Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Boat Chores and Boat Drinks

Sunday afternoon we returned to Southside Marina, (somewhat reluctantly, since it was SO gorgeous out) riding the high tide into port so that we could join our new friends, Connie and Randy at their beautiful bed & breakfast home, Starfish Villa. They had invited us to dinner a few days ago, and we had settled on Sunday as the date, thus the reason for our return. They put on quite a spread: surf and turf with local lobster, steaks, and a great salad, with red wine....delicious! Who could ask for anything more?? It was a fun night; again, cruising is the coolest as you meet so many folks from all walks of life. Better yet, it’s all relaxed, as you have time to talk and spend time with the different folks you meet, learning their histories and stories. Fascinating!

Monday morning we handled a few boat chores: doing a 12 kW genset oil and impeller change, cleaning the shower sump pump, doing a few loads of laundry, handling mail duty and bill pay on-line, making calls to family (and including one to thank Connie and Randy for last night’s dinner), to name a few things we accomplished. We also pulled out the folding bikes and took a ride across island to Turtle Cove to get our fishing permits and check out the marina there. Due to the extensive fringing reef and breaking wave action in Sellar’s Cut, the marina is hard to get into when winds are out of the north -- which is typical in the winter months. We’re not sure if we’ll take Equinox around to Turtle Cove or not, although it is closer to more restaurants and nightlife at the Grace Bay resorts.

Now, some of the roads on the map are marked as “improved roads” vs the main highway (Leeward Highway) which is paved, and supposedly better than the smaller roads apparently not "improved". Well, some parts of the improved roads are, um....more improved in some areas than in others...but for the most part, they aren’t improved much! We were bumping along on rutted limestone and rocks that made up the barely grated roads, skidding out in the sandy bits and generally trying to hang on and make forward progress in parts! Interesting. (We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto...we’re not even the Bahamas! And, we could tell!)
Ron heading down the "improved road"
We made our way to Turtle Cove and the north side of Provo; once the fishing licenses were secured, we explored a bit, biking along the part of Leeward Highway that follows Grace Bay to the eastern edge of Provo. The road overlooks a breathtaking view of Grace Bay and the aquamarine waters inside the fringing reef to the north, meandering through a hodge-podge of gorgeous luxury resorts sitting behind high privet hedges, cheek-by-jowl with chain-link fenced-off properties in various states of construction or abandonment, mixed in with scrubby brush, foliage and bits of assorted roadside trash. Clearly the downturn in the world economy has hit here...things are at a standstill. Yet, the area clearly has undergone a lot of development, albeit it haphazard with no central plan involved. We were happy to see some good things too, like the many signs marking the free beach access areas all along Grace Bay and the new Bight Park area on the beach that is beautiful! After a good two hours of bicycling and sightseeing, we headed back to Southside for lunch aboard Equinox.
New signs and a great park pavilion area for Bight Park
Grace Bay awaits!! The beach is phenonomenal here!
Once high tide arrived in mid-afternoon, we headed out aboard Equinox again. The weather forecast was for a couple more days of good weather before the winds kick up, so we wanted to get back out to the reef to dive. We rode the high tide out to French Cay, racing the clock a bit to arrive before sunset...which we did, anchoring in the marked anchorage west of the cay in the lee of the easterly winds. We had just enough light to ensure that we had a clear sandy spot in which to drop anchor, then set the hook and kicked back to watch the sunset! Which we did, with pleasure, enjoying a boat drink for our efforts! The Aggressor and the Explorer are out on the moorings; we will join them again tomorrow and dive our fill while we can!

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