Saturday, 16 February 2013

Salt Cay Continues

Sunday afternoon we had some great fun, while one friend and I were diving, the other three rented bikes to explore the island.  They met us back at the cottage where we were having a light lunch and some wine.  That turned into mimosas with strawberries! Delicious!

I wanted to do some exploring too, so one of the girls went biking with me. We headed east across the island.  We rode past the airport - and donkeys, chickens and cows!  A large part of the middle of the island has a saltina where they used to produce salt.

At the end of the road was the islands water cistern, there was a nice view of the ocean on all sides. Salt Cay is very flat with just a couple high points so the views can be spectacular.  On the ride back, we found the ruins of a little resort. Now when I say ruins, they are very recent. Windmills was sold to a big developer. Almost immediately after the place was torn up by a hurricane.  Since the new people were planing on bulldozing it anyways they told the locals to take anything they wanted so it was stripped of the fixtures.  Nothing has been done since but it still has a very bright paint job so it was a fantastic place to take pictures.

On Sunday nights Coral Bar does BBQ ribs, we were booked in and looking forward to it. Just as we were all getting ready to leave, a massive downpour hit. This lead to some hilarity as everyone rushed to get jackets or garbage bags to cover up with.  Of course by the time pictures were done being taken the rain had stopped.  Which is a good thing as the cafe was almost entirely open!

The ribs were delicious and we chatted with another tourist who was travelling alone, she had come for the diving.  We met a lot of people, everyone was very friendly there and exchanged a lot of email address so we could all trade whale pictures!

Monday was the last day, :(  We had a bit more relaxing morning and after breakfast went to sit by the beach.  There were still a lot of waves, which made for some cool photo opportunities, but our little spot on the beach had some high rocks about 20ft out so there was a little calm spot to relax in the water.

After more Mimosas at lunch it was time to pack up and head back to the airport.  As we boarded our little plane back to Provo I was reminded that you can never really escape work for long, my boss was waiting in the plane!  He'd actually been in Grand Turk for meetings and just happened to catch the same plane back.  Who new I'd run into a familiar face while visiting an island with so few people on it!

Sadly the vacation was over, but I got to remember all the fun we had as I sorted through the 900 pictures on my cameras that night.  It took a while!

Welcome to 2013

A new year in the Caribbean! 2013 started out great for me, I landed back in Providenciales on Dec 31st, just in time to go out celebrating with some friends. We started out at Somewhere, a great cafe on the beach and then went to Flamingos for fireworks and a bonfire. Everyone was out celebrating and it was great fun.  It was an interesting holiday for me, Christmas on the ski hill and New Years on a beach!

But then it was time to get back to work, we've been slowly getting busier and busier here on Provo.  Despite doing almost no calls during the previous two months night shifts, now we were getting a couple calls a night. Always at about three am.  Thats the worst time, really breaks up your sleep!

Nothing too exciting happened during January, life moved along as normal. But if February I got to take a great little vacation with some friends. We went to the island of Salt Cay for a couple nights.  Now Salt Cay is to the east side of the TCI chain of islands, a little bit south of Grand Turk.  It took 25 minutes to fly there in a little eight seater plane - my first time in a plane that small! I was nervous but it was great, with lots to take pictures of as we flew along the islands.

We arrived on Salt Cay Saturday morning, and were met at the airport and got a golf cart ride to where we were staying. The island is so small, that there are only a few cars. Most people just use carts or bikes!  Salt Cay is only about 2.5 square miles with a year round population of less the 100 people!

Saturday was just about perfect! It was sunny and flat calm, no wind which made the temperature gorgeous and hot! After a lunch and some beach lounging we went out in the afternoon on a whale watching excursion. Salt Cay is one of the ideal places for it as the humpbacked whales pass it when the head to and from the summer breeding grounds around Silver Bank.  It was a bit early in the season, but we were lucky and found a mother and calf in the area.  The calf was very playful, leaping and breaching for us, and when they got used to the boat floating near by we were allowed to slip in the water with them and snorkel.  The water was clear to about 60ft so the visibility was fantastic.

Our guide is actually a marine biologist who is living on Salt Cay to study the whales and their behaviours, which includes how the react to having humans around.  I was just thrilled to be able to be near such amazing creatures, though Mama was a bit skittish. She didn't seem to want to stick to close when we where in the water, but never went too far from the boat so we were able to watch them all afternoon.  I think I took about 500 pictures.  Had to sort out between whale shots and just water.  I did manage to get three or four incredible pictures of mama and the calf together.

We had dinner at the Coral Reef Cafe, then had a few drinks under the stars.  I love being able to sit out and stare are the stars when you are outside of the city. They just go on forever.

Sunday was my dive day. One of my friends and I went out. The wind had picked up and it was a bit rough on the water, but its always nice under the surface.  Our first dive site was nothing special. It was a pretty place along the wall. We did get to see the most laid back turtle, this guy did not care at all when everyone swam up to him with the cameras.  I did have a little frustration with one of the dive guides.  They knew that I was a fairly new diver and tried to baby me along, even encouraging me to surface after only half an hour.  I'm paying a lot of money for this dive and I wasn't going to surface early! In the end I was one of the last ones up and still had 1000psi in my tank!

We went back to the shore for our surface interval, and I mentioned my issue to the guide, so my next dive was more relaxed.  And easily the most beautiful place I've see yet.  It was this massive coral garden, and as you are swimming along you suddenly appear at the edge of the wall and its just breathtaking! I love swimming off the wall, feels like jumping off a cliff when everything drops away and you are soaring!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Christmas In Canada

December passed pretty slowly, as I was anxiously waiting for my Christmas holidays to arrive.  I had settled into my new apartment, unpacking and exploring the area.  I knew it fairly well already, but enjoyed walking down to explore the new beach.

It really is a gorgeous spot, I can see the ocean from the balcony. The best view is from the front door, its an open stairway with a fantastic view of Grace Bay.  When the sun comes up in the morning the water almost seems too perfect.

Eventually the weeks passed and on December 21st I got to fly home to Toronto, I'm so glad the apocalypse didn't happen - I was really looking forward to going home! It was a direct flight, and I landed in Toronto without any troubles.  No one was able to meet me and I was a little sad as I made my way through the crowds in the arrival areas, only to notice a group of people holding a sign with my name on it.  My confusion only grew, when after I identified myself, they broke into song singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Pearson airport had carolers greeting travelers and my mom had found them on twitter to meet me on arrival.   It was wonderful, and embarrassing, as I started crying as hundreds of people looked on!

After my greeting, I made it safely home to my grandmothers where I was thrilled to see my kitten. Guinness has been living with my grandma while I have been away.  I was happy that she came right to see me, but she then spent the rest of the evening staring suspiciously at me from under furniture.

Saturday was a busy day for me, I had a limited amount of time in Toronto so I headed out early to meet a few friends for a yummy brunch downtown.  I spent a few hours shopping then met some more friends for dinner before heading back to Oakville.  Then we quickly turned around and drove back to the city to pick up my sister from the airport.  Once we found her, my grandmother, uncle and I drove on to my mothers house for the evening.

Sunday we kept on our travels and headed east for a Christmas in Mt Tremblant.  Montreal had just gotten a dumping of snow so it was perfect weather for some skiing!  We met my mom and another sister at the resort for a small family vacation.  We had three days of skiing, the weather was unbelievable for the first too.  Absolutely clear and beautiful. The last day was cold and windy but we still had a good time- instead of skiing we just enjoyed the apres-ski.

The family also had lots of yummy food and drinks, opened presents and just had a relaxing week. But every holiday has to end and we had to head back to Toronto.  We spent the night again at my moms home, a nice half way point for our trip.  My sisters left very early the next morning for their flights out, and I headed out that afternoon to go back to Toronto.  We had a bit of a rough drive as it started snowing again.  But everything was so pretty and white I didn't mind!

I got to spend one more day in Toronto visiting friends, running errands and cuddling with my little Guin before I had to head back to the islands.  It was really sad to be leaving home again, I'd had such a wonderful time in Canada!