Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friends still unmet. At least, as of yet.

If you have read the recent older posts here you might remember this blurry photo from one back in late July of this year:

I was playing with a new toy: a spotting scope with a cheapo digital camera attached. This was an attempt to get a few more photos of things off in the distance, without buying an expensive lens for La Gringa's DSLR. And we saw this great looking schooner off in the distance, almost over the horizon, and as bad as the image was, I still used it. And now I am glad I did.

As has happened several times now, we have come into contact with someone as a direct result of this blog.

This morning we received an email from the Captain of that boat in the photo! No kidding. Capt. Bob Nichols, of the S/V "Star of the Sea", had been web surfing and found our little blog, and saw the photo and recognized his 68 ft. Colvin schooner. It's not hard to spot. We don't see many boats like that these days.

He told us that when that photo was taken, they were on their way to Haiti to deliver relief supplies to the earthquake victims. He sent us a link to the blog he writes about the ongoing activities of the "Star of the Sea" and the New Horizons organization that operates her. He also sent us some more photos taken while the "Star of the Sea" was here at the Southside Marina on Providenciales. When we found out what kind of things these guys are up to, we thought we would share this with our readers.

All of the photos except that first one are courtesy of Capt. Bob Nichols:

That schooner pretty much takes up all the fuel dock at Southside, and then some:

Our regular readers might recognize that canal. It's where we often launch our little inflatable kayak and our power boat "Off Cay". The building on the peninsula there is a 'live in' dive center. It's also the home of Flamingo Divers.

And here is a great shot of the "Star of the Sea" sitting comfortably 'on the hook' in protected water, loaded with several tons of food for the Haitians.

After reading Captain Bob's blog, I now know a bit more about the "Star of the Sea" and their mission. But instead of me trying to explain it I will refer you to their blog for more photos and explanations. You can read up on their good work and maybe even help their efforts, through the "Star of the Sea" blog.

Capt. Bob tells us that they are planning to be passing through the T.C.I. again in November, after the end of this annoying little hurricane season (We feel like a duck in a shooting gallery lately). I am hoping we can meet him, and maybe even get some more photos and a tour of the schooner when they come back through.

In addition to the photos of the boat while it was in Provo, Capt. Bob was kind enough to email me a few more images along with permission to post them. I don't know where these were taken but include them here for your enjoyment.

This one makes you almost want to run away to sea, doesn't it?

Bob is involved in supporting orphanages in the Bahamas, and in ferrying supplies to the orphans in the Bahamas and to the earthquake victims in Haiti. A real life missionary at work.

I love this photo. There's a whole lot of human going on in this one:

People who have been reading this blog might notice that this post is bit different from our usual stuff. Typically we go weeks between blog posts. What generally happens is that we just go muddling through our typical days without much thought as to whether or not anyone would even be the least bit interested in our typical days. Then sooner or later we'll get involved in something like a Conch Festival or a trip to Middle Caicos. Something out of the ordinary. This'll trigger the old "hey we haven't posted any photos in a while" response, so we make sure the camera is charged up and away we go. We'll snap a bunch of pix on that one trip, and then upload them and I write some captions..... and that's the post.

Sometimes we get emails reminding us that we haven't posted in a while (Robert from Nantucket will just flat out tell me I'm lazy) and off we go, dog in boat, camera in hand, cooler in kayak... looking for something interesting to "shoot".

But maybe we can do better than that. Little things do actually happen to us between these posts. Like these emails and photos from Capt. Bob. This is part of our experience living here. Schooners sail by. Sometimes we find out why and every boat and crew has a story to tell from their trip through the Turks and Caicos. And I was thinking (yeah... La Gringa would agree with your response to that)..... perhaps we should use some of these smaller day-to-day stories instead of always waiting for the next "big" excursion. We assume that the contrasts between where we live and where you live are what bring you to this blog. And significant contrast is always there, even in little things that we now take for granted and consider normal.

And that is part of the reality of living here. People change, and adapt to their environment. This is also part of what we wanted to share with people. The differences.

Well, I want to start including some of this aspect of our experience in this blog again. This approach will result in shorter posts, but it should also result in the scenery here on the blog changing much more often.

If this approach works better, maybe I can get back closer to the original intent of the blog. It was always meant to be more about the experience of American expats living in a small, tropical island nation, and not so much about us specifically. (This idea started when I realized that there are four photos of ME in the previous post!! And I am sure you would agree, that's about five too many. Those orphans are a hundred times cuter. Well, fifty times, anyhow.)

Please, let us know what you think.


RumShopRyan said...

Great story. I'll be checking out Captain Bob's blog and the adventures of the Star of the Sea.


Anonymous said...

Nup......I have to disagree with you Gringo. I LOVE reading all about you guys, however boring YOU may think you're anything but! The long posts are just fine with me, and the pics make it a very interesting read complete with shots of yourselves in it! In fact I was wondering if I was ever going to see what you looked like, and voila! there you were. I am now going to have a look at Star of The Sea's blog with great anticipation. Thanks for sharing with us, and don't stop the posts!! Cheers from Western Australia...Jan O

Anonymous said...

For those of us who love TCI and yearn for the expat living on the island experience, any information quenches ourbthirst and makes us feel a bit closer to our dream. Not to mention the pages taken out of your DIY book (note to self - choose metals wisely when building). We love it. Short bursts satisfies the jones. Bravo!

Maria Rosa said...

Capt. Bob's mission is extraordinary. I've known him for over 35 years. His enthusiasm and passion for the cause is remarkable not to mention his love for a full bodied dark rum on ice, sunsets and a wicked sense of humour. A lifelong friend. Enjoy following the Star of the Sea. That is so cool you found each other. It's a small world really and about 3 degrees of separation not 6. Bon Voyage, Capitano!

Didier Dufresne said...

Very interesting...

AmitiƩs de France...

Anonymous said...

The second pic reminds me of something. Somewhere I'd wanted to go...


Joy said...

You always crack me up (comparing yourself to the orphans). Well, I'm all for more posts. :) I think that focusing on the "expats living in a small, tropical island nation"-angle sounds good, and could give you direction, sort of a mission, if you will, in your writing. But don't feel like you have to pigeon-hole yourselves and not include something interesting just because it has pictures of you guys!

I am not at ALL a DIY person. Yet I find your DIY projects fascinating because of the improvising and resourcefulness required because of your location.

And whatever you're writing about, your spot-on wit always shines through. If you guys ever write a book, I will definitely buy it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words. We have now learned that the "Star of the Sea" has reluctantly been put up for sale. I did a quick search and found the ad at

$ 150,000 is not a huge amount of money in the worlds of boating and disaster relief. We hope Capt. Bob finds some way to keep the boat operating on her humanitarian missions.

He has promised us a tour aboard the schooner when he comes back through the TCI next month with more Haitian relief supplies. At least, that's the plan.

In the meantime, we are scratching our heads wondering if there is some way we could help keep the boat going. What if we all chipped in and collectively bought ourselves a charitable organization?

Any ideas appreciated.