During these final days in Turks and Caicos we received my mother again and Bia, a great friend from work. We all went SUPing together around East Provo canals. Than, the most expected guest at Ipanema arrived, my brother Fabio! We gave him a diving crash course right on the first day and we all went diving at an amazing spot in West Caicos, the drop off! Finally, Ian, who took care of us until the very last day, came to say goodbye with the most amazing gift a cruising sailor could ask for.
So just after Myriam left the boat, my mother and a very good friend from work, Bia, came to spend some time with us. My mother is about to turn 70 years old but sometimes she thinks she is like 15. She is really brave and wants to join us in everything. When they got to the boat it was really windy and I asked Bia, “Do you want to learn how to kite?”, before she could answer, my mom jumped in front and said “I do! I do!”. The problem is that she really meant it. How cool is that?!
Well Bia is also up for everything and as soon as everyone was on the boat we put three SUPs in the water, grabbed Feijão and went paddling around the canals of East Provo. We saw tons of fishes, rays and even a turtle. We also spent time choosing which house each one of us would buy if we were to win the lottery.
Feijão loves to ride the SUP, he always has a blast. This time we found some dogs living in those millionaire houses, but they were not very welcoming with our little clumsy beast. But Feijão just ignored them. He had a great time and when he got tired of riding with one of us, he would just change SUPs for a while and ride with someone else. In the end, before going back to the boat we took him again to another highly feared swim class. He continues to hate them, but we think he is getting better and more confortable in the water.
In that same afternoon the most expected guest at Ipanema, my brother, finally arrived. He is just one year older than I am and we both love the same stuff such as surf and kite, so I bet he will enjoy his time here. I miss him a lot and I am really glad that he finally found some time to spend with us.
My brother does not have a diving certificate, but since the next places we are going to go, West Caicos and the Bahamas, are amazing diving spots, I gave him a diving “crash course” so that we can all go diving safely together. Fabio is very calm and a natural underwater, he did all the tough exercises superbly well and I am very confident he will be an excellent diver.
Next day we moved to West Caicos and as expected, the diving was amazing! Similarly to the BVIs, there are mooring buoys to tie your boat to just above the dive sites. We dove until the beginning of a huge drop off, but we did not go too deep as Bia and Fabio are still gaining experience. I dove the drop off alone for a minutes and a curious swimming shark showed up from the deep blue. I bet the drop off is infested with them. What a marvelous place.
Well, we can’t leave Turks and Caicos without thanking two “local” buddies. First, Joshua, a private security guy, who found us lost, winding around the streets of Grace Bay, looking for a supermarket and was kind enough to take us to one. From that day on he took us everywhere we needed. He is from Barbados and as such, a very nice guy. Along with the Puerto Ricans, the Bajans (people from Barbados) were our favorite in the Caribbean. Helping strangers is such a common thing in Barbados that when we met him for the first time we could almost guess he was Bajan.
Finally, we can’t thank enough our local guardian, Ian. He is a successful entrepreneur in the island who incorporates and builds super luxuriously houses, yet he found time to help us around. Man, this guy is incredible! Greg Carson from Rincón introduced us to him and he took us under his wings while we were in Provo. He showed us the surfing, diving and kiting spots and was always around the boat offering us help. On the last day we asked him a very “long shot” request we knew it was almost impossible: to find a place that we could refill our cooking gas bottles, which have European fittings. We had tried unsuccessfully seven times in Porto Rico and two times in Turks and Caicos. We asked him not to waste too much time with it and we had very little hope. Meanwhile we were saving cooking gas: less tea, coffee, barbecue, no roasted stuff, etc. This had been my biggest concern in the past few weeks. Well, needless to say that Ian did not lead us the way, instead, he took the bottles himself, went to twenty places and solved the issue for us, not only he came back with our bottles refilled but he got a friend who PRODUCED an adaptor for us! How awesome is that?! No more cooking gas problems for years to come! He also brought dog treats for Feijão and a beautiful cut of the local conch as a gift for Sarah. He also did not let us pay not even for the gas he refilled. Ian is certainly that type of guy who can solve any sort of problem. Imagine how challenging it must be to build luxurious houses in a place like Turks and Caicos? You are talking about highly demanding clients in a place with suboptimum qualified labor and shortage of high-end material supply. This dude is certainly the type of people that makes things happen. Un-be-live-able! We really hope we can host him and his wife at Ipanema some day.
I am not the smartest guy around, but I am quickly realizing that we will soon have to stop this “sailing around the world” thing as we will have accumulated so much unplayable financial and personals debts as we keep spending on the boat and continue to get innumerous favors from people that we have just met! I guess we will have to plan extra time for when we finish our trip, as we will have to take yet another trip around the world just to pay-back people. Either that or in our previous life, Sarah, Feijão or I were some sort of saint, spiritual leader, abolitionist, philanthropist or something like that. Who knows why people are so amazingly kind to us. We couldn’t be more grateful.
We are now leaving the Turks and Caicos islands, but this is another place we really wanted to stay longer, however we must sail south to run away from the hurricane belt and we also can’t wait to get to the remote island of little Inagua in the Bahamas.