Another Country

We are now in the Turks and Caicos Islands with an internet connection, albeit a slow and unreliable one, but hopefully I can get caught up on some pictures and stories.

p1180001Let’s start with this picture of one of the more unusual private yachts we have seen.  the Pink Shrimp.  At first glance she looks like an oceangoing commercial fishing boat, and certainly that is what the hull was designed as.  One of the surprising things we have noticed about the very high end super yachts is that very few of them have much in the way of creative design in their external appearance.  This boat at least has character

Pictures of fish from the trip out to Mayaguana:

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Mayaguana was an interesting place, and one where we would like to spend more time exploring.  Late every afternoon, we had a visitor to the boat in the anchorage…

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Each day a 6 foot nurse shark spend several minutes carefully checking us out.  It wasn’t clear if it was used to being fed from boats, or if we were just on its afternoon “commute” route and were worth a closer look out of curiosity.  Things we missed, the windward beaches are supposed to have some of the best shell collecting in the world, and the lagoons on the windward side have great bonefishing.  Next time!

When you arrive in a new country, the first thing they want to see is the paperwork from the LAST country you were in to be sure that you checked out legally and are not on the run from the law. So we visited the tiny one room building on Mayaguana that serves as the office for Customs, Immigration, Police headquarters, Tax collector, Department of Education, and who knows what all else.  When we told the women behind the counter that we were there to check out, her first response was that we had to wait for her boss to be in the office to do that.  When it turns out we need to leave that afternoon, and he won’t be there until maybe tomorrow, well, OK, maybe she can do it herself. But wait!  The electricity is off… how can she check us out without electricity to run the office machines?  Carbon paper to the rescue!  Eventually we get all the proper papers stamped and we are free to leave the country.

The wind faded away in the early night and we had a slower than expected trip to the Caicos Islands, arriving about 13:00.  We called the marina on the radio so they could send out a guide boat to help us in through the long, complex, and narrow channel.  We were told we had missed the tide, and would have to wait until about 17:00 to come in so we just sailed around the bay for the afternoon.

Close to 5PM the marina’s guide boat hailed us on the radio, and met us at the cut in the reef:

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Turtle Cove Marina Guide Boat ready to lead us in.

Why the guide boat?  Well, to start with missing the entrance into the reef could ruin your whole day.  Here is what you see on both sides of your boat as you come in the reef break:

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Then there is about a half mile of twisting channel before you get into the marina itself.  It is well marked, and actually marked better than most of the places we have been in the islands, but there is not much room for error.  We scraped bottom twice as we came in, but ended up inside safe and sound, and quite tired from a long day and night.

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