I have returned to the house today. The water is off, the bathroom is torn completely apart, and this afternoon I ripped the kitchen apart. This weekend will mark nearly a whole month that Deneen and the boys have been off island. On days like today, I feel like life has not changed that much.
At other times, however, I step back and I am amazed at what life has become in the past year. Today I have just returned from spending the week on the Explorer II, a live-aboard dive boat. Last week I flew into South Caicos and caught up with Randy and Robert, two guys working on the Trouvadore expedition team. We had lunch off cracked conch and chicken wings. An hour boat ride later we were around South Caicos to East Caicos and onto the Explorer II. A half hour later I was 80 feet under water diving the EC.
The next day I was diving on the Black Rock Wreck, looking at the extent of the excavations that were completed over the last two weeks. All evidence points to the Black Rock Wreck as being the slave ship Trouvadore. This was a Spanish ship illegally bringing enslaved Africans to Cuba. The shipped wrecked on east Caicos in 1841. 196 Africans escaped to freedom and many stayed in the Turks and Caicos. Today, many people in the Caicos Islands are descended from this one wrecking event. The museum has been looking for the Trouvadore for six years.
In preparation for this week I have been working on getting my dive certification so that I could dive on the Trouvadore. Martin, Lucas, and I all did this together and completed our final dive on June 22. Since then, I have been trying to get dives in to get comfortable under water. I do well most dives. I have five dives this month and will do three more this weekend.
My job on the Trouvadore was unfortunately not to work underwater, but to facilitate many parts of the project from Grand Turk. We had great success in getting newspaper coverage with a double page story in last week's paper that included a page of diary entrees off the website.
CLICK TO ARTICLE
After a quick couple of days on the Explorer II, I was off to my next big project - the Ft. George Collection. On Thursday I was on a small boat with Robert for a two hour trip back to Pine Cay and then on to Provo. I have been working all month trying to facilitate accepting a collection in private hands on Pine Cay. I met with the collectors on Thursday. On Friday I bought boxes and packing material and went back to Pine Cay to pack the collection for shipping. Late Friday afternoon Robert and I took the collection back to Provo to try and get it on the shipping container loaded with the expedition equipment going back to Grand Turk.
By the time we got back to the marina and shipyard, we had missed the shipping container. Missing the container would mean waiting on Provo with the collection until Tuesday, when I could get it on another boat. After much debate we decided to try and get into the secure storage at the larger commercial shipyard the next day in order to reopen our container and get the boxes with the collection stored for shipping. This was a huge problem in that the container doors were askew and would not close without some kind of mechanical assistance, which had been a big problem that the crew just delt with when they loaded the container at the marina.
This morning, which is Saturday, was spent trying to get into our container. This went ahead with much difficulty, but by calling the right person we managed to pull some strings and get security passes. Suffice to say, we got the collection securely in the container and I was on the next flight back to Grand Turk.
I will give you a quick aside that I have been thinking about this afternoon. The key to success or failure at getting into our container was trying to find someone in the shipyard to close our container with a forklift. After we got the doors open and our boxes packed inside, I walked out into the yard to find a forklift. Not far away a few guys were sitting around talking to other guys in a white pickup. I walked over to say that I needed help from the forklift. Sitting in the truck was a young guy from Israel that works as a construction supervisor for a large construction company on Provo. I can't ever remember his name, but three different times I have run into this guy accidentally when I have needed help on Provo. He was sharing orange juice with the guys around the fork lift. I spoke to him about a trip I knew he had taken to Israel last month. He told me he is going back in October to get a degree in architecture. The guy I needed help from said, "Hey is this guy your friend," and then told the guy on the forklift to go get me whatever I needed. Within a few minutes we had closed the container and were out of there. Three times... just like an angel or something.
This has been a huge couple of weeks. I am absolutley exhausted. The last three days has been a breakfast of coffee and Excedrin.