Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gutting Gilley's

The situation with Leeward Marina has screwed up a lot of people's routines, including Preacher. That was his spot for morning coffee and breakfast for the past 19 years. He lives alone, in a house with no running water. Leeward basically belonged to his family when he was a boy. He is NOT happy about it, but it has also opened up some possibilities in other areas. Stay tuned.

Down here we revel in the electrical storms. And this time of year they are absolutely awesome. Some of the best I have ever seen. One night I could barely drive from the strobe effect. My pupils couldn't adjust fast enough. We also did a night crossing to Pine Cay in the 17 ft. Whaler and got caught in an incredible squall. GPS, boat lights,everything but the Evinrude and the bilge pump failed that night, too. Unforgettable trip. We got caught in another one, with Preacher driving another boat, with lightning hitting so close you could see the red flash where the bolts hit the water. No measurable delay between the flash and the boom. A tree a hundred yards from the Pine Cay house got hit and burned. I have been trying to catch some of them with the camera, but have not gotten any good enough to post......yet. It will happen once we are living on the hill. I think getting the right storm, with chain lightning, using 'burst' mode, with a tripod, perhaps. I'll start keeping my eye out more for some good weather photos.

We get these guys chasing us quite often. Our old boat had a top speed of maybe 27 mph, and we cancelled a lot of trips because of threatening weather and we still got caught in way too many violent squalls. The new boat will do 45-48 mph, and its sure nice to be able to scoot around the ends of these things. Its made a huge difference in how much boating we do. Well, I think I posted a lot of the decent fish photos early on. I also see that ImageShack repeatedly loses images that have been uploaded. Not sure what to do about that. La Gringa has been trying to get me to change to Photobucket.

We can be in five thousand feet of water in ten minutes out of Pine Cay. haven't been fishing much lately, it was pretty slow when we got back from New England last month. We will be getting back to it as the season heats up. I'll ask Preacher or Ed Misick when we should start getting serious about it again. Speaking of Preacher, he called this morning and told us the demolition of Leeward had started and he was headed down to take a look. I needed a break, I had a brand new side by side refrigerator in pieces here, trying to figure out why the fresh food is freezing solid. And La Gringa needed a break away from software development. And anyhow, we haven't seen Preacher in weeks, so we drove down.

For those few on THT who know Leeward, it's getting gutted today. The whole area where they are demolishing the existing buildings, docks, and structures is cordoned off with that plastic fencing stuff. But Preacher basically goes wherever he wants around here. And we were with Preacher. I told Preacher we wanted to strip SOMETHING out of Gilley's for mementos, his reaction? "Take anything you want, mon. If you don't, someone else will."

No Fooling. People were ripping windows out, and loading them onto boats. Doors, light fixtures, everything. The bar, kitchen, bathrooms, etc. had already been totally stripped of anything much of value by the time we got there. There were jacks holding up some of the ceiling beams, in fact:

See the corner of that frame on the right? Looking around, La Gringa noticed there were some of these things still attached to the front of what was left of the bar.

We borrowed a crowbar, and I pried 11 of those off. They are solid, red oak. The bar was plywood, and pretty well splintered up. I am thinking I will come up with something to make out of them at the new house. We got a section of brass foot railand the brackets for it, too. And some other odds and ends, memorabilia

Outside, the staff of "Catch the Wave" charters was loading everything out of their little headquarters building onto their biggest pontoon boat. Files, telephones, fishing, diving, boating gear...coolers....it looked like a nautical garage sale:

Ed was there, but he was not in the mood to discuss fishing. He was pretty busy giving orders. I should catch him later in the day after they are all moved. He's a LOT more mellow around five o'clock, usually. I think holding onto cold green bottles helps with his arthritis, or something.

Arthur Dean's "Silver Deep" is already gone. They have new offices in Grace Bay.

Dwayne's Harbormaster office is closed forever. I don't know why they bothered to lock it. Hey, I could use one of those gates for the pergola...

And the fuel pumps are about to go next:

I didn't get this guy's name, but he was doing a good on-the-spot salvage business. A lady from North Caicos brought her boat up to the dock, and within about thirty minutes this man had taken a crowbar and removed about ten of somebody's windows and loaded up her boat for her. He said he had already made a couple hundred bucks this morning. I should have told him I was interested in the wrought iron....

He seemed to know Preacher well, but then, all the native people know Preacher in this country. I tell ya what, that man can strip a window or door out of a building, intact, and get it into a waiting boat faster than anybody I ever saw. fine old tradition of piracy. Probably a good man to know, actually. I appreciate talent. That door frame is six foot six, by the way, and he's slouching... So, one last look at our old spot on the porch overlooking the water where we had several hundred meals, and twice that many drinks,

and its back to the house and fixing a new refrigerator. We have finally realized we really do have to find a new hangout, now, though. So does Preacher. He had already taken the washing machine out of Gilley's, by the way. He said he had been doing his laundry there for years, and they gave him the machine. Now, he has to finally be forced, kicking and screaming into the 19th century....and He's gotta get running water hooked up to his house. Preacher did come up with a proposed date for the boat delivery trip to Salt Cay, finally. That should be a good one. Can't wait. He says he knows where theres a sunken airplane on the way. Should be good for some photos. Anybody got any ideas on what the heck we going to do with 11 of these things? Red Oak, an inch thick, been part of Gilley's bar for the past 19 years... La Gringa spotted them, and said she wanted a couple if we could get them loose. Thinking picture frames. Me being basically a scrounging packrat, I pried ALL of them loose. Its a lot of oak. I thought frames, shelf supports, the sides and arms for chairs...still thinking.

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