Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Go Fly a Kite

We met up with Preacher over at Frederick's place. We just met Frederick for the first time on this trip. He's building a nice vacation home on a canal in Leeward. We were all getting together for a trip over to Sandy Point on North Caicos, in Preacher's boat. We still don't have a way to launch our skiff, and Twisted Sheets is still in the yard. We continue to be "boat poor". I realize this is probably another of those times when I shouldn't be expecting much sympathy.

Preacher had his Bimini up for this trip. He should have rigged it up last week when we watched the ocean eat his favorite hat. No kidding.

This unexpected trip to North started mid week when Preacher called La Gringa's cell phone. He calls her number because he knows that I never carry mine. I never carry mine, because nobody ever calls me. Nobody ever calls me because they know I don't carry the phone. See how well this is working? Preacher wanted to know if we were up for a trip over to North Caicos on the weekend. J.R. Delancy (aka Froggy) over in Bottle Creek had called and mentioned that he was competing in a kite flying contest. We're very interested in kites for reasons that will become clear in the next month, and we saw a chance to check out the current state of kite building technology in Bottle Creek.

A day of flying kites on the beautiful, open, windswept beaches of North Caicos?(Have you seen these beaches?) A rare chance to step away from the polyglot microcity that Providenciales is fast becoming? A day with friends for a bit of culturally undiluted Turks and Caicos Islands country side life? An event not yet sponsored by the resorts and cell phone providers, with all that that entails? Oh heck yeah. Well, one of us leapt with no further preamble. The other two ambled along with his gambol.

And once again we were treated to the rare and exhilarating experience of Preacher Stubbs running that panga of his over water so skinny that birds wade in it. Small birds. With short legs. Sadly, it was a cloudy day with the atmosphere apparently not in the mood for good photography. We had intermittent rain all day. Rain makes for some interesting scenarios when kids are competing with home made paper kites. The good news is that it was windy. Or at least I think that's good news. Unless you're competing with a wet paper kite, I suppose.

I've explained before that Preacher likes to go fast over really shallow water. Real fast. Real shallow. If something blows out of the boat it's gone. While he could certainly turn the boat around and go back to that spot, he can't stop the boat to pick anything up. We'd be aground if he stopped and let the boat come off plane. Last year La Gringa lost her favorite and probably irreplaceable "Got Rum?" hat from Salt Cay while he was demonstrating an exciting boating technique of using only the humped thickness of a breaking wave to drive diagonally over a sandbar off of Fort George Cay that was covered with just enough ocean to soak a paper towel.

While thinking about Preacher's ballcapniverous boat ,I realized that we shot a lot of GoPro footage on these last few trips and have one of these situations on video. We haven't done anything with those videos because we continue to wrestle with image quality. We're learning that there are some tricks to making the videos look good. It's starting to look like our little laptops don't have the horsepower to do a lot of video work. I knew that I could probably pull some informative stills shots from this one, though. So these next couple images are actually from the previous trip when Preacher was cooking conch and grits for us on Pine Cay.

This next one should show you how shallow the water is. If you squint your eyes just right, you can see the little individual blades of eel grass on the bottom. This water is only about 8-10 inches deep. Which is about what the boat draws at rest. To that hull depth we have to add another few inches for the prop and skeg. We absolutely have to stay up planing on the top of the water. The image is blurry due to a combination of low light and platform motion. The platform was doing about 40 mph at the time.

And this.... this is that very moment in time when Preacher's fingers reacted to that sudden feeling of light headiness as they reached for the favorite brim that, alas, is no longer of this boat. A classic case of being a second too late. Sad to see the reflexes starting to go. (He's going to get me for that.)

It didn't seem that the hat blew away. It was more a case of the hat lifting up and staying there while Preacher's head kept going, and.. a nudder one bite 'de doost.

When I showed that frame to La Gringa, she said that we should at least post that little snippet of it for you.  So, with apologies for the quality, here 'tis:

Watching that clip made me realize that I might have discovered small but positive effect of decades of gunfire, diving, and loud music. I seem to have become somewhat of a lip reader. And now I'm hoping that none of you guys are.

If you go back up to that photo taken this week, you can see the effect that the Bimini top is having. His head is in a bubble that kept his hat from blowing off. The temptation to play with words here is enormous, but I am not going to come out with any air headed comments. Bubble isn't the worst-headed thing I could think of. I was watching the tension on the straps that hold the top on. It surprised me to see how much lift that top produces at about 40 mph. I wonder if anyone has tried building a tube and canvas Bimini top with the cross section of a low speed, high lift wing. Would that provide enough lift to pick a small boat up for a ride right at the water surface at speed, leaving only the keel and propeller in the water? I've been reading about WIG boats but I think this is a different idea. I don't want a boat flying separate from the water, but a way to zip over shallows. It might be fun to try some experiments with that little skiff of ours.

We left the canal and motored through Leeward headed for the Caicos Bank. The wind was only blowing about 15 mph, and there were two meter waves crashing on the reef side. Did you notice how I mixed my measures there, miles and meters? Ah, this international living is starting to rub off. Or maybe it's the sand causing the blisters. Hard to tell sometimes. One of the nice things about islands is that you can always find a lee side with smoother water.

We had a fairly uneventful trip over. Nobody lost anything but a little time well spent.

Heading into the cut between Parrot Cay and North Caicos' Sandy Point marina we saw that the rough weather offshore wasn't hampering these ladies and their guide. That's a flats boat, normally used for bonefishing, but it looks to me like they're using spinning reels instead of fly rods. Could be fishing for a number of things.

We've never been to the resort on Parrot Cay, although I'll confess to trespassing on their more remote beaches a few times. It's technically not trespassing below the high water line from a legal standpoint. And in that spirit, we're likely to technically untrespass some more. There are no beaches on this side, however. It's rocky ledges and mangroves. This is a view of some of the buildings scattered around this end of the Cay.

For some reason this photo reminds me of some Cape Cod vistas that I'm familiar with. If someone told me that this was taken in Waquoit Bay Massachusetts, I'd believe it until I saw that water. You'd have to distill the New England coast all the way out to Nantucket to get the water that clear. And you know how they feel about things like that up there.

This next one, on the other hand, is definitely a local image. La Gringa wore her best hat for the trip. We pulled out all the stops, I tell ya! New hat, clean shirt, shoes.... we even discussed shampooing the dog. And we would have buffed that little booger up, too, except he overheard us discussing it and did his Jack (Russell) Kerouc number.

I've written enough about the scene at Sandy Point that I don't need to repeat it. Froggy was not there waiting for us this time and Preacher gave him a call. He was home and working on his kites but came out to pick us up at the marina. He took us back to his house in Bottle Creek. This is the first time we've been back since my embarrassing incident at J.R.'s birthday party a couple years back. And unfortunately for me nobody seems to have forgotten. I think I might have the record for the whitest butt ever spotted in Bottle Creek. I'm just lucky these people aren't whalers.

We immediately noticed that Froggy has been doing some home construction work since our last visit to his home. He built himself a Bottle Creek man cave, complete with a nice shady porch. This gave me some immediate ideas for our place on Provo. I have just the spot in mind.

He gave us a quick tour of the inside.  It's filled with musical equipment. He's got a keyboard, guitars, amplifiers, mixers, CD's, and, oddly enough, a number of trophies for........ kites.

Those walls and shiny CDs make me think that there might be a mirrored ball and bright pencil beamed light around here somewhere, too. Preacher tells us that Froggy has been in a variety of local bands and he used to play at the Meridian Club on Pine Cay. He was kind enough to give us a copy of his oldy Goodies CD.

One of those songs I know, of course, and the rest are some original compositions by the artist himself. But I like MY photo of Froggy better than the one on the CD. Maybe because it’s got me and Preacher in it, too.

Now I'm wondering if he has a distorted view of us.  Is that paranoia?  And should THAT worry me, too?

J.R. was trying to be polite but also telling us he needs to finish this kite before the contest starts. He’s cutting the letters out of paper and gluing them to the kite. This ain’t no Magic Marker paint job here, bubba. He tossed us the keys to his truck and told us to take a hike. Or words to that effect. Take a hike. Fly a kite. Tossed us the keys. This reminds me of a seminar I once endured. This day is actually shaping up pretty well.

So we drove for a little tour around Bottle Creek to give Froggy time to finish the lettering on his kite. We wanted to stop by the Bottle Creek Lodge to see if the owner was around. He wasn’t but we took a quick look at the beach there. Quiet day on Bottle Creek.

Jay had a small dock here before the storms in ’08. That’s one of the aspects of big storms that people tend to not think much about unless they’re directly affected. The storms are big news while they’re happening, and then there’s a story in the aftermath. And then something else catches the world’s attention and the light and scrutiny of the media  moves on to someplace else.  An experience of such magnitude that it has changed you forever goes through a change of it's own. You coast along for a while before you realize that this intense portion of your life has made the transition from today’s news to last year’s history. For most of the world, these little local island tragedies becomes like someone else's memory. Insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I guess it's easier to see the big picture when it doesn't look like the middle of a bullseye surrounding you. The damage that Hanna and Ike did almost five years ago is far from healed across these little islands.  And we had it mild compared to what happens almost yearly to Haiti.  I'm knocking wood here.   Excuse me, Mr. Wood Sprite.

Here's a small, but representative example of what I mean. There was once a nice little dock here. In a scenario repeated hundreds of times across the's gone.

I think that if it were my place, I’d probably put some kind of small floating dock  in here next time around. Something that could be hauled ashore and pegged down solid. We worried about those clouds and their intentions in light of our purpose in being here. Was it Charlie Brown who had issues with a kite-eating tree?

Within a few minutes after we reached the beach Preacher’s phone rang and it was J.R. His kites were finished and it was time to head up to Horsestable Beach. He said kites,plural. He built three of them for this contest. The big one, Miss Pine Cay, is of course the heavy guns. He also brought along a mid size kite and a little one.

People continued to arrive throughout the rest of the morning. We walked around to the beach side of the pavilion. It was quiet out there. Too quiet. We've seen those stories, we went looking for the natives.

And we found them.

They were inside the big shelter working on their kites.

There was paper, and glue, and sticks. There was string, and stuff to make tails.

The competition was starting to show up.Outside in the parking lot, J.R. was setting up his kite bridles, pretty much perzactly. That’s the impression I got from watching the kite master at work, as a logical combination of precisely and exactly when hyperbole and redundancy are the goal.

Not everybody was interested in having the biggest kite. This was one of those times when size didn't matter because t here were also prizes to be awarded for the smallest kite. The prettiest kite. Best company kite. Most colorful kite. As many of you other old kite fliers can probably tell by looking, many of these small kites really didn’t have much chance of actually flying very well. Diamond kites typically need some bow, and a bridle, and a long tail is not uncommon for stability. But who was going to tell these kids their kites wouldn’t work? Not me. We told them how pretty they were. And what a good job they were doing.

We moved outside to watch the judging during a nice break in the clouds. And found that the three "kids" we came with were about to launch Miss Pine Cay.

J.R.’s pseudonymous mid-sized kite was flying perfectly. I held on to it for a while. Then we just tied it to an exposed water pipe and let it ride. An American Kestrel was checking it out. Yes, that's a real bird and not a kite. On the left, I meant. The free one with no strings attached.

And J.R. ‘s dreadnoughtess Miss Pine Cay wasn’t getting through unscathed. It’s a heavy kite. I asked him about the design, and he explained to me as sort of a flying W shape of his own design. It’s a rigid frame with no springy bamboo type things to absorb impacts. So what does absorb impacts is the frame. Fortunately Froggy came prepared with glue and paper and everything he needed to make repairs on the fly, as it were. Or maybe repairs between the flies would be more accurate.

Frederick picked it up pretty fast, and soon he was making repairs right along with J.R. Every little trim change that didn’t work right caused an impact with the ground. This, as you know, is probably one of the leading causes of damage to aircraft of all kinds. So it was re-trim, launch, crash, patch, re-trim, launch, crash…well you get the picture. I never realized that amateur paper kite flying required a pit crew.

While J.R., Freddie and Preacher were  patching, crashing and bashing, La Gringa and I took a little side trip next door. This is the location of a small resort facility that was under construction when we first came here to Whitby several years ago, called the St. Charles. I don’t recall the exact nature of the advertising claims, but it looks like a condo development. And a nice one. And it apparently was completed. For the most part. It’s sad to see it abandoned and falling to ruin.

The main pool looks like it would be really nice if it was filled up with clear, clean water and surrounded by waiters carrying anything from the rum or tequila families. That’s not the case here.

The pool side bar wasn't open.   And didn't appear to have been serving anyone for quite a while. Those in-water bar stools are looking pretty rough, too.

The design and even the workmanship of the outdoor pool area looked pretty good. I’m sure at least one of our readers here in the TCI will know what the story is on this development. Perhaps they’ll write and summarize the issues. I know I’m interested in what happened. This is a beautiful setup on a beautiful beach. It doesn't look too far gone to recover. What happened?

I asked Dooley the Disgusted if he wanted me to throw a stick in the pool so that he could use that as an excuse to jump in and fetch it. He didn’t show any of his traditional signs of enthusiasm when swimming is offered.

We didn’t try to look into the building at all, so can’t really say much about the interior state. We did see that plywood had been nailed over the lower, accessible sliding glass windows. We headed on back over to the kite contest next door where things were a lot more lively.

Froggy’s Bottle Creek team were still fine tuning the big kite. All they had to do was get it up into the air flying while the judges were witnessing it to qualify for biggest kite. It’s looking like Miss Pine Cay could also be known as Patches, for short. Check out that ball of twine.

You can also get a good view of J.R.s Flying W frame design there, in the photo above. If you’re a kite enthusiast interested in that kind of thing. It sort of reminds me of a Delta-Cornyne design, in some ways. You might interrupt me at this point to ask “WELL? Did it FLY?” Yes. It surely did.

We didn't think to ask their names, but these were the distinguished judges for this event. One of whom would have appreciated a bigger event t-shirt in his size. Being a judge and all.

I suppose he could use it as a bib. There was some delicious food being cooked up inside. We had conch fritters and cheeseburgers.

I don’t recall ever seeing a palm frond kite before. It flew, too, after a fashion.Perhaps anything can fly with enough wind and a properly designed tail.

We noticed that the judges seemed to be getting into the proper spirit of the event, being draftees and all. They took an interest in each kite in the cosmetic categories.

I would assume that they personally knew most if not all of the contestants. And would probably also be related to some of them. This is a pretty small community.  Finally, the crowd gathered as the judges started compiling their decisions.

I was thinking about that, and it occurred to me how very delicate something as simple as judging a contest could be when you're related to all the players. These effects of extended family relationships permeate most facets of TCI life for the people born here.

Of one thing there was no doubt, Froggy won the trophy for biggest kite. The Miss Pine Cay lumbered into the air looking like the battle scarred veteran of a dozen aerial combats, but it was enough.

He also took second place for the smallest kite. I think they should have also had a category for best flying kite, too. He would have won that one with this mid size. It was rock solid all day long.

I think this photo La Gringa took of two old beach bums pretty much summarizes the weather. It was a bit stormy. But what a relaxing way to spend the day.

Except for Preacher's boat handling. Relaxing is not one of the words in that description. He zipped us back over to Provo via a circuitous route because it was low tide and the shortest route was blocked by water even too shallow for Mr. Stubbs and his magic carpet. We were passing some of the new sand bars dredged up when the Dellis Cay fiasco was being developed. I noticed that the very first substantial vegetation to stabilize the new land is Casuarinas trees.

These trees grow fast. It was a bit strange for me to see land and trees where I was accustomed to seeing open water just five years ago.

J.R.'s wife, Henny was kind enough to send us home with some island sweet potatoes to try. They looked like this.

They have a wonderful taste that reminded me of a cross between a small red potato and a full sized sweet potato. I wonder if such a hybrid has developed on North Caicos.

I wanted to post these photos before they were too dated. We've already got some plans for the next post, and some more DIY and camera experiments to show you. Dooley has been very supportive in letting me fit him with various video camera attachment ideas. I think I'm on the right track there. The dog must be supportive, he's been constantly underfoot in the shop lately.

I suspect part of the reason he was napping in the garage was that he got a special treat for lunch that day. I had a plastic peanut butter jar that I wanted to clean out. I needed to use it to store some small parts in the workshop. I was just about to drop it into the dishwasher when I saw the look in Dooley's I though "why not?"..

So if you ever want to spend an hour watching free entertainment and clean out a peanut butter jar at the same time, I recommend giving it to your dog. It's amazing how far they can reach. Make that two hours.

I had a few more things planned for this post, including a pretty cool looking time lapse sequence sunrise.  Plans get interrupted, however, and we were called away very suddenly due to a family emergency situation in the USA. Once again we got to experience an unexpected snow storm, with about 10" of snow falling on us in Boulder.   We thrilled to the joy of scraping snow off a rental car while wearing sandals.  We got out of Denver, and landed in Miami yesterday.... only to experience the biggest computer shutdown American Airlines ever had. We are still in Miami 24 hours later, and I am writing this in the Miami Airport. Rather than delay this any further I decided to go ahead and post it without any further embellishments.

But we do have some fun new stuff planned for the next one. You know we always come back from the USA with new camera toys.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dooley the Distorted

We've been playing around with cameras again, as you well knew we would be. This time we took the dog over to Grace Bay beach to try out a new camera mount idea. This one is very similar to the "Dooley Cam" mount that we've used on his life jacket, but made to fit him without the bulky jacket. I stuck a photo of it in the previous blog post. All we needed was a reasonably good beach day. Not too hard to find around here.

We needed another seawater fix and this was as good an excuse as any to take the dog for a walk at the beach. We drove the rented Fiat across the island to the "new" park at the Bight. I think they dedicated this back a few years ago but it's still referred to as the new park, and we've also heard it referred to as the children's park. It's got a very nice and convenient parking lot right across the road from the Department of Boat Stuff. That's not their official name. I use that to differentiate it from the Department of Road Stuff, who are actually over by the airport. We get the dog quickly through the groups of happy picnic lovers on their blankets with all their lovely fried chicken and peanut butter sandwich filled coolers. We have to keep Dooley on a leash while in the vicinity of small people with food. He will lick the chocolate off a suddenly surprised and wide eyed little face and grab what's left of their lunch in mid air. He's good with surprise attacks. Once we got sufficiently clear of the sandy diaper mob, we unshackled the wee beastie and scooted down the beach a bit to get away from the crowds. See the crowds?

I guess crowded beaches are a relative thing. By our standards, this is mobbed. We've gotten spoiled by being able to boat to so many deserted beaches on other islands that we rarely go to the most popular beaches here on Providenciales any more. This particular stretch of sand wins a spot near the top of every list I ever see of the world's best beaches. It's a combination of beautiful, soft, clean sand and the clear, warm turquoise water. And this beach is generally in the lee of the island so the waves don't knock your teeth out or sweep your feet out from under you. And never at the same time. There's a nice reef offshore to take most of the brunt of the breaking ocean waves, and this protects the entire beach. Also makes for some fine scenery.

I noticed some lines of sea weed from the recent tides. Keep in mind that it's winter here, and current patterns change a little bit from season to season. And I was kidding about it being crowded. We've never seen a time when we couldn't walk for a few minutes and find a stretch of beach all to ourselves. Even here in the heart of the local tourism industry's best spot during spring break.

There are a number of resorts, hotels, condos and villas spread out up and down Grace Bay. I just took a quick look in the local Yellow Pages and found 21 hotels listed along Grace Bay. Yet, it doesn't really look at all congested and there really isn't any particular spot that feels crowded to me. It's not that kind of place. It's not built up like some beach resort communities on some other islands that we could name. There are still private residences on the beaches here, and a fair bit of open space.

Speaking of houses, not far down the beach from that one we spotted this new contemporary construction going in. A very solid looking, steel reinforced concrete structure. There is a big open area in the middle, and big overhead steel doors that close off the two apartments. It doesn't appear to be finished yet. What a great location.

We're known to snap a photo of just about anything that interests us, and we were doing a little of that on this trip. We've already posted photos of the other end of the park, back during a sailing competition. a couple years back. This park gets a lot of use, too. Recently we noticed that someone has been sponsoring a Fish Fry here every Thursday evening. I found some good photos of the fish fry thing on a tourism blog here, written by "insiders". It's not all that easy to find interesting subject matter in your own neighborhood. We have to ask ourselves, 'what would someone in the middle of a town some place a long way from here find interesting?' and it's just not that simple. Sometimes the simplest everyday things that are commonplace to one person might be totally amazing the first time someone else sees it. And of course there are some things one just doesn't write about. Not while one is still living there, anyhow..

The quality of the photos we were taking on this trip was suffering from intermittent cloud cover, too. The little pocket digital cameras do a pretty good job when they have lots of light. Not so good under a gray sky.

That sign is next to an exhibit of a 'reef ball'. These are the poured concrete artificial reef habitats that marine biologists put around the sea floor to produce protective homes for little sea critters. Things that crawl and swim can get into the protected inner area though the large holes in the bottom section. I should have put something there to show you the scale of this, but imagine that you could put both of your fists into one of those large holes in the bottom. Unless you're Andre the Giant, I mean. He'd have to use a separate hole for each fist.

The little penthouse apartment section that makes up the top two floors of the reef ball is for small critters that need protection to develop.

I cropped this part of the sign photo to make it easier to read their description of the reef balls. There is a small map representation of this portion of the park there, also. We wuz here!

We posted some underwater photos of the reef balls over at Smith's Reef in an earlier post.

I wish I had some great Dooley Cam video footage to show you, but alas, the prototype mount still needs some modifications. When I made the similar mount for his life jacket, I had the longitudinal support of that jacket to keep the camera motion dampened in the pitch axis. Well, with this new little saddle type mount, the camera was flopping fore and aft way too much to get anything useful. It did produce some interesting images. And a very tired dog. We finally gave up on the photography stuff and just chilled out in the sand for a while. Dooley likes to come down and check out the lee side of his islands on a regular basis, anyway.

He keeps a good track of whatever is going on around him. And you can tell by the wet fur that he's been swimming. That's actually a redundant statement, now that I think of it. If there's a beach nearby, he's been swimming.

I thought you might get a kick out of some of the random images we got by attaching the GoPro camera to my prototype Dooley Cam mount. We shot some video at 60 fps and I also set the camera up to shoot time lapse on a two second interval, and those shots came out really bizarre. Some of this stuff looks like Salvador Dali's spirit got into the camera during a playful moment.

The dog rarely stops moving, of course, and whenever the camera captured an image the chances were excellent that it came in the middle of some quick maneuver that Dooley was going through. Possibly aerial. These are somewhat indicative of the sudden abrupt changes of motion I am going to have to compensate for with this little camera platform. It's an engineering problem, and it's not going to be easy to come up with any kind of platform stabilization for an unfettered dog of this demeanor. Simply put, without the stiff back of the life jacket the little booger is free to wiggle, and it's not that simple to find a good spot for a camera on a wiggling dog. If I strap something to the dog to keep him from wiggling it creates all kind of personal and ethical dilemmas for me. I know how I'd feel if someone strapped me up to keep me from wiggling. Don't ask.

So here for your amusement are some views from the back of an unfettered dog running around on the beach.

It's either that, or I must finally accept that dogs have two feet in each of a couple of dimensions and one can only find that out by designing a very special camera mount that captures things as the dog sees them. For example, notice the shadow of the dog and camera on the sand in that photo above. Nothing amiss there, right? So, what's Dooley looking at? He's given a new vertical dimension to the view across Grace Bay.

And yet a split fraction of a second later he turns abruptly and it's like a view of an alternate universe. Time and space folded over onto itself by a small exuberant animal chasing the very joy of leaping in the sand on a distant beach? This shot somehow manages to capture the same stretch of beach three times, and inverts and folds it.

Interesting that the digital cameras can do this.

I plan to modify the mount somehow, because I cannot imagine any software that would be able to handle this kind of random distortion. Unless Dr. Leary's back and working for Microsoft. It may be that small dogs and GoPro's are not the best combination. I think I might need either a bigger dog or a smaller camera. I know which of those is the most cost effective.

And through it all of course Dooley the Dangerous is totally in charge of all he sees. Or so he would have you think. These are not shy dogs. He has been showing some evidence of turning into a grumpy old man lately, but then put him on the beach and he's a puppy again.

How many dog ears can you count in this one exposure? Notice they're in different positions? That's a mirror image of the tree, too.

And this next one sort of explains why there are so many uncharted areas around here. You have to go around the bend to even see them. And of course Dooley was beside himself

Okay, I won't continue with those. We ran that camera taking a shot every two seconds for about an hour. Almost all of them look like some variation of those five I just uploaded. When viewed in sequence, it's a strange and somewhat disorienting visual trip. Imagine the view of a small cowboy strapped to the back of a 15 lb bucking bronco with really quick moves. For a lot longer than 8 seconds.

I would have tried some more experiments, but Dooley got tired and I could see that I would have to add a longitudinal brace down his spine to keep this camera from flopping and messing up the photos. I don't really want to do that. It could work a lot better if the center of gravity of that GoPro camera wasn't so high. Have any of you guys experimented with the little cylindrical POV cameras yet? I am thinking that might be the next direction we move in. Less air volume to fog, and I can mount it low to the dog. But for now, I figured he'd earned a break.

We've got a bunch of small DIY projects going on at the moment. Dooley's camera mount is one of them. I'm also working on motorizing a camera slider to take time lapse images. I've been very limited as to what I could find down here for a battery powered electric motor. La Gringa finally located one for me, and I've been making pulleys out of starboard plastic. I needed some drive belts and while big O-rings would have been great, we couldn't find any that were even close

I found out that you can cut a circular piece of tough, flexible rubber from the top edge of a Croc without seriously affecting the usefulness of the shoe much

You don't think much about buying things like inline skate wheels, until you need some and start looking around for them. Even cheap ones would suffice. But nope. Not so far. I haven't gone over to Krazy Bargains yet, and it's possible they might have a set of children's skates or something like that that I could scavenge after shelling out three times their value.. This is a second level priority DIY, anyhow. Maybe even third tier

On other fronts, La Gringa continues her flying lessons. Dooley and I look forward to sitting out at the airport for a peaceful hour with our VHF radio listening to the pilots and air traffic and watching her flying around. This is right after a recent take off last week:

As I'm writing this, we've just returned from another trip over to North Caicos. We went to watch a kite flying contest, of all things, over the Easter holiday weekend. We got a lot of nice photos and I'm pretty sure that unless something exciting happens in the meantime, that will be the subject of our next short-post-but-more-frequently experiment

In the meantime, would you believe it if I were to tell you that this is a sunset? Some of them look remarkably like sunrises, don't they? It would have been a good one