Friday, November 2, 2007

Better day

We felt the  sunrise this morning had all the earmarks of a nice day. And it was.

For the first year we were here we kept our little Whaler at one of Pine Cay's slips at Leeward. We met all of our earliest friends in the TCI at Leeward, so these are people we have known now going into our third year. When we got our present boat we had to move, and have been renting a slip at the boatyard. It's been okay, but not great. Good people there, but the logistics are not the best:

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We still hung out at Leeward, but not nearly as much as when we kept the boat there. We were there almost every day that first year but only once or twice a week after we moved. Then the developers tore the marina at Leeward down to build this big new resort. We were bummed. So were a whole lot of other local boat people.

The local boat dealer, Sherlock Walkin, has been building a new marina very near the old Leeward Marina site. It's on the "corner" of Provo, right where Leeward-Going-Through widens out into the Caicos Bank. We had been bugging him to rent us a slip for months, but he would not commit. Then after Leeward Marina was torn up, we figured there was no chance to get into the new marina. It would fill up with all the local business charters and natives who were displaced. We basically gave up asking.

Then, early this afternoon the phone rang. It was Preacher, and he told us he was at the new marina and we should come down. Now, Preacher likes to talk in parables, and can be oblique sometimes. But we have learned to listen to him carefully, and we boogied on down there in about ten minutes. You just never know with Preacher. Something could always be up.

Preacher was waiting for us, and he showed us the new slip he had just rented for his own use!

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He got a great spot, away from the traffic and fuel dock, bow into the prevailing winds, sheltered from wakes, and close to the bulkhead. He can park his car and be literally steps from his slip. To the right, the Caicos Bank. To the left, Leeward-Going-Through and the reef. Straight ahead, North, Middle, and South Caicos. This area historically is called "Heaving-Down Rock" - since the early 1800's.

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That's Preacher's new slip, the closest one between the concrete bulkhead and the floating spur. Because its shallow and rocky next to the concrete, he got the whole double slip to himself. He can load straight from the bulkhead if he want's to. Nice.

He gave us some more good news: our friend and former dockmaster at Leeward, Dwayne, is now the new manager here. Our friend Duran now works here, we're not sure of his title, yet. In fact, quite a few of our old friends were here today.
Checking out the nice new fuel dock:

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The property is still very much under construction, with backhoes and cement trucks coming and going. Sherlock has a restaurant and tackle shop planned, and yard storage for trailers. 24 hour security. The first building and Dwayne's new office is already up and running:

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And "Catch the Wave" charters has that little office upstairs to the right. "Silver Deep" on the ground floor. Seems all our old buddies are landing on their feet here. Preacher says Sail Provo is being fit in, too.

The Prime Minister's home is literally right across the street:

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and the Conch Farm is literally around the corner:

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(We are going to get some more photos and the story of the Conch Farm for a future post)

There's a really cool new ferry boat to take people from here to North Caicos on a regular schedule. This country hasn't had that. La Gringa was talking with the guys at the gas pump about the ferry. One of them said "but where they gonna put they STUFF? Nobody EVER go to North empty-handed.." and it's a good point. I think we have posted photos here of people loading up in private boats to go back to North Caicos. Provo is a shopping trip. They take suitcases and boxes and bags of groceries. I think this ferry is going to be a great idea for commuters working in the new hotels and developments going in on North Caicos, but I also think there's quickly going to be room for a regular small daily passengers/freight service, as well. This place is growing so fast.

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We were pretty envious. Things are very crowded over at the marina where our boat is. And the road, well, you have already seen photos of the road. The road to Sherlock's marina is the best, smoothest, and straightest paved road in Provo. We told Preacher we had tried for months to get Sherlock to let us reserve a slip here, and got nowhere. Now we knew why, with the sudden shortage of dockage in Leeward, with this prime marina location, he knew he would get all the business he could handle. This marina is going to fill up quick. I don't think they have advertised being open for business at all (and believe me, we watch for these things), and it's already at least half full:

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So after listening to our jealousy, Preacher gave us a big grin, and said "Let's go talk to Dwayne"....and you know what those sonofagun's did? They arranged it so we got the slip right next to Preacher's. We share that first floating spur. When we walk down to the bottom of this little ramp, our boat will be two diagonal steps to the left.

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Of course, we went for it. We're already paid up for two months in advance.

Another aspect of this little vignette today that La Gringa and I really appreciate is the subtle confirmation of friendship and acceptance we see in this. I suspect that for some time to come, the new resort and marina being built on the ruins of Gilley's just a half mile away with slips for yacht's to 200 ft, will be somewhat of a "them". And it's real nice to know that the locals friends we have made here consider La Gringa and I as part of their "us."

Remember when you were a kid and standing in a line while teams were being chosen for a game? It always felt good to hear your name called, didn't it?

This is kinda like that.


Don said...

Will the new boat slip be closer to your home?

Anonymous said...

It's seven and a half miles farther away by water, but its half a mile closer by road. The new slip is more expensive, but it's going to be offset by fuel costs. Three trips to Pine Cay a month will make up the dollar difference. It also saves us lots of time and wear and tear on the automobiles to be here. And all our friends hang out at Leeward, anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is sustaining me. Just got back from a week in Provo. It was a holiday (holiday of a lifetime) but realistically not going to be a lifestyle for us. We tried to take in as much as we could while there, and read extensively before the trip (enough to be convinced absolutely that one week wouldn't scratch the surface of TCI!)
The photos and written content of your blog are voluptuous! I simply can't get enough! I started at the beginning and now I'm into November 2007, which is the time period of our visit.
The reason I am posting this comment under Nov. 2 is that I'd like to thank you for clearing up a mystery for me. We took excursions with Silver Deep. The marina, which I thought was Leeward, didn't look anything like I expected it to look. Your blog explained what happened to the original Leeward marina, information I had not heard elsewhere. And specifically, the November 2nd entry showed me that we in fact left from the new Sherlock Walkin's marina. We thought the place looked very new and couldn't figure out why-- when we were there, that is.
I am learning so much from your blog, and would it be presumptuous to say, living vicariously?
Thank you Gringo(s)!