We came through Don't Rock Passage and approached New Plymouth's colorful cottages on the way to Green Turtle Cay's White Sound.
After touring Black Sound with the "big boat" and anchoring in White Sound, we took the dinghy to New Plymouth for lunch and a little sight seeing. Again, the folks with one of the best views in town can't see it.
The Captain went to the Alton Lowe Museum and got the full tour from the lady who looks like she was one of the first settlers. The only thing different from two years ago is that her husband, who used to sit by the window overlooking the lane all day, died a few months ago.
There is a lovely painting of how the downtown looked "before the hurricane" and a number of photographs of the devastation and destruction. The rebuild and restoration looks very much like the old painting.
|Before the Hurricane|
The first floor of the museum is crowded with various displays of the history of New Plymouth, including pictures of Neville Chamberlain's home. Upstairs are two bedrooms. The privy and original kitchen are in outbuildings in the back yard.
Down the street is the shop where Vertrum Lowe cranks out many model boats. The smaller ones have $800-$900 price tags and the larger ones are $3,000 and up. He can tell you the history of every boat he has modeled. I did not see him working but there are many virtually identical copies of the same models. One wonders where he markets all the models which fill his small studio.
|Sunrise in White Sound.|
While waiting for a weather window necessary to make the three-day passage back to Florida, The Captain decided to do the professional snorkel trip he had always wanted to do. The weather was so bad all winter that the dive shops were starving to death because wind and waves and sediment in the stirred-up water forced them to cancel the majority of their trips. He was closed out of the half-day trip and signed up for the full day trip with shore picnic the next day for fear that he would miss out completely again. The full boat takes 18 people plus the crew of 3. There was one cancellation at the last minute because one of the ladies' teen aged daughter had discovered how easily rum punches go down the night before.
Brendel anchors the boat in the reefs outside Manjack Cay. A group of diving students and other people with scuba gear go off with the two young dive masters while Brendal goes off on his own to free dive for the lobsters (crayfish) he will serve for lunch later. We snorkelers did our their thing around the boat. The reef is full of wonderful corals and a tremendous variety of fish. We saw a nurse shark, a large grouper which we suspect was Brendel's hand-fed pet, and smaller fish of every shape and color imaginable. 'Twas quite beautiful. There was on spot that was very crowded with reef fish. As I snorkeled above them, I noticed many lobster bodies on the bottom on which the fish were feeding. I had wondered what they were doing in a bucket on the swim platform when we left the dock in Green Turtle!
After about 1 1/2 hours, we pulled up the anchor and started "searching" for Brendal (part of the "performance"?) He showed up in a few minutes (I suspect that he gives them the GPS co-ordinates for the rendezvous) with a spear full of lobsters, including one huge one. As soon as Brendel was back on board, he broke out the rum punch which flowed freely for the rest of the day.
We tied to the dock in the northern anchorage at Manjack Cay and Brendel stood in the water and used the swim platform as a prep table for lunch. He prepared the lobsters he had speared and then pulled out a bunch of lobster tails and fish that he had brought with him while the two young dive-masters collected wood for the fire and set up for lunch. (He has been doing this for a very long time and has it all down to a science!)
Brendel has a pet sting ray which is attracted by the fish pieces he throws in the water. He sticks pieces of cut fish between the ladies' toes and the ray glides over and eats them as the ladies giggle. They were all afraid of the ray because of Steve Irwin's death. Brendal claims that it was not an accident, but virtual suicide caused by bravado and stupidity.
Although Brendel obviously has an eye for some of the finer thinks in life, his real forte lies in schmoozing the middle-aged ladies and their flabby pink husbands as they get higher and higher on the rum punch. The young lady who is one of his dive masters claims that he gets a lot of repeat customers and that the women always drag their husbands (and children) back for more trips. (Methinks it has something to do with his distinguished greying hair, hard body, and the three different very colorful speedos he wore during the day.)
He cooks the lobster and fish with salt water and various spices and veggies over an open fire. The assistants create a wonderful green salad to go with the seafood. Everything was absolutely delicious!
So here we are still at anchor in White Sound waiting for our weather window. Now it looks as if the crossing to the U.S. might not be until this coming Sunday or Monday. But it really isn't a shabby place to be!