Provo Turks and Caicos

I have a fading full moon in front of me and a rising sun behind me as we make our way out of Abram’s Bay to head to Turks and Caicos.  It was a long day as we had 50 miles to go after we picked our way through the coral heads leaving Abram’s Bay.  We motored as we were heading into the wind, and we needed to get to Turks and Caicos before 6 pm, as that was when the Turtle Cove Marina would close.  The trip was fine until about 2 hours outside Provo.  Tristan spotted a spray of water.  It turned out to be a huge sperm whale.  The whale came close to the boat and stayed on the surface for awhile.  He was huge!  We have definitely seen more whales than we have dolphins this trip, which I don’t understand.

An hour out, the waves started hitting on the front quarter, and everything started getting tossed inside the boat.  It was a rough last hour, and we cut it close, arriving at 5:45 pm.  A guide brought us into Turtle Cove Marina, and thank goodness we had one, because it was terribly confusing trying to get in.   Dan and crew had stayed here last year when they brought Alegria to Charleston from the BVI’s.  He said the marina hadn’t changed at all, but the island had.   Provo was really built up with hotels and houses.  What a shock!  It was hard to come from sleepy Mayaguana to this.  The customs lady was there right after we pulled in, so we were able to clear customs right away.  That was great as we were anxious to get off the boat and get something to eat.  It had been a long day.

Mayaguana Bahamas

The next morning Tessa and Tristan jump in to swim with the big ray that is eating the conch scraps left by Smokey and Lenny the day before.  The ray is so concentrated on the conch that it is startled when Tessa swims down and touches it. Maybe she is getting too comfortable with the wildlife.

We were supposed to leave today, but we can’t hook up to Global star to get a weather report.  We decide to try to get internet at the Batelco office. When Dan asks for internet service, they tell us to come back about 2:00 and maybe the “lady” will let us use her computer.  It is 12:30 now, so we decide to try the grocery store.  We are still out of everything fresh, which is not good as this grocery store has nothing fresh.  The owner doesn’t seem very friendly.  I see cereal on the shelf, but when I ask for milk she says she has none.  No long life milk either.  How do they eat their cereal?  They do have a big selection of evaporated milk.  I read the back label and it says you can use it on cereal.  We will give it a try. (The kids love it!)  We do load up on Applejacks, evaporated milk, Gatorade, Snicker bars, paper towels, and fruit cocktail.  She notices how heavy our bags are and offers to deliver the groceries to the dock for us.  “Will you give us a ride too?”  I ask. No problem. 

She asks a construction guy, sitting in a chair by the door, to drive us back.  Kevin is his name, and he works for the I Group.  He is helping build the new terminal.  I joked with him that it would be a big improvement over the old closet and 4 chairs in the sun terminal that existed now.   He laughed.  He said that the runway was supposed to be done by December, and there would be problems with the government if it wasn’t.  I asked him about the development.  Since the I Group had to give back 5000 acres, they decided to now only build a hotel.  It should be interesting what happens here in the future.  We get the groceries back to the boat and at 2:00 we head back to Batelco to use the internet.

 

At Batelco we discover there is no place for us to plug in our computer.  If we can’t get our internet, we can’t get weather.  If we can’t get weather, we really don’t want to leave.  Dan tells her we really need to get the weather.  I hear her ask if we are on the sailboat in the harbor.  (It seems everyone in town has come out to see our boat.)  Dan says yes.  There is no place to plug up our computer to the internet, but she leaves her desk and allows Dan to use her own computer.  That was unexpected.  A few minutes later, Dan accesses our email through her machines and has a clear weather forecast for the next few days.  We can leave tomorrow.

The kids and I take one last swim.  We will miss it here.

 I sit outside in the cockpit that night, under an impossibly perfect, round moon.  Beautiful!!  Being all alone in this bay is just a slice of heaven.  The water below us is crystal clear, the sand littered with sand dollars, like beads on the streets after a Mardi Gras parade.

Until you’ve experienced it, you can never know the joy of having a full moon shine through an open hatch, bathing you in moonlight.  Tonight I am perfectly content.  This place is magic.

 

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Mayaguana Bahamas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another beautiful day on Mayaguana.  I don’t think I will ever get tired of this view.  Tristan and Tessa are in the water first thing.   How can you go back to suburbia after this?  Around lunchtime Tessa tells us there is a boat approaching.  It is Smokey, the guy who owns Paradise Villas.   He has a helper with him, Lenny, and a boat load of conch, fish and LOBSTER!  His premise for stopping by is to see how we want our lobster’s cooked that night.  I think it is more to show off what a good fisherman he is.  I have no problem with that, and sit on the swim platform to watch the show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

They have caught all of this in 2 hours.   Amazing!  Lenny makes fast work of the conch.  It takes him about 3 seconds per conch to puncture the shell, pull out the conch and drop it in a bucket.  Smokey has about 14 lobsters and we buy 6 good size tails from him for $50.00.  I will freeze these for later.   While he cleans the grouper, he fills us in on the island.  The I Group had originally purchased 10,000 acres, all prime oceanfront, from the previous Bahamian government.  When the new government took over, they  redid the deal, making the I Group give back 5000 acres.  I think that was a good idea.  While I think some development is good for the islands, you can’t have all the good land sold to outsiders.  You have to make land affordable to the locals. 

As Smokey cleans the fish, he rinses the heads and puts them in another bucket.  I ask him if he ever makes fish head souse.  He smiles and tells me that is what they are for.  Now normally I would not eat anything with a head in it, but we did have fish head souse on Rum Cay.  It was so good. 

As I watch them throw the lobster heads and conch shells back into the water, I can’t help thinking about the sharks this will attract.  I asked Smokey about the sharks.  Makos, tiger, bullsharks and lemon as well as nurse sharks, all come in at high tide.  We saw two big dead sharks up by where the local kids swim.  With those kinds of sharks in the water, I can tell why our friend the day before had his speargun!  The sun was hot and I offer Smokey and Lenny our last two beers.  They seemed appreciative, even if it was Bud, and not Guinness, or Heineken which is what they normally drink.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a light beer. Smokey borrows a few zip locks from me, and then fills a large one up with conch for us, no charge.  As they leave I ask if I can also get some conch salad tonight and they say no problem.  They head out and we agree to meet up at 5:00pm for dinner..

It is another quiet day in the settlement.  We hardly see a soul as we make it to Paradise Villas.   The restaurant/bar is much less busy than it was yesterday.  When we walk in, Smokey asks us what we want to drink with dinner and I say water and the kids will have Coke.  He says he is out of Coke, but he has fruit juice.  I look at the kids and they shrug.  I say they will just have water.  The next thing I know, he gives one of the guys some money and sends them off somewhere to buy Coke.  We get a Heineken each, and then someone else tries to order a Heineken and they tell him they are out.  But later, Smokey brings me another Heineken.  What Dan and I figure out is that he is saving what few Heinekens he has left for us.  How nice. 

Smokey is going all out to make sure we have a good evening.   He sends one of the other guys out to get limes off the tree for the conch salad.  This is really turning into a team effort.  Now the unfortunate part of the whole evening.  We walk in and they are playing some really good Bahamian music.  Oh no. Not for us.  The music changes to the white man’s CD.  Ok, it starts out with Billy Squire.  I can handle that.  But then it changes to Juice Newton.  Juice Newton.   Can you believe it?  I want to pull out my eardrums.  As bad as I feel for me, I feel even sorrier for the poor Bahamian who had to make the white man CD.  I am sure they are in therapy.

 

Soon the food is ready.  We sit down and huge plates of food are put before us.  Dan and my lobster dinner is actually 2 lobster tails each, with a huge side of corn and peas and rice.  We each have a big bowl of the best, spiciest conch salad I have ever had.  The kids are eating grouper fingers and peas and rice.  This is from the grouper caught earlier today.  The food is so good, and we are really touched at the special effort Smokey made for us.  The price for our meal?  4 beers, 2 cokes, a jug of water, 2 lobster dinners, 2 conch salads, 2 grouper finger dinners?  $46.00.

 

We start a happy walk back to the dinghy dock.  We get about a block away, when a pickup truck pulls over and offers us a lift.  What a great day.  We fall asleep with Juice Newton’s “Midnight.  Waitin for the 12:05” running through our head.

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