Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Harbour Club Villas and Marina

I ended the previous post with a photo of  Harbour Club Villas and Marina’s sign.  I shamelessly used that nice graphic as a sunset image to conform with the way we like to historically end our blog posts.   You may have noticed that the majority of these posts start with a sunrise photo and end with  a colorful sunset.  Usually from our patio, because that was easy.  But not always.  Depended upon where we found ourselves when that time of day rolled around.  We didn’t have a sunset photo that was worth posting for the week before we went off-island, so I tried to use the Harbour Club Villas sign.    You can see how I was thinking, can’t you?   I thought I was being clever.  I’m usually wrong when I think that.  Yet, when I think I'm being stupid, I'm usually right.  What a mystery.  
Anyhow, now that  I'm trying to put together another post, I see that I was just wrong along about that sign.  It wasn’t a sunset after all.  Wow.  I finally see the light, and It was a sunrise all along!    And this realization hit me right when I needed a sunrise photo, too.  Amazing. Are you buying this?    Too much tap dancing, ain’t it.  I should have just glossed over it all and kept the words to a minimum.    I’ll try to move on.   Now that I've got my sunrise photo taken care of....

I've been wanting to talk more about Harbour Club,  and now I can do it because I can finally say that we've actually spent some time as guests of Barry and Marta Morton.    I'm not much of a suspense writer so I'll go straight to our conclusion that this is a wonderful little resort.  We had a great experience.  We hope to stay there again, and we recommend it highly.  And we're not the only ones.  Check out that link above.  Read some reviews.  Don't even listen to me.  I'm biased, anyhow.   We like the owners.

We’ve gotten a few dozen emails over the years asking our advice on various hotels, resorts, and villas on Providenciales.    We weren't much help with those questions because the only hotels and resorts we've enjoyed in the Turks and Caicos were on other islands entirely. We've stayed in rooms on  Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Pine Cay, and Salt Cay.  

Being basically unable to admit that I don't know something, I've passed along niblets of second hand info that we got from someone we knew who actually stayed in Provo Resorts.   We know Beaches caters to families and has colorful characters on staff who are dressed up to entertain the kids, for example.   We know Club Med caters to grown kids who actually are colorful characters dressed up to entertain each other.  We know Amanyara is very expensive and remote and we will probably never stay there.   But this is all hearsay.  We've definitely formed opinions, but we'd never spent a single night in rented accommodations on the island of Providenciales until now.
 The resort is located directly on Flamingo Lake.  This is all  tidal ocean water.  And not far beyond that hill in the distance is Juba Salina.  Another sea water inlet.   I mention this because the villas are located in one of the few spots in the islands where you can walk out the door with a flyrod and find bonefish without a rental car, guide, or charter costs.  This may be the only place on Provo.

You can see in these photos that it was a hot, hazy kind of week when we were there. I was hoping for some of our usual crystal clear sunny days.  With white puffy clouds here and there and brilliant tropical sunsets.  Didn't happen.   There was a lot of moisture in the air  and it made it less than ideal for photos.  It's not usually very muggy for very  long here.  With the trade winds constantly wiping the slate clean most weather patterns blow through in a day or so.  

See those palm trees leaning over?  The wind had already started to pick up  and blow the clouds away on the afternoon before we left, as I dashed around taking last minute photos to show you. Well maybe dashed is a bit strong in my case. Dooley definitely might decide   that 'drifted' describes it more definitively.  I guess that beats slithered. 

That's a photo of the villa we were in, by the way.  We were in the last one on the end.    That photo was taken from a lower parking lot area.     I just remembered that I had taken some aerial photos of the area a couple years ago.   Here's one of them from 2013:

As you can see, Harbour Club Villas also has a marina.  It's incredibly convenient for us that it's next door to South Side Marina.  This makes it a very good place to stay while one's boat is next door.

You can also see the six villas, in two groups of three. That section of foliage between the two groups is covering a cool  shady driveway. 

Each villa is a completely  separate  structure from the one next to its with  no common walls.  This makes for a very private and quiet atmosphere.   


It's nice to find shady, cool, lush vegetation on this part of Provo.  This is generally the arid side of the island and this is a shady oasis in an area mostly known for scrub brush.    

I don't have any pre-08 photos to show you, but I think Barry and Marta replaced all of the roofs after our little series of back to back hurricanes.   I forget what was there before, but it's tile now.       

We were in the villa on the right.   If any of you are wondering why the gutters seem to empty into the villas, maybe I should explain that briefly.   All houses here have cisterns to collect rain water.  The rain water that runs down the tiles falls into the gutter and then goes through a series of pipes into a big concrete tank.    Like an indoor swimming pool but way uglier.  Back before pumped in desalinated sea water was available, rain was the only source of fresh water on the island.  There are no fresh water lakes or streams here. There is very little fresh ground water that can be used.  Isolated pockets of it.  And thin.  So even modern houses being built today adhere to a building code that includes a rainwater collection system and a storage cistern.  These days most people use the cisterns for irrigation and use "town water" for everything else. 

Each villa has a small outside sitting arrangement.  A great place to enjoy that first cup of coffee or tea and watch the morning develop.

It wasn't until I looked at these photos that I noticed the similarities between this patio furniture and the furniture of ours that I was praising in the previous post.  Welded, powder-coated aluminum seems to be a good choice for outdoor seating in this climate. Keeps the quantity of dissimilar metals to a minimum. I'd guess that the welded areas would be the most susceptible to corrosion, since the weld is likely a different alloy than the rest.   But the power coating isolates it from all the catalysts.  Good approach. 

I wish I had taken more photos of the inside of the villa, but we were in the process of dividing up and dealing with the last remnants of all our belongings, and the room was a cluttered mess of suitcases, computers, musical instruments and a dog.   I did manage to get a photo of one of the seating areas and the little dining table.    What you can't see in that photo is the large television to the left, a fold-out sleep sofa to my right and another sofa that I was sitting on.  This photo also does not show you the fully equipped kitchen or the air conditioned bedroom behind me.  

 I wish that we'd been on more of a kick-back vacation than a frantic deal-with-the-house-boats-car-at the last minute kind of a rush.  We didn't really get a chance to even try the pool, for example.  Marta and Barry  love to boat over to another islands and  walk the deserted beaches looking for interesting objects, for some unfathomable reason.   If you look around the shadows and ledges in these photos you'll see a lot  that's been rescued from slow disintegration on a lonely distant beach.  Marine artifacts that were on their way to oblivion just above some distant surf zone, baking in the sun.  Ignored, useless....

Until Barry and Marta picked them up and brought them home.   There's a lot of neat stuff stashed around here. 

I noticed that there were more than a few iron anchors scattered around the premises.  And I'm not talking bout galvanized folding Danforths, either.  These are from previous centuries, the results of mishaps with sailing boats from a time before our grandfathers were boys.  Anchors have never been cheap enough to leave without a reason. I suspect many of them have some high drama stories to tell.

We had also hoped to take advantage of the nice outdoor grilling and dining area.  But for some reason, for the ten days we were guests here we never seemed to have an afternoon off.   I had already seen several good places to curl up with a cool drink and a freshly charged Kindle.

Did you notice that there are lifeboat oars, fish traps, and ship's wheels in the rafters  here, too?
 I spotted a thermometer and decided to check the temperature.    I certainly can't speak for everyone but from our perspective this is just about perfect.   Of course we have to take into account that we've been living here for ten years and this is pretty much average for us.   An Inuit visitor might want to add a few ice cubes to whatever they're drinking.

And this is the spot I was telling you about, that made me want to just blow off the afternoon and kick back with a good novel to coast  into an even better nap.

  These hammocks looked inviting and comfortable, swaying gently in a tropical breeze there in a private shady nook  Hidden away from the island by a stone wall.   Heck, I had to try it out.  And I can tell you, it's as comfy as it looks.

Or at least it was pretty comfy until a certain hairy little quadruped leaped up onto what he considers unclaimed lap and interrupted my musings.

The hammock could have easily accommodated both of us if I had just re-positioned the little canine curmudgeon over to the side a bit, but he wasn't acting relaxed.   Do you know that annoying feeling when a lap dog wannabe gets all fidgety?  He won't relax, and suddenly it's like he's grown fix extra elbows and he's digging them all into you.  I asked him if the swinging hammock was making him nervous, but he didn't want to admit it.  He considers himself a boat dog and would never admit to being nervous about platform motion.  Nah, too un-dogly.     He feigned some concern for my safety, and pointed out what he thought were hazards hanging over my  bald head.

SOME people get dogs who point out quail or pheasant, or retrieve ducks, or  guide their owners around curbstones.    But not me.  I get a terrier who worries about thunder and hanging coconuts.

I told him not to worry about it, that this was a Damoclean coconut and was only there for effect.  I don't think he appreciated my attempt at levity.   Or he may have heard distant thunder.  In either case, there wasn't going to be any peaceful nap on the hammock for the old Gringo on this day.

So we moved on to grab a few more photos of Harbour Club Villas to show you.  I fully intend to go back to that hammock, however.  Next time I'll try substituting a book for the dog and see how it goes.   Perhaps some light reading of Sir Issac Newton.
 I wasn't going to bore you with more details of the details we've been dealing with, but several people have written and asked about our little sailboat Twisted Sheets.    We worked on the plumbing on the boat right up until the day we hauled her out for storage.   I had a particularly difficult time re-installing one of the large fresh water tanks, for example.  This is the holdup that was delaying several projects.  How do you handle a large tank that needs to be lowered levelly when there's not room in the room for two of you and the tank?   Well this one took some thought.  And a lot of wasted effort before we gave up trying to muscle it in.  I finally figured out that the best way for me to handle it inside the limited space was for me not to be in the limited space at all.  This is what finally worked:

 I rigged a block from the overhead by running a line outside the hatches.   We made a little lifting harness from paracord.  I balanced the tank, and was able to lower it level from outside the compartment.  I came up with this when I gave up physically trying to muscle it after two days of wrestling. This approach slipped it in with no strain whatsoever.    With something other than me supporting the weight of the tank, I was able to slip in alongside it and nudge it when it needed a nudge.  And that was all it needed.   Why do I have to keep relearning the same mistakes over and over.  What an Einstein.  Duh.

And now that the tank is in, I can hook up the tankage system,  replace the deck, install the shower tub, and the washing machine, and the ice maker, and we can go sailing.

But not just yet.  We ran out of time.  Our last few days in Provo before taking off for our mountain holiday was spent securing Twisted Sheets before strapping her to the island until we can come back and start up again.  Can you believe we shipped the sails to Colorado to get them repaired?

We know that the next few months will seem like nothing when reading this blog later. This coming transition from living on land to living on a boat will seem A year from now it will just be a click of the Older or Newer Posts buttons at the bottom of this page.   We have some pretty  ambitious plans for this coming season.  And when we're mobile and living on the boat full time , well I'd say that I fancy our chances of enhancing circumstances and the sundown photos should improve as we move.

We know there will be times when we'll miss these familiar views.   But we're betting heavily that there are some acceptable substitutes out there.   Should be fun to go looking for them. 


dmmbruce said...

That's good thanks.

How much more do you have to do on the boat?


kristine barr said...

Lovely place to stay. Enjoy your vacation.

Mindfly Web Development and Design said...

Wonderful to see you getting on the boat. Seaplane for LaGringa as a tender?

Poor Dooley is looking a little gray... time does move on.

Anonymous said...

Dooley is 12 now, and is starting to really study the science of napping. He's been seeing rabbits and chipmunks and squirrels lately, and still has a burst of speed in him. I told him what you said about him going gray and he woofed something to the extent of
"I won't ever be a good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.." or a loose translation thereof.

Unknown said...

Wow you two ! You are MY HEROS ! Have Fun ! Hope to catch a glimpse of you sometime soon !!
Love you....Mara xoxoxo