Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Goodbye March...

It is finally feeling like springtime again down here. We know that it might not seem like there is much of a difference just judging from the photos, but there really is a difference to the people who live here year round. Really, there is. We get cold when the temperature drops below 75 F.

I thought I would squeeze one more small blog post in here this last day of March '09. Mainly because we have some stuff planned for later this week,and these photos are going to be obsolete shortly. I may as well 'use them up' while they are still new.

The sunrises are happening a little further north every morning, which for us means that they are moving slowly to the left in these photos we take looking east:

And we are starting to see a day or two in a row here and there without the 15-20 mph winds. Yesterday La Gringa and I took Dooley the Dastardly Dog down to check on the boat. We started the motor. Then we decided the batteries would charge faster if we took it out of the slip and ran the motor up...well...to shorten this story, we ended up running it sixty miles at wide open throttle. Whoowheee. Bring on the summer!

We are still hopping in the 'new boat' several times a week. And in fact, we have figured out ( I should actually give credit where due and say La Gringa figured out) that if we just used the Samurai instead of the Land Rover, we could leave the boat on the vehicle and put them both in the garage ready to go:

Yes, I know the garage is a mess but hey, there is a lot of stuff going on in there. Usually. And that's my excuse, and I am sticking to it.

We bopped out day before yesterday for a quick kayak run, in fact. Instead of staying in the nice protected canals we took advantage of a break in the wind and scooted out into the actual ocean a bit. I didn't take a lot of photos, but we did go check out a small cay a couple hundred meters off of Provo:

Really not much to say about it, it's a lot like many of the other similar little islands here. But I thought it made a good photo. Looks like a good, private spot for a picnic, doesn't it? Maybe a few lobster lurking on the other side where it's deeper. And it's always deeper on the windward side. Always.

And it won't be here forever, as a look at the windward end of it illustrates:

Yep. It's got that 'undercut and fall into the ocean' syndrome going on. I guess the good news is that it takes a few hundred years, near as I can figure, for the waves to erode enough under the edges for the rock to fall over. But it does happen. Then it starts all over again. I was wondering, if the Global Warming fanatics are right, and the ocean is becoming more acidic due to CO2 absorption...will limestone islands start falling apart even quicker? Stands to reason, doesn't it?

Anyhow, after we left there and were headed back into the Southside Marina, we passed over an ominous shape that we could tell came up to within a few feet of the surface. We looped around it trying to get some photos, but the water was so stirred up by all the recent wind that the visibility has not had time to settle down back to it's normal gin clear mode. We are, of course, interested in rocky things that come close to the surface in areas where we are likely to be running the Contender. The first photo didn't come out all that great, with the sun behind me like conventional photography wisdom would have it:

So we circled the kayak around and grabbed a photo just as a small wave went over the top of it, acting sort of like a lens to bring it out a little:

With the sun in our faces, it let the shadow define the rock, or wreck, or whatever it is. We will definitely be back with some snorkel gear to take a look at this thing when the water clears up. Don't you just hate this cloudy looking sea water?

Headed back into the entrance of the Southside Marina, I snapped a photo of two of the channel markers, for you small boat drivers out there. How would you like to be doing this approach in a boat that drew, say, six feet, in the dark, in a storm?

Keep telling yourself, 'Red on right, returning'...but also keep in mind that the moment you clear that green buoy to Port you need to do a -90 degree hard turn before you hit that beach. And you will hit it real suddenly. You want to end up over to the far left there, where the other masts are sticking up. Tricky.

"And now" (imagine television announcer voice..)" back to Real-World Wood Butchering by the artistically impaired"... yes, I do have my own little DIY projects going on here and there. I am finishing up the first section of this new computer desk/bookshelf "t'ingum' I am making for La Gringa's office:

That's our rat patrol dog checking things out in the lower left. A rat would have to be a natural born fool to even think of coming onto Mr. Dooley's property.

I had put a Google SketchUP of what I am doing in the previous post, if anyone is really interested. Just click on the 'older posts' button at the bottom right of this page. (And "t'ingum" is a local word used quite often to describe things that have a longer and more technical description available somewhere else. Usually somewhere else far away.)

Looking at that project after seeing some woodworker's efforts, it kinda makes me think I am doing the equivalent of laser eye surgery with a chainsaw. Some people take a piece of lumber and turn it into a work of art. I take a piece of lumber and just turn it into a shorter piece of lumber. Oh well. At least you'll be able to stand on mine. I don't know why one would want to. But the point is that you could.

We have some excursions planned for later in this week after a long time friend from the US comes down tomorrow. My oldest friend. Wait a minute, that didn't sound right. I don't mean that he is the oldest person I am friends with. I have a lot of older friends. I mean that he and I have been friends since we were fifteen years old. He's never been here before and we are going to show him around. Should produce some nice pictures.

I promise, I will try to get away from the kayak photos and find something interesting to write about next time. No April fooling.. And we are going fishing offshore in the big blue this afternoon. That's always a good potential for fun photos.

Oh, and of course if the sunrises are coming up a little bit further to the left every morning when we are looking to the east, it stands to reason that the sunsets would theoretically be coming down a little bit more to the right every night when we are looking to the west. And they do:

I know, I know, I moved back into the science portion of the program and forgot to mention that the art appreciation section ended several photos ago. I'll just blame that lapse on winter doldrums, because I KNOW y'all will never buy into a Seasonal Affective Disorder excuse from someone living here. Still, we are more than ready for springtime. ' We are ready for some serious boating and fishing. Another island phrase: 'soon come'.


Anonymous said...

Wow..Randall's work is just..amazing..there just isn't a word that describes it. He is a truly unique artist. Thanks for sharing the progression. I had visited his site before but it was great to see the process.

I sure hope you will keep posting kayak photos! Those are my favorite..well, those and the DIY's..and the sunsets and sunrises..well, anyway..keep 'em coming!

Glad March is almost over! It is STILL raining here in Houston. I went for a run this morning and got hammered in it! :/

Did you ever fix the diving hooka? Also, does calmer wind mean conch chili soon come? :)


Bendernz said...

Hi Gringos. Your antipodean fanbase is still intact and I want the echo the thoughts above. Your friend Randall's artwork is just incredible. Howintheheck does his brain see that in a block of wood? I also have a query about your kayak drive - do you launch the boat and attach it beneath, or attach it and lift the boat into deep enough water to float it. It must be pretty robust in case you misjudge the depth? My dog says Dooley is wont to use some rather ribald language when chatting to the neighbourhood pooches in the last video you posted - you might wanta get him to tone it down or Blogger will slap a R-rating on him.

Anonymous said...

Heather, yeah I fixed the hookah, I think. I ended up putting a new carb on it. We are planning to take it and the metal detector out as soon as we get a good stretch of calm weather. We have some places we want to take a look at.

And hello Bender. How is your summer going? As for the Hobie drive, it drops down into a well, (a mini moon pool for you offshore types) through the bottom of the kayak and clicks into place. We launch with the drives just laying in the boat, and drop them in when we get into water deep enough. You can also roll the boat up on it's side on shore and fit them in, with the blades feathered up against the hull. They go in from the top, from within the boat. And there are two little catches that hold them. Click click and you pull them out when you are beaching. There is a video and some better photos on Hobie's site at:

We have really become converts. We rarely even use the paddles, they stay clamped to the boat in their little holders for the most part.

Bendernz said...

Summer's been brilliant with plenty of great weather. Then a month of wind in March. Now settled into beautiful calm early autumn.

Easy Caribbean Shop said...

great blog


Joy said...

Totally amazing sculpture. Glad it's warming up for you guys.