Production Diary: Kathy Sykes
Was up at 3.30 this morning and on journey I took every opportunity to finish stuff off writing letters, last minute shopping at Gatwick and phone calls almost up until take-off. Great to meet the others at Gatwick Kate organising all of us bleary-eyed-looking people.
Barbados Airport crazy. Took hours to get stuff taken care of and 'taken care of' meant leaving half behind. The plane was too small to fit us and the kit.
Landing on Carriacou was very special. Sandra, Steve, David and Sarah waiting with us as plane flew in. Quite humid and mellow atmosphere.
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Day 3 First Filming Day
Fab breakfast of bacon and eggs while overlooking the turquoise sea with sun streaming in sideways with splodges of warm light. Feels like a good start!
The filming location is AMAZING! It looks and feels glorious palms and beach by open valley with donkeys munching and braying. Disused lime works (like the fruit not like the salt from sea shells). Mad old building stuffed full of delights. Including bats.
Trunkfuls of amazing gear including incredibly strong magnets, mirrors, glassware, sieves, saws, clamps, wire of various gauges and even glass tubes! Very exciting. Must be more stuff we'll need but I'm thrilled in what we have.
But damn hot! Sweating all day like crazy. Dripping and dirty and delighted. Is Mike L going to drive Ellen crazy by talking about eating bats and lizards? Maybe, but it'll make for some funny shots on the way.
Some very hot bits walking behind Kate. Piece to camera had to be perfectly synchronised. Not so easy. But stomping back and forwards in baking sun overlooking palm fringed beach ain't so bad.
Finished day with jog on beach.
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Day 4 Mapping
tools all morning. It took ages for me to make a giant protractor giant to
make it give more accurate readings. Also, made compass, metre measures, and
plumb line. Managed it quite quickly.
Then measured out base line
on beach. Very hot and sunny. Needed to test out Mike L's distance measurer
against a string 'ruler'. String all ropey and sticky a NIGHTMARE.
Needed to get moving to
get up the highest mountain. Took so long to film things didn't have long
to climb it. Had to shoot us walking (viewed through cobwebs, bushes, grass
etc) so by the time we got there barely any light left to do surveying. Kept
agreeing "just this one last bit of filming then you're free". Then
the freedom wouldn't happen. Nice views though! Good place to be. Impressed
by crew dragging heavy camera gear fast up a mountain without complaint.
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Day 5 Mapping
Another AMAZING day.
L and I stomped off round the island and saw AMAZING things! This island is
a very pretty place. Got really hot, crazily thirsty, sandblown, windblown,
sunburnt, deep in swampy forest. Also got cross, worried, angry, delirious and
vexed. Very hard work climbing up hills in this heat!
Went from bay to bay taking
readings some were rocky so had to fight with tangled string. Some beaches
were so windy we could barely hold the protractor still to take a reading. We
clambered up the headland that looked most northerly. It was so pretty. Crazy
with cacti though got so stabbed and cross. But the views were mind-bending.
Unbelievably turquoise sea. Views around all sides so good for mapping.
Went to a gorgeous white
sandy beach for lunch. Swam and ate happily, feeling very lucky again.
End part of the day were
mangrove swamps. Been in mangrove swamps before but this was so special. Nothing
has looked like this before. Squelched through swamp, clambered over trees and
got quite hot! Zoomed back in a boat in the rain very pretty. Surfed along
on big waves under pink stormy sky happy.
We got all the measurements!
Met by cheering group hugs, beers and enthusiasm.
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Day 6 Mapping
What a complete contrast to yesterday!
hours and hours doing trigonometry drawing triangles, finding angles. Felt
good to be sitting still and out of the sun after yesterday's adventures and
sun excesses. Mike L hates maths so all up to me. Probably easier just having
one person doing it anyway: you need to hold it all in your head for a while.
So Mike L went off to do the height measurement of the highest mountain.
Got quite stressful only
had limited time to do the maths. And there were so many calculations! And since
we couldn't see the highest mountain from any of the beaches other than ours,
I had no 'anchor' to position the other bays by. So each headland was a complete
But our brief glimpses of
coast from the highest mountain helped lots I knew that there were three headlands
pointing NWish. And it got more stressful when I only had half an hour to draw
on Ellen's beautifully-made paper. No mistakes Kath! Only one attempt. And I
am not naturally inclined to 'neatness'!
naturally enough, Ellen was quite precious about the paper and ink. She tried
to fill in 'forest' in green for me when I clearly didn't want her to. Firstly,
the whole island is covered in forest so it would mean colouring it all in.
Secondly, 'green' was a muddy, turd-like colour. Didn't want blackish sludge
over my beautiful map.
Mike L and the crew were
keen to keep out of the way of two women being precious about their paper and
map. Quite funny really! But I wasn't going to let anyone change my map without
permission. I just said "NO". Mike L did lots of it too but he helped
device worked staggeringly well only a few times but I was gob-smacked it
worked at all. The paper and ink were beautiful (though black ink turned brilliant
red when any other colour came close to it).
And our map was extremely
close to the real thing! The height 300m too close to be true though the position
was a suspicious 30° out! Communication problem between me and Mike L. He
said 60° I interpreted 'from north' and he meant 'from his base-line'.
Ah well. Chuffed to bits. And astonished too! Yipee!
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Day 7 Day Off
Fantastic day! Woke at 6 am ready to work and couldn't sleep again.
Went for 40 minute swim, early showers and sunshine. Few people around and no-one in the water. Swam down to pier and 20m beyond. Had leisurely breakfast overlooking sea with Ellen and Mike. Slurped passion fruit juice and coffee, feeling dead lucky. Tried to sort out modem with Kate. No joy. Wandered into town and checked emails in Internet café while rain bucketed down outside.
Bought lashings of food and drink for party tonight that Mike L and I are doing.
At 3 pm went for wonderful dive. First went zooming out on boat to the islands. Love that feeling of tipping over backwards into the water and a great dive. Buddied with Drew who seems a very happy diver (approx 21m for 54 mins).
Raced back home to sort and prepare for party. Was determined not to do all the working while Mike L got pissed so ordered him about to make sure he did loads before he got drunk! I made guacamole with the most amazing water avocados. They are astonishingly good. We baked purple potatoes with bacon, cheese and onions. Paul made a heavenly Okra and Veggie curry. Lashings of drink and nibbles come. And we sat around in evening light chatting to hotel staff and each other.
At 9 pm went to see BIG DRUMS which are done for funerals, weddings, celebrations etc. It was the opening of a new restaurant. It was just amazing. Reminded me lots of being in Zimbabwe and dancing to drums there.
Huge, beautiful women dancers in their 50s moving with vigour, sexiness, elegance and passion. Magnificent! Got to join them too but only for one dance. Could have danced all night to that music!
But Ellen across the dance floor was crying. At end she quietly said we had to all leave together. Knew to not ask questions and just do it. Mike L reassuringly took off his sandals (he's a mean kick boxer). He'd spotted her crying first and seemed to know it was trouble. I'd thought she was reminiscing (like me) about past happy/sad moments. Drinking can do that. Eventually scraped most people together and walked home. She'd been told by an organiser to stand at the back. A pissed bloke turned up and seemed to be cross that a white woman was blocking his view. She's tall (6 foot). He got mad at her and yelled, saying "you're not invited or welcome".
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