Tuesday, September 25, 2007

House, Provo town photos, marinas

We are now back on Provo, again. Back and forth, back and forth, that's a big part of our life down here. Went by the house on the way in, to see if we could spot anything new from the water. The crew seems to be putting gutters up, so they must be starting on the tin roof. I noticed something that I hadn't really paid much attention to, before. We came in at low tide, and the entire shoreline in front of our place is honeycombed with small sea caves. I could spot some flotsam or jetsam or whatever you call it caught up in there, fishing buoys, etc. It's gonna be fun to walk along in the water from time to time and see what's washed up. The caves will keep it out of view until I look inside them. I am a hardcore beachcomber. this is great. I have some more pix to put up, but we are running out to the house now to see what's new in the two weeks since we have been there.

Here's a closer view:

(We just got some fantastic feedback from the THT forum. I am going to post it here on the blog, too. This kind of stuff makes us smile and go looking for something else we can tell y'all about. Thanks)

Good afternoon Gringo. I was directed to this thread by [a friend]. After going from beginning to end, I've been trying to figure out how to communicate to you the impact you've had on me through your pictures and narratives. I just don't seem to have the words. I did send a email to my Wife and two sons with a link to your thread. I'll share the text with you as it's the only way I can think to let you know how special this "thing" is. Wouldn't even try to name it yet...

This is going to sound like just "lip service" but I am completely sincere when I say that this link is one of the most incredible things I've ever run across in my experience with the internet. It's a thread on a boating forum. A fellow who goes by the screen name of "GRINGO" started it in June and it now is 29 pages long. The pictures he posts along with some very good narrative are without words to describe. I predict that you will become "hooked" and "addicted" once you start browsing. Some folks have indicated that it took them 2 hours to go from the start to the current tail end of the thread. GRINGO and his wife have purchased some local property and are building a house. They have befriended most (if not all) of the locals who live on the island they are a part of. His pictures cover a wide range of interests from the construction of his home, to boating, to fishing, to interaction with the local folks, cleaning a conch, exploring the various islands surrounding his location, and sharing the historical information from the 17 and 18 hundreds that he runs across, etc, etc. I hope you find it as consuming as I did and I plan on checking back from time to time like most of the other fans of his postings. ENJOY! Dad.

Hello Gringo,

I too was directed to this thread by [a friend]. I was totally taken by the beauty and all the narratives you have given with the photos.

I will definitely have this thread bookmarked to look upon daily.

I also would like to say I truly admire the courage that it had to take to totally uproot your family and change your life. In many ways though, you will have actually lived two lives....

I also will post a line that I had on my website honoring Steve Irwin after his death, but I also have to say this applies to men like you.

"Every man dies, but not every man truly lives"

Thank you for what you are doing. One day, my wife and I hope to purchase and retire on a trawler, and your island will be on our list of stops....Hope to meet you then.

Man, that's some strong support right there. Thank you very much. Its very gratifying to find out people are getting a kick out of these photos. Here's some more.

We got back to Provo early afternoon. Cruised by the house to check on it. Its only a few hundred yards from the entrance to the marina where we rent a slip here. First thing we found was that they had replaced the Stamas that was our "slip neighbor" with a BW...which is about a foot wider. Makes for an interesting docking approach, especially with the jet ski operation behind us. Gets pretty tight when the wind is up, too.

Polishes up the old single engine boat handling skills, I guess.

We actually chose this slip, because its close to the liveaboard catamaran people. We really don't worry much about theft around here, but its still nice to have people we know living literally twenty feet from the boat. They were not "home" today when we got in. I am sure Roger and his wife were at their respective jobs, and they have two elementary school children all living on the boat here

At the house,I went into the office/computer room, and held the camera about where La Gringa Suprema will be sitting at her desk when she is doing her software development thing. This is the view she will have when the french doors are open, looking through two sliders out to the South. Without the ladder, of course... She says it beats the cubicle view she had in Livingston, New Jersey. And she had a good one, with a pine tree.

We took about a dozen more photos of the house, and talked with all the crew. I won't post them tonight, you guys have seen all the views already, anyhow. Several times. The windows are on island ( yahoo) and the tin roof guy should be done in a week. Things should really start happening fast after its all weatherproof with a roof, doors, and windows in. We may hang around here long enough for all that. Depends on how long we can take the hustle and bustle and stress of big city living.

We found out we needed to go talk to our builder, he had some concerns about the coral stone we were planning to use for the floor. Since he was at his office, we got the chance to snap a couple normal town scenes on the way over.

We got our typical big city Fire and Rescue folks over in Unit # 6 at the Industrial Park:

I read they have several additional big fire trucks on order. No doubt they will have their own building, soon. Fire is not a big problem here,with no home heating systems to go berserk.

You can get your clothes washed, while you get your shoes repaired, and shop for some Dickies work clothes all at the SuPerior mat and Shoe RePair, and duck in right next door for a cold beer while you wait:

right across the street is Kishco The Music Man store. You can get garden implements, compressors, clothing, lighting fixtures, beer, a variety of tools, boom boxes, speakers, dishes and silverware at Kischco's. You can get furniture, cigarettes, shoes, and insecticides and your cell phone topped up at Kishco. You can find canned goods, rugs,underwear, coffee makers, and air conditioners at Kishco's. But you know....I am not sure I have ever seen any actual music for sale here:

Then we were at Coralin's office. We had a nice long meeting with him. What a great guy. I would recommend this man to build a house for you anywhere in the world, and would trust him to do it right. We talked about money ( he needs some) and flooring. We are going to scrap the coral stone floor idea and go pick out some tile tomorrow. Know where we are going to find a couple thousand square feet of tile already on the island ready to go? Yep, you guessed it....Kischco's.
(Here's a hint, everyone who works at Kishco speaks fluent Urdu..or is it Pushtu..probably both.)

We did stop at our mail box at the islands only Post Office on the way home...

Nothing there, of course. There rarely is. We'll check it again in a couple weeks.

So, sorry but I am afraid any photos I take over the next couple days would be this kind of stuff. If I do see anything I think might be of any interest, I will post it. Can't wait to get back on the boat, already.

In the meantime, I may just have to climb down the rocks and check out some of these places, though.

Yes, the only boat dealer in the country handles Boston Whalers, and about five or six other brands. He has no competition. We bought a Dauntless 180 from him last November. And DMartin, this roof we are getting is also painted, white in our case. Its got these vertical ribs running up the side on 16 inch centers. Probably exactly the same thing as you have. I'll probably just wait until they put it on this week and then take a photo of it.

Gonna be a busy day today. I have to deal with two TCI Gov't departments, and they are usually good for a day for each one of those. There's usually a sense of humor and some laughs about it. Just totally inefficient. Nothing to get upset about. We have to get some registration numbers on the boat. We have been running it unregistered for six months. Imagine that in the US. But since we plan to spend some time way out on the Caicos Banks over the next few weeks we expect to get checked out at sea. Once they have to officially take notice of a boat in the area, radio in the contact info, etc. of course they have to ask for the paperwork. We understand how that works. Most of the maritime cops here know us, anyway. But they have no reason to hassle us for registration, etc. when we are near Provo or Pine Cay or in a marina. If they run across us out at French Cay, they will.

Up until now we have pretty much run on the north side of the islands, and now we re going to be operating out of sight to the south. They have to patrol the south more heavily, that's the direction the illegal immigrants and foreign lobster-poachers come from. Don't get rickety sloops full of Haitians coming down from the North. Besides, we have bankers and politicians to keep watch to the North.

Its Looks like a good morning for it:

Yesterday while we were driving around we stopped at the Turtle Cove marina to see if there were any liveaboards around. There was only this little one down from the States:

The marina there was as empty as we have ever seen it. It will be packed in mid-winter. Of course now is mid-Hurricane season, too.

I also took a photo of the water-side of the SharkBite restaurant, one of our hangouts when we feel like going to Turtle Cove for a meal or to look at expensive boats. The Tiki Hut is another one, can usually find our architect and Ross (Maritime Heritage Federation) there at Happy Hour. There are several more restaurants on the water in Turtle Cove, but we probably spend more time at Sharkbite than any other:

I imagine we will be hanging out there more, since they are closing Gilleys at Leeward next week. And we like being on the water, (in case no one has noticed that yet.)

There was a question on the forum about La Gringa's work. She is not a programmer. She's a business analyst. She designs medical software. She is in daily contact with programmers in India, and clients in the US. Once we figured out that she could work anywhere in the world with a good internet connection, it was the final piece falling into place for us to live where we wanted. I suspect many of you could do the same thing, if you really wanted to, badly enough.

As for picking the TCI, well, its close to our home country ( hour and fifteen minutes from Miami), the language is English, the currency is the dollar, the government and legal system are under British rule, still ( as opposed to Spanish or French), which is pretty stable. Its not overly commercialized nor developed. Foreign citizens can own land here, and title is guaranteed by the British Crown. Its got a tax structure more like the Caymans. And its got some of the most beautiful water, and the nicest people on this planet. I cant think of too many other places with those attributes. And the ones I do know...I am keeping to myself.

I hope y'all don't mind, but I have invited my better half, La Gringa, to join in here. Obviously some of you have entertained the idea of trying this kind of life, and she has her own perspectives on it. Perhaps some of the female forum members would like another woman to communicate with about life in the islands. She is also right beside me through everything we do here, and keeps me honest. She has taken a number of the photos I have posted. It was her idea to add more descriptions to the photos in the first place. I am sure she could add something to anything I write, but has shown remarkable restraint.

Why do I feel that's about to change?

She's also the computer guru of the family, and if this did go to a blog or website, it would be her doing.

(There was a forum question about taxis)

The whole jitney license thing here is a current bone of contention. There is a list of legal occupations that are reserved for the native born. Taxi owner and driver is one of those. The Haitians have introduced a system similar to what you describe, and the local taxi guys are up in arms about unlicensed taxis eating into their business. A ride from the airport to, say, Leeward marina to catch a boat might cost you from $ 20-40 in a licensed taxi. It would be most likely a full size van, with AC, etc. However, you can catch a ride just about anywhere on the island with an unlicensed jitney driver for $ 2-4 in a small car with three or four other passengers. There is also a bus service, the Gecko Bus, that runs routes for a few dollars. But they only stop at set stops, along the major routes. A jitney driver will load groceries in the trunk and run you right to your door for about what the bus charges to drop you at a bus stop, with limited luggage. The tourists tend to use the licensed taxi's, of course, and pay top dollar. The locals support the illegal jitney industry, riding in beat up cars with no markings, and as you noticed, in the back of pickup trucks.

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