But beach waves aren't the only ones in the music of island life. In the 24 years I've been coming to North Caicos, I've seen the waves of economic boom and bust reshape this community just as much as the moving sand reshapes the coastline.
The biggest wave has been development. During my first trip there were crews paving the main road for the first time and construction workers for a resort on nearby Parrot Cay were staying on North. That wave pulled back; construction stopped and the roads eroded into potholes and washouts. Then the wave returned. Parrot Cay got finished and other resorts on North Caicos were started. A causeway was built to connect to Middle Caicos. More people had jobs, despite the cheap labor developers brought in from other countries.
This boom was followed by the bust waves reaching out from the U.S., exacerbated by government corruption here and the one-two punch of hurricanes Hanna and Ike. The sea washed over and ruined the causeway. One resort that had opened was never repaired after the storms and has been left to deteriorate. Work stopped on another, leaving huge concrete shells marring a once-beautiful beach. Other planned resorts just never got started.
Another wave might be coming, though. The causeway has been repaired and more modest enterprises are getting under way - some farms, new restaurants, tour operations for day-trippers from Provo. I think it's a style of development more suited to North Caicos.
We've had waves in communication and services, too. We went from CB radios to telephones to cellphones and wi-fi, yet postal service has deteriorated. The small plane services that once connected the islands are mostly gone, but ferries now run on schedules more regular than the planes ever followed. Ebb and flow.
A long time ago, someone here told me that most islanders keep two or more jobs or businesses going at once because "when one thing goes down, the other comes up." Living here is a matter of riding the waves.
Maybe having sea waves so close intensifies that experience, but following that ocean rhythm is probably a good way to live anytime, anywhere.