Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hangin with the locals in S Caicos

Our pet tire (an old mooring).  Where, oh where is the tire today?

Sunset over the town of Cockburn Harbour, S Caicos

I sleep until almost 6:30 am. As the sun rises, the sky and the water appear as one. The wind has gone calm so we're hovering over our anchor and an old tire (an old mooring) appears off our stern.  At 8:00, the locals head out in small boats to go fishing (we're in the lobster and conch preserve). We head in at 9:00 am for a walk and meet Patrick from the other anchored sailboat and help him carry his jerry cans over to the marina. He loves it here despite "there's nothing here."  We hear that a lot but if there is a store, a bar and wifi, we're happy. Pavlidis makes it sound like a bustling little community, but we only find one store open--the grocery at the marina. The locals seem friendly, but everything seems locked up. Where is everyone?  It's a surprisingly peaceful anchorage after Sapodilla. Kelly Nicole swings by to say they didn't find much happening in town either and depart when they see Patrick stopping by their boat.  At 2:30, we head back in. We grab internet at the market then get directions to Ocean View Resort, in hopes of snagging a wifi password.  We get lost on the "5-10 min walk", but they do have nice paved roads here. We should bring our bicycles in. We see people from the resort riding bicycles into town. We spot some (wild!) Flamingoes out in the salt flats and find the horse thats leaving treats on the road. No wifi at the resort, but we did snag a great lobster salad. When we get back, a local meets us at the dinghy dock and invites us to the new bar that just opened. "Tomorrow."  The winds start to kick up to 20 kts out of the NE around 7:00 pm, but we're tucked in close to the island and are nicely sheltered. It's howling through the hatches but comfortable on the boat. At least it's cooled down.

The salt pond.  There are flamingos out there-I swear!

H blew out another flip flop.  Stepped on a pop top

The wind lightens and switches to east in the morning. A lazy day on the boat reading. I dig out our Spanish for Cruisers and start practicing. We are down to half on our main water tank (+2 jerry cans so 35/9=4 gal/day) after 10 days with 20- gal aux as back up. Back to town for internet (our biggest complaint is lack of internet at the boat and I regret not trying harder to buy a sim card while in Provo. When the cafe gets internet, at least we won't have to stand in the grocery store).  Gucci, the local greeter, meets us at the dock, ties off our dinghy and invites us to the cafe. "The restaurant is open?!"  We love a spot to people watch, mingle with the locals and GET OFF THE BOAT for awhile.  A restaurant is perfect, but every inhabited island at least has a bar. 

This rusty old fishing boat is my muse.  The sunrise and color of the water are breathtaking, but despite numerous pictures with all three cameras, I can't capture my view from the cockpit.  Sad.

We see a weather window coming, so we head into town to have another "strategy meeting" with Kelly Nicole and end up having lunch with sv Briet (Halberg Rassey 34), an Australian single-handing and also pilot (originally from Holland who used to fly for KLM & just got his seaplane rating).  He has a cracked cyclinder head, and has been waiting 2 weeks for a part from Europe. He's sailed around the world--over 40,000 miles over 14 years and he can tell some stories. We should have been taking notes!. He told us about almost being shot while fighting a 50-kt current in the Red Sea ("Don't go there.") and surviving the tsunami in Thailand while on an ARC Rally:  "It seemed like low tide, and I was considering shortening my anchor scope. When I looked back, there was a 20 ft wall of water heading into the harbor. It knocked my boat on it's side but the anchor held.  There were a couple more waves and most people drug."  Yes, we asked.  It was a Manson anchor!  Got it!  He is headed to Palm Beach, FL to ship his boat back home. "I'm done. I'm going home to fly seaplanes." (He bought a Sea Ray kit). We end up staying at the bar with Kelly Nicole until 6:30 pm--three waiters/waitresses later...

Internet "cafe".  It ain't Starbucks--it's the marina market.

The boys head in to clear out.  Apparently, the locals take turns greeting us at the dock and after tying up, he flags down Immigration in the market parking lot. We head in to catch some internet and do some more downloads (charts, kindle books, FB).  The boys head over to the other dock for Customs, who tells them to come back at 3. I was going to duck outside, but end up chatting with fellow cruisers then a local who explains the local fishing boats are American boats, stripped to a bar frame to save weight, then fiberglassed with big engines. We discuss the positive and negative of the new resort on the island, the students from the College of Field Studies and the future for their children, He also explains that our young waiters/waitresses seem bashful because they are reserved and many have an inferiority complex.  Interesting insight.

Anchored off Admiral's Aquarium

The forecast for today wasn't ideal, but we were hoping to knock out 24 miles (and cross the trench) to stage for Luperon. However, both boats decide to abort for calmer winds and less seas tomorrow (it would have been a rolly anchorage also). The winds switch to SE, sending waves right into mouth of harbour,  so we move to over to the anchorage next to Admiral's Aquarium, where we are sheltered by Long Cay. We finally get in a snorkel and see sand dollars, a scrawled tilefish that changed from blue/green to white when he saw us, a sand tilefish disappearing into his burrow, sea urchins, heart urchins and a sea cucumber.

We wake up to 20 kt winds. We delay, hoping the winds will decrease in time for the "short hop" to Big Sand Cay. We could leave as late as 1:00 pm (or even later if we anchored after dark), but eventually decide to sit tight, and go straight through to Luperon tomorrow. If we don't leave first thing, we lose motivation, so we sink into a leisurely routine. Reading, naps. Laundry is vetoed until we get more water. My afternoon swim turns into a bottom scrub with 3 baby rays to keep me company. (I get a glimpse of Mama the next morning. Huge--3 ft across!)

Total:  8 loonnnnngggg days

1 comment:

  1. Yes they were long days but it was nice to laugh and have a beer with friends to break it up.