Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Ruin of Dick Clark

 It's fairly difficult to get good tropical photos in the Rockies.  It's not all that easy to get bad topical photos in the Rockies either, come to think of it.  I'm sure there's a Tiki Bar somewhere up here.  We ain't found it.  But the mountains are where we've stashed ourselves once again this summer.  Hurricane season.  And we know that you don't tune into this channel to see mountain photos.  So I cast an eye through our files looking for enough unpublished tropical images for an interim blog post.  And I found some. We'd just returned from another week in Sapodilla Bay when we scooted off to our overly documented South Caicos excursion.  I had intended to put together a post using those images.  But we got caught up in sailing instead of writing and we suddenly had all those nice Big South photos to work with.   Well, at the moment   I'm a long way from the ocean and pretty glad to have these puny little Taylor Bay photos to fall back on, I'll tell ya.

This is yet another Sapodilla sunrise from  yet another morning on the hook.  It's always nice to regain consciousness with the boat  still more or less where we left it the night before.  I'm not going to revisit the whole Sapodilla description again.  There are several previous posts on it if you're interested.  We like zipping over here from time to time for a break.  It's close by, yet a great place to get out away from the island just far enough to call ourselves "off-grid".  I guess that means the nearest electrical outlet is  further away than our longest power cord.  And no, you can't really plug two of those together very well on the ocean.  Not more than once, anyhow.

This was the third time we'd visited this protected little bay for overnight stays. This was still in "cruising season"  and there was still a few  transient sailboats coming and going.  Like this group  traveling together who blew in one morning and took up temporary residence here for about 18 hours.  They kept their rubber boats going in and out of South Dock as they arranged customs and immigration clearance into the islands and loaded up provisions.  Provo has the first good grocery store for many a mile south of Nassau.  Things quieted down around sunset, as things sometimes do.

And early the next morning we awoke early to the noise of about a dozen sailors chattering away on the VHF radio.  We  looked out to see the crowd already underway heading south.   Wow.  That was a quick visit.   Apparently a bunch of sailors on a mission. Or an expedition.  With an agenda.  And a schedule to keep.  Doesn't sound much like the sailing life we'd be pursuing.  And even the word pursuit is misleading in this case.  Not much chance of us ever falling in with a group of sailboats traveling together.  We'd be more likely to pick a different heading entirely.

You can probably tell by the blurriness of this photo why I didn't use some of these earlier.  I took a lot of these with a little waterproof Nikon point and shoot camera that just doesn't do as good a job in low light as what we are accustomed to.  It's since been delegated to underwater work, where it does fairly well.

We've been playing around with various navigation programs for the boat.  Until we get another chart plotter we've been using a GPS enabled tablet.   This is what it shows us while we were anchored in this bay.   The numbers are the water depth in feet.    We're the little boat icon just to the right of the symbol marking the "Wreck".    I've already shown you some underwater photos of that little wreck in a previous post.

After examining the wreck in person I now like to anchor close to it.  Because nobody else wants to anchor anywhere near it.  I need a big smiley face here.

I'm in the market for a new chart plotter.  This would let us use the iPad program as a backup.  There really aren't that many choices out there for stand alone chart plotters without touch screens these days.  I'm not a fan of integrated systems sharing one display.  I don't like the idea that if your single display has an issue you've lost all your electronic info.

While I've rambled on at some length about Sapodilla Bay and Sapodilla Hill, I really haven't said much about the next bay to the west.   That's called Taylor Bay.  Here's a Google Earth image showing both bays:

I put a little "X" on there about where we were anchored.

 We left Twisted Sheets happily hooked to the seafloor at Sapodilla and took the RIB around Taylor Point.  We headed over to the sandy section of beach facing south on the far side of Taylor Bay.     We had an onshore breeze here so I wasn't all that happy about leaving the dinghy on a lee shore but it was a mildish sort of day and we were not planning to stay long.   This is what Taylor Point looks like from the other side.

And after fussing around and fidgeting and resetting our little anchor a few times I was okay to leave the RIB floating just off the beach.   The old outboard motor's lift bracket is broken, so the first thing to contact the bottom here would be the skeg if it broke loose from the anchor.  That usually keeps the boat off the beach but it's not good for the motor.

I think you could probably tell where this photo was taken on the satellite image. Right there in the middle of that big beach. Looking to the west away from Providenciales.

And turning around and looking east toward the main part of the island you can see the curve of the beach as it starts around the bay and ends up  at Taylor point.

I noticed that the color of the sand in these photos is completely different when I was facing the sun as compared to when I was facing away from it.  These were taken within a minute of each other.  In the photo above, I was facing millions of tiny shadows of the sand grains.   The sun was on the other side of them.  In this photo below, I was looking at millions of tiny reflective faces of those grains without any shadows and the light source was behind me.  So the sand looks much whiter.  Fun to figure this stuff out, ain't it.

This one is looking north up into the vegetation.   And yeah, that's Dooley the Demented scrounging around the underbrush looking for trouble.

These next two photos were shamelessly lifted from the internet, and I did that heinous deed some weeks ago and don't remember where I found these.  Since I'm not using them for commercial purposes I'll only expect  minor twinges of conscience for not crediting them.  

This one is a view of Taylor bay looking south east.   You are politely requested to notice that nice beach house at the end of the road there on the right.  That house belonged to the show business personality Dick Clark, of American Bandstand fame.  Among other fames.    The house is no longer standing and I had to look around a bit to find some images of it.

This is also a photo lifted from someone's archives showing Mr. Clark's house from the beach right in front of it.   We couldn't get photos of any of this during our trip.  It's all been demolished right down to the concrete and tile foundation.

We did walk down to that point to take a look, of course.    There are a few of Dick Clark's palm trees still growing there.   This is the group that was on the right of the old photo of the house up above.  Nice spot for a house isn't it.

I took a closer look on Google Earth, and yep, nothing of the house left in that image, either.   That's just a smooth slab with no roof lines showing.

Of course we had to have a look around.  We went up through the bushes and took a look at the old house foundation.  This is that rectangle you can see in the Google Earth image.  Not a whole lot left other than the foundation and cisterns underneath.

This is the little ridge I climbed up to get the photo above.  It was pretty smart the way the house was tucked in behind this rock.  It would have been a great wind break for most conditions.  I was looking at these tiles and just thinking about all of the celebrities who must have been guests here over the years.

That piece of white pvc sticking out of the tiles is the vent to Dick Clark's bathroom.  Now is that some memorabilia or what?   And no, we didn't take anything.  Not even sure we actually touched anything, come to think of it.  We've heard a few things about those Hollyweird types....

We wandered around for just a few minutes, as I am always a bit antsy about getting back to the sailboat when it's on the hook and I can't see it.  We did look at the beach in front of the house site.  Needs a bit of cleanup I think.

This would have been one of the views from the ground floor of the house, from Taylor Point all the way back along the beach to the house site.   Notice there are no other houses along this stretch of beach.

That's basically because Mr. Clark owned most of it.  The estate is 30 acres, and you can own this wonderful beach house site  for only $ 23 million. Heck I bet you could get it for a cool  twenty million now that the house is gone. I found a real estate ad for the place, with some photos taken back when the house was still standing. Christie's still has the listing, as far as I can tell. And I learned from that ad that the place is called Paradise Cove and it includes  2200 feet of privately owned beach front. What a deal.

We've had a lot of things to do getting the house ready to sell and downsizing ourselves as we moved onto the boat.  It's a lot easier to take care of daily business when we're plugged into the marina.  But we really prefer being  anchored away from land, and look for any excuse to go out for a few days away when we can. Life on the hook is simpler in many ways.  Dooley loved lying in the sun when everything was calm on the ocean and the boat.   He knew where all the good sunny spots were to be found.  He made it his business to know all the good spots where a small dog could relax in comfort.  Including friendly laps.

And he kept his eye on La Gringa and me.   He was only happy when the three of us were in the same place at the same time.    Every few days at anchor I'd put on some snorkeling equipment and hop in the water to take a look at the anchor, rudders, and propellers.   Just a general checkout and excuse to go for a swim.   Dooley watched me the entire time I was in the water.   He'd be content to watch from the bow until I started alongside the boat to get to the ladder at the stern.

But he'd leave that spot and pace alongside me on the deck as I swam the length of the boat.   He always knew were we both were at all times.  And I always knew that if I just looked up at the boat I'd  see Dooley keeping watch over me.  Didn't matter which boat, either.

Going inside the boat and closing the door before he could follow me in didn't stop him from keeping his eye on things, either.   He knew which windows and hatches to look through.

I think in that instance above he was telling me he really, really would appreciate a little trip ashore.  He had apparently developed quite an interest in botany since we've started sailing.  I know he always headed for the nearest tree or bush when he got out of the RIB on these shore trips.   Here we are returning to Twisted Sheets after one such excursion.    He looks pretty pleased with himself.

And life on the boat at anchor pretty much follows the same general routines as in the marina.  We have to keep a close watch on our resources, especially electric power.   We have enough solar to keep up with our uses during the day, and enough battery to store power for an over night.  We have a small portable generator for cloudy days or times of unusual demand.   For example I might fire up the generator if I needed to run a power tool for a while.  

And along those lines I took this opportunity to install a couple of new inverters.  One 2000 watt version for when we need a lot of ac power, and a little 650 watt version to run just the basics like computers and cameras.   I don't have a photo ( yet) of the installation but I put them under the helm seat.   I do have a photo of me metaphorically scratching my head while planning the installation.  I had to momentarily run Dooley out of one of his favorite sunning spots.

I finally got the ancient wind generator working again.  Did you ever see the slip ring assembly these guys came up with?  Clunky, but it works.

And we spend a lot of time watching the sea, the weather, and the sky.  Sometimes we see a strange cloud or front coming over the water and we just have to stop for a moment and watch it all develop.     This was us trying to get a photo of a Green Flash one day at sunset.   They're almost impossible to accurately predict so we have to be ready with a camera just at that moment the sun slips below the horizon.    You can just see the sun doing that very thing here. No flash, but some cool clouds.

Well, that's going to be it for this post.   I realized that it had been ages since the last one and that people would probably start drifting away to some younger, prettier blog if I let it go too long.     I've gone back and patched up a few of the early blogs that had broken links to all the photos.  I will continue to work on that as time permits.   I think I may have enough unused photos still from this season for yet another one from the archives if we don't get some new material any time soon.   I'd also considered doing something of a Dooley retrospective, because of course we have tons of photos of him starting when he was just a little six week old puppy.   We even have some photos we took the day he died.  I know it sounds crazy, but he was having a really good day up until it suddenly ended.


To say we still miss the little booger would be another one of my massive   understatements.