Saturday, March 17, 2007

It Never Rains in Turks and Caicos. It Poured!

After a nice motor sail, the four cats anchored in Sapodilla bay, 5 miles from anything except some second homes built along the shore. We were welcomed by Sarah and John and their 5 children on the boat Leohana. Seems they were on a slow world cruise and were asked to start up a Mormon church on the island, delaying their world cruise for over a year.
On Sunday morning we hitch-hiked to church having no idea where it was or what time it started. By luck, we got a ride, found the church and made it almost on time. We were fortunate to have found an English speaking, younger, humorous priest who performed Sabrina’s reconciliation. He was most impressed by her ability to recall Act of Contrition perfectly. The thought of Sunday Brunch faded as nothing was open. A taxi driver said he would take back to the boat for $5.00. The fare also included the chance to show us just how fast his little car would go in a 40 MPH zone. Answer: 79 MPH. I tried to explain that we weren’t really in a big hurry, we typically don’t ever see speeds over 8mph the way we drive….in a boat.
For days the wind blew from the “wrong” direction and it rained and it rained. While driving a rental car through the flooded streets the kids yelled, “Hey daddy, water is coming in the doors!.” Angie and I had been here when Parker was 1. Other than a lot more second homes, hotels and more traffic nothing had changed in Provo.
Despite everything we could possibly do to leave our land life picture perfect, we had two back-to-back financial debacles that were totally unwarranted. The stress of it all pushed Angie into days of dread and self blame for doing enough. We have our health and that’s something money can’t always buy or fix.
The next weather window was sad and sweet. It was sweet that we could leave. The saddest part was goodbyes to DC and Beach Magic… and the two new kid boats that showed up from Georgetown, Sea-ya-manana and Tantara. We had 15 kids over for a movie night on our last night so say goodbye. It was especially hard to leave Dream Catcher who had been boat buddies with us for over a month. There were tears, gifts and promises of see you later and not goodbyes. This time was especially hard for Parker and Nicole who had gotten very close. Despite a forecast of unsettled weather with potential for 40 knot squalls, we sailed with Leocat to the DR. During a storm at night, the wind generator base broke. I had to take it apart on the roof with a pitching boat in the rain, wind and dark only using one hand! 28 hours later, we were in the DR.

Mayaguana (My A God, I Wanna) Leave!

Beach Magic (the first Manta, from Quebec), LeoCat (Leopard 47 from Quebec), DC and Side-by-Side, all cats with kids, all sailed together on an “exhilarating” wet, rough overnight passage. We first had to bash our way over the top of Long Island and then set sail for Mayaguana at the bottom of the Bahamas. Finally, we were successful in catching not one but two 48” mahi-mahis!
The waters were crystal clear and the men hunter-gatherers from the USA outscored the Canadians, 5 lobsters to nothing. On my last pass around a lone coral head rock, I came face-to-face with the largest lobster I have ever seen anywhere! A stretch of the pole spear band, a big breath of air and down I went to claim the ultimate prize of spear fishing. A perfect shot and a celebratory whoo-hoo at the surface as my fellow hunters jaws dropped.
Sabrina so wanted to spear her own lobster. She took a perfect shot but had the tip deflect off its shell as he shot back in his hole. When we went ashore we saw a fresh pile of lobsters minus only the tails, left by local fishermen. It saddened me to see at least 30 pounds of lobster meat wasted. On one of our outings, Dave on DC also found an enormous lobster. His heart was racing as he settled himself and dove down to take a shot. He speared it only to find out it was a scrapped head that had settled under a rock!
The ladies and the children went ashore to “see the town” and met the unshakable Yule. Yule was the self professed expert of the island. He has been “involved” in every major project on the island including building the roads, the new air strip, many of the houses, and he claimed to be the local fishing expert as well. Now in his 30’s, he is “retired”. They are in need of workers to build the new marina but he won’t work for their wages. Yes sir, for two days of shore activities, Yule was always by our side though we never asked him to join us. We piled in arranged pick up trucks to travel to the islands north shore for supposed “great shelling” and possibly to find a Portuguese glass fishing ball. There were no shells, the water was too shallow for swimming and the glass balls are best found after a hurricane. It was the first place where we felt everyone looked at us as a meal ticket and hospitality was not free.
Yet another “build it and they will come” project is bleeding cash here in Mayaguana. They are building a 2 mile long airstrip here for the next generation of jumbo passenger jets and a huge marina. Attention Cancun and Puerto Rico, Mayaguana’s is going to take all your business with their super runway. Mind you there are no attractions, no great beaches, no visitors, no lodging, no shopping and no boats. Unfortunately the weather kept us here for more days than we had hoped. My a god I wanna leave….pronounced Mayaguana. Finally the gods allowed us to sail down to Turks and Caicos.