 60's and 70's. (Heck, there are some real characters coming through here now.)

At the far side of Turtle Cove there is a small canal with a few houses on it. We had often looked at it when having a meal at the Shark Bite restaurant, and the kayak was the perfect way to check it out. There is a neat looking old boathouse there on the canal:



We finally decided to try to complete our planned trip. Leaving the mouth of Turtle Cove, we could just feel the dog's anxiety level increasing. While most people in a small boat would probably be looking at the rougher water just outside the protected marina that you can see in this photo:




That dog just radiates a lot of nervous sometimes.

Dooley the Distraught wasn't worried about rough water. He laughs at rough water. No, he was sweating the dark clouds. He knows that where dark clouds lay, thunder's not far away.

And it was a bit lumpier outside the protected waters. Nothing that "Low Cay" can't handle, though.




What a fantastic property. Can you see the planetarium/observatory on the left side of the photo? That one's for sale if you've got some spare change lying around.

Here's another nice home for those who appreciate those kinds of things:




Nice seclusion, nice view, and a nice private beach as well. Its' all just so...so....so Nice.

Well, Dooley the Delugional was right. The squalls moved up between us and our goal. Not wanting to get soaked and possibly dumped, we turned around as the bottom started falling out of the increasingly ugly clouds. You can see the rain there ahead of us, and a couple drops on the camera lens.




We almost made it, too. The house on the point there is at the entrance to Thompson Cove, which was our intended destination. We turned around and headed back. Sometimes you just need to listen to the dog. Dogs know things. At least that's what ours keeps telling us.
The water is exceptionally clear in this area, and we could see all kinds of coral and sealife on the bottom. We are now planning to come back on a sunny day and get some photos of the underwater part of this trip. Even though the day had turned gray and darker, we could see that the seafloor has some interesting features. It's an excuse for another trip, anyhow.

I know it must seem that we have only been using the kayak lately, and that's because this is, in fact, the case. We have not been using the power boat nearly as much as we usually do. There are a few factors in that, but we still use the other boat. We have a planned trip coming up, and I am doing some repairs on it even now, to fix a few things that have needed fixing.

I have been having problems with spark plugs fouling. We will be zipping along, and suddenly the motor starts coughing and sputtering and losing power. So far we have been able to throttle back and limp home, but it's a pain. It makes the trip slow, and the fuel economy goes out the window when these boats are not on plane. The plugs that this outboard uses are non-standard plugs. In fact, I couldn't find any in this entire country. The local Yamaha guy told me they had never seen this particular motor in the Turks and Caicos. SO, I finally managed to buy a set last time we were in the US. So this week I took a 'boat morning' for maintenance. I changed the plugs, and the bottom two were in bad shape:



Now THAT"S a fouled spark plug. I have been told I should possibly upgrade the fuel filtering system, that water in the fuel can cause this kind of fouling.

Other than the spark plug issues, the motor looks pretty good:



I think it might be installed a little too low on the bracket, though. I've been trying to think of an easy way to lift it up a notch or two without taking the boat out of the water. Nothing has lept out at me yet. Maybe something with some big C-clamps....

Last time we went out for conch, the water was rough and we had some real exciting moments climbing back onto a pitching and rolling wet platform. So I also just installed a swim ladder. Ever notice how on some jobs you never just seem to have enough hands?



The finished installation:



This should make it a whole lot easier for people to climb back into the boat when it is rocking and rolling. Sometimes one is a bit weary after an hour or so of snorkelling. This will definitely.

We have a fishing trip planned for the weekend. We are also thinking of running out to Bottle Creek on North Caicos to visit friends. I have decided to make a real push to finish up some of the several DIY projects I have going on at the moment, so we will have something other than kayak photos to post here shortly. And of course we are always keeping an eye out for decent sunrises or sunsets.

6 comments:

Heather said...

While I check into your blog almost daily, I never comment.

I was motivated to do so today because we were on Provo this time last year.

Our first trip was in 2003 and we returned last summer to work on a construction project. How I wished we would have bought the lot we considered after that trip……

I so enjoy your blog. Each time I see pictures, I get excited because I recognize the places we have seen.

Like today, we spent a lot of time in Turtle Cove and a fond memory of the last trip was walking around looking at all the fantastic fishing boats. Our 2.5 year old (at the time) couldn’t contain his excitement.

We were next to you at the airport last year (recognized the Rover) but I thought it would be too weird to say anything.

Anyway, thanks for doing your site and refreshing my memories!

vanmartin said...

I've just finished reading your entire blog from start to finish. It took quite a few days and quite a few hours but I never once felt like it was time wasted. Thanks for taking the time to introduce the rest of us to the TCI.

It's now on my list of diving holiday destinations.

vanmartin
South Africa

Anonymous said...

Hey Gringos,

That ladder will make an impressive rooster tail the first time you forget stow it before take off ;-)

Keep up the great blogging!

Mike in Bda

Corvair said...

Love your blog, and watch for new entries every day. I have to disagree with your comment about monohull sailboats though - all boats (while floating) are EXACTLY the weight of the water they displace. They sink into the water until the weight of the boat matches the weight of the displaced water.

I suspect a cat full of water will sink as effectively as a monohull full of water...

Gringo said...

Not so. Catamarans do not have a keel full of lead. They do have the engines, and other gear of course, which are heavy. But lets say you knock a huge hole in one hull.

If you only have one hull, it's over.

Anonymous said...

say Gringo...do you have a grab handle installed near that ladder? I dunno how we'd get on board without something to grab onto...but what do i know, Ive only had a boat for 2 years. Yer blog is awesome. ive been with ya since tht