Monday, November 12, 2012

Haulover Point

We didn't take sunrise or sunset photos from Middle Caicos.  They tend to be spectacular because those islands face the trade winds and open Atlantic.  That makes for a lot of cloud formations. Sunshine and clouds often make good  photos.  We, however, were in an area sheltered by thick, towering Casuarinas trees along the beach to both the east and west of us. This means that  both sunrises and sunsets were blocked from view.  Great for sleeping in, not so great for sunrise photography. We'd have had to get up before dawn and scurry out to the beach and back through the mosquitoes like Usain Bolt barefoot on a bed of coals.  We normally refer to those dusk and dawn times as being "bug:30"  But all is not lost.  La Gringa just got a bunch of really nice photos  from here at the house.  At least, I think they're nice.  Yes, yes, I am admittedly biased, but then again I've sure judged   a lot of sunrise photos.  I prudently promise not  to preach peremptorily  about  portraits of a potentially perfect picture of a piece of paradise. Nope.  Even if it was partially peeking prettily past purples and pinks during a photogenic period. 

What do you think?  About the photo I mean. Not about those ridiculous sentences that I hope generated at least one small sunny smile among a growing groundswell of groans.   C'mon.  Admit it.   As my grandfather used to say, this is a good 'un:

That first morning in the beach cottage found us surprisingly well rested. No bites. No scorpion surprises. First nights in a strange room and bed are rarely restful for me. I'm a light sleeper to begin with.  Headlights sliding soft shadows silently across a windowpane will often wake me.    But that didn't happen here.  No lights. No strange noises.  We cranked the windows down,  the air conditioner up and fell asleep smiling at the thought of the starving and frustrated  bugs outside the walls. There just aren't enough mosquitoes within flying distance to pick a lock or turn a doorknob.   I suspect the crows could do it, but they're above all that. I know I might sound a bit overzealous when it comes to mosquitoes.  That's because I feel persecuted.  Hey, there's a P word I missed.  I seem to be their preferred (and another!) meal ticket.  Put a hundred people in a swamp with a dozen mosquitoes, and I will be the one that ends up slapping  my ears, wrists, and ankles while everyone else gets a big laugh out of my self abuse. I  must look like I've lost all muscle control during a hand jive contest.  I've heard that slightly warmer body temp attracts them. A Jamaican friend (Bernard of the Boatyard) told us it meant I had a vitamin C deficiency.  He might have something there.  La Gringa rarely gets bitten, and she goes through a lot more limes and orange juice than I do. She might have to avoid open flames but she's never gonna have to worry about scurvy.  Honestly.  It's not uncommon for me to have a dozen bites while other bait sitting near to me has none.  People should invite me to cookouts just for that alone.   Plus the entertainment value of my slapstick.

It didn't take long to rustle up some breakfast in the cottage's well-equipped little kitchen. Bacon and eggs, in fact.  Not our usual breakfast in these days of health consciousness.  But hey, we were on vacation.  What better excuse to eat like you're young and immortal? A veritable heart attack on a plate if you believe the diet gurus. Besides, the North Caicos grocery store where we bought our provisions isn't exactly a tofu, vitamin and wheat germ kind of establishment. It's not Whole Foods.  For what it's worth, I doubt you'll find any fern bars on North or Middle, either.  It's just not a night club kind of environment.  Or shopping.  Or movies.  The beach was out for now. We're really not sit-on-the-beach-and-vegetate  vacationers, anyhow.  We get bored easily and we'd rather be moving.  If left to myself on a nice beach I'll end up building sand castles and seeing how long I can keep the waves from destroying them.

 We went by Mr. Alton Higgs' home near the village of Lorimers.  Mr. Higgs is a well-known 'bush doctor'.  He uses local plants and herbs to treat a variety of physical symptoms. Chef  Devon Forbes swears Mr. Higgs can heal anything with bush medicine. Another friend, Capt. Jimmy Lee, tells us the same thing.  I wonder if he does knee replacements.  Mr. Higgs apparently also has a few  political opinions,  if his choice of driveway ornaments is any indication.   I snapped a quick photo of his locally famous driveway as we went by, but then realized that it just didn't do it justice.  

There's too much here to fit into one photo. I'd have to string several of these together for you to get an idea of Mr Higgs' choice of media.  And I wanted to show it to you.  He put a lot of work into this.  And you can get an idea of some of his concerns. I didn't want to get out of the vehicle and find out how fast ten thousand mosquitoes could pump, so we just did another one of our drive-by videos.  Check out the face carved into the tree, if you can spot it there above one of the unpaid political announcements.

This is Middle Caicos version of a Fox News editorial:

I did a search for information on Mr. Higgs, and found an excellent article written by  Sara  (Kaufman) Forbes that was published in the local tourism magazine.  It's a good piece about Mr. Higgs and the history of Middle Caicos in general.  If you're interested, click on this link for a nice write up and some photos.

I've mentioned that the paved roads on Middle and North are in really good shape compared to Provo.  I think maybe that's because they get very little traffic. And not much of that is heavy commercial traffic... there's nothing really being built. The only changes that we noticed since our last trip were that the trees and brush are slowly encroaching out into the lanes.  It's not really a problem to swerve into the other lane to miss the odd tree.  In a day of driving around Middle, I would guess we saw maybe three or four other vehicles at most.  Over about six hours.  I suspect you could walk down the middle of  this road without a problem.  You could inline skate from one end of the island to the other down the center line.  It would probably be okay to take a nap if you limited it to couple hours..

I don't think there are as many abandoned structures on Middle as we see on North Caicos, but that would make sense.  North is much more populated, with well over a thousand residents.  I'm not sure whether to label this abandoned yet, or not. The sign says that it's a government dental clinic. It's blurred because this was taken from a moving car window.  I was tempted to drop in for some local gossip and a few root canals, but alas, it wasn't open on this particular weekend.

It doesn't appear to me that those weeds on the steps have been disturbed by anything any time lately.  certainly not by anyone with a paintbrush. I'm suspecting that the funding for this clinic dried up about three years ago. Any need for emergency health care  in these remote islands is something that would concern us a little if we moved over here.  Especially me, being old, decrepit and accident prone.  Don't want to have to go all the way to Provo to get something sewn back on, or restarted. Mr. Higgs might be the closest viable option.  And I am pretty sure our health insurance would have some issues with that.

There were at least two fairly large plantations in operation in this area in the late 1700's. Wade's Green on North, and Haulover Plantation here on Middle.  So there are probably some fairly interesting ruins scattered about if one knew where to look.    It wouldn't take much neglect for the weeds to totally take over and hide a place. Another year and I'm not sure we'd be able to even see this one from the road.

I know that I've already used this  following map in the previous post, but it's serving as a reference to where some of these photos were taken.  It's not totally accurate in that it doesn't show some of the old tracks and trails that a proper map would have, but it's quite frankly about as good as anything else I have been able to come up with.   There just does not seem to be much in the way of documentation for many of these islands.

The cottage we rented is located just about under the word Beach in Bambarra Beach on the map....... I think. We drove through the settlement of Lorimers, which is labeled Lorimers Village on the map.  It's not a huge village, and I read that the population is reported to be fifteen people.  We didn't see any of them on this holiday weekend Saturday.  Must have been something going on somewhere else.  It's the kind of place that could get away with putting all their city limit signs on the same post.

The area  between Lorimers, Farm Creek Pond, and Haulover Point was once known as Haulover Plantation.  Dr. John Lorimer owned the plantation, and the land, and the village and the people.   That all came to an end in the 1800's, but some of the ruins and the place names are still with us.  The ruins won't be around forever, but I don't think they're in any danger of being bulldozed under for another resort any time soon.  Not here.   If you look at the right side of the map you'll see Joe Grant's Cay.  There has already been at least one false start trying to develop that island into a resort. Since the TCI government has granted a permit to develop it once already, this would be my best guess as the most likely spot for future development in the next few years.  I suspect that this could be a good thing for the people of Middle Caicos, if economic opportunity is important to them.  A fancy resort full of paying customers would do wonders for the infrastructure between Joe Grant's Cay and   Sandy Point on North.  It might also incorporate a harbor or marina of some kind, and that would help enormously in the development of Middle Caicos.   Assuming, of course, that Middle Caicos wants to be developed.
While I'm talking about the names of these places, I should tell you the origins of the other two villages here on Middle.   Conch Bar is the main one, with the majority of the remaining 165 people not living in Bambarra or Lorimers.  Conch Bar was named after a popular fishing spot just offshore here.  Daniel's Cafe is located in Conch Bar, and there are some  photos of that  in the previous post.  If you look at the north west corner of Middle Caicos on the map you'll see a place called Juniper Hole, and Crossing Place Trail.   We haven't been there, yet.  We plan to take that hike one of these days.   The Crossing Place Trail has long been on my 'bucket list' for the T.C.I.    This was the old trail people used to walk from Middle Caicos to North Caicos. The dirt road bordering the beach is also part of the old path system.   The better road, used by the plantation owners in their carriages, was called the Kings Road. That's now the paved road.  I was going to try to go into more detail about all of this, but there are a number of good write-ups online you can go to if you are interested in this stuff.   Much better than my measly and uninformed version. One write-up that I'd recommend is here.

Anyhow, as good as the Kings Road is, we know that all good things must come to an end and this one does at Lorimer's Landing.  We've posted some photos of this area in the past here on the blog, but we like to revisit these places from time to time to see if anything's changed since our last visit.  And well labeled.  Remember we drive on the other side of the road here.

The boats at the end of the road ramp have changed, but the ramp is still the same.   When I was looking at this ramp, keeping in mind that we've made this trip specifically with an eye to the possibility of living here, I was wondering what I'd have to do to launch either the Hobie Tandem Island or the skiff here.  At first I thought 'well, I'd just gently move that power boat out of the way for a few moments while I........"  etc.  Then I took a closer look.

This boat hasn't been motoring for a while.  There's no steering, wheel, ignition, no fuel lines, no propeller, and someone has piled rocks up behind it to keep it from drifting away.   I guess there isn't much demand on the ramp here.

I am encouraged by the fact that one can leave a Yamaha 50 horsepower outboard here without worrying about it developing 'legs', if you know what I mean.    That wouldn't happen for long on Provo. Not too many other places, either.

Unlike some of the abandoned structures scattered around the bush, this spot obviously gets cared for.  The wood is painted and the roof is in good repair. There's not a speck of trash on the ground.  I know there's a fine line between trash and flotsam,  but this place is neat and clean. I suspect this is a popular fishing spot.  And if the entire population of Lorimers all showed up here at the same time....

There's more than enough seating for all fifteen of them. Even if each of them brought a friend from North.

I bet you don't see many roadside picnic areas like this where you live.  Quite an eclectic collection.  We decided to step off the pavement for a few minutes and take a closer look.

I was particularly interested in the hammock-style seat.  I thought this to be a pretty slick use of a scrap of fishing net.

The artiste has taken a couple of lengths of salvaged aluminum tubing, netting, and polypropylene line and made a very safe, sturdy, and comfortable place to relax.  I like it.  I'm wishing I had a place to build one of these, but we don't have trees this big where we live.

And yes, of course I had to try it out.   And while I suspect I am a few sizes larger than whoever designed this, it's plenty comfy.

I sure hope y'all appreciate that photo.  Because the logistics of climbing in there for that little experiment exposed just a few inches of the back of my leg up beyond where I'd laid up my primer, base and top coats of insect repellent. See that little unprotected gap between the hem of my shorts and my leg?   Don't let yourself ever do that here during mosquito season.   I mean it.  In the two minutes or so I took to try out the hammock, several shrieking  platoons of bloodthirsty mosquitoes managed to plan and stage a successful assault on me.   (Think of a  Lilliputian Land Rush using scale Messerschmidts and drilling equipment.)  Fortunately, they stopped as soon as they got to fresh meat and didn't do any further exploring.  They must have absolutely loved that tender white skin, because by the time I limped back to the car my butt felt like a 3D topographic model of the Andes.  Except with pain.

My brief experience at a lower spot in the food chain drove me back to the car before I thought to try out this amusement ride in the little shelter.  Maybe some other time.

We like this spot.  It's far and away less scenic than other parts of Middle, but it's also off the path a bit. Before we left the breeze started to pick up a little.  If I had only waited for half an hour I could probably survived the hammock feeding frenzy episode unscathed.  Live and learn.

From Lorimers Landing we decided to head over to see if there has been any further development in the Wild Cow Run area of the island.   You can find that on the map too.  There's nothing complicated about navigation here.  We'd spent a lot of time here three years ago, looking at a four acre property that our friend Preacher had an option to buy.  The government has set aside this area for tourism development and Preacher was thinking of a fishing lodge. We haven't read any news, or heard  anything about any development but we wanted to check, anyhow.  We also wanted to go take a look at one of our personal dream pieces of real estate near here,at Haulover Point.  We love that spot, and it's easy to fantasize about building a home there.   No way that's ever going to happen, but it's a nice dream.  We like nice dreams.  We sometimes even pick one and pursue it.  But ya gotta pick your battles if you want to stay in the game.  Is that a mixed metaphor?  I think so.

On the way  to Haulover Point we saw the sign and a little observation tower at the Field Road for Haulover Plantation.   We chanced a brief trip out to take a look, since we do have an interest in these things.  It doesn't look like this entrance gets a lot of  business.

We climbed up a little wooden observation platform that was up above the trees.  I wish I had thought to take a photo of it, mainly to impress you with our bravery in climbing it. I'll pay it the compliment of calling it a little rickety.  From the top of the viewing platform we could see across the over grown fields to where the old plantation's Great House is located.  La Gringa has the good telephoto lens on her camera and got this shot of the massive stone chimney sticking up above the foliage:

If you Google up 'images of Haulover Plantation, Middle Caicos" you should find a nice closeup photo of that ruin by someone who made the trip.   That chimney(above) is just over a mile away from the tower near the road.  We want to go see it but we'll come back in a few months and do it when we don't have to pack plasma in with us.

Now, this next shot wouldn't normally have been included in this post.  I was just snapping away, and saw the single line of utility poles stretching out, and thought maybe if the photo came out nice I could say something about this being the only way in, and how vulnerable the poles would be, and so on.   Obviously the photo isn't that great and I didn't say all those things... but there's another little story here.  As I was looking at the road, a single small vehicle went by with two men in it.  Kind of hard to miss. They were the only other people we saw all morning.  But what struck me as strange at the time was that they clearly saw us standing up on the top of this little wooden tower taking photos.  I waved at them.   They didn't wave back.  I can't tell you how unusual that is, not only on Middle Caicos but on most of these islands.  Everybody smiles and waves here.  Certainly in response to someone waving at them first.   These guys didn't.  And I made eye contact with them.  I won't say it was an ominous sign, or that I was worried, exactly, but I did harbor a couple of thoughts playing 'what if'.  Ya know?  But they kept right on driving.  If anything, they sped up.    Most peculiar, Momma. (John Lennon).

We looked around, and  re-noticed some black smoke off in the distance to our east a few miles.  I write 're-noticed' because we'd seen this single column of smoke from Lorimers Landing earlier.  I thought someone was burning old tires or something.  Didn't think much of it.  It wasn't that much smoke, not a major conflagration, anyway.  So we continued on our way, fat, dumb and happy.   More on this story later.

As you can see, there's not much going on here, development wise.  The road looks pretty much the same as it did three years ago.  The bushes are crowding things a little, but that's the only change we could see. The power lines to nowhere are still waiting for customers with electric doodads to plug in, someday.

We saw a fiberglass mold for a boat hull, inverted at the side of the road.   I was a little bit surprised to see this out here.  It appeared be in pretty good shape, and certainly still usable.  In a mold like this it's the inside surface that's important.  That's where you lay up the fiberglass resin and cloth or matting  to build a hull.  It must have taken someone a fair bit of work to haul it out here and dump it by the side of the road.  I wondered why they bothered to go to that much trouble.  Then I wondered if perhaps someone was burning the corresponding pieces of this further down the road. There must be another mold for the deck, or liner, or console or something and burning fiberglass would explain the smoke we'd seen.   These were just passing thoughts, running through my head like usual.  Thoughts get loose in there sometimes and the echos are annoying..  I guess that's to be expected when you have that much empty space to play with.  La Gringa says I have the criminal mind without the intent.

This is a Google Earth image of Haulover Point.  You can see the ruins of two structures out on the point itself, as well as the little bay that I am assuming is where boats were 'hauled over' for hull repairs, etc. (Haulover Point and Plantation, of course).   Now, notice the mouth of the little bay.   This image is six years old.   We can report officially that as of last week, it doesn't look like this any more.  The beach is continuous across the mouth of the little bay, and the former bay is now a  lake.

That image has a lot of info on it that will help  the following photos make sense geographically.  You can see the trails and roads approaching from the west.  That's the direction back towards the Great House ruins.  There are what appear to me to be some ruins of wharfs or buildings just south of what I am calling the 'little bay', right at what would be the end of that sand path.  You can see some open fields for agriculture or storage or something, to the east of the ruins.   And you can see the swell running from the point into the slightly larger bay, just abeam of the ruins.  (Listen to me... using a word like 'abeam' to mean adjacent or alongside.  Am I salty, or what?)  If you've read some of the older posts here you'll already know we tried to get an aerial photography capability going with a helium balloon five years ago.  These sat images are helpful but  don't have nearly the resolution I could get from a hundred feet with a good camera.  We had to shelve the aerial idea because of the winds here.  (Need a blimp-shaped balloon with tail fins like Goodyear, but we only have a spherical one that wobbles wildly in wind.)  Okay, homework's done.  On with the story.

This was taken right at the very westernmost tip of the point.  Even though the day we were here was calm, there was still a nice swell running from that point to the beach.  You can probably hear the old surfer in me.

And I'd love to find a good safe spot to do some body surfing here.  This might be the place, when conditions are right.   A nice deserted beach of smooth soft sand.  It's also a nice right hand break forming up, although on this day the waves were only topping out a little over two feet, max.

The sand has filled in the open mouth of the little bay completely and formed that beach where there was an opening into the bay six years ago.     I strongly suspect this all happened during a few days in the fall of 2008.  September, to be exact, when we got two hurricanes in one week.  It's amazing how much it's changed.    If Google Earth ever updates the images of the TCI I'll have a field day comparing images of the landscape here before and after the storms.

This is the view across what used to be the open mouth of the little bay. Nice beach.  

It took us a few minutes to realize that this is what was once a boat slip.  It was dug out to a depth of probably about six feet.  It's located on what was the northern edge of the little bay. It would have been a great place to pull in a boat and tie it up safe from all but a northwest wind.  And we rarely, rarely get a NW wind here.  When we do get one, it typically only lasts a few hours while a storm system is moving through.

The main body of the original little bay is still there, by the way.  It's full of water, and just looks like an inland lake now.  It wouldn't take much to cut a canal from it back to the open ocean, if someone were so inclined. Reckon that might have had something to do with someone bringing in that  now rusted up pump over at Platico Point?   I feel like I'm filling in plot elements here.

This Nikon pocket camera I'm using these days has a pretty good panorama function and I was playing with that a bit.    I don't use these in the blog much because of the aspect ratio, just doesn't fit well.  Fun to play with, though.  Here's a 180 degree sweep of the area that used to include the mouth of the little bay:

And here's one more, from that mid point on, just to complete the collection.    Then we'll be done with panos in this post.   The camera will also do a complete 360 degree panoramic view, but the last time I tried to look at one I kept turning clockwise until I got dizzy trying to figure out where it started and stopped.   I would have fallen over except I'd augered myself into the beach past my ankles.  Now I just use the 180 degree option.

That view brings us up to the front of the structures here.  It's hard for me to tell how old these are without chipping some of the surface off, and I didn't want to do that.  I don't know if this is concrete over stone, or modern block.  Some of it is poured concrete, and it's holding up pretty well, so a lot of it is not that old.  Someone had some great plans for all this.  Another dream that ran out of gas before reaching reality, perhaps?  It must be depressing to get this far on a project potentially as nice as this one, and then not finishing it.

The other structure that you can see in the satellite images is a cistern.   While La Gringa was taking the photos of the building I was messing around with the cistern.  It's got about a foot of pretty yucky looking water in it.  I did take a photo, but decided there was not much use in posting it here.   We only post about a quarter of the photos we take.  For various reasons.   That water was some kind of ugly. With things in it that moved when they saw me.   The nervous part was that they were moving toward me.  I tell ya, it's different to experience life down in the middle of the food chain.

The cistern is poured concrete, too.   And we know it was also here before 2006.

I really liked the images of the building structure.   Something about the angles.  I tried playing around with some settings in the photo handling software we use.   This is supposed to look like a pencil sketch:

We'd read in one of the written descriptions that the outer shore here is a good place to beach-comb. You know that got our attention, big time.  My remaining original issue knee is giving me so much trouble we didn't walk very far down the shore,  it's pretty rugged for flip flops, anyhow.  But could see that there was some interesting stuff scattered here and there off in the distance.    You can't see the nice beach tucked up to the right behind the near point, here, but you can tell from the sat image what it looks like.  Or at least what it looked like six years ago..  That distant point is the one nearest the old open field in the sat image.   Nice piece of property, isn't it?

I confess that I hadn't taken many photos of Dooley the Dangerous at this point on this trip.  Part of the reason is that he was absolutely wired on this excursion.  He'd been in a kennel for three weeks while we were up in the Rocky Mountains playing with ATVs at 10,000 ft. and was more than ready to hit the beach again.  Consequently, he wasn't holding still for any photos.  He was too busy checking out potential hiding places for rodents.

When we left Haulover Point we decided to go on down past  Wild Cow Run and see if we could find the source of the black smoke that we had seen earlier.  We were no longer seeing the  smoke, but we knew it must be down this road. This is the road to Cedar Point, if you're following this on the map.  And it's the only road around.  And it's dead end.

And we easily found the source of the smoke.  It was  right alongside the road and still burning.  A couple of trees just next to it had burned, too. There's a lot of dry underbrush here, and a fire could easily get out of hand and burn acres of vegetation.  Kind of thoughtless, I thought. SOMEone had taken an entire spool of underground utility cable and set it on fire. The black smoke we saw earlier was the insulation burning off.    I don't know what the wire underneath is made of, exactly.  It looks like aluminum or some alloy.  Definitely not copper.

There are several empty spools of the same identical sort spaced along this road.  There are some junction boxes in place for under ground utilities.  The junction boxes are mostly already connected with underground cables.  I think this burned spool of cable was intended to continue that work.  Someone is going to be pretty upset that his cable got burned and stolen, I think.

Just to understand this, I just looked up the current price for aluminium.  Right now it's 87 cents US a pound.  Looking at that pile of cable from the burned spool, I'd guess there's maybe a couple hundred pounds there. So these guys burned that spool of utility cable to steal less than $ 200 worth of aluminum.  It's going to take them at least one more trip out here, and then they still have to haul this aluminum to whomever buys it.  All for $200 worth of metal.  Hardly seems worth it.  I wonder what that cost the owner to import and transport to this remote location.  I bet it was a lot more than $200.  A shame. Don't you just HATE thieves? We've had some experiences along those lines here, ourselves.

Well, after that, we'd had enough for one Saturday afternoon.   We needed to pick up some supplies for the cottage, so made one more trip over to North Caicos.  Nice to be back on a smooth highway again.   And it really is a nice road. And most of the people here are really nice, too.  Really. But not all of them.

You reckon those guys that didn't return my wave were in a hurry to get to the police station and report the burning cable?

Nah.  Me neither.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I have a little DIY project going on that I can use to close this post. I've just built this new little toy for the camera, called a 'slider'.

I know some of you have noticed the videography technique of 'sliding' the camera to pan a scene. It produces a 3-D effect by moving the foreground relative to a distant scene.  I'm still learning the technique, which requires this piece of hardware.  Naturally I have a much easier time building contraptions than I do learning techniques.  The old dog/new trick scenario, I guess.     But I did  build the slider.    I used a leftover length of aluminum tubing from my weather station installation, and some Starboard from that piece we found on the beach.   I cut the Starboard and drilled and tapped it without plans or drawings. And it shows. I intend to build a 'real one' if it works out.    The thing I built looks like this:

Please don't pay any attention to  my workshop environment.  I actually had to clean it up a bit to have room to build this thing.   The way it works is that we attach a camera to that moving slider in the middle and push or pull the camera along the length of these two rails while making a video. I threw this together as something to play with, to determine if it's worth it to buy a real slider.  I say 'buy' instead of build because to do this right I need one that's motorized. There's no way to do a good time lapse with this one.

We still have the GoPro camera although it's getting a little battered.  It would be good for a slow, time lapse slide.  I almost hate to show you this professional video because it's going to make my first efforts seem pretty puny by comparison, but here's a link to what one can achieve with a good slider setup.   If you watch that YouTube video in the link, it will explain what I'm wanting to do here much better than I can.    Think of what we could do with the clouds, water, driftwood, etc.

My first effort did have the effect of goading me into analyzing what composition components we need to do a better job.   From what I've seen so far, we need three elements in the composition.  We need a nice far field scene like the ocean, mountains, islands, etc.  We also need some good close field subject matter.  This could be a piece of driftwood, a shell on the beach,  gravel, etc. And the last bit that makes it work is something in the mid-field.  It helps if the mid field is not too cluttered.  The effect then becomes the juxtaposition of three visual elements, with the fore and mid fields moving in relation to the fixed far field.  Does that make sense?   It helps to be able to elevate one end of the slider and get a vertical component, and to be able to angle the slider so the camera is approaching the subject, or retreating from it.  Ok.  I'll shut up now.  If you've read this far you're probably a photography nut like we are and already know what I'm talking about.   That YouTube video explains it a lot better.  I already said that, didn't I. I also already said I'd shut up about it. Good point.  Thank you.

Here's my first try at it, and this is the video that led me to figure out why mine is crummy and what the pros are doing.

I now know that if we'd had a hunk of driftwood, or a palm tree about 20 or 30 ft. on the other side of the Buttonwood bush, it would have worked better.   We'll keep working on it.  I have an idea on how to improve the slider, too. I need to add some way to move that carriage other than by pushing it. I have an idea for pulleys.  I'll save that for the next post.  Might even get it built by then.

That little video clip is a sunrise, and I like to end these posts with sunsets.  I figure I owe you one, so here you go, again.  Another of La Gringa's photos:

Wow, seems like just last month the sun was setting over the main part of Providenciales to the right.  I guess time flies when you're having sun.

We have enough photos of our trip to Middle Caicos for one more post, and I think we saved the best for last.  We spent the next day at Mudjin Harbour.  That is definitely one of the most scenic places in the entire Turks and Caicos.  

To be continued....


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Thanks! Have to say you sure do have an eye for detail, I suspect 99% wouldn't give a second thought to any of te subjects in the photos if we drove by or walked by. It is interesting when explanations or narrations accompany them.

Got a feeling clock making is on your horizon :-) all that camera slider needs is a mainspring and some simple gears to move it smoothly across that short distance. Got to have some scrap coil laying around there or if not a cheap wind up toy from the store should get you most of the way there. Those demo videos, again without the explanation, would have thought that some were simple zoom in action of the camera and lens, but the side ways movement is cool, even went further on youtube, some seriously professional looking shots which now make sense have never heard of of or thought about these other than big movies with a guy and those massive cameras in a chair and someone pushes them on equally massive rail way track things.

Look forward to results and continued post.

p.s. you can save a lot of time and effort of course, and claim artistic effect and just attach the camera to Dooley, throw a ball across the yard and film whatever it is that way :-)))

Anonymous said...

I made a little trolley pulling system for it from two alternator pulleys, some bunjy cord, and more Starboard. I'll put some details on the next post along with some examples.

As for the Dooley Cam, I need to rebuild the little camera mount we had for his life jacket. It's not as simple as one would hope. There are forces involved that have to be considered. Come to think of it, that pretty much describes ANYthing with Dooley.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your recent posts...almost 2 back to back! I find your descriptions & the things you take photos of very interesting! Love all the details.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fix Gringos. I'm clicking your adds. Hope it helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on Middle. Still heading there in January, younger and maybe/probably dumber, but ready for the challenge. Chicago is far more shady than some guys who might have melted some cable for the metal, unfortunately I've got the hospital bills to prove it. Please keep the info coming, I've been reading all I can about Middle. MC-6 is really interesting to me.

AmyCaicos said...

So glad you posted some images and comments on Middle. I will be sure to add it to my page that is dedicated to Middle Caicos, if that is OK with you. You can find it at

And, your suspicions about the mosquitos at Mr. Higgs' places were correct. Middle Caicos mosquitos are no joke (I even have an attack video at my page)

Keep up the great work. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Hey, we're not trying to talk anyone OUT of going to Middle, far from it. We love that place. I suspect we'll keep going back to check and see if we want to build there. We've got a lot of other irons in the fire right now. We're not ready to dedicate another two years to building another house right now.

Anonymous said...

MC 6 is a parachute, isn't it?

AmyCaicos said...

MC-6 is a Taino site on Middle. I believe it is inland somewhat, and I can't imagine the mosquitos that would come to greet you there. I don't think anyone has trekked out there on a regular basis since, well, probably since it was discovered, and before that, likely when the Lucayan's existed. I'll bet there are land crabs the size of your head.

There are many other sites on Middle as well. One being Pelican Cay, to which you can walk from Bambarra Beach. Once you get past the pines on the beach, much less buggy.

Anonymous said...

Love Love LOVE the 1st sunset pic! And the rest of the blog too for that matter. I will always stop whatever I am doing to sit and read your blogs. Cheers from sunny New South Wales Australia, (Jan O formerly from Newman Western Australia)

Gary Cottam said...

Surely time for another post?

Unknown said...

Was at Haulover just a hour or two ago 6-11-15 and didn't notice the bay as a lake... I enjoyed your write-up and I am surprised you didn't mention The Blue Horizon at Mudjin Harbor, however, I do like the off the map stuff you mentioned... I think I'll go for a visit to Mr. Higgs for some island insight tomorrow. All of your images look as if I took them today. I love this place!


Unknown said...

Was at Haulover just a hour or two ago 6-11-15 and didn't notice the bay as a lake... I enjoyed your write-up and I am surprised you didn't mention The Blue Horizon at Mudjin Harbor, however, I do like the off the map stuff you mentioned... I think I'll go for a visit to Mr. Higgs for some island insight tomorrow. All of your images look as if I took them today. I love this place!


Anonymous said...

I just took a look at the 2014 Google Earth image, and the bay I showed you in this blog post is completely isolated from the ocean now. It's a stagnant inland marsh, where once a thriving boating community was located.