Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just an average Saturday morning in the Trade Wind Belt

This morning we had some errands to run. Drop off the Land Rover at the dealer, buy a bed, and look for a gas grill. We had a couple hours to kill, and decided to drive down to the Five Cays area. This is what a road there looks like when it's being flooded by the sea:

The muddy area is the dirt road and the clear area is just the land alongside the road. Notice the seawater is clear even when it's over the land.

We went to Five Cays because we had been hearing that there were two good fish markets there. Our friend Evan also is now working at a Yamaha shop there and we thought we might as well find out where these places are. When we finally got there, the high tides ( full moon) and 25 mph winds across the Bank had driven the sea up over the road:

I don't think the 20 mph speed limit is really going to be a problem. It's kinda self-limiting unless you have a shallow-draft boat with an outboard.

But today, there wasn't much traffic of any kind. Everything was closed, and we assume it's because most of the people here won't drive their cars through this salt water. There were plenty of local boats around, though.

I think that may be the first time I ever pulled out to pass a boat on the right while driving a little Samurai. Actually, it's the first time I have passed a boat on either side while driving a 4x4.

There are loads of locally made boats down here. Some of them might need a repair here and there..

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The winds have been blowing for two days now, a good 25 mph with higher gusts. Combined with a very high tide, the water is over the low shorelines even on this, the protected shallow side of the islands.

This is borderline qualifying as windy and rough. Made us glad we did not have to go anywhere in the boat , although we did take it up to Pine Cay yesterday in the same conditions La Gringa shot a very brief video of us headed out of the marina. It's brief because she needed to hang on. Its shaky for the very same reason:

you see, it starts out smooth, like so many things in life that will turn on you given half a chance...

While thinking about the locals being too pansy to drive their cars on a road just because it's got a little ocean on it, it occurred to me that I had no idea what was under that water. For example, sharp objects one might easily avoid if one could see them. It would not be unreasonable to expect broken beer bottles, for example, on a road frequented for the past twenty years by fishermen who just got paid and the kind of people who visit Yamaha dealers. . Potholes are another unwelcome surprise when under water. I was reminded that while boats just care about the surface, automobiles are very much coupled to the bottom. Maybe the line between being pansy and being prudent is closer than I originally thought.

So, then I started thinking about the state of my right rear tire. It had a tread pattern similar to my head ( Basically bald with stubby remnants around the edges.) I contemplated having to stop and jack up a vehicle while standing in the incoming tide. Well, that would be bad (I said to myself) but at least we have a spare. And I turned to look at my trusty spare, and somehow since the last time I had pumped it up, it had gone totally flat again. This is like the third time in a row. I began to see a pattern here, while there was still none on my right rear tire. Since we still had time to kill waiting for the Land Rover dealer to call, we decided it was stupid to keep driving around these roads with a bald tire and no spare. So we went down to the local tire place, called "K's Tires". The Pakistani gentleman who owns K's Tires was more than happy to sell me a new tire. This is the third time he has done this for me in the past year. TCI is real hard on tires. He said he would rotate the other three while he was at it. No hydraulic lift? No problem. Three portable jacks will pick a truck up off the ground just fine, I found out.

No part of the truck was touching the ground. No jack stands. It moved back and forth several inches when he torqued down on the lug nuts with that air wrench, moving wheels around all over the place.
Maybe it's like making sausage and knee surgery, nervous people really shouldn't watch the process.

The Pakistani's run quite a few thriving businesses here. K's tire business, Kishco's growing little chain of department, liquor, appliance and furniture stores, and another group where we just bought a bed named Krazy Bargains.
We have noticed many of their business names start with the letter "K". Maybe it's just good Karma. (sometimes I just kill myself...)

So, with a new tire on the ground and my former right rear now a spare, we drove out to the house site to see if anything was going on out there. Our builder was there, as was the sub-contractor who is now running almost a month late getting the tin roof on. Hate to say it, but it's not looking good for being in there by Christmas. We would settle for New Year's eve at this point. As long as it's this New Years.
While at the house, we watched the chop smashing on the ironshore, throwing spray up into the air where the wind would blow it ashore over the rock:

Doesn't look like much in the photo, does it. But I was standing on the patio edge taking the photo, and that shoreline is 110 yards away. Some of the spray was going up 20-30 feet or so into the air. And that's a good four foot chop.

When we went down to the side of the road we could feel some sea spray on our faces. That's still about 75 yards from the shoreline, and only about 20 feet lower than the patio. And this isn't a storm, just a windy morning. Not unusual. On days like this we don't second guess if we shouldn't have built closer to the water. A real storm should make for some great photos, for those of us sitting up on the hill, anyhow.


Don said...

Maybe you can get an Air Boat for high tide days..That'd wake up the natives

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention that. We actually considered (briefly) looking into something like that for inter island travel. I don't have any experience with air boats. I do have a few hours running a two-man hovercraft over water. It wasn't much good in a cross wind. I wonder if an airboat would be any better?

Unknown said...

If we had been sober that day, that crosswind would have been much easier to deal with, I am sure. :)

Strictly Business said...

Gringo, After reading your thread on tht and your new blog it has inspired me to start my own little blog, its not much yet, but its a start. Check it out i did a write up the other day on the high tides everyone is experiencing might be of some interest to you. Keep on posting i read this site just about everyday. Thanks Tyler