Saturday, February 20, 2010

Salt Cay is for fishing and reading

Sunday on Salt Cay is always a good day for fishing or hanging out with a good book. On a beautiful Sunday in February, Mike packed his fishing stuff and I grabbed a book and a couple of bottles of water for a few hours fishing, reading and of course some photos. We started out on North Beach... the water was a hundred colors of blue, turquoise, and aqua with no one in sight.

Years ago I visited a Salt Cay friend, Janet Onnie, and caught her relaxing in her hammock. We sat on her breezy outside porch and talked about a lot of things. What I remember the most is her telling me that when she has trouble sleeping she thinks of the Sea and Sky off of North Beach and tries to count all the different colors of blue.

Mike grabbed his stuff out of the back of the buggy and walked down the beach to try his luck in the surf. I sat up on the bluff, spread out a blanket and spent so long looking at the water, the islands in the distance, the beach and the waves that I never did get my book out. Mike walked back to join me at the bluff and we moved on to another spot for him.

Back in the buggy, we drove north past the Grey Salinas to the Northeast side of the island. There is an inlet from the Sea that is made of cut stone and allows water from the Sea to fill the Salinas on that side of the island. This channel was built over 200 years ago and is about 6 feet wide and about 600 feet from start at the Sea to the end that empties into the Salinas.
Following the inlet channel to the East, we watched crabs scurrying about, little fish swimming against the current, birds doing a little fishing and a gecko basking in the sun. Notice the incredible cut stone along the sides of the channel.

Walking along the wall of the channel, we arrived at the opening, a small opening in the rocky cliffs - a great place to try a little fishing.

It was mesmerizing watching the water flowing in and out of the channel, the waves crashing in to fill the little "bay" and spraying foam upon the rocks. Not much beachcombing to be done at this part of the island, but so many beautiful natural treats.

The skies were a bit overcast on Sunday with the sun breaking through from time to time and casting its rays down through the clouds. The Sea on the West side of the island was rough but on the East side it was fairly calm with a few good sized rollers from time to time. The sparkling brightness of the day was incredible.

Mike grabbed his bucket and pole and walked to the end of the small rock cliff to try his luck in the surf. The rocks can be pretty uneven at the end of the small cliff, I chose to stay back and take a look around with my camera.

Any vegetation on this side of Salt Cay has to be pretty hardy. The trade winds blow fairly constantly throughout the year from the East showering the plants with salt water and salt spray on a regular basis. Plants that would normally have a little height are more of a low growing ground cover or bush height.

The tangled branches of this Mosquito Bush (Strumpfia martima) have little barnacles growing attached on one side and beautiful fragile looking pink flowers on the other side. In folklore, when the leaves and branches of the mosquito bush are burned, the smoke is said to repel mosquitoes. I've tried transplanting a small plant and have not been successful getting it to grow on the West side of the island.

A large brain coral with a whole in the middle and another coral lodged inside of it rests next to the channel. I have to believe that a few people spent some time dragging it to this spot, although there doesn't seem to be any place that it could have come from. I enjoyed the contrast of the sun bleached, curvaceous white coral and the dark, sharp angles of the cut stone walls of the channel.

(Don't forget that by clicking on a photo you will be able to view it larger but you'll have to click the back button on your browser to come back to this page.)

I had a book in my bag and fully intended to sit down to read a bit... after a few more pictures.

... the bend in the channel right before it meets the Sea.

... the waves crashing on the cliffs.

... three Haitian islanders fishing a little further north along the same cliff with hand lines.

Mike enjoyed fishing for rock hinds or strawberry grouper along the East side of the island, moving from the spot at the end of the cliff to a place a bit further North in search of the elusive fish.

The wind-smoothed rocks on the top of the cliffs are very different from the razor like rocks of the cliffs further South on the island. After about 1/2 an hour, Mike returned to try his luck by the cliffs again. Caught by a wave or two, his shirt and shoes were soaked and he was ready to try something different on the end of his line.

I do not know the name of this little lure... and I don't suppose it really matters because it did not work! Relaxing on a rock with his (empty) bucket, Mike changed his lure hoping to attract a strawberry grouper or two...

The sounds of the sea crashing on the cliffs and echoing through the channel were a perfect accompaniment to the peace of fishing, relaxing and enjoying a little quiet time together.

I did actually read about four or five pages in my book before heading back after a day of fishing and exploring.

And no, Mike didn't catch anything that day. (Hmmmm, Mike read this and reminded me that he did catch a little sand fish - not worth eating or keeping - so he threw it back... does that count?) Heeheee.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Salt Cay's Annual Valentines Party

Valentines Day on the island is a special time... The Salt Cay Valentines Party on Friday night was a success again this year with the dedicated work of District Commissioner Carolyn Dickenson, Salt Cay Secretary Vershina Forbes, members of the Salt Cay Women in Action and numerous other members of the community!We were greeted at the front door of the Salt Shed by the lovely Ms. Carolyn and escorted to one of the festively decorated tables to visit with friends, neighbors and island guests as more and more people joined the party! Wine, sparkling cider and conversation flowed as we waited for the festivities to begin.

Mike has fun table hopping and visiting with some of his favorite Salt Cay ladies. He took this opportunity to sit with our friend (his island mother) Mrs. Ella Hamilton and share a few laughs. It's always entertaining to watch the two of them banter!Ms. Ella was at the party with her two sisters, Mrs. Rosalie Glinton and Mrs. Melvina Simmons. A number of people took this opportunity to take a photo of "the sisters" and I hope that someone will pass one of the photos along to me to add to this blog.

Ms. Carolyn and Ms. Vershina started the festivities with a few Valentine games... the first game involved pulling a number our of an envelope and performing whatever action was written on a list. Mike and I pulled #11 - and had to stand up and kiss romantically. Hah, you know Mike... it was a little goofy but hey, that's part of the fun. (Again, no picture... email me if you have one!)

With much prompting, Ms. Rochelle pulled a number and stood up to read a romantic poem to her husband...

Mr. Mike Floan treated his wife, Ms. Heather, to a list of three things that he loves about her...

Mr. Porter Williams said a few special words to his special valentine Haidee...

Mr and Mrs. Sean Forbes were celebrating their 1st anniversary and Sean presented his wife, Kayla with a beautiful basket full of valentine treats...

Mr. Maurice Simmons elegantly spoke words of dedication and love to his beautiful wife Mrs. Barbara...

Don and Donna Shope joined in the fun with Don whispering sweet words of love to his lovely valentine...

And many others stood and celebrated the evening of love and friendship!

Following the Valentine games, we enjoyed a wonderful meal that included glazed ham, turkey, baked chicken, macaroni & cheese, sauteed vegetables, garlic potatoes and much more. The food was plentiful and very good!

Enrique Dickenson provided music for us during the evening with a mix of romantic and lively music for dancing.

The first dance was a special valentine dance (and I don't have pictures of that because I was dancing with my special valentine, Mike!)

During a pause in the dancing, the Salt Cay Rake 'n Scrape Band played a selection for us. And then on to more dancing and partying!

A special area was set aside for pictures... following are pictures of special valentine couples, beautiful single women, and good friends. Remember that you can click on a picture to view it larger and then right-click on the larger picture to save it to your computer!

Valentines Day on Salt Cay was a lovely evening filled with laughter, love and friendship!

Mike and Ann Hawkins

Vershina Forbes and Enrique Dickenson

Mike and Heather Floan

Carolyn Dickenson and Ann Hawkins

Vershina Forbes and Delphine Simons

Ed and Cathy Doyle

Kevin and Rochelle

Nic and Sharon Herwin

Rochelle Gray and Anna Dickenson

Ray and Cindy Cyr

Noyal Hamilton and his valentine

De Temes and her son, Sam
It's his birthday!!

Bernard Parker

Sandy and De Temes

Anna Dickenson

Monday, February 8, 2010

Foggy Day Walk

One day last week (in fact, it was the 3rd... my granddaughter Rachel's 6th birthday), I woke up to find all the screens covered with dew. Looking outside toward the Sea I could see that it was a soggy morning with dew on the boardwalk and lots of moisture on the sand. And amazingly, when I looked out the front door toward the East - there was a layer of fog over South Creek! If you look closely at the picture you can see it hovering over the whole area.

Fog is just not something seen on Salt Cay! Inspired by this strange sight, I stuffed my camera and a bottle of water in a bag and set off for South Creek. By the time I got there, the fog had lifted and a calm hung over the Creek, setting us up for a hot day to come!

Even the Sea off the East side of the island was calm and as I walked past some clam beds, I spotted one of the young osprey perched on the top of the north osprey nesting platform.

As I walked closer to the platform, I could hear the young osprey calling to its mother. "Maaaaaama"... it really does almost sound that way! And loud! When the osprey used to nest in front of our house we were often awaken (at all times of the day and night) by the young osprey after they were kicked out of the nest. It's a relief to see them enjoying the other nesting platform instead of the roof of our house or the railing of our neighbor's house.

The osprey are not intimated by people walking close to their perchs... they turn their heads to get a good look at you as you're getting a good look at them. Unless of course they have young, just hatched babies - then they might just dive bomb you to keep you away.

But this osprey was perfectly happy to sit on top of the pole making noise. Notice the ropes draped over the nesting platform? Apparently, the osprey started to build there and for reasons known only to themselves, changed their minds and built their nest on the southern-most osprey nesting platform instead. I've also seen the osprey by the nest in town sitting there looking around... maybe one day we'll have three osprey families! At 2.5 square miles, that's about the maximum number of osprey Salt Cay can expect.

As I walked home, the mangrove area of South Creek was not without a few strange and wonderful treasures. The metal float has obviously been here for some time... it had to make it's way from the mouth of the Creek, turn right and eventually get lodged pretty close to shore. It looks like it's been here for a long time! I have no idea how long. With the sun just coming up, it turned the colors of the float brilliant orange, rich brown with some wonder rusty flakes covering it. A beachcomber's delight - and I'm sure Mike is very happy it's too heavy for me to roll home for our back yard.

The mangroves are a little difficult to navigate on foot... it's very mucky and slippery... but well worth it to catch some interesting photos of South Creek through the mangroves.

Hey! don't forget that you can click on any of these photos to view them larger. :0)