Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Couple Weeks Worth of Memories

Last weekend Martin learned how to sail for his birthday. Martin can't drive here, but now he can sail.
Our friends rented two small catamarans at the Bohio and we spent Saturday sailing up and down the beach.
This past weekend was also filled. On Sunday we went kayaking on South Creek with Justin, who runs the kayak cruise ship excursion. The kayaks have glass bottoms, and South Creek is really a large lagoon open to the ocean. It was actually very cool, and a lot of fun. On Sunday night Justin came over for our now famous "just like eating in the states" waffles.
I had Justin tell his story to the boys:
Justin is an adventurer. He is here alone. If you remember past blogs at all, he came over for Christmas dinner. He spends his weekends doing what I would call adventure travel. He kayaks or sails to outlining cays (keys), the small uninhabited landforms that are too small to be islands, and camps overnight. A few months ago he got caught in high waves between Grand Turk and Cotton Cay and had to call a boat to come rescue him.
Over Easter weekend, Justin went to South Caicos, one of the inhabited islands southwest of us. He rented a kayak and went out to the outlaying cays. He camped on an small uninhabited cay, and went further out to see some of the spectacular cays that lay south of South Caicos. On the third day, he went to a very far cay early in the morning.
On his way back, the waves picked up and he struggled to make headway. After four hours of rowing, he tired and stopped to rest. A large wave crashed over his kayak and he lost his bag with his water, food, and protective clothing. After trying to row for a couple more hours he realized that he was not going to make it back to land, and without water he understood the need to not exert himself too a danger point.
As night began to fall, he resolved to conserve his energy and float. Possibly he would be in a better position the next day. The next morning he was adrift at sea, with no water. He still had a tent with him, so he placed this over his body and eventually passed out.
Justin spent 33 hours drifting in the open ocean in a kayak. As the second evening approached, he accepted his fate. Before night fall, he saw land in the distance and used what he had left to push toward this. He landed at the foot of a large set of marble stairs; heaven you ask? No a large mansion on the island of Providenciales. He had drifted 56 miles.
He dragged himself up to the house and knocked on the door. The owner did not believe his story. But he was saved. A couple weeks later, the owner of the house through a big party and flew Justin back over to meet his friends. Some say Justin cheated death.
On Sunday, we were invited to a birthday party on a very large catamaran. There were about 60 people on board. There was lots of food, and lots of drinking. During the party we stopped to snorkel on the edge of the reef. Some very popular young local dive masters on board were free diving down to 70 feet. One of them did not come back up. This was one of the most tragic events I have ever experienced.
I love being here, I love the ocean, I love free diving. But these stories remind us that the ocean is a dangerous place and tragedy can happen in a split second. I can't stop talking about this to my sons, yes the ones standing up in the kayak.
Everyone on the boat was this young man's friend. Someone was able to get a scuba tank and respirator on and get him, but by this time, it was too late. On this day, we were all cheated.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thursday, April 10 - Martin's Birthday

Martin turned 16 today.

This is a hard place to turn 16. The driving age is 18. There is nowhere to get presents. His present was a trip home to Columbus two weeks ago. But, I hoped we managed to make the best of it we could.

Everything we buy to eat here is frozen. This makes planning meals difficult for me. When we don't plan a day in advance we have pancakes and eggs. This is what you can make in 20 minutes without prep.

While I was home, Deneen wanted me to see if I could find our waffle maker. It was sitting on top of my mom's refrigerator. I was able to pack this in my luggage.

On Thursday, we invited our neighbors over for waffles. This was Martin's birthday party. Father Amanti came over with Paul, a missionary who is staying at the Catholic house across the street. Deborah and Thomas came over as well.

The party was set for Thursday at 7:00am because that's when the priests could come. For our housing complex, this makes sense. But when I told some other people this I had to explain that the priests coming were not indicative of anything about Martin turning 16.

The party was a lot of fun. This was the first time in years that Deborah and Thomas had had waffles. Paul loved the waffles as this had been the first "American" type food he had had in months. Deneen loved having the company, and a dinner that was not consumed by juvenile male conversation for once.

Deborah and Thomas gave Martin sailing lessons for his birthday.

Tuesday, April 8 - Mom Arrived

There has been quite a bit happen here lately, so I will go back and create a few blogs a little late.
My mother came to the Turks and Caicos this week. We have been anticipating her trip. Getting here is never easy, though.

She left at 9:00am from CHM on Monday, April 7. The flight to Charlotte came in late, so mom missed the 11:30 flight to PLS. US Airways put her on another flight to Miami, where she made the 6:30 American Airlines flight to PLS. This flight, however, gets into Provo at 9:00, to late to catch the last Sky King flight to Grand Turk.

This caused a bunch of last minute effort to find a hotel room on Provo, rearrange the Sky King reservation, and try and get a taxi. This last effort did not get worked out. I did manage to get a room at the Comfort Suits, which is the only inexpensive hotel on Provo. I hate when the flights to Grand Turk don't go perfectly. It is a very hard place to arrive with mo knowledge of where you are going.

I called the hotel every 15 minutes starting at 9:30 to see if mom had made it. I could not get her on the phone, and she did not check in to the hotel. Finally, I went to AA.com and saw that her plane gad arrived late, at 10:00 instead of 9:00. At 11:15 she finally arrived at the hotel.

I had scheduled her on a flight to Grand Turk at 8:30 the next morning. She was able to get a taxi with other people on their way to the airport. She was able to get an earlier flight and called just before 8:00 to say she had arrived. We dropped the boys off at school and went to get her at the airport.

Thus ended her very stressful first 24 hours in the TCI. Stressful for me anyway. Tuesday was a good day here. And like has been happening lately, the sunset was marvelous. And grandma is finally here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Common Place Day

Sunday was fairly common place. Went to church. Cleaned the house. Went to the AIDS awareness party at the SandBar. Watched the sunset. My mom is coming tomorrow to spend the rest of the month. Everyone is looking forward to having family here.