Friday, December 24, 2010

Family time

Equinox back in South Side Marina
It's been a busy week! We spent a couple days tucked into the marina basin at West Caicos waiting for the winds and seas from the passing cold front to abate, then made our way back onto the Caicos Bank. We returned to our "usual" slip in South Side Marina, where we've been doing a bit of bicycling, boat work and playing. Bicycling has included another lunchtime trip to Da Conch Shack, and to the IGA for produce; boat work dealt with a thorough interior cleaning of the pilot house and lower cabins while Ron got the exterior of the boat washed after our salty ride back onto the Bank. We had some waxing done topside, including the antennae, and have had Orville, the refrigeration tech, come and repair the "work" done on the flybridge freezer. It's now back in action, having had the innards repaired properly and charged with the correct refrigerant gas. We checked its temperature and calibrated the thermostat controls as well, so it is in fine order. Of course, now that we've not been using it, we don't have any pressing need to do so, as we've gone through enough food that the galley freezer is adequate for our needs. 

It hasn't been all work and no play though, as we went out in Eclipse on Wednesday morning and tried our hand at lobstering yet again. We unfortunately had the same results: having the big ones hide under ledges well beyond our reach, laughing as they send out the little ones as decoys to taunt us. Ron laments being unable to use his sling spear, but it's illegal in the Turks and Caicos, so we are reduced to being neophytes with the snare pole. Still, we know where they are, and will be back to try again, I'm sure! After all, a bad day of lobstering in the sunshine here isn't exactly a hardship! 

Ally meeting the marina dogs, Effie and Gemma
The biggest news of the week is that Ally has joined us, having flown in on Wednesday afternoon! We've been eager to have her join us, and are having a great time together. We went down to French Cay in Eclipse yesterday morning, and made a fabulous dive at "The G Spot" dive site. Ally was eager to dive, and she wasn't disappointed, for shortly after we descended and started to swim east along the wall, a large spotted eagle ray gracefully approached, swimming up and over the wall above our heads! Reef sharks occasionally swam along the wall, and a southern ray swam up from the depths beneath us. As we turned to retrace our route back along the top of the reef well, we spotted a large Hawksbill turtle meandering along ahead of us, and on our return we were joined by the resident juvenile nurse shark as well. A great dive!! We saw the same turtle yet again, taking a breath at the surface, when we were rinsing off in Eclipse and shedding our gear.

Our return ride back to the marina was somewhat eventful as we neared Provo, as the engine kept sputtering and losing power occasionally. We haltingly -- but happily -- made our way back, relieved that the issue hadn't occurred farther out in the middle of the bank! It was a bit of bad fuel, which was solved by a quick change of the fuel/water separator once we were back in port. It'd just been changed out a month ago when Paul and Muriel were here, and we needed to restock the dinghy with a spare. Usually, we make sure we have a few spares aboard at all times, along with the filter wrench, but Murphy's Law caught up with us!

Palm trees under the stars at Da Conch Shack
Family time!
In the evening, we went over to Da Conch Shack for dinner and music by Stanley Roots, our musician friend. Fresh seafood and conch are prepared fabulously there; we had a delicious dinner of conch salad, conch creole and grilled shrimp, made to order! Yum! We had a lesson in how to crack and clean a conch too, while we were enjoying the beach after dinner. A good time, enjoyed by all!
Demonstrating how to crack and clean a conch
Pulling out the conch

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