Friday, May 23, 2008

Museo Se'las

This week Martin and I started playing at the Bohio. We play every Tuesday. On our first night we had about fifty people come out. Most came just to see if we were for real. The resort published comments about us. They ranged from "Not what I expected" to "Its quite different isn't it."

I hope these were positive. I liked it anyway. We play with Martin, myself, and two percussionists. We play most of the Last Big Town set, along with a bunch of reggae stuff. I think this is why it was different and not expected. We're like a white reggae band, only old (except for Martin), with no accent (except Se'las who has a very thick Italian accent), and we don't really play reggae standards (we play a mix of country and pop songs with a 2, 4 reggae beat). Ok, maybe we have nothing to do with reggae, we could even be a country band with an electric guitar instead of a mandolin and Hawaiian shirts instead of cowboy hats. But I think it is really cool.

We play for two hours but have an hour and a half of music. The last four songs we replayed the first four songs. But they were much better the second time.

For you Last Big Town aficionados, we played She Makes Me and Live by Faith reggae, very cool.

If I can get a good sample, I will post a video next Tuesday.

Spirit of Bermuda

This past weekend, a historic sloop replica, the Spirit of Bermuda, sailed into Grand Turk for the Windward Passage Symposium. We spent the weekend attending ceremonies and parties and lectures. I presented a lecture on Saturday on the transfer of architectural styles into Grand Turk.

On Saturday, we also hosted the 22 students on the Spirit of Bermuda at the museum. The students on board the ship are on a semester at sea for five weeks. They work as the crew. Each student takes a four hour watch on deck, 24 hours a day. On the trip from Bermuda to Grand Turk the ship came through a large storm with 54 knot winds and 30 foot waves. For two days the kids threw up all over the ship. They were so sick that they could not clean up the vomit from below decks. At the end of the second day, they had to clean the whole ship from top to bottom.

On Saturday night, we attended the Governor's reception on board. Two US Coast Guard ships were at dock as well. The officers joined us at the reception. The picture below is me with the Governor, the ships captain, and the past Premier of the TCI.

At the last minute, we kept Dr. Michael Jarvis as a house guest for three days. Dr. Jarvis is a professor at Rochester University and is a preeminent scholar on Bermudian history. This worked out very well.

Here is a picture of Lucas, Myself, and Dr. Jarvis.

On Monday, Davis and I sailed to Salt Cay on the Spirit. We went to Salt Cay to rake salt like the Bermudians did in the seventeenth century. And in fact four bags were raked. This was the first time I have seen the sea salt crystallized in the salt ponds. Can someone say gift shop? Salt Cay was unbelievably hot. Not any shade. Both Davis and I got sunburned. But not as bad as our visitors.

The Spirit is a three masted sloop. We sailed under full sail. The ship sailed at about a 30 degree list. I asked when people got nervous. One of the mates said that when they were in the storm the rail was under water. At one point they had to cut a sail loose. This was very cool. I guess my first sail on a replica sloop.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

but..why, it wasn't my fault, I .. you asked for a sandwich

What happened to the cool blog you ask? Exactly, I say. This week Deneen as been back in the states. Sounds like a good time to do all of those crazy things that you can't do with three boys who have a mother on a small desert island.

On Saturday, we made plans to pick up Justin and use his kayaks to go over to Gibbs Cay and swim with the stingrays. Gibbs Cay is an uninhabited island to the East of Grand Turk. It has a great white sand beach and good snorkeling. One of the dive companies has been feeding the stingrays there for a couple decades, so when you swim on the reef they come right up to you.

We needed to beat the heat, so we left at 9:00. The plan was to paddle over, snorkel for a couple hours, eat a packed lunch, and then head back before it got too hot in the afternoon. We would need a lunch and a lot of water.

I packed our lunch the night before. In my mind this was a pretty cool day, clear water, a nice lunch on the beach. It turned out to be more like George Costanza packing delicious sandwiches to go rock climbing with Toni.

I packed six turkey sandwiches with pepperjack cheese and cucumbers. I also made an onion, habanero, and tomato salad in case we found conch. And I froze a gallon container of tea to take with us. When we got the kayaks out at South Creek, I thought my bag was too heavy so I took out the watermelon and left it in the car.

We paddled out of the mouth of South Creek, but the wind was too strong to get across the bay to Gibbs Cay. Islands don't look far away until you try and paddle to one. We went across the bay and pulled the kayaks up onto the rocks below an area called Gun Hill. We snorkeled around the mouth of the creek for about two hours, and among other things, saw the biggest Barracuda we have seen so far.

We came out of the water and hiked back to where we left the kayaks. But my kayak was gone. It was floating out into the bay of the creek, with my backpack and our lunch sitting on the back. I jumped into the water and swam out to get it. Every time I would come out of the water the kayak was further away. It was far to swim, but I have to say that we swim for hours at a time three days a week, and all of us getting much healthier.

After several minutes of swimming, I finally reached the kayak. About the time I got in, Justin and Davis had paddled out to where I was. If you could ever see this area, you would never believe how far I swam. We headed back in. Put up the kayaks and ate our lunch standing in back of the van.

I had been plans to get a lot done over the weekend, but when we got home I was exhausted and we didn't do anything the rest of the day. We had Justin over for dinner and ate BBQ chicken, onion-habanero-tomato salad, and iced tea. Dinner was great.

The video did not turn out great, but I will post it because it looks like it was shot in the 1960s. Look at the land in the distance behind, then the tip of land on the far left, I swam from there.

Sunday? ditto.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Deneen Has Left the Building

Deneen left on Thursday to go back to Columbus for emergency dental work. She broke a crown eating a lifesaver that Chris Sintz sent down here with my mother. Thanks alot. They had better been pretty good lifesavers.

Today at 2:00 she was supposed to have a the work done. I don't know how it went yet.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blog Before a Really Cool Blog

It gets so long between blogs now. Is that what you are thinking?

I cant believe it has been a week since my mom left. We miss her. We did a lot while she was here, but mostly hung out on the beach.

I have had two trustees here for the last week and on Friday we had our second trustee meeting. This meeting was set so that we could make some hard decisions. But it is hard to make hard decisions.

I spent Thursday and Friday morning, before the trustee meeting, at the Sustainable Tourism Conference in Provo. On Thursday there was a symposium on saving our national treasures. There are few national treasures, and they are disappearing fast here. There is such a rush to develop everything that there is little time taken to evaluate what is being lost.

Thursday I went with a trustee to meet with a potential supporter of the museum. Everyone here is an interesting character. I say that all the time, right? What a great meeting. This gentleman spends six months a year in the TCI and the rest of the year at his family's 400 year old castle where he has a successful small business making wine. Very nice.

Thursday night I went to a beach party at Beaches resort for the closing event of the Sustainable Tourism Conference. It was very cool. Like a really cool party that you see on TV. But, really every time I am in Provo it is a party. There was tons of food. I think there were eight food stations serving a dish specific to each island; steamed grouper, fried grouper, shark, conch. It was excellent, but not really sustainable. Most of these events are about meeting, greeting, and relationship building. Everything is work.

This weekend we attended Tyro Talbot's funeral. Tyro was the diver who drowned two weeks ago. He was very popular in the dive and expat community. His father is a local pastor. His sister is a charismatic pastor. He had 11 siblings. There were over 600 people at the funeral.

The funeral was four hours long. The first half was filled with remembrances, poems, and song. The second half was as church service with a very evangelical hour-long sermon. This is typical for the local community, I would imagine. For the expats and divers this was: unexpected? intolerable? unimaginable? Most walked out during the sermon.
Tyro was born here. Many locals do not swim, and many hate the water. Tyro was thought to be one of the best divers and boat captains on the island. Someone said that when he was in the water "he became part of the ecosystem." I thought this was the a cool thing to say about someone. He was buried in his wetsuit.

I had meetings with trustees Saturday evening and Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon we went sailing again. The wind was coming across the island. Martin sailed us around, but because the wind was coming from the shore it kept pushing us out away from shore. We were just going to be out for a little bit, but it was hard getting the boat turned around and moving toward shore. We were very far out, not far compared to where most people sail or boat, but it was making Martin nervous and frustrated. He was not a happy camper. He said he did not like the pressure.

We finally got turned into the wind and came slowly to shore. I made Marting go back out later and we just practiced turning and turning, trying to get the feel of sailing into the wind. He did very well. This was a long weekend.
The picture at the bottom is Martin learning how to sail. The picture at the top is our typical Sunday evening service.