26 February 2007 | Provo
Today was our last day on Provo. Tomorrow we head to Ambergris Cay for the night by way of French Cay. Wednesday we will spend the night at Big Sand Cay at the Southeast end of the TCI. From there we hit the Dominican Republic.
We spent the day cleaning up the boat and fixing a few things. I had to replace the sump pump for the Port forward head and Hideko cleaned up the deck and got all of our dive gear settled.
The customs guys came by at 11 and we cleared out with them. The Customs processing in this country is fantastic. $20 to clear in and $15 to clear out. A little over your seven days? No problem. Need to clear out prior to spending two days sailing through our waters? No problem. Just great people and no hassles.
We spent the after noon looking around town and visiting the Conch Farm. The TCI Conch Farm is unique in the world. The story goes that Chuck Hesse, a marine biologist, was sailing through the TCI and wrecked his boat in 1974. He never left. By 1984 he had started the conch farm. They now have the farm producing 1.5 million conch a year. It is amazing. What's even more amazing is that the TCI alone consumes 4 million a year! It's great to see the farm stemming the over fishing that has vastly reduced the conch population in the TCI and especially the Bahamas.
We watched a 59' Norhaven trawler get hauled this afternoon. The lift here barely cleared the quay with the big boat. It is a beautiful yacht but unfortunately hit some coral over at the Turtle Cove Marina entrance. I would warn anyone visiting the TCI in a boat to only do Turtle Cove in settled weather and take them up on the free pilot. It is a long hairy trip through the north side reef to the marina.
As we were putting the boat away for the night Hideko struck up a conversation with some of the police walking the dock. The police here do land and sea and spend most of their time on the sea. These guys dock their boats here in the marina and go out every night to patrol the banks.
Just like the Bahamas they have teamed up with the US Coast Guard to control the drug traffic. You'll see US Coast Guard choppers flying by and the guys we talked to said that they have two USCG, two Bahamian Navy and two TCI police on board so that they have jurisdiction no matter what.
These guys were looking for hooks for their cedar plugs so that they could catch some tuna while doing their rounds on the outside. We happened to have just what he needed. He told us that the Humpback whales were everywhere as this is the season for them to make their way south through the TCI with their calves. Now we are really looking forward to our trip down to the DR!!