Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rusty Old Wrecks

We usually  start these posts with a sunrise.  And this is not a sunrise.  I bet you spotted that right away. I know I would have.  On most days.  I decided to try something different than a sunrise this time.  I grabbed one of the  photos that  represented the general theme of this post. You can't tell what a post is about from looking at a sunrise.  It's like trying to judge a book by the cover  Now this photo is descriptive.  You can tell that this post is largely about a rusty old wreck on a beach. And yes, I  do realize how appropriate it would be for you to say that it takes one to know one.

It's not all about a wreck of course.  It's about two wrecks. One is in much worse shape than the other.  It's a relief for us to be able to start posting some boating photos again even if we're presently limited to the kayak.  We start to get cranky when we don't get out on the water enough.  Weekly would be our minimum, ideally. We'll be working on getting out more over the next few weeks.  More on that later.

We've recently written  about a new restaurant on the island.  We've been thinking about the possibility of us sailing our little Hobie over some day for lunch.  We decided to take the dog and grab some cameras and pack a lunch and take the boat for a dry run.  Hmm.  Is that an oxymoron?  I mean, I really can't take the boat on a dry run, can I?  It's got to be wet to work.   Now that I think about it, a dry run is a very bad thing to take a boat on.  Like, for example, that boat in the photo up there.   Now, that's a boat having a dry run.

We wanted to  sail over and back as an excuse to be out on the water with the dog on a beautiful mid-winter day.  And it was also an opportunity to try out a new "Dooley Cam" mount I've been working on.  We headed out of the canal as we usually do.  Dooley's going to try his paw at being camara dog for the day.   It's totally okay with him, too, by the way.  The camera weighs very little, and the new mount is as light as I can make it.  It sits further back on the camera platform (dog) and seems to make it easier to squirm under things one shouldn't be squirming under.   He gets excited when he sees his life jacket.  He knows something fun is in the works.

Taking the dog along pretty much guaranteed that we would not be wading ashore for lunch at the restaurant when we got there.  If we got there. We made the decision to take him  knowing that it would limit our lunch options.  But he does so love to go sailing.  And he's been a good dog lately.  What kind of people would we be if we didn't reward  good dog behavior from time to time?  Don't answer that.  We're not that kind of people.  We reward this little booger often. Probably too often, in fact.  He's been rewarded for good intentions alone.   He's been yelled at a few times also.   He doesn't want me to write about those, though.

We boated  through South Side Marina on the way. We were just recently up at Bob's new almost open but not quite yet bar.   And restaurant, I think.  I'll put up a couple sunset-at-Bob's photos at the end of the blog.   There are several cruising boats in the marina at the moment.  Season has started.  In this photo are the Molasses Cat II,  the S/V Compass Rose X, and the seriously equipped S/V Mora Mora with an interesting open transom design.    That could be fun to play with in a following sea.  Great idea for a protected space and easy access to the water.

The power catamaran in the photo there is the Molasses Cat II.  This is a brand new boat, and almost a direct copy of the Molasses Cat that has been running people out to West Caicos and back for quite a while now.   That tells me that the owners like the design.   And it's a very distinctive design.  These boats have two inboard jet drives that can sound like something a Klingon would drive.  I don't know a lot of the details but imagine that their shallow water capability as a big jet boat is one of the attractive factors.   The addition of a second boat is a welcome sign to a lot of the people in this area.  It's been recently announced that construction will resume on the Molasses Reef resort and complex on West Caicos.   Once again, there will be several boats a day running from the marina with workers commuting to and from the project.     And this time, hopefully, there will be a place at the marina where they can relax with a cool drink at the end of the day.   It still needs a name, though.  Bob's Dead End Bar and Restaurant?  

The wind velocity was less than 10 knots, and for us that's a very lazy sail.  We went by to take a look at the old wreck sitting out in the water between Cooper Jack Bay and Five Cays.   We've been by here a few times over the years, and there is less to see every time.  When the birds on the wreckage became visible,. Dooley the Devious decided not to bark himself silly for a change.  I was surprised when he went into some kind of quiet stealth mode.   I so often wonder what's going on in that furry little skull of his.

He never barked, or said a word other than mumbling something about grappling hooks and cutlasses.  He just stared at those birds while we silently sailed nearer and nearer to the wreck.   Sometimes when he gets excited he starts silently shaking.   This time?   He looked like a four legged tuning fork.

Finally the birds flushed.   Dooley never batted an eye.  I think he was realizing how big these birds actually are.  Bigger than he is.     And I know how he feels.  Heck,  I still worry about those flying monkeys in that witch movie with the rusty guy, the scarecrow, and that sniveling lion.   Now imagine how Toto felt.

As we sailed past the wreckage and then away on our new course he just turned around and rode backwards for a while.   He kept his eyes on those birds.He was so keyed up that he was shaking from the internal tensions that watching these birds was causing him. I know not why.  This is a normally very vocal dog, and yet in this whole thing nothing was ever said.  But he knows where they live.  I hope they don't haunt his dreams like I've been told those danged flying monkeys can do to an impressionable mind.

We realized that while I was snapping his photo, Dooley was filming the whole thing with his own video cam.

We're still having issues with the GoPro cameras.   I've greatly reduced but not eliminated the fogging issues. If we leave the camera turned on for more than about fifteen minutes it still starts fogging up.  The other blurs on there are dried salt deposits from the sea water.  We're still fine tuning this whole Dooley Cam idea.

The photo I took at the end of that little video was my view of the intense look on the dog's face.  I doubt if those birds had ever before experienced Dooley's version of an intense stare.  This dog radiates  when he's focused. Sometimes I think he studied Vulcan Mind Meld.   Did you ever get a nervous feeling that something somewhere was watching you?   No wonder the birds were getting spooked, too.

It can be difficult to pick out individual buildings and features on the shore from way out on the water.   It all looks the same from a mile away.  But as we got closer we were able to make out the Yamaha dealership at Five Cays and we knew that Bugaloo's restaurant is the next business up the beach.  We were a little bit concerned.   From way out on the water we could see dense smoke start billowing from something near the shore.  From where we were located, it appeared to us that the smoke was right about where we were starting to see the palm trees on the beach at Bugaloos's.  Perhaps you can see it in this photo, just a little left of the bow of the kayak.

We were saddened when we thought of the new restaurant burning.  We really don't know much about the Five Cays neighborhood on a daily basis, but we couldn't think of anything that would be putting out that much smoke.  Other than the kitchen at Bugaloo's.    We were hoping it was something other than that.
And it was.  As we got closer to the beach and our angle changed, we could see that whatever was making the smoke was NOT at Bugaloo's.  I think it must have been someone burning an old tire or something on the hill behind the restaurant, but  it was clearly not even next door to Bugaloo's.  We were glad to see that things were cooking along normally at one of our new favorite restaurants.

  We sailed up to about where we observed water deep enough for us to anchor at low tide.  On this day, it was high tide. We had not seen these poles in the water when we were at the restaurant thinking this whole thing up a week earlier.

It's good to know that there are some obstructions there.  These things are not always so obvious on days with more wind and wave action.  They can get hidden in the waves.   This was one of the calmest days we've seen in weeks.   There are three of these stakes there, with a nice white buoy at one end. Mental notes have been taken.

Now this is where something  funny happened..  See that photo above?  That is what Bugaloo's Conch Crawl looks like from about 150 yards offshore.   We could see the people there, and we assumed that at least a couple of them might be looking back out at us, in our little yellow sailing contraption.  Well, we were right.  A day or so later our friend Michelle of  the M&M crew emailed La Gringa with a link to a Facebook page.  It seems that while we were sailing around the rock taking photos of the rock and Bugaloo's  one of the diners at Bugaloo's  was taking photos of us sailing around the rock taking photos. This photo was obviously taken with a pretty decent lens, as we were about 160 yards from the restaurant.  Do these characters and this boat look familiar?

This photo published here with the kind permission of  fellow TCI expat  photographer / conch aficionado, Bob, whom we've not met yet, and you can find more Turks and Caicos and Providenciales images at his "Provo Up Close" site.

We had already picked this out as a likely place to park the boat should we want to wade ashore for a leisurely lunch some day without Dooley the Devourer to deal with.  That's the small group of rocks in those photos.    Now we know it's still visible at high tide.  Under normal conditions, there would be a little bit of a chop in this bay from the prevailing wind.   It would make Bugaloo's what sailors call a 'lee shore'.  In essence that means that  if the boat pulled it's anchor it would get blown aground.  Sailors hate it when that happens.   It looks like it would be easy for us to drop our anchor behind these rocks and leave the boat in a protected spot while we had lunch.  The little folding grapnel anchor we have isn't that great in sand but it would get a good grip if I just wedged it into these rocks.

 It's limestone and not coral, so it wouldn't hurt anything.  Well, maybe a barnacle or two.   Using a small island as an anchor is probably massive overkill in the world of mooring design, but we could enjoy our distant lunch without worrying about the anchor pulling.  Except of course I would then be worrying about the line chafing.  But that gives me an idea.  I can put a short piece of plastic tubing over the anchor line where it might rub on sharp rock.   Now I'll have to find something else to worry about.

We wanted to make sure the water is clear all the way around the rocks, and that it's deep enough that we wouldn't find our boat aground if we left it here at low tide.   So we sailed around the rock to check it out.  Looks good to me.  Plenty deep.

That white buoy in the photo below is at the end of that line of stakes that I was whining about a couple of photographs up.  I'm guessing that those are to mark where the deep water ends for the local conch boats.  This is kind of how channels and shoals are marked down here.   Hey, it's a system.  Of sorts.

Having achieved our stated goal of sailing from South Side Marina to Five Cays, we were looking around for something else to do.  We didn't feel like heading back just yet.  Getting  here from South Side Marina took us just under an hour.  That was with very light wind, and a detour to take Dooley seagull rousting.  We could do it in half an hour on a breezy day.    That's probably quicker than we could drive it.  

We still had the whole afternoon left, so we just sailed over in the  general direction of South Dock.    We had the vague plan of sailing by some of the Five Cays and maybe stopping at Bay Cay for a break.  But we've been there so many times I hesitate to even post more photos of it.  Then we spotted this shipwreck looming over the nearby landscape.  We'd glanced at this area from a distance many times as we zoomed by outside of Bay Cay on our way to somewhere else.  And I would think to myself that 'we should go over and check out that beach one of these times' and this time turned out to be that one of those times.  This time we decided to just slowly sail over for a closer look.

We realized that what looked like a shore line from a distance is actually a series of  small islands protecting a stretch of sand beach.  We decided that the shipwreck looked intriguing.  All the excuse we needed to go for a closer look.   It's interesting, and a little bit foreboding from a sailing standpoint.  It's difficult to judge the water depth and bottom from a distance.  It could be rocky and shallow.

This looked like fun.   We had to slip between some small islands and numerous rocks, but that's a very nice looking beach on the other side.

We thought our sailing might be a little rusty, too, after how little of it we've done recently.  But we had no problems getting over the underwater rocks  and  into the smooth protected water.  It's like a little harbor in there.  With this scene, I was expecting Gilligan to step out from behind a tree any moment humming something about a three hour tour.

Ah, but this is not that island, and this is not the "Minnow".  Nope, it's the  M/V Serenade I.  With ties of some kind to Toronto, apparently.   This is sure a long way from Canada.   This is my second favorite photo of this bunch.  I wish I had gotten a close up of the starboard rudder and prop shaft.  It's completely wrapped up, thickly, in  ropes.   Lots of them.  Easily enough to affect operation.  The rudders are bent inward severely, as you can see in the photo.  This boat came over some hard ground on it's way to the sand.

We walked around just enjoying the day for a while.  We spent at least an hour here.  I took a lot of photos of the old boat.   There was just something about it that struck me as being fairly photogenic.  In a tropical beach scene kind of way.

There was a lazy summer day feeling on this early February winter's afternoon.  The sun was warm.  The only sounds were the wind softly blowing through the Casuarinas trees and the small waves gently massaging the shoreline.  And me yelling at the dog to get the heck out of the photo.  There was that. And useless.  He  conveniently and reliably forgets all of his English language skills when he gets like this.  No habla 'get over here Dooley!', either.  At least he had his camera with him.

The rudders on this boat are so horribly mangled that I doubt it was beached here first.  I think it got washed in through the rocks and was just lucky enough to end up on a nice soft place among the Casuarinas trees.  They may have lost the boat, but everyone on it should have been able to walk away from this one.

This scene is what one small aftermath of a hurricane looks like several years downstream.  Kind of tells a story, doesn't it?

Speaking of Casuarinas trees, we were pretty impressed by this one.  It was completely blown over in that storm. Totally ripped out of the ground.  Almost all of its root system is in the air and exposed to 100+ mph sand blasting wind and waves.  And  yet a few of its downwind roots held on, and kept it from washing away.  And it took what the storm left it with, and now it thrives.  How can I not like a tree like this?

Turtle Cove has a nice example of what one of these trees can look like when it's been trimmed as a hedge. Some people know these as Australian Pines, although it's nothing like the pine trees I am familiar with.   

The boat's hull and pilot house still looks pretty solid structurally.  This looks to me like a well built, rugged boat.  Those Canadians are pretty good that way.  I've spent a fair bit of time on Canadian boats, come to think of it.   This one is beaten down and out,  but I couldn't find any gaping holes in it that would have caused it to sink. I didn't even see any serious dents in the hull, come to think of it. People have stripped everything out of it that the storm didn't take.  And then they burned what was left.   I would assume this was done to make it easier to remove copper wiring.

Here's another angle on the hardy little Casuarinas tree.  It appeared to me that the same force had its way with the local wood and the Canadian steel.   This was one of those events  in life that bends some paths forever.

I hope I'm not boring you with all of these boat photos.  I was planning to pick out one or two of the better ones and then realized that I liked more than a couple of them.  And if I don't show them to you  right here, and now, then I'll never show them to you at all.

 You can see some of the narrow openings between the little islands in this one. I'm thinking that we're seeing the source of the rudder and prop damage there.   This whole thing could have been the result of an anchor letting go.

Dooley was back and forth constantly while we were playing with camera angles.   He was searching for whatever it is he searches for.   I don't think he's particularly particular or peculiar.  He's up for adventure.  He'd prefer to bask in the lavish praises and "Good Boy!" he'd get for chalking up another rat, big time. But he'll endure the minimal shame of a "leave that lizard ALONE Dooley!" if the opportunity presents itself. Dooley is a firm believer in the do-it-and-ask-forgiveness-if-caught school of dog obedience compromises.   I'm wondering if a loud thunder ringtone would be useful in manipulating this animal psychologically.

We didn't climb inside the boat.  It really appeared to me that everything that could be removed from it  without a cutting torch or explosives is gone.   Surprisingly the internal steel is still intact.  Rusty, but holding together.    Every removable fixture and every bit of wiring or cable hs been pretty much removed.   This baby has been stripped.

If you were a shipwreck with a choice of spending your final years somewhere near Toronto or on a deserted beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which would you choose?   I rarely seem to hear anything about anyone retiring and moving north.

This area is a sort of natural catchment spot for boats that get washed across the Caicos Banks and over these rocks. In addition to the Serenade I there is the wreck we stopped by on the way over and we know of at least two other submerged shipwrecks not far offshore here.   There are pieces of another wooden ship buried in the sand here near the steel one.   All that's still sticking above the sand are some ribs and planking. And that's been the subject of a few bonfires.   Makes one wonder what could be buried under the sand here some five hundred years after the Europeans first started visiting in their wooden boats.

We walked to the end of the small  beach.  It terminates in a hard rocky hook out into the water.  This native stone barrier encloses and protects the end of this  micro harbor.  Some man's grove of mangrove?

We decided we'd explored enough of this spot for one day and decided to head back toward home.  Dooley found shade to pick the sharp 'sand spurs' out of his feet.  Nice spot for a break.

We left the beach and zig zagged into the light breeze back toward South Side Marina. We got a new view of  the shore side of many of these small islands that we've only seen from a distance offshore. All of these are probably worthy of a visit and some exploring.  So many islands, so little time.  Can you see the big crane standing on the edge of this one?

La Gringa says he looks like a dental pick.  I guess in nature sometimes form follows function. Here's a better view:

The wind dropped to almost nothing.  We were just barely creeping along on sail alone, so La Gringa and I pushed away at the Hobie Mirage Drives.   We pedaled the boat most of the way back.   Great exercise and knee rehab.  While the camera dog got caught up on his sleep.  Hey, it's not easy humping a heavy video camera around in the bush while dressed in a life jacket.

It was a very calm trip back.  This video should give you a pretty good idea of how Dooley could sleep through the quiet parts:

The  whole trip back was quiet and peaceful.  It was a really nice end to a great day on the boat.  As we neared the marina we passed behind a departing sailboat.   We could tell from the distinctive shape of the stern that it was the S/V Mora Mora heading out toward the Southwest.   It made us wish we were on Twisted Sheets right along next to them.

The light wind picked up a little as we entered the canal, and the direction came around to the south.  This put us in the unusual position of being able to beam reach up and down a long stretch of canal that we usually have to struggle to negotiate.   We sailed past the spot where we typically stop.   And saw this nice image of what could be a very nice place to sit and contemplate the quiet rhythm of the tides and the clouds.  Isolation guarantees privacy.

When we went back through South Side Marina on the way home we could confirm that yes, indeed Mora Mora has left for parts unknown.   We also saw that the other Molasses Cat was back in.  With them side by side, we could see some slight differences in the boats.  Mostly something to do with the hull spacing, I think.  I'll take a closer look next time we're at South Side.

We spotted something new in the neighborhood since the last time we were here.  This is a sign that announces that a commercial company has applied for  government permission to turn this part of the canal into a place where dolphins are imprisoned for people to touch.     The UK's governor for the TCI changed the law to make it legal to keep dolphins in a private prison, for commercial purposes.   There is now nothing to legally keep someone from doing this.  There has been a large negative response to this proposal, but I have not read anything about it being cancelled or denied.    I really don't have the words to adequately express my own opinion on this. If I had a vote, it would be 'no'.

This is a pretty unlikely place for a 'petting zoo' of any kind, come to think of it.  There really are no native mammalian species here other than birds.  We do have lizards.  We have geckos, and the little chameleons, and curly tailed lizards and iguanas.  And dogs.  There are a lot of dogs on this island.

Some of them live along the canal, and they have learned to recognize the sound of the Land Rover when we are driving to the boat ramp.  They recognize the boat, too.  Dooley knows there are dogs along the canal, so he is looking for them.  Remember up above at that bird video I mentioned what a vocal little booger he is?  Well, I'll show you some of what I am talking about.  This is the Dooley Cam video as we boat back up the canal at the end of the day.  There are two local dogs running along the side of the canal ahead of us, but you can't see them because of course Dooley is focused directly on them and his head is blocking the view.  But you can hear him. Muttering, threatening, whining..... I don't know WHAT this dog is saying. I think he was telling them he was either a lawyer from NJ or a caninicidal maniac...or is that a dogicidal caniac? I'm not sure. He mumbles a lot and was keeping his voice down. Whatever he was saying, it was keeping the local dogs pretty nervous.

Do me a favor, okay?  Please play this video for your dog and see if he can translate it for me?

Do dogs study opera?

The dog talks to lizards, too.  And being lizards, they largely ignore his cynolatry leanings and they certainly don't trust his advice. Which has repeatedly proven untrustworthy from their perspective.   For some reason, this seems to have been a great year for lizards.  We always see a number of them, but lately I've noticed twice as many as usual.  We've seen populations of various sorts of critters peak here over the past few years.   Three winters back it was the season of the tick.  After that we had a heavy year of wasps.  Last year there seemed to be a plague of termites across the island, and I know for a fact that the lizards love to eat termites.   And then this year we have a glut of lizards.  Some of these suckers are getting big and bold, too.  This guy was eyeing my cheeseburger at a nice sidewalk restaurant called Vix in the Grace Bay area.   Regency Village, I think the shopping plaza is called.  And they do have good cheeseburgers.  I didn't say "cheap", to be clear.   I said "good".

We've been somewhat crippled in the boating department lately due to a combination of circumstances.  Without the use of our pedal powered inflatable kayak we've continued to take walks as a way to help rebuild my knee.  I always grab a camera for the trip, but there's not much of note to take photos of on most days.    I'm tempted to take a photo like this one and report that we stumbled upon the remains of an aviation incident.  Local tribes have swarmed out of the surrounding underbrush and are actively dismantling the crashed airframe...

It's been hard to come up with stuff to write about lately, and sometimes, it's even almost embarrassing to walk this road.  For example, recently we were walking along and spotted  a suspiciously familiar hunk of metal lying out on the roadway.   It took a few minutes to realize why this looked familiar.   It looks familiar because it is exactly the right shape, color, and material of a piece of Land Rover.   A 2006 model Defender, to be precise.  Sigh.  Why would a piece of a relatively new (25,000 miles) vehicle be lying out in the middle of a dirt road?   I might as well tell you about this now.   We're officially giving up on the Land Rovers.   And soon.  We've tried, but we just can't support them any more.  We're definitely going to miss them.  They have a character that nothing else has ever had.

I know I've gone on for years about the corrosion issues here.  I've spent many many hours trying to find ways to deal with it.  It's bad all over the island, but especially bad out here on this unpaved road where we live.  The problem isn't only the fact that we live in a beach community in the salty trade winds..  It's deeper than that, no pun intended.  This very island is composed partly of salt.  It's made from limestone that formed from the skeletons of tiny sea creatures sinking to the bottom of the sea over millions of years.  Since the rock itself was formed at the bottom of the ocean, it's basically got the same salt content of seawater. Crunching it up into dirt makes for salty dirt.  Add rain and even though thats fresh water, the moment it hits this dirt it becomes something else.  And what it becomes is something that eats steel. And a lot of other things.  Sodium and water get into a lot of mischief together.

And there's more.  This is an island.  The only way to get dirt to use to build or repair roads here is to dig it up from someplace where people want to get rid of it.  In our case, that's usually where they are dredging out a marina or boat slip or canal.  This fill has been pulled up directly from the sea floor at South Side marina.

The fill is dumped on the road, graded out and rolled flat.  It makes for a very hard compacted surface.  Until it rains hard for a day or two.

When it rains, the fine particles wash out of the coarse particles and the result is muddy potholes and exposed bedrock.  This happens several times a year here.  Well, that's the result of heavy rain and vehicle traffic on the road.   And the result of the road on the vehicles?  Well, this is the rear cross member of our Defender 90.   This is not the same as a vehicle rear bumper.  These are not bolted to the frame.  They are actually structural members of the chassis, welded to the frame.  I grabbed a corner of it recently, thinking I was going to peel off a rusty bit of paint.   A fist sized hunk of steel came away.  Whoops.

And our trailer hitch is bolted to this rear cross member.   As you can see, I am still willing to pull the light Hobie Tandem Island slowly down the road to launch it.  Even with the trailer, that weighs something like 300 lbs. maximum.  The skiff weighs closer to 1800 lbs.  Take a good look at that cross member, and tell me.  Would YOU hook up a boat and outboard weighing a ton and pull it down five miles of bad road?

 Now you know why we haven't been taking the skiff out boating much so far this winter.  Our tow vehicle is headed for the last roundup.   And we're not going with Land Rover next time around.  I can talk about that with anyone interested enough to write.  It should be fun having a new 4x4 to play with.  I'm sure there will be plenty of photos.

I mentioned the local wasps briefly when I was talking about the yearly plagues here, earlier.   I wanted to tell you something about these guys in case you're planning to visit here.     We have wasps here.  And everyone is accustomed to bees and wasps, they're everywhere.  I've known a lot of different brands over the years and they generally follow a given type.  The ones we have here resemble what we call Yellow Jackets in Texas, except they are more wasp-like.  They look exactly like this one, who was drinking water on our porch a few days ago.

These things are all around this time of year.  When I am working in my little garage shop, I might have two or three of them hovering around at any given moment.  And they are pretty easy to get along with.  They are very easy going wasps.  They won't hunt you down and aggressively sting you.  Unless you break their rules.   The rules are simple and as far as I can tell, there are only two of them.  First,   Don't crush one of the wasps.  I don't know exactly how they get their distress signals out, but they do.  If I crush one of these things I will typically see between two and five others show up within  a minute.  And they come in fast and aggressively.  Almost as aggressively as if you break rule number two.  And that one is to never, ever, not even barely touch, threaten, shake, or molest their nest in any way.     After some of the experiences that I've had with these things, I won't even whisper unkind descriptions of their nest.    They are touchy about the nest, I tell you. 

I bring this up because, once again, I've had a confrontation with these guys. I stupidly stuck my hand into a bougainvillea bush and actually grasped one of their precious little nests.   I got stung just twice on this one.    The swelling lasted about two full days.   I had to let my wristwatch band out two notches, and it was a good thing I got my ring off my finger right away.   That's from past experience.  I've had many  bee, hornet, and wasps stings over the years.   I don't have an abnormal reaction to them.  These are just particularly potent little critters.   My advice is to just leave them be.  And my experience is that if you can manage to remember to do that 'leave them be' part, they'll return the favor. 

Of course, having said that, I did wipe our their entire village as a result of this unfortunate incursion. And I paid for it. A mutual respect seems to be the best course of action.   This reminds me of a bumper sticker that I see in Texas;  "An armed society is a polite society".  In my little corner of the garden at least it's going to make for a more respectful relationship.  Because these things are definitely well armed.  Swatting, stinging, screaming hysterically, mad buzzing, spinning in circles blindly spraying insecticides and scaring the dog....... is not the answer.  And just when will this cycle of senseless violence ever end?

Did I tell you about the ants?

This post has rambled on just about long enough.  I do have a few more photos to put up before they become obsolete.  This morning La Gringa was out at dawn with her camera hoping for a nice sunrise.  The clouds obscured that moment, but we got to watch a boat leaving at dawn and headed south.   I suspect their next stop was Luperon, about 130 nautical miles south southeast.  With a possible stopover at Big Sand  Cay.

Watching sailboats leave for distant islands makes us want to get in a sailboat and leave for a distant island.  Do you know that feeling?

 La Gringa and I recently went down to Bob's Dead End Bar (and DIY Restaurant and that's NOT the name of it) at sundown to say hello to Cameron, who is a seasonal  semi-resident of South Side.  We usually see Cam and news of the first blizzards at the same time.  It's a bit of an unofficial tradition to get together for drinks at sundown at the marina, and I can see Sundowners being a good name for this bar but I'm sure that is so overdone.  Anyhow looking down at the marina we noticed that "our old slip" is vacant at the moment.  Next to the palm tree on the left.  Bob had the cool bar lights on.

I missed the sunset, naturally. I got caught up in conversation and forgot why I was sitting there.   How about a photo taken thirty seconds after sunset?  Use your imagination?  Sunset photography may be one of those things where it's definitely not better late than never.  It's  more a matter of  recognizing and seizing  moments.

In my defense we were running late.  We had just pulled up and I didn't really have that much time to settle in and wait for the best angles.  It wasn't a particularly breathtaking sunset anyhow, so there.  I've said it. That's La Gringa on the left unpacking some stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon, Cam in the middle explaining something to me, and Bob on the right.  With the beer bottle.  There's another guy sitting in front of the post. I don't know him.  Two more groups of cruisers were coming up the hill as I fumbled this sunset, but I didn't take any more photos.   Sometimes  flash photography just doesn't seem appropriate.

I didn't start this post with a sunrise photo, but as long as we're defying tradition here I'll end with one.  The Marine Police boat Sea Defender headed out on patrol.


Bob Davies said...

Great photos especially Mine!!!! I love the ones of the wreck. The marker buoy by the rock off Bugaloo's marks where the conch crawls are, so be careful when you come back. Snorkelling around the rock is fun, young lobsters cane be found hiding in old conch shells and tyres.

Anonymous said...

Hello Bob, thanks for the comment and thanks for letting us use your photo. We don't have many photos of us on a boat.

jschieff said...

I second the comment about great photos. The inviting translucence of the water and fascinating small islets make for unbeatable views.

Sad you are limited to the Hobie. Is there a reason you can't keep your skiff at a local marina? That would add greatly to your range and weather capability for boating.

What is the status of Twisted Sheets? Id the boat undergoing a major rehab?

Keep up the posts -- they are always terrific.

jack in denver said...

awesome awesome awesome....i'm reversing the order and leaving a comment here BEFORE reading the blog post. the first pic is amazing and points to some exploring/history. can't wait...lemme go grab a beer and away i go. reading..

Maarten said...

Great Photos! I like the idea of the GoPro Cam attached to the dog.


jack in denver said...

gringos, heard a song today that painted a picture in my head of your lives (or from what i've read about it in this blog)

Our Shangri-La by Mark Knopfler


Anonymous said...

Thanks Jack. We have a lot of Mark Knopfler music around here and have been listening to him since I first heard Dire Straights. One of our favorites. La Gringa likes his CD with Emmylou Harris. I was just listening to him with Louisiana slide guitar player Sonny Landreth. Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gringos, Still enjoying the blog and the pics; thank you. Speaking of hay, is it available in TCI?73 A couple of mules could pull the boats & they don't rust. Also they give a lot of fertilizer. You would probably have to modify the boat trailers to accommodate, but you're good at that kind of stuff. Thanks again for the blog.


Anonymous said...

Dooley says he loves the idea, although I don't quite understand his muttered comment about having two more jackasses to worry about....??

Anonymous said...

Howdy Gringos from the frozen northeastern New England! LOVE the blog and find myself checking daily for updates. You have said comments and ideas to improve the blog are always welcome... I think I speak for everyone when I say - MORE POSTS!!!!! It's easy to get carried away with the daily life, and hard to sometimes remember a simple trip to the grocery store in a tropical paradise is worth every picture you can take. We don't mind boring posts about the color of a palm tree while looking at snow covered pine trees. Normal, everyday lizards and bugs to you are treats to all of us.

Thank You from a colder climate.

Anonymous said...

Stupid question: could you maybe put some rice inside the go pro casing to help w moisture?