Tuesday, April 28, 2009
And this little guy was quick! The first couple of photos I tried to get were blurred because he just kept scooting around from one hand to the next. Salt Cay's smallest soldier crab is about the size of 1/2 of my baby fingernail! Amazing
From Widipedia -- "There are approximately 15 terrestrial species in the world, and of those, the following are commonly kept as pets: Caribbean hermit crab, Coenobita clypeatus, and the Ecuadorian hermit crab, Coenobita compressus. Other species such as Coenobita brevamanus, Coenobita rugosus, Coenobita perlatus or Coenobita cavipes are less common but growing in availability and popularity as pets. In certain regions of the Caribbean, such as Jamaica and the Florida Keys, hermit crabs are commonly used in a sport known as crab racing, where they are placed in the center of a ring and whichever crab reaches the outside of the ring first wins."
Salt Cay has some great hermit crab races! None this year, but with luck next year we'll be able to do a few races. The hermit crab races were used as fund raisers for the Balfour Town Public Library on Salt Cay about five years ago and for other community projects too. Lots of fun!!
If you're ever on Salt Cay when we have hermit crab races, be sure to ask for Soldier Crabs from Mike & Ann! This is a picture over our north fence of just a few of the hundreds of soldier crabs in our "stables"!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I used to go shopping with Mike, it was fun. We’d take the plane or boat over, go to all the stores (you can’t shop in just one store because each store has different things) and then go for lunch before heading back to the Salt Cay dock to get on the boat home. Those days are over, even if the dock was fixed, without a vehicle on Grand Turk to use for shopping Mike often walks everywhere and there is no way my short legs will keep up with his long ones! But hey, that’s not to say it can’t be done… just not by me.
This year, 2009, the government days for the boat are Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re called government days because the government subsidizes the trip for the boat owner those days. I’m not sure if that’s happening this year because the government is broke. Everyone pays to go on the boat – Round trip for men is $12 and $8 for women (don't ask - that’s just the way it is) Mr. Barber Selver collects the fees for the boat trip. When we first arrived on Salt Cay it was $4 for women and free for men because the men would help unload the boat but now that there's a crew to do the loading and unloading everyone pays.
In this picture, Miss Netty is making sure her stuff all comes off correctly so that she can transport it to her shop. Lots of flour, cartons of eggs, cases of coke and fruit juice, rice, canned beans and lots of other tins of food are brought over every week so that those who do not take the boat can purchase from the little shops on island. Even though we go to Grand Turk at least every two weeks, we still go to Miss Netty’s (Miss Netty’s Variety Store with our friend Coral Jennings in the doorway). or the Dickenson’s Store for eggs, flour and juice (Mr. & Mrs. Dickenson’s Variety Store – closed but I’ll try to get a picture of the lovely Mrs. Eloisa behind the counter before we go!) They have freezers with chicken, pork chops, bacon and a few other things to make it through until the next shopping day.
Even though it's been a long day, Mike and Carolyn manage to exchange a few laughs about the boat ride home. It’s usually a wet ride even on a fairly calm day and District Commissioner Carolyn made me promise to photo shop some of the water off her clothes. (and I did!)
Before leaving Mike makes sure that Mr. Maurice has the proper count and pay for our freight. (No they're not dancing, just goofing around!)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
It does take a little while to get used to the call of the Salt Cay Rooster in the morning and throughout the day. Many homes both North and South (this is a picture of Miss Netty’s and her rooster) have resident Roosters. Mike and I had a Rooster that used to sit on the wall outside of our bedroom window one year. Thankfully he has moved back South – I don’t miss him at all.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Continue your walk toward South Town on Victoria Street, past the Balfour Town Government Offices, Mary Robinson Primary School and Balfour Town Public Library and just a little bit past The Folly and you will see Mount Zion Baptist Church. Pastor Gary Lightbourne officiates on Sundays with Miss Rosalie Glinton playing the piano as the congregation raise their voices in praise and song. Most recently the Mount Zion Baptist Church hosted an all-faith praise day on Easter Monday. Members of all churches and the community joined together to sing and listen to the Senior citizens and members of the Mary Robinson Primary School sing selections. This was the first time for the event that will continue every year! It was truely wonderful.
I don't have a picture of the fifth church on the tour... but if you continue down Victoria Street and turn left on Glinton Street you will come to the cricket field and Community Center. Pastor Luckner Mondesair presides over The New Jerusalem Church. Be prepared to speak Creole or French at this wonderful gathering.
Most Sundays you will find me looking out to Sea, thankful to be able to enjoy the beauty and peace of the day.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Nancy Connolley fell in love with one of the cats hanging around and came up with a unique way to transport the cat back to her home in Oregon State, USA. Mike (James) used a tackle box, drilled holes in the top of it and created a cat carrier for her to use to take Rebella back. Nancy contacted the vet in Providenciales to make an appointment to give the cat the necessary shots and international health certificate. Fortunately, Rebella is a female! The decrease in population may not be huge but every little bit helps.
Salt Cay's premier Animal Advocate and Donkey Friend, Pat Coe, has contacted Susan Blehr, the Director of the TCSPCA, and hopes to bring volunteer vet Dr. Rich Sefcik over sometime within the next couple of weeks to spay/neuter as many dogs and cats as possible. Debbie Bean (Say Cay Divers) is coordinating this effort now that Pat has gone off island.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
If the seas are calm enough I pull my kayak down into the lighter way and paddle North to the Lighthouse Cliffs and back. Lighter ways are places along the West side of Salt Cay that were cut out of the reef to allow lighter boats to load and unload salt during the salt industry days on the island. The lighter way in front of our house was maintained by the Morgan saltraking family.
Snorkeling out the lighter way toward the buoy is fantastic. (Click on the picture to view it larger and look hard to see the little red buoy out in the Sea). The lighter way ends at a little reef that is absolutely beautiful. Lots of the snorkeling places around the island are beautiful, but this always feels like my own little aquarium. The sea fans gently swaying while the brightly colored little fish swim in and out of the rocks.
I never tire of walking along the beach collecting bits of beach glass and little shells. And now that the beach deck is done I have a great place to put my treasures. The picture to the right is looking from the water's edge up toward the beach deck and the house beyond the gate. Every day brings a different shape to the beach and the hurricanes of 2008 really made some big changes... there is more sand going out further into the water. With a little less sand up toward the beach deck. It's hard to see it in this picture but there's a little step down from the wood walkway to the beach.
There were some songs I couldn't get out of my head all day from an album by Edie Brickell called Picture Perfect Morning... listen to it sometime if you get the chance - it's a good one.
The morning progressed wonderfully and by mid day we found ourselves having cracked conch at Debbie's Coral Reef Bar & Grill with a few friends who were headed back to the States. With soft trade winds keeping us cool, it was fantastic to relax while we watched the activity in the harbor.
Just as we were finishing our lunch, we watched the largest yacht any of us have ever seen cruise past Salt Cay! Debbie hailed the yacht on her marine band radio and invited them to stop by so we could buy them a beer. :0) They were very friendly but let us know they were headed to Grand Turk (to clear customs probably) and were just cruising. The name of the yacht is the M/Y Mayan Queen IV. Looking it up we found out that it is 301 feet long! Amazing!
We celebrate the differences and contrasts on Salt Cay! This was certainly a fun one to experience.
The rest of the day was spent snorkeling, laying in the sun, reading and a little light gardening. Okay, and I did a load of laundry and hung it up to dry. Regardless of what we're doing, at 6:30PM we head out to the beach deck every day to watch the sunset. A picture perfect evening begins...
Friday, April 10, 2009
In March I wrote a little bit about The Further Adventures of Captain Mike or Another Boat on Salt Cay and I promised to write more about the launching of the boat and everything it took to drag the boat from South Creek to North Beach, fix it up... etc., etc. Well, it's just too darned nice outside to sit at the computer that long, so maybe I'll get to it on a stormy day.
Rain or sun, Mike keeps busy. Even before launching the "Sal Vage" he was thinking about what he would do for a trailer to pull the boat out. He had intended to build a trailer for the boat that blew away in the hurricane - it was a lot smaller. This new boat... well, it needs a big trailer.
Once a week we take the trash to the Salt Cay Dump and spend at least 15 minutes to 1/2 an hour looking around for treasures. FM Mike told me about a great chandlier and brought it to the house for me - I'm going to string it with sea glass for the beach deck. Mike's found some really cool antique stuff. But that's not what I'm writing about today, I'll take a picture of his find and write about that another time! I wanted to tell you about the giant boat trailer (well, pieces of it anyway) that he found. Exactly what he needed to construct a trailer for the new boat.
The frame was much too big and needed a lot of modifications. At the Salt Cay Dump, with the help of FM Mike (that's First Mate), Captain Mike cut apart the frame and brought home the pieces he needed to construct a boat trailer. He had an axel laying around that he was going to use for the other boat trailer and it's coming along pretty well.
He had to cut the frame and weld it to get the exact shape he wanted and now that the main part of it's done he's beginning to work on getting the rest of the parts he needs to finish the trailer.
It's heavy! Keeping our fingers crossed that our buggy (aka Kawasaki Mule) will be able to pull the trailer once the boat is loaded onto it. I'll be there to take pictures.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
After everyone had arrived we had a light lunch and took off to have a look around. As we hiked up above the beach we came to a small path made by local fishermen and started off toward the old sisal fields and ruins of a sisal farm.
(Mike standing in the ruins looking at the sisal plants beginning to bloom.)
Coming upon the ruin, we were surprised to find that the walls of the old place are in remarkably good repair for their age - it's fascinating to imagine what it was like when the sisal industry was active. We do know that there were small goats on the island brought to provide milk and food for the sisal farm. We did not have an opportunity to see any of them while we were exploring.
The island was too big for us to explore the whole thing. We hiked along the coast before returning to the beach for a swim. The skies were clear and it was hot - a little too hot for too much more hiking. The island had a little shade (we forgot to bring our urban umbrella) and the water was warm, clear and great. I think we probably spent at least an hour just swimming, snorkeling and floating around talking while we enjoyed the beauty of the day.
The day's adventure was almost over - climbing into our boats we made our way slowly back to Salt Cay, enjoying the changing aquas and blues of the sea and sky. The peace and beauty of the day were a special gift that we all enjoyed.
(Don't forget that you can click on any of these pictures to view a larger image.)