Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Already???

Once again we find ourselves stupidly surprised to suddenly see that September sunrises have surreptitiously surrounded us once again.

Or maybe that photo just an example of the 'silver lining' cliche.

September is typically the warmest month of the summer here as the sun passes back overhead on its way to its winter stomping grounds down in the Tropic of Capricorn. We see the 'back-to-school' themes here and there in the advertising media and I got an email from a friend in Wisconsin who woke up to a 48 degree morning this week. And of course we are on maximum alert for storms. September is also historically the busiest time of hurricane season.

And this one is starting right out of the blocks with another named storm heading in our general direction:

We are watching this one even though it's forecast to be relatively small as it goes through here. So was what became Hurricane Hanna last year. And we are not likely to soon forget that little disturbance. We also see another tropical situation about a week behind this one and that too makes us feel like a replay of last years double whammy of Hanna and Ike. We are a little better prepared this year at least. Boat is out of the water and we have a generator for power outages. Not enough to run the whole house, but we should be able to keep food refrigerated and pump water for showers, etc.

I know this post is only a few days behind the last one but I thought I would put up some more photos anyhow. We have had a couple of our five sons visiting recently. One of them just left yesterday for his home on Cape Cod and on Monday he and I took a kayak trip around the Leeward area. I recently received an email from some good people who read this blog and who are planning to come down in October. They told me that one of the things they would like to do is rent a kayak and paddle around the Leeward area so I thought putting up a few more "kayaking Leeward" images might be timely. I also handed my camera to my son Jacob this time, and told him to just snap photos of anything he found interesting or photogenic. And these are Jacob's photographs. For the most part.

We left Heaving-Down-Rock and I thought I would shake him up a little by steering straight for a moored catamaran. By the time he figured out what I was up to and got the camera turned on we were already underneath the hull of the Sail Provo boat "Arielle"...

Of course I was chortling away back there having already given the boy a start..

We boated down past the Nikki Beach area with its seeming acres of floating docks. This is where we took photos of the actor Johnny Depp's boat a few months ago. Not much going on here this time of year. The big boats tend to stay out of this part of the world during the height of hurricane season. These floating concrete docks basically choke off most of Leeward-Going-Through. They changed the look, feel and community of Leeward in many ways when they ripped out what was here and put these things in. I will limit my comments to just that.

Gosh. How pretty.

Once you get past those floating hazards to navigation it's a pretty clear shot around the end of Mangrove Cay and out to the reef if you are going that way.

We were not headed offshore on this trip. The weather was definitely getting a bit spotty and with squalls and thunderstorms surrounding the area we decided to stay close to the islands.

Several times during the morning I would see him aiming the camera at the horizon and I asked him "WHAT are taking photos of?". He told me "Dad, this is some really nice water here in case you haven't noticed.." I couldn't argue with that. Guess I have gotten a little jaded.

Being more into boats and stuff, I steered us over toward a couple that have been anchored back in the sheltered water behind Mangrove Cay all summer. This one, the "Cyclura" has some lettering on the side that says "Zoological Society of San Diego" on it.

I just noticed for the first time that next to the name of the boat is a drawing of an iguana. Well, that makes some sense, actually. We are right off the beach of Little Water Cay, which is a national refuge for the iguanas here.

This is one of the other boats that is anchored back here. We have seen this one around for years, but have not met the owners. We did get a friendly wave as we pedalled past in our rubber boat. People show interest in the little Mirage kayak. These drive things are still unusual here I think. I need to get the name of the boat on the kayak. Not sure how to do that on an inflatable, but it needs to say "Low Cay" on it. Maybe a 'Magic Marker' pen would work. I don't think stick-on lettering would last.

We were talking about iguanas and I explained that the local ones swim really well. They inflate their stomachs with air, and use their long tails to swim from island to island. My son was interested and asked if there was a chance he could get some iguana photos. So, we started heading over toward Little Water Cay. Even though surrounded by 'iffy' weather, it was plenty clear enough to see some of the shallow areas we needed to avoid. Of course, son kept snapping photos.

"Hey, Jacob, what are you taking photos of now?" (the old man asks from the stern of the boat).

"It's the water, Dad. Look at the water."

Oh. Ok.

So, while paying attention to the water I spotted something moving on the distant beach and we boogied on over for a look. Sure enough, an iguana. It's not like they are particularly rare around here, but still it's neat to drift up close to one.

He was eating something on the beach when we interrupted him. I think it was seaweed.

Of course by now he had noticed us and he kept his beady eye on the two guys in the kayak after that. Maybe he was trying to tell us something...

Something like "Do you idiots realize you are about to run aground?"
Hey, it was nice to be the 'towee' for a change.

Well, now Jacob wanted some more iguana photos. We pedalled ourselves over to the little park headquarters. It was closed for the day, but he hopped out and wandered up to see if there might be any big lizards hanging around for a photo.

And there were.

While son waded ashore with camera for iguana photos I stayed with the boat. I had wanted to see how it steered and handled with just one person in the back, anyhow.

After leaving Little Water Cay we crossed back over Leeward-Going-Through and took a tour of the canals on the Provo side. This spot made me feel like grabbing a good book and taking a nap.

This spot did not quite do it for me, although I am sure the service is better.

Things like this tend to keep the larger boats off this part of the canal. Actually it was a nice spot to sit in the shade for a few moments.

We had been in the boat for several hours at this point, and needed to get back to the house because we had lunch plans. So we really didn't take a lot more photos after that. We did manage to drift up close to a pelican. The inflatable is really good for that, you can propel the boat without having to wave a paddle in the air and scaring the wildlife:

A morning on the boat and everyone was ready for some lunch. We headed over to the Blue Hills section of Provo for some conch fritters at 'da Conch Shack'

"& Rumbar"

Very nice place to spend an hour or two, and some of the best and freshest conch on the island.

Maybe a couple rum punches while waiting for the conch, and listening to tales of iguanas..

Maybe a third rumpunch and a pinch of salt for the brother's sea stories...

Out front of the Conch Shack is an old, small caicos sloop full of conch shells.

That was about it for a Monday. We have been having unsettled weather since Tuesday afternoon, and in fact, it has been raining off and on for two days now. The cisterns are full but it's been keeping me from working on the outboard motor so it's a mixed blessing.

The rain didn't stop a group of Filipino workers from coming by to take possession of our little Suzuki 4x4. With two Land Rovers we just really didn't need the Samurai any more. And sitting in the constant salt and sun was not doing it any good. Still, it started right up and they drove it home. I am sure we will be seeing it partially restored and becoming a menace on the streets of Provo very shortly.

I kinda hated to see it go, but it was becoming a whole new set of DIY issues that I really just don't have the time for.

And that's the end of this post. One son is still here visiting, and the other is back on Cape Cod. As I write this the dog is shivering against my feet from the constant thunder and rain as we watch another Tropical Storm headed our way.

Still, the cloudy days do make for a half decent sunset from time to time.


jschieff said...

Your son has a good eye for water photos -- the colors of the water in his pix looked utterly inviting.

Hope all hurricanes give you a wide berth -- I still remember the serious hassles in your life after getting slammed last year.

Are iguanas limited to the reserve or do you see them regularly around your house?

Miss Red said...

that last photo is absolutely gorgeous!!

Anonymous said...

Sir Reel writes, No apology please,… for the frequency of your posts and photos. Personally, I would visit every day if I knew there was new stuff and sometimes I even go back and look at a previous post again just to get a fix! I'm sure you enjoy the time when your family can join you. Being the father of three grown boys with families I know your proud of them. They are handsome young men, enjoy them when ever you can...that part of life is way to short and infrequent. Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Thanks for the lunch pictures. I would have eaten there every day during our last trip. We did eat there for half our lunches.

I can taste the cracked conch right now...

Unknown said...

Great read and pics Gringo. There was one picture of you in the Kayak but the glare from your head was blinding hahaha

Unknown said...

Wow, I REALLY loved the colors in the Carribean water, so different from temperate-zone ocean colors! I loved the one under the boat, but actually loved all of them.

Expat 21 in the Middle East

Anonymous said...

There are iguanas scattered across the islands. Not so many in the populated places, but on the smaller cays.

Second son just left for home, and we are back to the 2.1 of us again. For awhile.

Anonymous said...

Wow great stuff, that sure looked like bonefish and permit water to me? any around that area in the photos? Really enjoy your blog...
Miami Beach

Anonymous said...

There are tons of bonefish here, especially once you get out to some of the less populated islands like Middle or North Caicos.

Sorry I haven't posted much lately, we have been busy for sure, but it's been mostly dull old DIY stuff in my constant battle against rust.

Also a lot of time spent working on the outboard motor. I didn't think anyone would be much interested in those aspects of tropical life.