Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Secrets of Secret Harbour

Mount Hartman & Secret Harbour Marina
I have often wondered what is the secret to Secret Harbour? Is it the secluded location in pretty grounds?  Is it the abandoned hotel over grown with colouful plants and shrubs including my favourite purple water lilies that were once so enchanting but have now become dried and derelict? Is it the many walks that take you past grand homes or the complete lack of public transport? Is it the quite solitude of the bay in pretty environs or the surprising roll that creeps in despite being protected by reef?

Secret Harbour marina grounds
Whatever the secret is, it has grabbed us by the ankles and won’t let us leave. The lack of public transport, with supermarkets and marine shops being too far to walk to, means everything has to be coordinated around the weekly shopping buses that are packed like sardine tins.  More often than not the bay has been rolly yet despite all this we choose to stay.
The lovely flamboyant tree
This week we have achieved little, small tasks sometimes taking a whole day.  We heard folding bikes were for sale from a boat in St Georges and SIM!! thought that these might help us get around but after a walk, a hitch hike and a bus journey to St Georges we discovered they had no gears or brakes!  And Sim had wanted us to ride the hilly terrain home!! Thank goodness that put an end to that madness. 
The abandoned hotel home now to bats!
 Sim has the genoa furler apart and discovered that the turn buckle is too big for the unit and is causing the binding and hideous screeching noise.  We have ordered a new one from a sail loft in Prickly Bay….now all to arrange is how to get there?  I have made sunshades out of garden shading and suction cups for the cockpit windows.  It is so unbelievably hot we need all the shade we can get.
The tutle information area
But what we have not achieved in jobs we have made up for in other activities.  The highlight being a trip to watch the Leatherback turtles lay their eggs at the north of the island. Sim had been told by a friend that watching turtles lay eggs was akin to watching paint dry.  So I was dragging a disgruntled husband on an expensive 2 hour bus journey to the other end of the island where we may or may not see turtle lay their eggs! A long late night bus journey ensued carrying 28 cruisers in two buses up to Lavera beach.  We had fun sitting at the back of the bus with Cain and April of SV Spirit of Argo. It was late in the season for nesting and we were worried that we might have missed the turtles.  But maybe they were saving the best for last.  First we had a quick briefing explaining that we were only to use red light/torches and not to talk too loudly.  We walked down to the beach and watched some volunteers release 8 baby turtles that had hatched earlier that evening.  Taking photos was difficult (for me anyway) with only the red light so sadly they didn’t come out too well.  Needless to say the little baby turtles were very cute and made their way (with a little encouragement) down to the sea.  Expecting to have to wait around for a while we had taken blankets (and rum supplies) along for the wait but further down the beach we were lucky enough to have a magnificent Leatherback already up the beach, digging a hole in the sand to bury her eggs in.  She was an awesome creature nearly 6 ft long.  I can’t imagine the discomfort she must have felt with over 30 people huddled around her. But she must have been oblivious as she laid 128 eggs (including the yokeless ones) counted by one of the volunteers who was catching then as they “popped out”! Sadly only one in one thousand baby turtles survive.  Not helped I imagine by a group of cruisers all trundling across the beach in the dark as the poor little things are trying to hatch. After she nestled in the sand going into a trance like state during which time we were able to touch her.
It was an incredible experience to see, something so special even Sim was impressed.

Baby turtles making their way to the sea (with a little help)

Big mama tutle

Catching the eggs

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