We finally got a good day to try the sail on the new kayak. We launched it at Leeward Going Through, and sailed around the various little cays for several hours. We found out that with the wind less than about 10 kts, the sail becomes manageable. We learned to put it up and take it down without getting out of the boat. This ought to come in real handy when there's no beach nearby.
Without the sail flapping and me swearing and casting aspersions on the ancestry of various hardware even Dooley the Distressed was able to enjoy the sailing.
Well...I don't know that 'enjoy the sailing' is exactly right, in Dooley's case. He took a while to mellow out. He really thought he would just have an all around better day if he could ride up in the bow, for example. Did you know you can actually hold a Jack Russell by that stubby little tail?
He tolerates the sailing. It's new yet, though, and he will come to like it. He seems to be game for anything boat-related once he gets accustomed to it.
This area around Leeward is really nice for sea kayaking. There is a lot of wildlife around. We saw sea turtles, lots of birds of various types, and there are iguanas on many of the small islands. We saw some boats anchored in the area, like this research boat from San Diego:
And we managed to miss ramming this one on an earlier tack.
I didn't get any photos when we were about ten feet from it as I was trying to figure out how to adjust the mast on a kayak...I was busy. But that's how we got from the other side of that boat to here without banging into it. It was questionable for a few seconds.
We even passed a group of eco-tourists (I hope that's the right term) on a kayak trip out behind Mangrove Cay. Big Blue is one of the local diving excursion companies. They also rent kayaks and can supply a guide. There are a lot of things to see here, too.
(For you other kayakers reading this, we absolutely smoked this crowd with the Mirage Drive Hobie we were in. Not even close. There is just no way someone can pull a paddle with their arms stronger than someone else can push one with their legs.)
The channels through Leeward are very much affected by tides as the water from the open ocean rushes in on flood , and a lot of the water on the big Caicos Bank flows through just as fast on ebb. We were headed back to Heaving Down Rock, where we left the Land Rover. We noticed that our speed was dropping. Looking at the water flowing around this piling, you can see that it was just starting to rip along pretty good..
And in the channel itself, there is an appreciable amount of boat traffic. Dooley the Disjointed fell overboard after we went over the wake from the Parrot Cay boat. He was standing on the bow, and just basically 'launched' into the ocean. We dumped the sail and grabbed the paddles ( Mirage Drives have no reverse gear) and held position while he frantically swam back to the boat. We hauled his soaking wet little self out of the ocean. And of course Leeward is the Sunday afternoon equivalent of "cruising the drag" for a lot of the guys. Within fifteen minutes of rescuing the dog, another boat went by and the wake was big enough to shake our mast out of it's socket. We now got to practice retrieving the mast and sail while still in the boat. Sounds funny now, doesn't it. First the dog gets knocked out of the boat, then the mast and sail gets shaken loose....High Drama in Low Cay... This was getting just a little too exciting all the way around, so we decided to duck into the canal to make for an easier and safer trip back. First we cut over to the Provo side of the channel, and we spotted this unusual looking yacht:
"A smokestack! Air funnels! Someone has built a modern steamboat! " (I thought to myself) and then something started looking just not quite right. I had never seen portholes for cabins right next to a smokestack. And then I realized that there was no place under the air funnels for the air to be funnelled to...
So, I guess I am now pretty sceptical about it. I don't know why someone would add fake deck structures, adding cost, taking up space, and adding weight. So maybe I just missed something.
(edited 6/24/09: One of our readers, Bobby, sent in a comment and pointed out that this boat, "Vajoliroja", is the privately owned yacht of the movie actor Johnny Depp. Cool! Thanks Bobby!)
We finally were able to duck into the canal by Nikki Beach resort, and those hammocks were starting to look pretty good by now.
This way was longer, and we were tired, but it was out of the wind, out of the current, and away from the afternoon beer drinkers with 60 mph boats over on the channel.
We came out of the canal right at the former Chief Minister's home. And caught a pelican standing on a boat watching it all without comment:
Maybe he's the TCI equivalent of one of those 'political watch dog' groups...
We were just around the corner from Heaving Down Rock at this point, where we use the beach itself as a boat ramp. And we are not the only ones. This spot has been used by Provo people for many, many years as a place to load boats and to launch them. This family managed to run their boat trailer down between the landing craft, just as easily as if it were a concrete dock in an official marina:
We were pretty flagged out by the time we got home. La Gringa had just gotten out of the shower when we heard a call come in on the new VHF radio, and we went out to take a look. Can you figure out what she is watching in the photo?
Difficult to see, unless you know where to look:
Boy, I bet one of these could sure liven up a kayak trip in a hurry.