I took this photo specifically to show you that boat in the middle of it. When I realized that the anchorage on that side of the reef is almost five nautical miles from here, I also realized how impressive it must be. And I suppose that boat is the wrong term for that. It's a yacht by any standard. We had to look into this one a little just out of curiosity. Wouldn't you be interested in finding out the story about a private yacht a hundred meters long sitting in the middle of your neighborhood? That you could see from five miles away? We were.
We weren't on that beach because of this interesting vessel, though. We'd gone to da Conch Shack over in Blue Hills to meet some friends for lunch. We saw some changes in the place and realized that we hadn't been here since last November. So out came the camera.
It wasn't until I cropped that Conch Shack sign photo that I noticed the flying whatever it is just off the end of the post with the light on it. I'm sure it's a commercial airplane. I hope.
The guys with the sunglasses up are Frederick and Phillip. Brothers from Belgium who are building a vacation home here on the island. They are doing it themselves, for the most part. Freddie is a skilled carpenter and craftsman in New York for most of the year. And Phillip comes over from Belgium to meet up here for a working yearly holiday. They manage to fit several weeks of fun in with days of construction under the tropical sun. The guy with the shades down is Preacher... well, him you already know about if you've been reading this blog for long.
All of us here are friends of Preacher's, come to think of it. That was the first thing we had in common. We all have met through Preacher.
I was somewhat remiss in my photo taking that day. I'm not a very good photographer when it comes to people. I let La Gringa handle that aspect of life in general, come to think of it. So of course I neglected to get a photo of all of us. La Gringa would have gotten a photo of all of us. Best I can do at this point is to show you Beatrix and La Gringa, from a unique perspective.
I mentioned some changes since our last visit prior to this one. Almost six months ago. One of them is this new Free Library box. What a great idea. Now we know what to do with books we no longer want to store.
I have a hard time throwing books away. Even now that I'm on my third Kindle.
Some things don't change much from visit to visit, while others do. The clientele is a seasonal variable. We could easily tell that this is a Spring Break week for some people, for example, here with children out of school. There's a local guy in the middle of that cluster, showing them how to clean conch.
The whole restaurant was busy for a late afternoon lunch. And it looked clean and colorful as usual. I especially like the wall of conch shells out near the road.
I remember listening to a talk by a long-time Providenciales expat resident some years ago. He had some 35mm color slide transparancies from the time when this was the first road on Providenciales with a man made surface. Photographs of native island women sitting in the shade of tall trees bent in the tropical breeze. It reminded me of old photos of my grandmother in Texas, who would have been a contemporary of those ladies. And the sight of them sitting and talking as they worked evoked a feeling of what I imagine the social comfort of quilting bees must have been for my grandmother. Except in these photos the women were each holding a hammer in one hand. One of those masonry hammers with a chisel edge on one side. And in their other hands these ladies had hunks of limestone. The largest about the size of a cantaloupe melon. And at their feet were piles of gravel. This is somewhat different than quilting scraps, but you see what I mean. This road was built by hand before being paved over.
Isn't it annoying when I drift off topic like that? Drives La Gringa nuts sometimes. The original subject was that boat I started this all with. We wanted to look it up, and we know that most modern yachts have what's known as an Automatic Information System transponder on board. We used an AIS tracking service to see which boats were in these waters. La Gringa had already identified this yacht before we saw it, but after getting that photo I wanted to show it to you, too.
It was a couple of days after our lunch at da Conch Shack before I asked her to give me a screen shot of the yacht's position. By then it had moved back to the other side of the island. Right now, this yacht is anchored near the luxury resort of Amanyara. The AIS display looks like this:
If you can squint your eyes close enough you should be able to see there are two boat locations marked there near Malcolms Road Beach. One we know well, the T&C Aggressor is a local liveaboard dive charter and underway. The other boat is the one in our photo up above, and the name of that one is "A".
If we click on the boat symbol for the "A" we get this popup:
And if I blow up the portion of my own photo from da Conch Shack, I think we can pretty much figure out whose boat this is.
Of course we had to Google up the "A" . It's a fascinating yacht, and we found out that the name is derived from the initials of its owner Andrey Melnichenko ( Андрэй Мельнічэнка) and his wife Aleksandra.
And while searching, I found that one of the local newspapers has also taken notice of the Russian yacht in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Boy, you just never know what you're going to see in a place like this. Almost makes me look forward to going out to lunch more often.
A little thought about it all and obviously we shouldn't be surprised that Russian billionaires are interested in this area. We know that there are investors involved in the on and off again West Caicos development. And with the present situation in Cuba who knows what kind of development deals may be in the works in the realm of those with seriously deep pockets.
Whatever else Mr. Melnichenko has going on, the man certainly appreciates a fine motor vessel. And I'll be happy to tell him so, the next time I see him.
Okay that's enough about my admittedly unhealthy obsession with boats. Speaking of which...
Guess what this is.
That's no fair, I already told you it's about boats. I was just wondering if you could figure out what it is specifically, and the post title is a clue. But notice that this thing is attached by means of not only three pop rivets, but two nuts and washers on what apparently are sawn off bolts. And guess where I found this?
You're getting tired of this game. I can tell. Okay, okay. It's the mount for the radar that got fried when the lightning hit us just north of Chub Cay on our delivery trip down here with the boat.
I climbed back up to see what would be involved in removing this radar antenna. I didn't have the tools I needed, because I wasn't prepared for dealing with rivets. I'll have to drill or grind those out. We don't have the resources to replace the radar at the moment, so I've got an idea what to put here until we do. If we do. Radars are expensive. In the meantime, I have other things on the mast that need repair or replacement.
The masthead/steaming light and the overhead deck light have not worked since the lightning strike either. This is the first time I've crawled "up the stick" to take a close look at them.
The steaming light is that black one, that is supposed to show forward in a total arc of 225 degrees when a sailboat is motoring at night. The deck light is the white one, that is supposed to illuminate the foredeck of the boat when we need it at night. That could include watching out for coral heads, or anchoring. The rectangular mark on the deck is from where I removed an unused but out of inspection date six man life raft.
Climbing the mast is not my favorite chore, but it goes with the territory. At least there's a pretty nice view from up over the spreader. This is looking over the slips where the Molassas Cat I and II used to tie up. That ended when the West Caicos development project turned off again. Which is because the Russian money is at a low value right now. It still feels different here with them gone. We were very accustomed to seeing them every day. It also occurs to us that we live in a place where the local economy is very much tied to the rest of the world. Putin flexes in the Ukraine, and South African and Haitian friends lose jobs in the Turks and Caicos Islands which is a British Overseas Territory near Cuba where the resident population is 58% immigrants.
AND speaking of different ways of looking at things (don't you just love groan quality seques?) here's Bob's Bar from a level view landward. Nice view of the new stairs, too.
Our nearest neighbor, for this week only, was the S/V Leela. I'm mentioning them because we first heard from the crew of Leela via this blog. They wrote us an email and let us know they were coming through, and staying at South Side Marina. It's amazing how many great people we've met as a result of these posts.
During our early conversations with Graham and Janiki at Bob's Bar we found out that Graham and I both have backgrounds in the ROV tracking business and actually knew several people in common. Like minded people, it seems. We may be seeing them again someday, if our respective plans go anything near according to respective plans. This is a better photo of the malfunctioning lights, and I noticed my feet had a pretty good grip on the old mast.
Who am I kidding? You couldn't have stuck a tack in my butt with a three pound mallet. I was some kind of relieved to climb back down from there. This was my second trip up. The first time I went up to reach the underside of the spreaders. This time I was over the spreaders. I'm working my way up to the climb all the way to the top. I have a lot of work to do there. I'd like to think that this is just me facing my fears, but the truth is probably that I'm too cheap and proud to hire someone else to do it. I get a lot of learning experiences that way. I did think to take the camera up, and got a photo of my line tender keeping an eye on me.
This is going to be the end of this post. I didn't get a good sunset photo this week, but I decided to make you one from scrap materials. Kinda like back in Kindergarten when we stuck things to refrigerators with magnets.
Can you see a sunset in this? Maybe if you lay on your left shoulder and squinted into the morning sun...
I guess it might be asking a little too much to see a sunset there, now that I look at it. It might look familiar to someone accustomed to watching sunrises over curbstones. I think I just found the opening line for my action novel... " Watching the sunrise over a curbstone is an astonishingly bad way of starting your morning..." or something along those lines.
So here's the real sunset photo I took last night. I was just messing with you about that conch wall thing.
Hey, hope you weren't expecting a Van Go from a TooLoose LaTrek...
Ooohhhh. That was bad. Even for me. Sorry.
Check back on Monday. There's always hope for improvement.