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- Rain welcome home
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 06:43:58 -0400
A great mini-holiday away in SJ and still gentle buzzing from seeing Elton John with friends from St. John. Nope, no pics and no reason but my personal preference to not be flashing lights in my seatmates eyes or be distracted from what was an amazing show. The weather in SJ was pure pretty with some rain on Sunday (Mother Nature's way of saying, C'mon kids, time to go home). I'd given an extra good watering before leaving on Friday and hoped that with the ground water plus that that the gardens would be all right. They looked great! So this morning I got up to water more, and as soon as I came inside it started pouring like mad, which the sky did NOT look like it was holding. According to to the radar, it's a small cell...but who konws? It's only a bit of a fat dribble now, with that yellow light all around.... The big city was a fun place to be, especially with good friends and a focus for time time there...we ate at one fantastic restaurant in Old SJ, and found a funky Mexican restaurant above the beach in the new area. Found one of my favorite Asian markets that is actually a chain I had no idea was in PR. Tossed away some bucks in the casino and gawked (ok, I gawked) at the buildings, both purely ugly and purely charming. But, as Dorothy said (while I can't understand a longing for cornfields, I get the heart part), there's no place like home.
Ah, the sun! Perfect. Again.

- Carnival cover ups in order today?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 08:16:52 -0400
While checking our local weather today from weather underground (as it's gotten a bit grey and overcast, with apparently some fast moving showers headed our way), I was quite surprised to see this from the St. Thomas weather station...

Observed at:    St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Elevation:      23 ft / 7 m     
27 °F / -3 °C
Mostly Cloudy

Maybe I do better in cold weather than I thought, because I still have the fans on here on Culebra. I sure hope those in St. Thomas who are planning on being outdoors for Carnival cover up!

- Rain "Event" Total
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 08:23:51 -0400
Good Morning,  With another 1.4 inches yesterday morning, I have the total for 
the Rain "Event" at 8.3 inches.

DR, once a year is enough for our small island to get this much rain.  No 
cisterns should be dry for the rest of the year.  Dave is right, now the battle 
of mosquitoes begins.  After a severe drought and grass fires, it is still a 
very welcome sight to see the grass getting green and everything trying to 
bloom at once.  Our local hummingbird is working hard to keep up!

Enjoy,  William

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- The sun - bless its yellow heart
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 07:48:33 -0400
After a few days of grey, about a foot of rain causing lots of mud from natural and unnatural (run-off from irresponsibly cleared off building sites - which should be fined a few zillion dollars for literally dirtying up the bays and streets - can we say erosion prevention??? build a house for a million or more, you can at least buy a few dozen damn bales of hay, or cloth fencing or grass seed - okay, stepping off the muddy soap box), this morning is showing new blooms on the veggies and orchids and just about every growing thing.

Reports I sent in about the rain got lost in the ether somehow, but suffice to say - it was the rain dancers overabundant answer and Bill got the numbers. There is still a shady spot in the yard with standing water.
Now for the drying out and oh so green time!

- OOPS, bad math
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:27:22 -0400
Good Morning Again,  The total for the two days of rain should be 7.9 inches.  
Got to get my mind in gear!

Enjoy,  William

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- Good Morning
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:19:35 -0400
Good Morning,  Culebra received 1.4 inches of rain in the period of 5 AM 
yesterday till 5 AM today, so adding up the totals, we have received 7.6 inches 
of rain from this "system".  It seems the tail of old front is pulling up lots 
of moisture from the Caribbean, and it has a Loooooong tail!

Enjoy,  William

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- Rainfall Overnight
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 05:50:12 -0400
Good Morning, As of 5:30 am, Culebra received 6.5 inches of rain overnight.  
Basically this was an inch an hour for the past six hours.  A real gulley 
washer and washed out the road a bit too.  According to radar Culebra's own 
personal "Blob" has now moved off to the East.

Enjoy,  William

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- all that grey black
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 17:03:16 -0400
and finally some rain to go along with it. We'd just about decided that Culebra was under the dry bubble, which is, of course, all it takes (along with me hanging out the laundry) to make it rain. But thunder too??? Things I love about the islands #389b: when in drought time...the rain starts and conversations carry on, no one gets out of the rain - the feel of it, the smell of it, standing around getting wet and grinning...

- delivered as promised
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 01:17:13 -0400
Here comes the rain! After a day that started with good breezes but then went dead calm with humid heat, the afternoon and early evening cooled off, again, completely still. But now we've got roof and ground pounding rain, coming in on and off waves. If the radar (which, amazingly, is up and working as of now) is correct, we are in line for quite a bit more. Cart open or closed once it's more *tomorrow*, the island will be soaking it up! Whoever washed their car today, left laundry on the line and paid to fill their cisterns, thank you!!

- out of date
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 14:49:45 -0400
All of the landlines were off line yesterday and this morning, so whatever shows up today is from yesterday. I wish I had more glorious rain to report but alas...only hot air today ;)

- Soaked ground rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 06:32:28 -0400
As for some reason I can't get online, I'll write this now, while the ground is still wet from an ongoing rain last night. Maybe I woke up when it stopped at some point, but I had a listening experience I'd never had. It was so very still that I could hear the next wave of rain coming across the water, up the yard and onto the roof. Very strange, but very fascinating.
Looking forward to the total, Mr. Kunke!

- All Night Rain
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 07:52:42 -0400
Good Morning,  Culebra received 0.4 inches of rain through the night.  Mostly a 
good, steady, sprinkle that had time to soak in well.  A true drought buster!  
It appears the very far edge of that NorthEaster prompted these showers.  What 
is bad for some, is good to others.  Enjoy,  William

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- They held it, they dumped some!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 20:33:56 -0400
The clouds looked incredible this afternoon, wispy yet surrounded by rain looking clouds (I remember them, I do!) but hope was held at a distance until about 10 minutes ago...glorious smatter patter on the roof, not long lived but heavy and delicious to the ear! I know the plants are going to be in wonder growth tomorrow.

- Clear on
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 08:12:14 -0400
While two of my temp readers say 81, one says 86, so I'm going with the majority. The waters around have cleared up (except for the from up in the sky view, which shows where run off from irresponsible construction is making certain areas less than pristine) for now, the breeze has dropped, and the pelicans are back to fishing up here in my end of the bay. I missed their splash during those windy, muddy days, plus them cluing me in to where the fish might be. Yesterday's fishing was a sort of dual contest between me and three young boys on the dock across the way from me. Yelling in Spanish and English, the basic messages were "What are you using?" and "What are you catching?" I think none of us did anything in the catching dept. but it was a wonderful to while away an overcast afternoon. Maybe today! Though they'll have a head start...I can see them out there now, as I prepare to head to the cart...lucky brats!

- Haze, ash or dust?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2007 08:03:17 -0400
Take your pick. Yesterday afternoon and this morning find the air around here thick enough with something to be making me check to see if my glasses and/or contacts are covered with grit. Today will be a glasses day, as by the end of yesterday's cart watch, my eyes were itchy and sore from being scrubbed with *whatever it is*.

Other than that, it's Easter morning, the smell of fuel from boats departing the bay assails my nostrils, with a light breeze and 83 degrees of warmth. The water is churned a muddy color due to so many turnings of so many props, the streets will fill with every rental car available. The sounds of *sleepy after being up until 3 or 4 a.m.* morning laughter drifts back to me, from the water, from the bayside homes - holiday!

Ah, Easter in the islands! Where's my chocolate bunny and malted milk speckled eggs?

  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 18:07:12 -0400
I didn't know what the CARIFTA games were (re: T & C post)...just in case you didn't either...here's a link. It sounds like a huge project; lots of work with for a great event. Best of luck to all participating and may the weather hold well for the weekend!


- (warning) Very little to do with the weather
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 16:02:18 -0400
It's cool, it's breezy! It's hot, it's still! It's overcast; is that rain, or sweat drops?

Town is BUSY! Town is DEAD! Everything is closed! Well...that one is just about true (Mamacita's is open today, Happy Landing is open - duh - El Eden was open. I highttailed it for home so I don't know about the rest of the places...which is why god invented phones).

I think next year if we gift shop people were really smart (ok, we might be smart but we're not always real timely), we'd have a Semana Santa weekend Goodie Cooler going with meats and cheeses and breads, some chips and soft drinks. And maybe a few personal hygiene articles (bet you weren't asked about THAT today, were you?).
And it's not even afternoon yet!
But here in the quiet of my yard, where only me and the iguanas are slowly moving around, it could be any time of year...unless that weird green egg means something...

Back when *I* was a kid, we were happy just to have those neat dye kits with about four colors, a couple wire thingies (and with four of us, my poor Dad had to invent a couple out of hangers...back before there WERE no wire hangers - what the heck do parents do now? Only have two kids, I guess) and some old plastic bowls to roll 'em around in. Now kids have stuff to make eggs look like Faberge look alikes, or kits for making dye out of *natural* stuff (Honey, tell the nanny to go to the voodoo market and get that stuff that makes blue and yellow - toss some weeds in for the kids to find).

We were THANKFUL for the wonders of modern SCIENCE and the chemicals that stained our little happy fingers. So what if it caused cancer? It was pretty and we LIKED it! Who knew? Gol' darn it! We had to fight the damn chickens for those eggs and it MEANT something back then!! "Daddy, I'm bleedin', but I got me three eggs, too bad meany sissy can't have one! Is red a good color, Daddy??"

- shhh.....the rain is continuing
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 07:04:50 -0400
Not only waking up to pitter patter, but it's still raining and quite a bit harder, though of course it could stop any second. I know I don't have to water any of the gardens this morning though! The radar looks like we might have more on the way (again, believing with the radar! oh well, it's another season, why not give it a go?) I wouldn't mind an all day soaker, though I doubt we'll have that. We'll have just enough to have me doing the open/close? dance at the cart, always entertaining for the firemen at the station across from me, and a challenge for me - will the rain be enough to close? how long should I wait? I look really stupid sitting here in the rain, but I'm reading, maybe people will think I'm just eccentric...

- Rain redux
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 10:20:14 -0400
I sent this around 5 this morning but will try again. It did rain a little bit more, but now the sun is shining, with a gentle breeze.

"It might stop before I'm done typing this but right now we're getting a nice, steady rain (enough to make the roosters hush). The radar shows us in line for a set of showers coming from STT, so this might even go on for awhile. Happy plants!"

- Good Morning, Rain Data
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2007 07:14:07 -0400
Good Morning, See attached chart for Culebra rainfall data for the 
last 20 years compared to the first 3 months of this year.  The 
nearly 2 inches of rain last week saved us and PR from continued 
drought status.  We are starting to see green show through the 
brown in the grasses, lets hope this is a definite shift in weather 

Enjoy,  William

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- Rain!! Thanks D.R.!!
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 06:53:32 -0400
Good Morning,  Culebra received 1.8 inches of rain last night.  A good "soaker" 
rain that lasted almost all night long.  Filled up all our tanks, had to put on 
the overflow pipes about 3 AM.  Thanks D.R. for pushing this system along the 
island chain before it takes off to the Atlantic.  I can see the hibiscus and 
bougainvilla smiling already!

Enjoy,  William

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- Rain glorious rain!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 19:00:59 -0400
We finally got some rain here and there was almost literal dancing in the streets. It started while I was at the pizza place during the Humane Society auction, lots of people inside and out and no one really got out of the rain, it was so great to have it falling! It has eased off now but we got about two hours worth of decent rain. A good start and I bet the kid's bean plants will be HUGE tomorrow!

- Cloudy rainy
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 21:47:09 -0400
After being awake all night due to some partying people traipsing through my yard in the very wee hours to get to their very loud engined dinghy (yeah yeah, I like you, but not much at 1:30 and 5;00 a.m. and you are on my list, buckos), I had to get to the ferry by the 6:30 take off. Lucky for me and bless you two whoever you are, I got a ride in, when it started to rain....RAIN!!! Not much, but I'd just looked at the radar before leaving, while sucking up coffee for the jolt, and the whole area for all of us was covered in color. The ferry ride was mellow, me on the top deck under my sarong as a blanket, hoping for sleep. Again lucky, a friend was on the ferry heading to San Juan to pick up her brother (talk no sleep? via Malta to Barcelona to England to SJ) and she gave me a ride to Wal-Mart (printer sale, oh boy!) before heading for the big(ger) city. Drizzle rain continued as I lugged around my carrier cart, trying to cross streets with a zillion cars whose drivers apparently think walking people don't exist. I gritted my teeth and hoped to live and did, as they swerved around me, at faster speeds than we get on Culebra full out. Filthy feet and spattered carrier later, I ran into my friend with her brother in tow and headed to Lolita's, the Culebra rest stop after shopping. With a pitcher of margaritas along with nachos and burritos, we relaxedn until heading to the ferry, when the rain decided to really pour down, just as we were unloading the vehicle. I didn't care, so glad for rain and hoping hoping it was on Culebra as well. On the ferry, chatting, a ferry guy came up to me and asked if I had the red tote...to inform me that one of my wine bottles had broken. Wonderful man had already mopped up the mess, though the entire place smelled of Cab Sav. Lucky again for me, it was on sale, and no damage done to the rest of the contents, especially the little bottle of sherry vinegar I'd splurged on, or the ratty cheap shorts (but they have pockets!! I had to get them!) which would have been wine stained forever. Apparently the tip over in the rain knocked the neck off the bottle....who knew? Home to rain drenched streets, apparently not a LOT of rain but more than the 30 second bits we've been getting - enough to do some good. And my feet, which looked like they'd been in a nasty bilge, will be clean enough tomorrow to wear my new shoes...I hope!

- Dry, Dry, Dry ---
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 08:49:24 -0400
Good Morning,

Culebra remains super dry, everything is "crunchy" underfoot.  
There is no rain in these clouds this morning either!
Saba, we are jealous of your recent downpour!

Enjoy,  William

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- Gauged hope
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 08:12:43 -0400
I've been watching my barometer with close interest these days, as we hope for *enough rain to do good*. Its needle hasn't moved much, but each tiny increment toward RAIN sees me looking a little more closely at the sky and sniffing the air - is it really going to rain? By the time I look back, the needle is swinging back to CHANGE. Change, not FAIR, not VERY DRY, but CHANGE. Which I always thought meant something different was going to happen. We get minutes or seconds of rain, enough to sound the hope alarm, but it doesn't last.

Maybe it's like waiting for Christmas morning when I was little - the days changed but somehow, Christmas seemed as far away as ever, until suddenly it was Christmas Eve and change meant something real. Maybe it will be like that... or maybe it's like that watched pot for a boil and I should just turn Mr. Barometer around for awhile and continue rain dancing.

- Rain call
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 03:54:17 -0400
Between dogs barking, roosters crowing and one very persistent mosquito, I woke up around 3 a.m. and got to hear the sweet sound of rain (which shut up the dogs and roosters, the mosquito is still trying). A light rain, barely there that didn't last long, but what a sweet sound!

The children's garden project is coming along. The raised beds are built (by a great guy who comes over every day after his real job is done) and filled with dirt. The dirt was donated, dumped in the middle of the set up (three raised beds and containers around a concrete covered septic tank - how does YOUR garden grow?).

Two of us were working shovel full by shovel full when the guy next door came home with his bulldozer, took one look at us and with a wave to get us out of the way, scooped up the dirt and did in 20 minutes what would have taken us oh, maybe three weeks. Another load of dirt will fill the containers donated by yet another Friend of the Garden. We planted some yuca, another donation, and something I've never planted before - basically looking like sticks because...they are. You just chop the yuca plant into pieces and lay them sideways in the dirt, cover them up and supposedly, six months later, we'll be eating yuca. Thanks, donors!

The rain is coming just in time, and the donor wishes to remain anonymous, only letting us know not to expect anything steady yet.

- Fwd: A brief return to winter
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2007 16:21:20 -0400

Let's see if it goes this time...(many many hours later!)

Sometime in the night I was glad I'd only put my blanket aside and not away. All the thermometers agree that it is 71 degrees,72 percent humidity, go figure.
After a weekend of brisk winds that could have been ordered up for the CORT series Culebra regatta, the wind has come down along with the temps, and the water is glassy. It was a great weekend for sailing and except for the huge vehicles clogging up our small roads, events seemed to go smoothly, including some fantastic music at DRN and the ferry dock, with good crowds for all of the events.

My own end of the weekend excitement was while fishing yesterday afternoon off my little dock. Talking to my landlord Greg (known as My Psycho Landlord) as he got ready to sail, I got a big hit on my line. Excited, thinking I had dinner on the line, I was fairly horrified to pull up a moray eel, between 2 and 3 feet long. Fact: morays can turn themselves into knots, downing leader lines while slowly climbing up to the end of a fishing pole. Fact: a mouth on a moray eel is bigger than it looks. Fact: I have the best psycho landlord in the world.

Leaving his boat (was I starting to whine for help? maybe) he came around to my dock with boat hook, screwdriver and some unknown tool to dislodge the very reluctant eel while I held the pole (by now the eel had his mouth around two lines that help anchor the dock to the shore, along with the hook, line, and leader). Using all the tools, he managed to get the mons...eel to let go. The eel went back to where ever he lurks while I looked at the very mangled hook and decided enough fishing for awhile. Greg's advice, "Don't go swimming here for awhile, he's probably pretty pissed off." No doubt.

- Regatta winds
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 07:11:12 -0400
According to the forecast...and this time I'd really like to believe it...the 3rd annual Culebra Regatta this weekend looks to be in for some good wind, between 15 and 20 all weekend! It's definitely breezy in my yard. Welcome, sailors and crews, judges and all the other people who make a regatta possible behind the scenes.

Now...if they just don't cut off the water for some line fix, like a rumour floating around suggests might happen. So far, got water!

- March Lamion
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 16:04:25 -0400
Since I missed the first day of March here because of sailing back from Vieques, I only know March has come in like a lamion, sun, blue skies, an amazing sunset last night as we relaxed after getting to the ferry dock anchorage (quickest route to get to pizza and wine), with today following warm, puffed out scuddy clouds in a true blue sky and breezes that seem to be picking up as the afternoon goes along.

Apparently there was a good rain HERE while I was away as the gardens looked pretty good for three days of not being watered. Maybe I ought to try that island hop again...for the sake of the cisterns, of course. Over on Vieques, it is green green green. Sheesh!

- Culebra Rainfall
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 13:14:50 -0400
Good Afternoon,

I feel it is safe to post February's rainfall total a bit early;   0.9 inches.
That makes the year's total, 1.5 inches for 2007 thus far.
This morning it rained on the North side of the island, but not the 
South side.
So it goes,  Enjoy,  William

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- One of those Sundays
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 18:44:47 -0400
A slightly overcast morning gave way to a sunny and beautiful day, with south winds for a change. A good day at the cart and it was just too beautiful to sit in the hot corner anymore (open somedays, closed others...so it goes). Lucky me, my fishing friend gave me another filet, so with a side trip for charcoal it was homeward bound.

While the charcoal got over the fire and into the glow, I figured I could do some fishing of my own. A slight breeze and a perfect temp of 80 degrees with the sun going down; what better way to spend a late Sunday afternoon? Little fish were biting on an old bit of meat and then I saw the yellow tail. That's all I saw...a BIG yellow tail! It was time to switch bait and the tail end of my not yet cooked dinner seemed like it would be just the ticket. The big one bit, but didn't hold on, which was fine, he'll be back another day. Hearing a soft click click, I looked up to see my landlord getting his Windrider tri ready for his nightly sail. He saw I was fishing and was considerate enough to be very quiet while I told him in a loud whisper about the big yellow tail. Something bit, and up came a little blue crab. He (my landlord, not the crab) is from Maryland, one of the great blue crab spots, and identified it as a female. Back she went, too little, too she. Another bite. I thought it was the big one, but instead of a fish, instead of a crab, it was a big lobster! Definitely dinner sized, but I let it fall off the hook. I already had dinner waiting to go on the grill, and he's not going far either. By now the coals were perfect and so was the fish, it was extremely delicious. Thanks, Chris!
Another perfect Sunday afternoon in Paradox.

- Early good rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 08:00:01 -0400
What a great surprise as I literally was turning around to the hose faucet to start watering the gardens and the sky opened up! It didn't last long but longer than a minute, enough to give the ground a nice little soak. Just enough to have drippy leaves and a nice rainbow in its wake. AND!!!! Our radar is up! So we may get more spits as the day goes on.

- The rain falls mainly...where it wants to
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 16:16:14 -0400
What a funky weather day! Lots of overcast, rain in waves up the bay, absolutely glorious for those of us who live here...the burnt hill people VERY hopeful there will be less ash smooting their abodes, the empty cistern people who have water on the way hoping they won't need as much as ordered. A few of us took an *extended* lunch as we certainly could not leave Dinghy Dock, due to rain falling and the need to be assuring the tourists that this was a GOOD thing. Some get it, some...do not, and do not seem to understand why we can't make it perfectly dry, sunny, but not TOO sunny, and only enough breeze to be cooling, not blowing their dinner plates away. We do try. But sometimes, due to some inherent need to take care of ourselves, we just have to welcome the rain. For my hill friends, may it cover your ash. The cart was...going to open, not going to open, should, but 2nd trip to town brought rain, then none then maybe open, key in the right side lock but friends offering a ride home at that moment. Sweep out Lake Island Woman or get a ride all the way home and make beef jerky? Took the ride. Now of course, the sun is working it's way through...so...Island Woman is going fishing.
It's a tough life, but someone has to do it, and it might as well be us.

- Feel the power Bill!!!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 16:28:19 -0400
It took Bill to say NO rain...
A kid on the dock near me and I have taken up afternoon fishing. Not by plan but by...fishing something. Most of what I catch I release as it's small, he says he does the same. Today, the sky getting more and more overcast all day, tiny rainbits were hitting my face and we were both yelling "It's raining!!!" and doing a thank you dance...mine a bit more careful as my little dock is precarious at best and will tip right the hell over at worst. And as I type, it is still raining a wee bit, enough to have drops on the window louvers. Please Sir, can we have some more?

“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” —Emile Zola

- Sunrise
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 08:27:16 -0400
Good Morning,  Another beautiful sunrise on Culebra.  No rain in 
sight however.  Things are super-dry:  Zilch, Nada, Nothing in the 
way of moisture coming out of the clouds!   Enjoy,  William

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- what's the weather
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 04:20:35 -0400
When my little weather radio stopped letting me know the temps, my brother told me he was sending me a little weather station. I figured it would have a temperature gauge and a barometer. Not that I know much about barometers other than low, bad, high good (this is scientific talk, I'll try to keep it simple in the future). But this has the temperature and a hygrometer. I had no idea what a hygrometer was, but apparently, a lot of people do and they've had time to learn about it, since it was invented in 1783.

It seems this Swiss man, Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, came up with the idea of using a human hair to measure the amount of humidity in the air. Quite the trailblazer, our Horace, literally and figuratively, as he also invented a lot of other meters of sorts. My favorite is the cyanometer, used to estimate the blueness of the sky. He was also a mountain climber, a physicist and "a Swiss aristocrat" which I suppose was necessary to have educated people to tell about his inventions and travels. Or at least polite enough to not act bored. He did not invent the chocolaclockometer, which measures how much Swiss chocolate you have to eat in a certain amount of time before you get sick. That was someone else.

He was on mountain tops and under water checking out heat and cold, naming plants he discovered and just generally your typical Swiss guy who decides he can figure out just HOW humid it is from a human hair. Go figure. Go Horace!

So now I, and you, dear reader, know more about hygrometers than you might have known, or ever wanted to know before.

But I still want a barometer...those glass kinds with the colored water in them look pretty cool. By the way, the temperature is exactly 70 degrees (it smells cold), and the humidity is 63%. My hair is dry.

- Happy Valentine's Day
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 06:59:26 -0400
For those newly in love, the weather will be perfect.

For those who have loved together a long time, the weather will be what it is; these folks have learned to adapt, adjust and enjoy.

For those who want to be in love, the weather might or might not be *good* today, they'll just have to wait and see.

For those who think they don't need love, get out of the cave, the sun is shining somewhere and feels wonderful! Admit it!

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile." Franklin P. Jones

- another glorious sunrise
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 06:58:25 -0400
One of those picture perfect sunrises...a bit of breeze and temps warmer by about 8 degrees from previous recent mornings. The days have been much warmer as well. Of course, those coming from near to sub zero temps are loving it. I was holding out for a bit more *winter* weather. Of course, it could switch around again...and maybe bring some rain with it (hint, hint, universe).

“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” —Emile Zola

- some sun, some clouds, some breeze
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 07:50:33 -0400
The weather has been so changable lately, for us, that anything I write will be different in the next five minutes. I went to Vieques Saturday by ferry - a smooth trip from Culebra to Fajardo, Fajardo to Vieques, then sailed home with a friend on Sunday with a friend through some very windy, rolly weather and a ripping current and had a blanket wrapped around me by the time we got to the mooring ball in front of the ferry dock. Spits of rain overnight - enough to make an Island Woman cart puddle, rather than a lake. Then yesterday nice and overcast, with St. Thomas reporting rain, but none for us. Friends on the mountain that got the fire are covered with ash as it is so dry that with the wind we've had, all surfaces inside are covered with the stuff. We really could use some serious rain! This morning it is still, with the bay looking like a lake, the sun shining and the skies pale blue. For some reason, the plants scattered around the yard with the hummingbird attracting red flowers keep blooming, so I continue to get a hummingbird show...while any water they get is coming from the hose during watering time...
Rain, please!

- a little real rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 10:00:41 -0400
Sitting in the gazebo with a friend drinking tea, we heard the small pitter patter of real rain (she asked if my new hose was blowing up or was this the real deal? My new hose is fine, thankfully!).
Over the bay more rain was falling hard.
Now it is dry here, but easy to see rain out on the sea, under steely grey clouds that hold a hope of some much needed moisture, or if nothing more in the water works, at least a relief the unusual heat of full blare sun we've been having. The cart awaits, but it seems more a day to curl up with more tea and a good book...ah, the struggles I have.

- Deluge!!!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 06:47:55 -0400
Snatched from sleep with the sound of water pounding, I could not believe how hard it was coming down. I went to the door and the screen was soaked, with water spraying through, soaking me in about two seconds. Rain rarely comes through the door due to the direction it faces, and never like this. And something else was amiss...there was no rain sound on the roof. Or at the *rain* window. I was sure I was awake because even my dreams don't include continuous water being sprayed in my face.

No, it wasn't rain. This was a product of our extremely fluctuating water pressure. I foolishly forgot to put the valve to OFF on the hose by the door and as the pressure went up (and up and up - watering the gardens when it's this high is like letting a fire hose off, a delicate dance between watering and blasting the little darlings right out of the ground), the hose blew up in two places, sending geysers inside. I loved that hose, may it RIPieces.

I was really hoping for rain.

- A bowl of starries
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 16:58:54 -0400
(second sending, which is NOT like the second coming except for the fact that it fits in the category of might show up, according to some)

One of the wonderful things about *I used to be a sailor* is having friends with boats come back and forth in your life with good stories and sometimes, magic moments.

A friend of mine is buying a lovely schooner from another friend, who built her a long time ago (with his lovely at the time companion). Today she will be leaving Culebra to head for her new home, but last night, under crystal clear skies, we camped on her coach roof on old cushions with scratchy blankets. The sky was so clear that the stars covered every bit of sky, right down to the horizon. The water was calm, the boat solid and every waking moment filled with the intense beauty of stars slowly wheeling by, with a bright half moon until it too was gone.

The stars faded with dawn. A cup of cowboy coffee made in the light of a hurricane lantern, and a quiet ride back to my own dock. I'll head on to the cart soon, back to another day, while the boat heads out of our bay. I'll see her another day, on another island. Fair winds.

- Raining inside
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 08:15:32 -0400
With the cold front here, my tin roof was covered with water droplets (drop being the operative word) inside, in the early hours pre-dawn...something that has never happened before since I moved here. The bay is glass flat, with that strange atmospheric phenomenon farther out where there appears to be no horizon, just a sheet of silver. Mystical, beautiful, rare.
According to one weather watcher I know, tonight will be even colder than last night, which was a quilt night. I'll be keeping the extra blanket handy.

- Whether weather
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 07:00:49 -0400
Yesterday, warm and beautiful, with no real breeze until around 5, making a cool, perfect afternoon. This morning, bird song is drowning out roosters In still air, it is cool, looking over the water, I am HOPING that is some overcast...we'll see.

Drifting to sleep last night, cozy under my blanket, I was composing lyrical but oh so witty bits on the weather for you, dear reader (ex. Warm morning, cart owner take warning, cold noche, good sleep approache - Dorothy Parker, shake in your buried high heels) when suddenly I realized it wasn't cool at all, it was seriously warm, if not hot. I threw off my blanket, doubting any integrity I possessed to report any weather and worrying if this is just going to be a time of life I have to doubt everything I think I am experiencing...(answer: yes).

I wondered about women my age in cold climates. Do they throw off the covers, thinking they are hot, while their toes get frostbite? How do they explain in summer, after kicking those weighty boots to the back of the closet and bringing out those strappy sandals why they only have three toes? Or all of them missing toes, and smiling wisely at their young daughters saying, "Don't worry, it is a rite of passage, dear".

Finally I realized I was cold again, and there was my trusty blanket, ready and waiting, same warmth without weight as ever, not the 10 pound wool I'd accused it of being. I slept.

- Culebra Fire
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 10:43:14 -0400
Good Morning,

Here is a photo of a portion of the aforementioned fire on Culebra last night.

Save up with Ambassador Hotel Tours
Our packages are fully flexible to create your ideal vacation in Turkey. Book 
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JPEG image

- Fire
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 08:09:47 -0400
Last night was clear, with a fair wind blowing, The glow in the sky was a mountain on fire, threatening homes, destroying one, with no loss of life. Another fire burned at the cemetery, on the other side of the bay, and was quickly contained - by neighbors and a stretched thin fire department, fighting the much larger fire first mentioned. The community turned out to work side by side with homeowners, friends and the professionals, who, as before, did an incredible job in an area with no city water, over a huge area. No doubt there are a lot of very exhausted people today, who will be watching for embers flaring up as there is still no rain in sight. A rough night for Culebra, bringing out the best of so very many.

- cold & beautiful
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 06:41:16 -0400
A gorgeous sunrise is happening and there are more roosters crowing than I have ever heard - well, except that time in Ceiba when it sounded like all the tortured souls in the world were crying up from the valley...that was scary. This isn't scary, just kind of annoying as it goes into the third hour. Three o'clock in the morning is NOT dawn. Isn't there a chicken union I can notify? It is COLD. The button giving me temps on Mr. Weather Radio has apparently bitten the dust, but according to my feet, it has to be around 70 or freezing, I'm not sure. But the sunrise is so great I had to do a walkabout in the yard, leaving my down filled parka, wool socks and hat and thermal underwear behind. There are dark clouds to the northeast - but I'm pulling for another great blend of sunshine and cool temps as the day goes along.

- Other water
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 07:18:52 -0400
I was out in the still almost dark dawn watering the gardens when rain started pouring down. Better water anyway! It is now barely pitter pattering. There is a lot of overcast but at the edges to the east, the sunrise is making gold clouds - even as the grey ones are drifting to the west.

Should be a nice flight for my friends who are heading to the BVI's today (back to SJ by plane, then Tortola by plane, then...they forgot to ask about a better way, and there is one! Shhhh!)

Speaking of friends! Sitting at the cart yesterday when a vehicle stops on the other side of the road and a woman comes dancing up to me waving something, which turns out to be steel wool! Yippie! She and her husband are here every year and read my plea before heading down. They told me they ran into the same problem about five years ago and totally understood, and had some extra which they packed up. Someone stopped me on the street saying sometimes at the big Home Depot on the big island it can be found, but I have some right NOW! Thanks and thanks and thanks again! Life is good.

- cold sunny
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 07:04:11 -0400
Another beautiful bout of weather yesterday. At one point I fell asleep in the hammock and woke up COLD, though it was only late afternoon. Out to dinner with friends I actually wore pants (one said friend was pretty surprised I even owned pants). This morning is cool and breezy again, all fans off. I hope watering the gardens doesn't make ice sculptures - though I did see some really beautiful pics from the ice storms in the US at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/6267273.stm . Pictures good, reality...not so good.

- weather perfect
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 07:51:32 -0400
A glorious sunrise, breezy, sunny now with blue skies, cool temp.

Company's comin'! I had no idea I had so many cobwebs here at ChezShack - aren't the lizards running around in here supposed to eat the spiders who are almost impossible to even see? Or maybe they do, but the feast is too much for them... Lucky for them they will be staying at Villa Fulladoza, with all wildlife outside where it belongs. No landcrabs in the shower, no iguanas on the roof...well, maybe iguanas on the roof, but I like that. We're easily entertained here. Renting a vehicle from Jerry's Jeeps. Jerry makes a map for each of his customers that has to rival a military map for its twists and turns. But Jerry explains everything...in his own special way. I think the maps are framable, and should be made into postcards and t-shirts, but Jerry says he just wants to do a tee shirt with a seat belt on it...
Another perfectly paradoxical day in Paradise.

- Blustery
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 07:49:27 -0400
Somehow, blustery never seemed a word to associate with the islands, but yesterday and last night seem to fit the description quite well! And this morning is following suit. The sun is shining, the wind is blustering, and the sky is hazy blue. It feels wonderful, and great for drying clothes on the line (or the fence, something done here a lot - but you never see pokey marks from the chain link tops in the clothes... yet another life mystery I have to live with).

- Natch
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2007 06:56:17 -0400
As soon as I posted last night, the power came back on, the wind picked up considerably and the rain fell harder, though not for long.

This morning, the sky is red and the wind is still kicking around with some strength. The radar, working again, shows quite a bit of rain over the northwest of the big island (where there is a high surf advisory - imagine the Rincon surfers will be happy today) and lots of little blobbettes all around the rest of us. Having bought a new, HUGE umbrella for the cart, I am ready!!

- Still
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 20:00:55 -0400
The power is out, the air is still, rain is barely falling and the mosquitos are making the most of it. It is not quite cool enough to hide under a blanket but a sarong works.

A trip to and from the big island today was a pleasure on our fast ferry (NOT a hydroplane one, but Atlantis, the one that doesn't take an hour and a half), with fairly calm water. Less than an hour both times; way to go, Capt. Gene! Three rainbow sightings (make note to self: do NOT point out beautiful rainbow to driver on Rt. 3 during morning traffic again) and dramatic clouds, cool air made it a perfect day to stock up and not have to go back for a couple of months. I am once again addicted to grape tomatoes though, and have a giant stash for now. Apparently though, steel wool is a very exotic item, unknown in Puerto Rico, provoking head shakes, calls to managers, conferences in the aisles and ultimate no's all around, not just "No steel wool" but more like, "No, we don't know what it is and we don't have any." Have you ever tried to describe steel wool??? So...to all of you who keep asking "What would you like me to bring you from where ever" the answer at the moment is...steel wool please!

- It's cold.
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 08:39:48 -0400
Two blankets last night a vague rememberance this morning of other mornings other places - not wanting to get up *quite yet* because under the covers felt good and cozy. Mr. weather radio says 73 F right now. No doubt the day will get warm as the sun is shining brightly. My bay looks like a lake with no movement of air here at the moment. Of course - that's my take, sitting in a sleeveless top and shorts, barefoot. As we say so often, yep, it's different here...

- Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (The day of the Three Magi)
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 08:16:36 -0400
"Three Kings Day - a traditional gift-giving holiday on the island (celebrated each year on January 6), commemorates the day that the three Wise Men (Balthasar, Melchoir and Gaspar) brought gifts to the Christ child. On the evening of January 5, boys and girls place clumps of hay or grass and a bowl of water for the Kings' camels in boxes under their beds. Custom has it that the grateful Three Kings leave presents at children bedsides to thank them for their gifts of food and water."

Today is the culmination of the Christmas holiday season, a very important holiday! Starting last night and continuing today, bigger than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here, there will be a parade of the Three Kings arrival, the paso fino will be out in the streets, family dinners will be feasts. Today the cart will be closed. I don't need the Three Kings on my case, stealing any of their moment. Something about karma...(I'm an all-purpose religious type - as one friend says, whatever works!) I didn't leave any grass under my bed, unless some is growing there that I don't know about, but horses on the porch is enough - the camels will just have to find the other good children in the barrio.

It feels like winter to me. 76 F with strong breezes. A bit of rain around dawn, but now the sun is shining, with plenty of clouds scattered around. We might get a bit of rain on and off, but for now, it looks like another beautiful day.

- Paradox paradise
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 20:10:10 -0400
The weather has been so beautiful lately, there isn't much to say about it except, wow. The little rain storms make for great rainbows and amazing clouds. Today, in a perfectly blue sky came along a cloud so black and so big, while the sun kept shining. I closed the cart and went over to hang out with a friend who has a store with a ROOF, getting there just in time for the big drops to come plopping down. The sun still shone. The black cloud moved around a bit, rain moved around a bit, then sun and sun and more sun with a great breeze. At least I think it was great - I know a few sailors trying to go south that aren't quite as thrilled about it. That is how it goes though, and none mind being stuck here a bit longer...

I got an email awhile back, a very nice guy telling me, more or less "they would be back soon" and hoped to see me again. Since I talk to a LOT of people, I wasn't quite sure who this was but figured when face to face I would remember. After the second email, I realized, I was NOT the MJ they thought I was, but the *other* MJ. We cleared that up nicely and he asked if I'd like anything from Wisconsin. Jokingly, I wrote, well CHEESE of course. Today at the cart a guy comes up and says, you don't know me but....and I realized right away who it was. We laughed, talked about the other MJ a bit and then he said, I have something for you. I couldn't imagine what it was when he handed me some gorganzola cheese from Wisconsin! Well!!! That is about my favorite cheese - though I think I could pretty much live on any *real* cheese and as anyone familiar with Culebra knows, good cheese is hard to find and gorgonzola impossible. I tried to give him some hot sauce but he was off and running to the airport after delivering some kayaks and left me grinning. Just another one of those wonderful Culebra moments that make living here so good. Thanks, Cheese Guy!!!

- La bella luna
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 19:21:53 -0400
The full moon is riding high over the cloud banks, bright enough to make moon shadows. Another beautiful day in Paradox, with couple of hard, brief rains to cool things off. My weather radio thermometer shows 76 inside...blankie night for sure!

- A perfect day first 2007
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 17:55:42 -0400
After a fantastic party in the streets last night - some good rain showers but clearing by 10 ish, (thanks F & A for opening the doors, even though The Spot is not OPEN yet!, good live music, drink, some way too smoke filled firework things on the street, seeing everyone I've ever met on Culebra - with the Wiki wristband party finishing the night/morning) today dawned with a bit of rain. After that the weather could not have been more beautiful, cool enough to raise goose bumps mid-afternoon. A few small rain showers today, but mainly good breezes, some bright overcast with full blast sun in between, and perfect temps. Early on the streets were very very quiet but the few and brave and not too hung over ventured out, followed by the hungry, wondering what to do about food. There is ALWAYS some place to eat here eventually, but it can mean a bit of a search, or a bit more of a wait. On Culebra, most everything is closed on this day, so the places that were open were very busy - rest well tonight, good worker bees.

Thanks for all the interesting stats, Bill! May we have another year of such good weather.

A traveller without observation is a bird without wings

- No Chit-Chat, Just the Facts
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2007 07:39:24 -0400
Good Morning & Happy New Year,

Attached please find data and charts from 20 years of rainfall 
collection on Culebra, PR.
You will see with 42.1 inches of rain this year, we are just 
slightly below the average of 45.5 per year.
Culebra remained pleasantly green all year, with just some recent 
browning.  A good year to keep
our cisterns topped-off.    Enjoy '07,  William

Search for products and services at:

JPEG image

JPEG image

- Fwd: Happy New Year!!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 16:33:27 -0400
Trying again...maybe this will show up before it IS the New Year!!!

Begin forwarded message:

From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
Date: December 31, 2006 8:19:15 AM GMT-04:00
Subject: Happy New Year!!

It's not quite sunny and it's not quite cloudy. Fairly typical for the last few days. Last night gave us a good rain, which is like a sleeping pill for me, so I have no idea how long it lasted.
Hopefully the skies will be dry tonight for the island wide party on the ferry dock. From Great-Grandma to the newest baby, the population turns out for food & drink, music and dancing, getting dressed up (or dressed down).
The party spills up the street from the dock, with families setting up tables loaded with food, vendors selling everything from food to glow sticks and finally, fireworks from the water. Hopefully this year they will shoot them in the direction of the water, not the land (I remember a NYE on St. Thomas when they set Hassle <sp?> Island on fire...).
To all, a wonderful new year! If you want to read some superstitions of things to do and not do on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (if you are conscious on New Year's Day), here is a link.


A traveller without observation is a bird without wings

- Spellcheck
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 07:12:05 -0400
That's rain, not rian. Rian is something completely different (just out of curiosity I looked up *rian* and this is the most interesting thing I found, from a blog called rianjs - "In my Facebook profile I have said that “Rian is feeling spongy” or “Rian is a sponge”. This is because I have re-developed the ability to read and retain almost all information after only reading it once..." Ok? Now you know.

- high pressure, sky dry cry
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 06:51:15 -0400
Maybe it's because I haven't had coffee yet but the forecast seemed full of oddness today. Because last night was full of rain, high gusts, and for a few minutes, the sound of thunder. There may have been lightning but I was making hot sauce with my eyes on the goal of finishing, rather than the sky.
Here is the one part of today's weather bit.

"Long term...high pressure will continue to dominate the weather
pattern with generally dry weather conditions interrupted by areas
of clouds and showers embedded in the trade winds."

So...dry, but sometimes it will rian. Gotcha. (Is it just me or does the word embedded seem to be seriously overused?)

- A wonderful weather line
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 22:35:45 -0400
Sun, then overcast, then black, then rain. Close cart (well, right before the rain). Rain stops, open cart, overcast, breezy, perfect for me today. A couple visitors (out of a LOT...suddenly our streets are full of rental cars, restaurants and bars are swamped, it's heeerrrrreeee) asked "Is this a good day to go to the beach?" As we rarely have lightning, I figure when it's warm and you are getting wet anyway, why not go to the beach? If by chance it does start with the bright white light, leave. Maybe I like it because so many people flee the beach with a few drops of rain and it is kind of fun to watch and then enjoy the solitude. Or maybe I'm just...nah, can't be that.

I got an email today with a line in it that may be the best description I've read - ever??

<x-tad-bigger>"Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers."</x-tad-bigger><x-tad-bigger>


- Sound of silence
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 05:18:52 -0400
Having turned off the fans last night in the coolness, it was amazing how absolutely quiet it was (and is) when I woke up this morning. There is not a breath of air stirring.

As it's still dark, I can't see the water, which must look like a lake right now. Even the early roosters sound like they are crowing from deep inside a barrel. But the stars are out, so unless things change a lot between now and later, the sun worshippers should be pleased today. I will be huddled under my umbrella avoiding excess el Sol and thinking about an end of the day swim.

- Rain/sun
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 07:52:46 -0400
Waking up to a barely there rain was a surprise. But while it is overcast, the sun is coming through over the edge of a really ominous looking cloud to the southeast. A slight turn of the gaze brings a patch of pale blue sky but a 90 degree turn and all the rest looks grey grey grey. so it will be one of those "Forecast is 50%. Where will that be?" days. Maybe we even got our share for the day. I watered the gardens anyway, because I don't want the hummingbird who takes a bath on the avocado tree leaves to miss his morning slip and slide in the spray of the hose.

Yesterday truly was perfect weather all day and into the night. The annual Christmas party was feast and fun, as ever. The taxi guy trundling us up and down the mountain kept his smile from the loading of food and people up to taking us, slightly more wobbly (hey, emptyhanded means a lack of balance - I'm pretty sure), down.

Today is Boxing Day. If you have wondered (or heard and forgotten) about what the heck is Boxing Day, here's a good source for info.


Any holiday that supports the serving class, includes drinking hot wine (ok, so fox might have a bad day, but...there are no fox on Culebra...of the four legged variety), and being with family sounds good to me. There must be a Puerto Rican holiday of some sort today, but I forget what it might be.

- noches buenos <sp?>
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 00:10:08 -0400
I learned tonight, ONLY tonight, Christmas Eve, we can say Noches Buenos, so I did...a lot. It had been a beautiful day weather wise, starting with a very overcast morning, hints of rain that never panned out more than a bit of spit (hmmmmm).

Lunch with another working friend closed the cart for the day. It was too hot to sit there, even though the day was breezy and beautiful and I'd rather see the children on Santa's lap at Milka's (one of our markets - Santa comes and gives out gifts to the waiting children...they got REALLY cool colored balls of basketball size. I wanted one bad and was about ready to wrestle some child for it, but they looked too happy -where are brats when you need them most?).

Earlier, before lunch with friend and nefarious thoughts of ball stealing, I'd been standing in the middle of the bridge (cart was open but only a few yards away, hey, it's Culebra...I can go to the store, buy a water, come back...all is well) and I saw what I thought was a giant jelly fish. HUGE in fact. But we looked closer and my friend said, um, that's a bicycle! And it was...the tire rim reflecting the light made it look like (yeah yeah, but it DID!!!). Anyway, on to lunch, at Mamacitas, on the little canal. I see Jack, a guy who told me his bike was stolen (though I heard stories of someone trying to find the owner...yeah yeah, island stuff, but that did happen too) in his strange and wonderful boat Muff coming up the canal. I could tell he was looking for the bike that someone had told him about and went to the wall to tell him it was back by the bridge. He went back there...we went by road. My friend climbed down and Jack got him on the boat as they swayed over the bike and a young guy very familiar with the bridge, tossed bikes and much more said, as the old guys struggled to get the bike with crazy equipment..."Someone should just jump in and grab it." I said, yep!!!! you are right, jump in! And to some tourist delight (by now they were video taping), Josh took off his shirt, though not his pants - disappointing at least ONE of the camera couple - and dove in, snatched the bike, got it aboard with the help of the old (but hunky, trust me!) guys, heaved himself aboard and lo and behold! It WAS the stolen bike, prankstered in the shallow canal. The tourists promise video shot email. If the shot comes out, it will be in our local monthly, the Culebra Calendar. Because....as all of you island types knows (and we have our own belief on how sweet it is here)...hey, it really DOES take an island sometimes! (yep, this was way too long a post, but it was an exceptional day and lucky for my dear faithful reader, I left out the REST of the whole NIGHT!!!! including our mention in the Boston Globe which can be checked out...oh...cough...never mind).

The weather is perfect. The moon is bright. Noches buenos! and a glorious Christmas Day to all, whether you celebrate the holiday or not...a beautiful day is a beautiful day, si?? Oops!!! It is nine minutes into Christmas Day! Well, I'm fakin' it. As Tiny Tim said...did you bring me anything?

- Later and better
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 06:09:15 -0400
This year the paranda truck gets to my barrio sometime after 5 instead of the 3 a.m. it used to be. I didn't mind the 3 a.m. but this is great...waking up under a blanket in cool air to the sound of good steel pan Christmas music (for some reason, the music is always good - music I never hear any other time).

I get up, put tea on and walk in the yard to look at the sky, still black at that time, stars bright. Yesterday the Southern Cross was hanging there on the horizon, brilliant. Today it is very overcast, and now the edges of the cloud bowl are just getting lighter with dawn. It is cool enough to keep the blanket wrapped around. Another winter morning in Paradox.

The music fades out, the tea is strong, Christmas lights make up for temporarily missing stars. A very good Christmas Eve day start, a perfect ending of Hannukah. I'm sure there's some Kwanza stuff going on, I'll check my date book.

- it isn't really hot...they say
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 20:01:29 -0400
It seems I've got, or had, or am getting over, whatever is going around (yep, Tortola, it's here too). I hate to call it *plane flu* this early in the season, but one friend has walking pneumonia, and a few others aren't doing 100%. Friends told me today that it wasn't really hot, that it must be whatever is keeping me on energy low level and/or the way the cart sits - which is full blast in the winter sun. I'm sure they are right as when I'm in the middle of the bridge (10 feet one way with the breeze blasting through) or ten feet the other way (past the fire station, almost to Milka's market, in the shade of the trees), it's not bad at all. My umbrella needs a mist factor - I need to work on that). Right now it is cool and the fans are off, only the sound of wavelets hitting my tiny beach. Oops...minor cat fight out there...

Traffic is increasing, more baby traffic jams at my four corners by the cart, a lot of new faces coming and going. I am seriously considering becoming the troll at the bridge of fairy tales, information 1.00 - where to eat, where to stay, how to get to this beach, that beach, this store, that store, the ferry (which ALWAYS makes me pause...I guess sometimes Culebra is so small, it is confusing that it is so easy to get around). One man said today, "What is with the restaurants here? No breakfast? Serving lunch now?" Well, it WAS 11:30...and breakfast ended at most places around 11. I bit my tongue and suggested he go for lunch. He bit his tongue and waddled off. Few and far between, as most are just really glad to be in Tranquillo Zone.

Walking home late this afternoon, cloudy skies making an awesome sunset, I was behind four teenage girls, all singing. They stopped someplace, I was in front of them. I stopped someplace, I was behind them again. They sang so beautifully in Spanish, almost all the way home. When they broke off to go up another street, the music truck was coming along with more Christmas music, the sky was flaming, the air was cool. I got home, and walked around the gardens - the purple orchid is going crazy again - and once again realized the gift of living here. Felizidades!

- Wreaths and smiles and TV, oh my!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 08:25:26 -0400
While the weather here yesterday seemed to take a step back into pretty hot without much breeze, Christmas truly arrived in the form of the wreaths George and Jane bring to us. Is there something genetic involving the smell of fir/pine boughs that soothes the soul? All I know is it is wonderful to open the cart each morning enveloped in fragrance from a place far away. Two Canadian women were at the cart when the wreath arrived - they may not have quite understood the very big deal, but no doubt they were amused. Yesterday evening our own SnapperFarm (the fish farm located far out in the water around Culebra) was on national US television, World News and Nightline. Neil set up the big screen tv in the bar at Dinghy Dock and people in the dining area wondered why people at the bar were clapping and yelling (withOUT singing Happy Birthday). It was so much fun to see Culebra pointed out on a map on television - they sure don't do that during Hurricane season! and to see the very hard work that the guys and Johanna do rewarded with such positive coverage. Bring on the cobia sashimi!! If you haven't eaten cobia, here's a personally tested plug for it...it is one of the best fish and whether it's grilled, broiled, or eaten as sushi and/or sashimi (my favorite), it is fantastic.

Another day in Paradox!

- another perfect day...ho hum (not)
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 18:01:14 -0400
This morning was cool and beautiful, leading into a bit of a hot day, ending in the right now, an afternoon into evening of perfect temperature. There is a bit of breeze (at least enough to get my landlord out for his nightly sail, I just saw him walking through the side yard to his boat), it must be enough to keep the mosquitos away, as I haven't been bitten yet.

Some tourists came by the cart today and commented on how quiet it is here. I told them they were here at the perfect time, everything is open now and the filled rooms and all rented rental jeeps are still a few days away. They live on a tiny island in Michigan and know the tourist season routine. I tried to fathom living on an island in a place that gets so cold...and failed. Thank goodness there are people who really do enjoy that white stuff or EVERYone would be here!

Fun things of the season...friends get parents, children, relatives down and you get to meet FAMILY. People you have known for years suddenly become daughters, sons, fathers or mothers. So many of us have moved so far from where we came from and have become our own family of strange sorts. It's great to meet the real thing.

Teresa's retirement party was wonderful. Great food, plenty to drink and a wide variety of people who don't always get together, but did, because of Teresa being who she is. As always at events of this sort, you find out things you never knew about someone you think you know a bit. Teresa spent 14 official (and more un-officially) years giving herself to Culebra - the environment, the people, the strays (humans and animals alike) and much more. She is who we said to call or called ourselves if an animal was poisoned or sick (she has antidotes), or if something seemed amiss on the island. While she couldn't always fix it, she cared enough to find out how it might be fixed. Fluent in Spanish, she is one of the seriously adopted daughters of Culebra and last night was all about her. Her comment? She didn't do it herself, she just helped things happen with the help of many, many others. And she really IS like that. Enjoy not being under the rule book, Teresa! We're still going to call you.

- lots of sun and Lake Island Woman
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 19:53:26 -0400
Today started as another perfect day. But as the sky got cloudy, I knew rain was coming. Would it be a little or a lottle? It was a little, then a lottle...the dip in the road in front of the cart that I call Lake Island Woman filled. I swept it out as the rain stopped. It rained again....Teresa, our Fish and Wildlife person, came by. Once before she'd asked me to close up, so the sun would shine (this happens often) and she asked again..."In a half an hour or so, MJ, could you act like you are closing the cart?" By then it had rained a WHOLE lottle and looked like more was coming, so close the cart I did. Of course, the sun came out...and there was Teresa, wondering if there was something maybe a little strange going on..."That's twice now, MJ..." The sun only lasted awhile, but I was at Dinghy Dock by then, watching the rain blast down on the other side of the harbour and getting us only slightly wet. Then the sun was out to stay....coolness, not steam. Not bad. Tomorrow we will gather at BarbaraRosa's for Teresa's retirement party (if you haven't heard about it, start cooking). Almost all of our parties here are of the *bring something to eat and whatever you drink* variety and it always works out well - there are some magic closet chefs here. I think that the deviled sea turtle eggs and sea turtle soup are covered. Someone mentioned bringing the manatee steaks and I'm sure I overheard that the decorations of mangrove branches and living coral are being put together. I think the only thing missing would be some sea hawk bits on crackers, but someone will do it. It's going to be a fine time. Hey, has anyone looked into grabbing a couple of those goats off of Luis Pena??? It's not too late!

- It's cold and miserable somewhere...
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 08:08:17 -0400
...but not here. When the skies are brilliant blue and the sun is shining and there is enough of a breeze to keep it on the cool side, with the water still warm enough to be enjoyed, the only thing to write about this weather is: Don't forget to call your friends in those *other* places and let them know ALL about it! Kindness is good, try not to snicker too much until you hang up.

Happy Channakah!

- Birthday karma
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 08:52:48 -0400
Sitting at one of the dock edge tables and getting a bit of an early start before the worker bees arrived, the Sunshine birthday girl glances in the water and says, MJ, is that money? I look and agreed, after realizing it wasn't a beer bottle label. Looking closer, it looked like something bigger than a single, which made it worth getting. The birthday girl clamored down into a friend's dinghy and, using a paddle, gently got the bill moving upward. One of the chefs also wielded a paddle of some sort and between them, the bill came to the top. By now everyone in the bar (and upstairs at the On Island store) were paying attention. Sunshine girl grabs the bill and it's a 50! The bar got a round of drinks, we celebrated serendipity, and eventually moved on to Bahia Marina, where we found another birthday girl, the young and beautiful version. Tables were put together and while for some reason the rest of the place cleared out rather rapidly, the owner was all smiles to hear us sing Happy Birthday yet another time. The weather held steady to perfect. Another friend had a birthday yesterday, celebrating over on Jost. I raised a glass for Danny, so close but so far. Love you, guy! Hope my hug and kiss and a little dance made it over the water to you.

- and the rain comes down...
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 11:13:43 -0400
...which is better than the alternative, the plants would be so confused.
Last night's rain started like a fire engine hose on the roof, then stopped, started again, a tin roof shock alarm that somehow makes sleeping easier. Today started sunny - but now it is dark and rainy - looking at the radar it could be a pattern for the day (but it could just get sunny again and stay that way). Such a science, weather.

It's getting close to paranda time again...music in the streets, going house to house eating, drinking and singing. Shouldn't everyone be doing that during the holidays at 3 in the morning? I think so. In the VI's it's called a tramp, and no doubt other islands have the tradition under other names. Some complain about very loud music in the early hours, but I like it. It's part of where I live and what the people here do...different than where I grew up, and that's one of the reasons I live here. It IS different. A few of us will start early this evening with a birthday paranda, celebrating one of the Sunshine Girls...hope the rain is gone by then.

- Update
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 15:35:02 -0400
After a long night of music (see below that somehow didn't get posted) under clear skies, today is turning out the same, with a tiny sprinkle on the way home this afternoon, while the winds pick up a bit, making it pretty close to perfect. Of course, there could be a gale blowing up, but right this minute all is fine.

From last evening:

The 20 percent chance of rain hit us this morning, all 20 percent. Then the sun shone hot, but in the shade, it was still cool and breezy. Tonight, the sky is clear. There is what seems to be an annual Christmas party across the water, a house only used occasionally - I always imagine it's some business guy from San Juan., Eight or more huge sport fishing boats are rafted up, lit like Christmas trees. A good band is playing salsa, with the occasional romantic ballad thrown in, and every sound of any good party sounds out, laughter, talking. It isn't hard to imagine the dancing and drinking, but from my dock all to be seen are boats and lights from the tents set up in the yard, with people occasionally moving boat to boat. This party always runs into the wee hours and with clear skies ahead, it will be wee hours indeed. Maybe I should invite myself over, I bet the food is great...I say this every year and once again, I'll go to sleep to the music instead.
Christmas, PR style, has, for me, officially begun.
 (uh oh, I just heard him yell out karaoke...this could get bad)

- update
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 18:42:21 -0400
As it turns out, there really WAS a mistake (or two or three) and I didn't win second place at the chili contest after all as Culebra runs true to form! One of the bomb squad guys, Calley <sp?> won, with Zach in second and me hauling around my crock pot like a winner wanna be. But I get to keep the prize anyway, because...well, it's Culebra. And Calley gets a prize bar tab, which I think he'll like better than sweets (Calley wanna cookie?). Let's do it again soon - I like the odds - that's why I live here. Hot and still today, with a generous short-lived rain shower (you're welcome, Theresa) but it has already cooled off enough to turn off the desk fan. Good sleeping weather ahead. Hasn't the moon been amazing?

- Change is good
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 08:13:17 -0400
Wind and rain and chilly weather perfect for the chili cook off and Christmas bazaar last night.
Ok, not really, just seeing if you are paying attention.
It wasn't windy or rainy or chilly, but there really was a chili cook off. And I really did win 2nd prize and I really don't know how that happened. If it was a mistake, too bad, I already have begun plundering my prize of gourmet goodies - but I'll share. By my very scientific weather observations, even without those fierce winds from last week, it truly is cooler. I know this because I didn't see anyone dripping sweat into their chili last night with a large crowd in a small space. Along with eating, there were other goodies to buy with profits going to help support the small private school here (don't let the phrase *private school* fool you, as with much else with Culebra, posh and prim don't apply, caring about the kids and good teaching does). This morning is pretty still with a breath of coolness left from the night - good news for snorklers and fisher folk, What's the next cook-off? I'm feeling as giddy as a Betty Crocker prize winner and I'm ready to go for No. 1!

- oh what a night
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2006 22:01:28 -0400
Working backward...the last words spoken were GOING to be..."Gasolina, grande" pointing to my nose at the truck pulled over fast in front of me, and the guy saying back, gasolina?? <sniffing the wind> thank you! Dont' know what that was about...The wind is still hard and the smell of gas was blowing in my nose. Maybe that's why they pulled over, maybe not. Before that, the last words were yelled out of a vehicle "Love you!" in a voice I may or may not have recognized. Before that was a wonderful few hours celebrating the 60 years of life my friend Linda has spent on the earth, with many friends along for the joy. Cool winds - ok, shivering at Dinghy Dock...we liked it. BUT. The last words I heard spoken on my walk home (I could have stayed but you know how it's time to go home? It was time) were from a very young man walking along, who knows me slightly, Do you know what time it is? Reply, I don't have a clue, and in fact I didn't until this second looking at the computer clock, which reads almost 10 p.m., Oh my! VERY late for me. Go well, young man. In the mid afternoon of the day, sitting at the cart, a phalanx of people, men in suits and women dressed beautifully, came toward me. I thought, this is the wedding party or Culebra is in a heap of trouble. The lead man, smiling hugely, said, I'm one of them, it's now, I'm the one (this is a loose quote, ok?) and I knew, and he reached out, we hugged. I figured out later that "one of them" meant he was the groom - we're fast on Culebra that way.... The weather (oh yeah, this is a weather report, I haven't quite forgotten) had turned beautiful, sun and high wind - men in suits not sweating! (well, maybe he was a bit). And then on to celebrate my friend Linda's years on earth. Oh. Can life be better? Maybe, but I'm satisfied. The night goes on, wind blowing high, moon lighting up our earth. Temp indoors says 80 but it feels chilly to me. The moon isn't legally full but it doesn't matter. It's Culebra full moon night tonight.

- update
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 21:35:18 -0400
This afternoon turned out to be incredibly beautiful with blue skies, still lots of wind but that just kept it cool. Of course, I'd already decided to go home. Oops, had to play in the yard instead...actually trying to help a returned certain BIRTHDAY girl get her engine in order. I stand around handing things, she works on it...but alas, the engine won for today. I did learn that iguanas swim with their tails, not their legs, which are aerodynamically flat against their sides...probably everyone knows that but I didn't until one swam by the dinghy formally known as useful. Nature's little amusing way of saying....engines? Silly humans! Also, I was told that the engine fire that happened on Atlantis (the ferry) was not really a big deal at all and easily fixed. Once the winds cooperate (and they may have this afternoon, I don't know as I wasn't in town - it's sooooooooo far away), it will be back to to and fro'ing. Good. Good luck for all the wedding people who have had a bit of a rough time working around our weather! Something about that 1000 mile journey, one step thing...best of wishes, bride and groom! No matter what the weather, you're on Culebra, you're in love and starting a new time in your lives, and that makes it all fine (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

- A horse of course
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 08:50:25 -0400
While looking at the radar and listening to the rain and wind in the trees, I looked out the door because of a strange clanking sound. There were two horses, practically on my little porch, feasting on the seed pods of the nasty riyoh <sp?> trees. The clanking sound came from a small bucket that has somehow gotten tangled in the tail of one of the horses. Since it is VERY close to her back legs, I had to let it stay there (no halters to grab onto) as replacing my front teeth is not on my list of things to do today. I guess it's as good as a bell... Delicate steps around the gardens, just going around on the paths eating seed pods. Pretty big ballerinas. They have wandered away for now...just a little unscheduled entertainment in the rain, Culebra style.

- High seas, wind advisories
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 08:02:43 -0400
Well, yeah!
The wind advisory is in effect until noon today here, with the high seas advisory in effect until tomorrow morning. Rain on and off all night, with some slashing down right now. My yard is littered with seed pods, flowers, small branches and many leaves, but the banana quit nest holds tight to its swaying branch. Smart birds. It seems to be a good day to cook soup or chili (practice for the chili cook off next week!), and curl up with a good book in my own nest...

- the last at last
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 18:48:17 -0400
And so, good-bye November 2006. We've been blessed with a quiet year. The Christmas winds are upon us and all is well. Today Ensenada Honda looked like a washing machine on the Crazy cycle, the wind funneling down the canal where the bridge is was enough to literally rock you off your stride. But at the cart, 15 feet away, it was, with a house and a lot of trees blocking the gale, just breezy. Mid-day I found out that my friends didn't get out of here this morning as planned; I was sitting at the cart thinking what a nice evening we'd had, and rejoicing over my gift bottle of mamajuana (a homemade rum/honey/who knows what else brew from St. Croix - made by Norma from the pig bar up in the rain forest - if you get to St. Croix, it's a must go place - toss the pigs some beer, chat with Norma and check out the mamajuana), that they left at the cart on their way to the airport, when I look up and there is Valerie, laughing at my jaw dropping to see her still here. We had a shot or two of mamajuana while she explained the windy situation. The pilot from St. Thomas had bailed on them completely, but another finally agreed to try it (landing here - it's tricky in any weather and gusty?...well, I'll say no more), coming from St. Croix. I haven't seen or heard from them so I figure they are on Tortola (plane to STT, ferry to Tortola) now. Another exciting day in Paradox. I staked up my bent over trees, and watch the sky. We've had some amazing rainbows lately. The sun keeps waking up later and going to bed earlier. Welcome, December!

- oops! forgot
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 22:17:32 -0400
Barbara, the socks are on the way! Had to mash up some plantains, draw out the fibers, weave a bit and learn how to make socks from some wonderful Culebrense women - and then find a fisherman who would go out far enough to toss them (safely wrapped) in the current headed toward you. Be on the beach in about 35 hours. Love, MJ (stay warm!)

- Ferry engine fire...no harm, but foul
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 21:55:36 -0400
The ferry 'Atlantis' had an engine catch on fire today....friends just back from US were on it. Jane said, I just was so glad we didn't have to change boats in those seas!!! The able ferry guys got the fire put out quickly but such a drag!!! Atlantis was our *fast* ferry, taking a bit more than an hour instead of an hour and a half, Fajardo to home. We'll probably not see it again for a long time. Wonder if we even have another ferry, because we haven't had Atlantis in ages. No doubt there is something that works...somewhere...to get us to and fro.
The winds are still blowing hard; it's so beautiful and cool. Friends are leaving here tonight (a week here and tonight a farewell dinner that could be counted as legal extra baggage and so incredibly delicious, from The Fox's Lair (thank you Suzy! thank you Tasito!), over from St. Croix and heading to Tortola (how DO you get off of Culebra anyway??? It's not easy but we figured it out eventually....hooray Ace Flights) to go sailing on a Cruising World sail with Fatty Goodlander, spread out among nine boats. With these winds, they should be scooting right smart! Fair winds, following seas, V & T!!! Don't forget my wine.
Notice how when it gets cool and lovely, the energy level goes up? Or maybe it's just me...but I don't think so.

- A good day for drying clothes on the line?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 07:27:06 -0400
79 degrees and gusty! Rain last night has the plants in the gardens looking happy and made for excellent sleeping weather. The fans are off, for now. A banana quit has built a nest in the outer branch of a tree right over the garden closest to my house. I don't know if it is confused and thinks this is spring or if it just feels like good nest building weather. Or maybe she just likes rock and roll. I hope the tiny eggs will be safe in the wind, or the iguanas are going to get some teeny omelets one of these days...

- sunny to strange 0 to 60
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 08:21:32 -0400
A gilt edged sunrise...gentle rain in the sun...clouds move in...temp drops a bit...a feeling of *something's in the air and I think it is rain* coming on.
I watered the gardens. Of course!

- protest'in the sun
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 20:39:42 -0400
Today started early, as in 5:30 in the morning early, stars still shining, coolness in the air. I was dressed (literally, a dress! oh my) and waiting for my ride to the ferry with my friend, to go to Fajardo for a protest at the courthouse. A protest, yes, remember that word? There is a bad man here on Culebra, who also haunts on the big island of Puerto Rico, using the power of his wallet to take what is not his own. But, no matter the weather, a goodly group of Culebrense, local and adopted, went out in the dawn with a beautiful sunrise to protest this man trying to steal access to a local beach, protected by ancient law, that he has decided he owns, along with his newly bought property. Drive there at your own risk, but try it often!!! The coolness we've enjoyed recently disappeared in the last couple of days. But old people and young people and a bunch of in the middle people marched in picketing stride, joined by a great group called Amigos del Mer (Friends of the Sea) who brought along banners, enthusiasm and stamina. We sweat, we chanted, and kept moving while court churned along. Water was provided, rests were taken, to begin again. I learned some new Spanish phrases, one about being united and not failing. My favorite protest sign was painted onto a Chinese parasol - one I think a few of us will try next time. Shade and message! Go Dione! The outcome? Postponed until January, after the holiday blitz. The trip home? All of us on the ferry (we even got the faster, newer ferry, life is good) spread out but together. Beautiful weather, a new breeze and coolness coming in, sleeping on the benches in between talking about what the day had brought. Another strange and beautiful day in Paradox.
Tonight it is still cool, with a front moving in. Surf's up!

- Happy Thanksgiving
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2006 09:14:47 -0400
There is a weird cloud outside, shaped like a very ungainly bird...the air smells like food, and the sun is shining. The chickens are very, very quiet... Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Americans; enjoy your friends and family (and thanks to Screen & Bike Steve for showing up to keep one group bug free later today), and thanks to all the rest of you for keeping us all informed all during the H season and the rest of the year.
Buen provencho!

- Where'd the sun go?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 08:34:32 -0400
What started as a sunny morning is, at the moment, changing to a cloud covered sky, with the breeze picking up to windiness. It looks like it could rain, but it might just be a really nice, cool day - it's the guessing game, again! But...it's 85 degrees here on this day before American Thanksgiving, and snow was seen last night in Central Florida...'nuff said.

- Christmas winds?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 07:11:41 -0400
Sitting at the cart yesterday with some breeze out of the southwest (yes) I was almost ready to turn off the fan when suddenly the wind seriously picked up, the temp seemed to drop a couple of notches and a woman called out from her car, "I think the Christmas winds just started!!". The fan got a much needed break for the rest of the afternoon.

And as the breeze blows strongly cool this morning, 83 degrees not laden with humidity and morning light sparkling on the water, I have to agree - it sure feels like Christmas winds! We'll see.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...good chance it's a chicken in disguise.

- Faint
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 07:20:25 -0400
Faint rain, faint breeze, faint sun, faint haze, faint slapping of water on my tiny bit of shore on a cool morning here. Along with that light that makes all the different shades of green stand out like they are lit up from the inside. Another beautiful morning of a different sort in Paradox.

Yesterday, while doing chat lite with a couple at the bar, I asked if they were enjoying Culebra and the man said they were from a nearby island, implying it was a bit of the same old same old. I did the *huh?* face and sputtered something, then moved on to mutual people known on that other island...because most of the people I know here, gringos and Culebrense alike, no matter how long they have lived here, express at least once a week, some much more, how lucky we are to live here, and how, waking up in the morning and looking around outside keeps knocking us for a bit of a *oh joy* loop. There is something so strong about this place. It's good to wake up in the morning, every day, and think, Wow, aren't I the lucky one?

- I want my blankie!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 05:57:02 -0400
I woke up around 4 this morning, not because of insomnia, but because I was COLD! My normal covering of a cotton sheet (which can turn into a down filled sleeping bag on those oh so hot nights) felt like it was made of something the weight and thickness of Kleenex. I'm usually one of those disgusting types who can wake up and be ready to go in about 7 minutes. But when I am cold - I pretty much can't function. Curled in a ball under my big piece of Kleenex my brain says...cold...get warm...do something...and the other brain says...blanket too far, at least 10 feet away....until finally I realize it's better to leap through that 10 feet and get the blanket which is stuffed inside its plastic hiding place. Then of course, there is the next problem. Brain says...ahhh....warm...cozy....love this blanket, it loves you, don't get up. Other brain says...yeah.

My name is MJ and I love my blanket. And I'm not ashamed.

- early hours rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 08:39:47 -0400
At 3 a.m. the air was flat calm and it was too warm, but it was only Nature's air sucking preclude to the rain that fell soon after for the next two hours or so, hard enough to soak the ground, steady enough to lull me back to sleep. Why awake at 3:00 a.m.? To hear the rain start? I have a 92 year old aunt whom my brother swears hasn't slept since 1975; it must be genetic. Thanks, Aunt Mimi! Right now it's a grey, watery sun sky, 78 degrees according to my weather radio, and the water is barely rippling. I like it.

- pitter patter
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 06:59:27 -0400
The fans are off and the indoor thermometer reads 79, and a wake up rain, steady but very light. Unless it lasts a long time, the gardens will still need water (if it DOES last though, this is the best sort of rain for plants, slow and soaking). The blob on the radar, as usual, will go where it likes, though it *appears* to be moving to the east of us. And as I type, the sound of the rain is getting lighter and lighter...

- Just Great Weather
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 11:38:41 -0400
Here is a photo of our sister island, Vieques.  Showing the 
wonderful weather we are enjoying on Culebra these days.  Clear 
skies, nice clouds, beautiful seas, and breath-taking views.  Not 
bad for a photo taken from our city dump this AM!  Yup, it's a 
wonderful day in the neighbor hood.  Enjoy,  William


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JPEG image

- They're baaaaaaacccckkk!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 17:46:20 -0400
Winter people are returning like the swallows of Capistrano, hugs and hello's. Last night under a starry sky until it rained (always fun, people finally dress up, scatter around eating frees noshes and drinking free wine and beer while a great jazz band plays and the rain takes us ALL under the covered area by the pool so we can get close and sweaty together) we gathered for the opening of the Cayo Swim Up uh....Bar & Bistro (if I get that wrong, Lisa is going to tweak my head, but I tried) at Bahia Marina. The rain looked kind of pretty in the lights of the parking area, and didn't last long, remaining clear for the rest of the evening. Today was hot and at the cart and not too breezy but who cares!!! I got a FAN! Not the hand held kind and it was sort of fun to see people wondering how it was running as the cart is literally a cart, no electricity, no phone, no water...just the cart. The secret is a solar panel on the roof and a battery (I'd tell you where it is but then...you'd know), an inverter and WA LA, fan face! These perfect afternoons start earlier and earlier. Right now the end of magic light time has the sun just tipping off the edge of the small mountain across the water from me, the air is cool and it's paradise again.

- predictions
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 16:30:57 -0400
This afternoon is so beautiful - cool, breezy, sunny...perfecto.
Yesterday I got a ride home from an older local gentleman. As I was getting out he said, I think there is going to be rain (people talk to me about the weather a lot, because of the cart...and because we talk about the weather a lot). I said, tonight? He just looked at me...ok. He was right, some rain during the night and a nice shower early and then later this morning, right after I opened up the cart.

A woman and her children stood under the umbrella to wait it out and the little girl told me her birthday would be in two days - she would be seven. That little conversation was about how long the rain lasted. I said to the little girl...see? It's stopped raining and the sun never stopped shining! Her eyes got really wide and she almost bent over with joy...You know what THAT means?? she asked me. I said, What? and with this huge grin, she told me. RAINBOWS!!!! We didn't see a rainbow that time, but that's my kinda kid...good on ya, Mom!

- Breezy and beautiful
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006 14:06:57 -0400
Today I got to experience the weather and water in an excellent way. Chris Goldmark, our fly fisherman extraordinaire ( culebraflyfishing.com ), invited me for a shake down boat ride and fish hunting excursion.

While we had a high surf advisory and once out of the bay, it was slightly rough, there was barely even sea spray. The waters were *all those colors* and I got to try fly fishing for the first time. He had also brought along a little regular rod to use - I confess it was easier for me. Watching his ballet with the fly rod was pretty amazing - the old "He makes it look so easy!" thing. Uh huh.

The fish were sparse but I really didn't care. It is one of those made up for adverts to those in the North type of days...we actually had a bone fish on the line...ok, Chris caught it and handed me the pole and I ...lost it. Oops. Lots of little yellowtails that we released to grow up. And something called a lizard fish (UGly!) We saw rays, and a turtle...the turtle was just languidly swimming along and did something I've not seen one do...he/she literally lifted his/her front flippers up in a breast stroke move and dove, swimming like a torpedo away from us. A very cool zoom moment. On a very cool day off. The breeze is picking up, the sun is still shining, and my chair seems to be rocking a bit. Thanks, Chris (who I think should have as his motto "Just one more spot...")

- Hot & Heroic
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 16:09:16 -0400
While it wasn't really that hot today, for some reason, on one street in town, it seemed broiling. And on that street was a friend who had just bought a, not new, but sure new to her, pretty fancy (read power everything) vehicle. The kind that locks itself if you shut the door...she went into Paradise Gift Shop for one second, left the thing running, ac on, windows closed TIGHT, extra keys in her purse...on the seat...inside...*click*

The dexterity of the gift shop owner was amazing, the strength of the hanger (yes, a wire hanger - this shop has EVERYTHING!!!) and new fangled (ok, the car is 13 years old, that's new fangled for us though) technology was at fault...she had that hanger around the lock, over the lock/unlock button, over the actual handle, but it wasn't happening. The cops weren't happening. The car rental guy who might have a trick up his sleeve was on the big island. - not happening. And while his name had been mentioned quite a few times already, the vehicle owner, not wanting to wreck his mellow Sunday, accepted that we were At That Point...it was time to call Super Magic Man.

I think most islands have a Super Magic Man...the guy who will show up, and with extreme patience and a grin, fix just about anything and only take a beer or two in return, his motto being, we are all here to help each other, right? And if your island doesn't have one, sorry, you can't have ours!!! Sweat pouring off him - eventually we held some cardboard over his poor sun beaten head - he came equipped with proper tools (a 2 second job for a really old car..this wasn't one of them) but after gentle prodding, inch by inch like a rather unusual doctor, the door lock gave way to him, to our Sunday-quiet-breaking cheers.

And suddenly it didn't seem so hot at all...just a really beautiful day again...and time for afternoon cocktails in the breeze.

- seasonal change
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 01:22:01 -0400
When hurricane season starts, it is marked by a date. But like *real* seasons in other climates, it is also marked by signs - winter people have left, visitors start ebbing down to a noticable low level, the air smells different, the water warms up. But it takes until almost late September to realize that your breath has been half-held and watching every weather site bookmarked isn't the first thing you do to start every day (of course, if the worst happens or looks close to it, seasonal, along with everyday life, suspension occurs). By October, still alert, but a little weary of it, Halloween looks like a good diversion AND it means the END of October. One more month... The ending of hurricane season is in sight with date and signs, not just the approaching end of November but a few winter friends coming back, more visitors arriving (two weddings on Culebra this weekend, nice). I realize I've been mentally tapping my foot a bit when a friend back from the busy North says how nice and quiet it is and I realize hey! I'm a bit over it with people quiet (NOT weather wise, I swear it!). I'm ready to see some friends who have been away and meet some new travelers - I want an injection of catch up stories. I'll even listen to early snow stories. So maple leaves are not falling but my sea almonds are shedding like mad, and no chimneys are wafting smoke, but the subtle temp changes are, like returning people, showing up, with the cooling off time now in late afternoon daylight rather than 3 a.m., and the water from the cold tap is no longer burning hot, but still warm enough for showers without the other tap going. The air is clearer (oh, that's not seasonal, just no ash!) because Sahara dust is on the wane. Seasons, island style. Gotta look a little closer for the signs, but they're here.

- SJ radar down again
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 07:21:14 -0400
I had a really nice email response to my question about our radar being down. I was told it had been struck by lightning and they were trying very hard to get it back up and running. But parts is parts and some of them seem to be...delayed in arriving (something we all understand), so maybe it will all be fixed for *good* soon. Had to laugh at the Barbados question of imagining an island without stop lights (due to power outages). Why yes, I can imagine that very easily. One aspect of losing power we don't have to deal with here, hopefully forever. Yesterday continued as it began, a beautiful, breezy day. Today there is less breeze but it still looks pretty good from here, at 80 degrees and pale blue skies so far.

- On & Off
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2006 09:23:26 -0400
Rain showers came and went, with a good one at dawn thirty - leaving me with no need to water the gardens. A good breeze seems to be almost keeping the mosquitos at bay, for now. Another beautiful day.

- October Rainfall Stats
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2006 06:20:47 -0400
Good Morning,  Culebra received 12.5 inches of rain in October, nearly doubling 
our average of 6.5 for the month.  That put our year-to-date total at 38.9 
inches.  November is starting our with early morning showers, but it looks like 
clear sky the east.

Enjoy,   William


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- island(s) weather tour
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 06:28:56 -0400
Four days of sailing and island hopping and no television or internet made the weather up close and personal. First leg starting Thursday afternoon brought out the clearest night sky I'd seen in weeks, incredibly beautiful, good breezes, right into Compass Point on St. Thomas. Next leg over to Jost Van Dyke on Friday morning looked interesting. A bit of morning rain before leaving and a strong breeze blowing the water sloppy choppy as we sailed toward an almost black wall of rain over St. John, moving toward St. Thomas. But I had a good feeling about it and we just got wet enough (with the sun still shining) to cool off while the wave swept across the channel and away from us. By the time we turned the corner for Jost the rain was gone.

Sailboats were all over the waters between Tortola and Jost as we cruised into Great Harbour, when the winds decreased and stayed fairly soft until exactly 11:00 on Saturday when the catamaran race (Cat Fight Weekend at Jost) started. Good strong winds, no rain, perfect for racing. It was a friendly race, with the boat coming in fourth as happy as the one coming in first. Maybe happier, as one crew member shared by the swig their prize of some aged rum. It was strong enough to kill any germs in the sharing, that's all I know.. There was a costume party that night and I danced with the devil. Now I know why temptation is so attractive.

Heading for St. John's Coral Bay next (with perfect weather, again) for the night, we left yesterday morning after three mini waves of pretty hard rain. It didn't seem possible that there would be bad weather on such a perfect trip, but that's how it was looking. But again, by the time we got to Ram's Head at the entrance of the bay, the weather once again changed back to perfect, with the wind at our back the whole way to Culebra, on swells spaced just far enough apart to keep us surfing.

Catching up with old friends, making some new ones, sailing to islands I love with almost all clear weather that let me see them in the slo-mo of sailing (green green green and beautiful from all the previous rain)...a great way to start the season of *glued to the cart*...so I can do it again.

- Of course!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 06:04:00 -0400
Our San Juan radar is finally up and working again, now that it is clear skies...and if yesterday is any indication, back to very, very hot again. As I melted into my chair on the cart corner it occured to me that as there are very few visitors here right now and the locals are all smart enough to stay inside in such heat, that I could melt and not be completely solid again for hours and no one would know. That is the sort of thinking that tells you it is time to go home, rehydrate and cool your brain off. So I did. But as one woman (seemingly unaffected by the heat) called out to me yesterday, wasn't it another beautiful day! And she was right; I'd rather be here than anywhere else.

- zoom zoom
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 17:08:36 -0400
I had forgotten that I used to do a lot of other things on the internet beside check the weather (I forget this every year)...and have been enjoying catching up with old places and old friends. Of course that means that we must be on the cusp of some rain event - to which I say good, if it isn't awful, as I am also busy in the gardens, planting, rearranging and getting ready for other plantings, and rain is better than magic. If all goes well (sailing over makes "if all goes well" more important), I'll be heading to Jost Van Dyke this weekend for the Cat Fight - a multi hull regatta and Halloween party with old friends I haven't seen in too long. Maybe I'll sneak in some plants and bring some new ones home. Shhhhhhhh. In the meantime, it's a beautiful afternoon with the smell of fresh cut grass in the air (bless my psycho landlord) after a very hot day. Three kinds of orchids are blooming, the mangos and avocados have new sets of leaves and this morning I had mint & lemon grass tea from the gardens, after munching on cherry tomatoes. Rain is good in even excessive moderation...a little more won't hurt...will it?

- quiet and HOT
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 18:01:56 -0400
Amazing how quickly the ground absorbs all that extra water! While there are still puddles in the streets, some of my plants are drooping already. Today was very hot, and I felt quite safe telling some visitors (maybe two out of....10?) there would be no rain today as I dripped sweat and hoped they didn't think I was drooling, but right now as the light leaves, it's cool and beautiful (even through the noise of the yard being mowed down - bless my wacky landlord).

- sneak attack
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 09:27:50 -0400
The trees are still dripping, the yard is in standing water...and the sat pics look blissfully free of indicating anything other than "where the heck did THAT come from!" The local radar is still "down for maintenance" so that is no help either. According to my little weather radio, it's 83 and according to my eyes, it's overcast, with a very slight breeze out of the south east...back to wrong way winds since yesterday. Maybe it's one of those stay home Sundays....(ok, that should fix it, no more rain today?)

- So they say
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 08:47:51 -0400
After a basically typical October day yesterday (overcast then sunny and warm, then a bit of rain) this is the forecast from this morning...sent out about the time I woke up to another bit of rain). Right now there is a tiny breeze, pale blue skies, and weak sun...pretty nice!

<x-tad-smaller>Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service San Juan PR
501 am AST Sat Oct 21 2006

Discussion...the low levels low pressure system has moved over
Hispaniola as indicated in Quickscat data. The upper level trough
also moved west over Hispaniola as indicated in the latest 200mb
streamline/winds analysis. However...the local airmass continues
very saturated. A weak low level wind flow will persist again
today allowing expected precipitation to move slowly and
producing significant rainfall amounts especially along the
mountainous areas...northern slopes and valleys of Puerto Rico.
The saturated and moist stream will also flow across
Culebra...Vieques and the U.S. Virgin Islands transporting showers
across these islands and surrounding waters. A Flash Flood Watch
remains in effect until noon today for most of Puerto
Rico...Culebra...Vieques and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

</x-tad-smaller>Will it be another day I simply don't have to water the garden or a deluge or nothing at all? We'll see. Poor St. Croix!
Barbara, thanks for the socks offer, but it got warm enough yesterday that I just wanted to enjoy the tiny bit of coolness in the floor through my bare feet. Keep them around though; *winter* is on the way.

- Brrrrr!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 06:54:59 -0400
It's chilly this morning (my floor actually feels cold, and where are my socks now?), after on and off periods of rain last night continued to cool us off. It looks like more is coming this way, even though right now our skies are only lightly overcast with the sun actually making it through and some pale blue to be seen. It looks like those to the east of us are getting blasted (of course, that is an old shot, as our radar is still *down for Maintenance* - the radar fairy apparently hasn't shown up yet) and supposedly heading west. We'll see. In the meantime, I wonder if anyone sells socks on Culebra?

- Some other sats
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 08:19:02 -0400
As Dave noted, our local sat is down...like it usually is when we want it the most. But this is a pretty good page for all of us. Even as a dial up user, it doesn't take too long to load...doing the loops is a different matter.


- Bill measures
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 22:11:23 -0400
I'm so glad Bill gave a measurement, as when I went out tonight with a good BRAVE friend in her car, wading through the water doing sidewalk driving, it was pretty crazy. We're flooded out here, but hopefully it will drain off fast. In the meantime, we're wondering what is next. Hopefully the worst was a few stranded by deep water stopping their cars/vans close to town.

- OK, enough
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 19:39:17 -0400
So far Culebra has recieved 3.7 inches of rain, most of it from 4-7 PM hours.
Still plenty of lightning and thunder around and on/off rain showers.
Enjoy,  William


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- Holy chit, Batman!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 17:31:04 -0400
Those rains and wind have reached us and yes, I'm awake! Even my screen door is soaked and dripping while the wind and rain whip all the little trees and plants around a bit more than I like to see. About an inch of water is standing on the ground right now and it keeps on coming.

- Oops! update
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 11:46:15 -0400
Thanks to some DFR's (dear faithful readers) I saw while walking in town (to get, I'm only slightly embarrassed to say, a copy of a PR tourist magazine with a picture of the cart and moi in it- that I've been hearing about for days but hadn't seen yet - yep, it is me), who asked me, and I paraphrase liberally, as they were much more gentle - making them GDFR's - ...What island were you living on last night? A LITTLE bit of rain? We got 3/4 of an inch and the thunder was shaking the house! Well. I forgot about the thunder shaking the house, along with the accompanying show of lightning which I now recall as being spectacular...and as to the pouring down rain, I can only cover my ... lack of awareness by claiming lack of awareness, I truly did only hear the pitter patter sort of rain - even while the shack was shakin'.
No wonder it was so squishy out there...

- Glorious
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 06:57:41 -0400
If there is a better recipe for good sleep than that old classic soft rain on a tin roof with a nice breeze in the trees (ok, the mangroves but I'm having fireplace with hot cocoa fantasies at the moment), someone let me know. With the ground already squishy, I don't think we got a lot of rain during the night but it seemed to be falling every time I was awake - chickens crowing at the typical 3 a.m. time they believe is dawn will do that on occasion. Along with the banging halyard that an unnamed sailor will be hearing about... This morning is grey and cool, sun trying to break through. Beautiful...but I can feel the heat coming...hurry up with the cocoa, James!

- Mid of mid
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 03:03:44 -0400
Yesterday was an excellent day, from the perspective of cart sitting. Very overcast, very breezy (still the wrong way - days and days of the wrong way wind, which is the right way for cart sitting, coming right to me versus the *right* way wind struggling through the jungle behind me, even when it's honking ten feet down the bridge), and cool. Cool air and good breezes get people all perky and energized. It's easier to feel good when not weighed down with sweat. We've had rain! The ground is a bit soggy, the gardens are green and waving fresh leaves, cisterns are filling, or full. I'll take a little slog in the yard and streets, no problem. Right now, between yesterday and tomorrow, it is dead calm. and the stars are twinkling over all the sky, so who knows what happens in the day light?

- In between trough & wave
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 07:46:35 -0400
Good Morning,

Culebra received 2 inches from the east moving trough last night.  The creek 
was running pretty good through the night.  Now they are predicting the wave to 
cross PR.  Perhaps the El Nino effect will take it east of us with the trough.

Enjoy,  William

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- Here comes the rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 18:36:20 -0400
From Dinghy Dock we watched it get too early darker, the lightning and thunder a show, and then the rain started, that hard rain, which we thought would last the usual five minutes but now almost an hour later, keeps on falling. Judy kept the drinks coming, Neil made sure we had snacks to eat while Glenn drank hot sauce. Kim came in for her shift a little damp on the edges but smiling. The few tourists there couldn't complain when they see that we're all getting soaked but laughing, and joined in. It's dark, but I know the plants are going to be so happy tomorrow! Rain, it's a beautiful thing.

- 90L
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 01:26:43 -0400
I was going to blame Antigua John for this invest, but it's my fault...I opened a can of corn from the hurricane stash last night, first one I've gotten into and I KNEW I should have just left that sucker alone, I don't even like canned corn! Hope we all get safe good rain for the ground and the cisterns, good surfing, windsurfing and sailing weather out of it and that is all. Or...that it just goes away might be even better.
Tranquillo....whisper now.

- rainy night
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 07:41:16 -0400
Rain starting in the early evening last night and on and off again until the wee hours has the garden looking happy and healthy again. While on the big island yesterday a good storm started about 3 and followed us on the ferry halfway back to Culebra, where it appeared that not a drop had fallen. It was a nice surprise that the rain actually made it over here eventually. This morning is cool with sun shining through an overcast sky and a nice little breeze. A good day for the cart to be OPEN!

- magic blob
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 08:21:16 -0400
Cooling rains at dark thirty this morning gave the gardens that extra oomph that no amount of watering makes happen. AND it made the dog across the street finally stop barking, giving new meaning to Chill out, Perro! Setting the top sat in motion makes that blob just leap into existence! What it will bring is always a guess in my opinion (being the scientific sort that I am, that is the Latin guesstronicus usage as opposed to mere guessing like someone who figures it's raining if her head is getting soaked and maybe it will do that for awhile). Right now it is overcast and quite still and after 8 a.m. without the heat blaster turned on yet, a welcome result of the weather to the northeast of us. Sweat-free for awhile, I like it!

- Watering everything
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 06:17:11 -0400
Not a bad way to wake up; a nice cooling spritzer of rain coming in the window with a thunder alarm clock for back-up. That was just the nudge, so I could shut windows. Then finally! An intense rain I have no doubt has the plants happy and cisterns a bit more full. The lightning and thunder are already fading off and the vista is clearing...for the moment, anyway.

- Us too!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 18:47:33 -0400
We got the breeze today as well, and how very welcome it is! Clear skies and breezy (yes, hot as well but the breeze gives all the difference). It made up an excellent day for the amazing local paso fino horses and riders, families and friends who gathered here today, along with the people who came over with their own beautiful horses from Vieques via the cargo ferry, making clip clop music in the streets. Beautiful day; good weather, families and friends, incredible horses. We're so lucky.

- A whisper is a breath
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2006 22:00:38 -0400
and not a promise. Those few bits of cool air seem now like something I imagined (which...I've been accused of doing, so maybe it's true). As I sat at the cart today invoking the Name in my sweaty disbelief of the heat, a woman I really like stopped and handed me a religious tract. I guess I seemed in need of something. It was a sign. The sign said, Go Home. I did, to a cooling shower, lots of ice water and fan time. Thanks, mi amiga!
Is it really the beginning of autumn somewhere?

- Equinox celebration
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 06:44:46 -0400
"In the language of science, an equinox is either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect. For the rest of us, it's one of two times a year when the sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are of approximately equal length.

At the autumnal equinox (Sept. 23, 2006, 12:03 <x-tad-smaller>A.M.</x-tad-smaller> EDT), the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere."

Last night I didn't have to sleep almost inside the fan; in fact, I didn't even have it on high. This morning there is that breath of coolness that lets us know our subtle change of seasons really is in the air. Enjoy!

- Clear Skies
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 06:55:12 -0400
Good Morning,

"Not a ripple on the pond" as they say, and "You can see as far as 
the eye can see".  Great visibility this AM, from Culebra we can 
see all of St Croix and a bit of St Martin, 40 some miles away.  It 
remains on the warm side temperture wise, but that is better than 
the alternative (storms).  In the attached photo you can see the 
outline of St Thomas just to the right of our island.

Enjoy,  William

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JPEG image

- Great shot
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 07:18:54 -0400
What a nice sat image to see this morning! "I promise not to whine endlessly today about how freaking hot it is".

- Tennis game
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 09:22:40 -0400
Very glad Bermuda was spared major damage (though if I lost my roof, I'd consider it major for a while). Wonderful work, correspondents!

The gardens are back to needing daily deep watering, as those rains go around us. I'm not complaining though, really, as *eyes to the east* continues.

- Full moon
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 20:16:46 -0400
The rain and clouds went away leaving us with that amazing afternoon light on the hills all greened up. And tonight, with a clear sky (did that really happen last night??), the full moon is in all her bella luna glory. Hopefully this time next week Bermuda will be breathing a sigh of relief, but if Florence gets too close, we all wish you safety.

- What a show!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 07:58:50 -0400
Housesitting for friends on top of Culebra with a view to everywhere, the lightning show that went from dark falling into the wee hours was amazing to watch. Some hard rains every once in awhile but mainly this rumbling and fairly far off lightning backlighting deep layers of cloud formations across the sky. Yippie, one more day of letting Ma Nature do the watering (which is a good thing, since the water has been on and off for a couple of days). Right now it is grey and no other islands are in sight from here, with sunshine, of course.

- Rain and steam and perfection
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 07:22:03 -0400
We've been getting some good drenching rains here to quench the super heat effect. Timing is everything though. If it rains too early in the day, we have the sauna effect. Too late, and I am asleep and can't enjoy it. But right around 4 in the afternoon, sitting outside the pizza place with a full stomach, a full drink and laughing with a good friend as the island goes into post Labor Day mode, rain pouring down with only a misting touching us - while dramatic layers of dark clouds race around at the sea end of the street with the sun shining on the bayside end of the street - that is what I'd say is the perfect weather effect. I know it WAS Labor Day, but this is how time works here...by mid afternoon, it's POST Labor Day, restaurants and *some* businesses close for a couple of months. Some are going to exotic places, only coming back to their jobs on the tide of Season starting, the rest of us have less open days as there aren't many people here to be open for but ourselves.

That was yesterday. Today is starting with overcast skies, a bit of a breeze and I haven't checked anything else. Hey, I'm closed today, so it doesn't matter anyway!

- what rain?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 08:03:16 -0400
While those to the east of us were getting poured on, we stayed in the dry, high heat zone yesterday. This morning is sunny and breezy and breezy is GOOD! Hope it will be a great long weekend for all who celebrate Labor Day (of course, most I know will be Laboring, so we'll celebrate the last ca-ching weekend for awhile!).

- Aug Rain
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2006 07:16:03 -0400
Good Morning,

August rainfall was 2.9 inches, a bit below the average 3.4 for the month.

This morning brought some scattered clouds and a bit of a breeze, hopefuly to 
break this intense heat we have had for the last 3 days.

Happy September!!

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- seriously breezy!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 13:04:54 -0400
Strong winds here but my umbrella is tied down by the cart and the breeze feels great! Our *chance of rain* went from 20 percent to 60 (and going higher over tonight and tomorrow) percent, but that doesn't mean we'll get any...or it could mean we'll get all of it, who knows? The gardens would be really happy as this wind is knocking them flat and dry even with a good watering this morning. Hope all getting the big rains stay safe - we all know it doesn't take a hurricane to make life bad fast.

- TD, invest, weather oh my!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 06:05:41 -0400
Dawn breaks here with barely a ripple on the water, amazingly cool (although the temp reads 83, the desk fan isn't needed yet). A nice shower late last night that didn't last long at all. If the predictions are close to right, 97 will go south of us and TD4 will never get near us. That sounds good, but not good enough to ignore what we all know so well, that Nature does what Nature likes, and predictions are exactly that. Sort of like my cart motto....(Open Somedays Closed Others)...the mets get Right Somedays Wrong Others.

- Breezy hazy heat(y)
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 15:27:38 -0400
A wonderful increase in the wind, with a friend claiming dry clothes in half an hour on the line with only a few slaps in the face from the sheets. Seriously fresh (sorry - I couldn't resist, well, I could have, but why?) We'll continue om'ing to the north - this is not a mantra, it's what happens when an ice cube from your drink gets stuck in your throat while trying to explain to tourists why they don't have to worry yet - for what is now TD 4, formally known as That Big Blob just off the coast of Africa.

- A request
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2006 05:54:09 -0400
This is a respectful request to whoever is south of us and left the screen door open. The gnats / no see um's are out of control, more numerous than the mosquitos and even more annoying. PLEASE close the screen door!
Thank you.

- Another kind of quiet
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 15:37:22 -0400
Due to the request of an unnamed certain someone, I'm writing to report not much of anything at all. I didn't feel the earthquakes (but quite a few here did), I slept through the thunder and lightening last night (unusual for me) and was told I didn't need to water my gardens because it had rained plenty - oops! too late, but I wondered why everything looked so happy and fresh. Today has been a cloud watcher's dream day, clouds of every description all over the sky, with high clouds racing northeast and lower clouds heading west, brilliant blue skies (NO ash, NO dust!!!! I remember that!) a good breeze and then suddenly very still, with the gnats deciding my eyes and nostrils were the mid-day gathering spot. No rain today yet but it feels like it could all break loose anytime. We watch the rain go all around us - for now.

- Culebra, TS Chris
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2006 07:29:11 -0400
Good Morning,   Culebra received 1.3 inches of rain from Chris, with a max wind 
gust of 30 mph at 5 PM yesterday afternoon.  It appears that the southern 
portion of rain bands have dipped to the south as the system fell apart.  We 
expect rain showers throughout the day as a result.  A new experience for sure 
to watch this blob drop southward as the weather people are assuring us that 
the system was moving west.

Enjoy,  William

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- Tourist curtain drop
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 08:23:42 -0400
Well, July, one of the biggest PR holiday months, comes to a close (as in, govt. workers got the whole of last week off, along with all the previous Friday and Monday holidays - be a poet in PR, a really GOOD one, and you too might get an island wide day off named after YOU - this is a bit easier than being a saint, which is what most of the other holidays are about), and the island was left quiet yesterday under finally somewhat sunny skies. Everything that can bloom is blooming, new green growth everywhere else, my PR peppers are looking good! I'll ignore the dust as it seems to be the lack of it that makes it very noticeable anymore. Of course, it's a brilliant time to go off island Wednesday for a week or so - not - and I will watch from Montreal to see what is going to happen, or hopefully NOT happen while away. An early house prep and pack up, thank goodness for duct tape! The peppers should be just about ready for making pique when I get back; that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

- Gulley Washer Rain
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2006 07:27:07 -0400
Good Morning,  It is a rainy, drizzly morning after a stormy night in Culebra.  
Most of the heavy stuff fell between 1 AM- 1:45 AM, with 1.5 inches of rain and 
a gust of 32 mph.  It appears this system may hang together as it moves North 
away from the original wave system.  Enjoy the sound of growing grass and 
plants,   William

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- A good day for soup
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2006 19:35:19 -0400
Today was just one of those days we hardly ever get, grey with rain on and off all day long and into the evening, but never very heavy. It isn't a mystery why plants love rain water so much more than water from the hose (NOT cistern water, which is ...never mind), but it is a wonder to see how much they respond. The garden goodies were practically growing while I wandered around between showers, and the blooming orchid looked almost impossibly purple in the strange light we had going on here. Nice switch from humidity and dust filled skies - hope the visitors didn't mind too much, because we liked it!

Johnny Padrone is in the VA hospital over in SJ...for those of you who know this 93 year old Culebra patriarch (or more, it is hard to remember when you see him jauntily walking around town with his contagious smile), do what you do best for putting positive thoughts his (and his family's) way.

- Lazy hazy rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 07:21:26 -0400
Yesterday was a long day of on and off, mostly on, slow rain, just enough to keep the cart closed. For awhile, the sauna like heat lifted, in the late afternoon, but came back in the stillness of early evening. The haze could have been steam, the air was so thick. But this morning feels a bit more fresh, even while the water view outside my window looks like a slightly ruffled lake.
The gardens are very happy.

- rewind never mind
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 21:37:51 -0400
Well, purple isn't such a bad color, everything is moving north again (except for what's south of us and sort of moving west...I'm SO confused!!) and I definitely over reacted to the radar. Either I shouldn't look at it so much or I should have it implanted on my contacts) Good thing my landlord didn't listen to me and went sailing anyway. Wet for sure, but hey, he's a sailor! Of course...as soon as I post this, wind will hit 80 knots and rain will fill the yard or there will be a drought for three months starting tonight....Maybe I need to ask for a special *edit/delete/* mode for posting? The red glow over Culebra is just my blushing face.

- Oh sheet!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 19:28:17 -0400
I spent the day working at my friend's store (Paradise Gift Shop, check it out!) with a period of wacky wind for awhile - big kites hanging on the walls went flying all by themselves...which was kinda cool, really. I casually let them in on how the weather has not come close to any of the predictions, and oh yeah, tomorrow will most likely be just dandy, as today was supposed to be horrible and look how beautiful it is. Offline all day, just now coming home to look at the radar and it's PURPLE...I mean not red, not yellow, not green but a BIG blob of purple which, while usually one of my favorite colors, did not register joy in my soul.
The rain is slowly starting now.
Sorry, tourists! Of course, tomorrow might be perfect...maybe I'll slip out of it that way..."You didn't ask about TONIGHT!!"

- Go(es) Central, thanks!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 07:47:05 -0400
I love the additional view on the sats! I kept wanting to just nudge it over just a little bit, but used another sat site instead, now I don't have to (you know how lazy we are here in the islands...) Nice breeze, lots of sun and hazy here this morning. Last night's full moon...la bella luna!

- Wind & Rain
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 06:38:49 -0400
That wind gust was recorded at 1:20 AM as 37 MPH.  Culebra also 
received .75 (3/4) inches of rain in the past 24 hours.  It appears 
this system is now moving NW of our area.  We will see what Wed - 
Thurs brings our way.

Attached is a photo of a Thunder Head cloud forming over Vieques yesterday.

Enjoy,  William

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JPEG image

- Moving fast
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 01:29:41 -0400
We just got the early am squall winds that went through Tortola a while ago...enough wind to wake me up and wonder just what was trying to blow my little house away. A hard rain, then nothing, now a steady rain. But wow, I'd love to know how hard that first wind was blowing, it was strong and strange one!

- pitter patter
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 06:33:22 -0400
The sun is at the ridge line of the hill, so I can see the drops of rain failling steadily,, but I can't hear them on my tin roof at all...whisper rain. As the tropical waves have simply waved at us as they go by rather than producing what was predicted, we're all in a "we'll see what happens" mode about this next one, though it sounds a bit more serious. Yesterday's early morning pounding was a little taste. Enough for me, that's my vote!

- Hard rain's gonna fail
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 06:01:23 -0400
And is falling...What started as a gentle rain around 4:30 is now lashing down hard, wind swiching back and forth (actually had to close the door, which I never close). Lightning, thunder and a very dark dawn. No watering the gardens today. It looks on the radar like a line of storm going right through St. Thomas, BVI's and whatever else is in that line (can't tell, it's covered with red blobbettes), so this might go on for awhile. Yesterday gave the most incredible show of clouds, all day, ending with a sunset spectacular. We're so lucky to live in such a beautiful place!

- Culebra Rainfall
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2006 06:40:34 -0400
Good Morning,

Culebra received 5.5 inches of rain in June, well above the monthly 
average.  We also recorded a gust of 41mph last Thursday when the 
second wave passed through.  We are now at 15.3 inches for the 
year, and the island is showing off its green side now.

Enjoy,  William

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JPEG image

- Weather or not
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 07:37:48 -0400
Supposedly we were going to get big rain yesterday and instead lots of cloudy, breezy (with some strong gusts in the late afternoon) weather, making a nice, cool change. I think the mosquitos liked it too; easier to find us for snacking. I just read that what we all thought was the sound of thunder at Dinghy Dock (local bar and restaurant) yesterday was an earthquake...seen but not felt. While the sky is overcast, there is only a slight breeze right here. The radar once again looks like we are going to get some rain soon, but after yesterday, I'll wait and see what happens.

- Ashes to Dust
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 19:54:19 -0400
Is it dirty white? Is it orange? Or is it just making it really hard to see and breathe? Gentle rain at night, wonderful! Explaining to tourists why there is this *haze* everywhere, not so wonderful. And then there is the new invest 93...I think it's a good time to go to the beach.

- San Juan Bautista Day
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 07:35:26 -0400
Today is San Juan Bautista Day. Here is what the guide book says:


In honor of the island’s patron saint, San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist), the capital and other coastal cities celebrate with festivities near the seashore or in swimming pools. The celebration begins in the afternoon and continues on past midnight. Traditionally, at midnight, merrymakers walk backward into the ocean (or the nearest body of water) three times to renew good luck for the coming year. In honor of the island’s patron saint, San Juan Bautista, the capital and other coastal cities celebrate with festivities near the seashore or in swimming pools. The celebration begins in the afternoon and continues on past midnight. Traditionally, at midnight, merrymakers walk backward into the ocean (or the nearest body of water) three times to renew good luck for the coming year.

It must work because we keep being lucky enough to live here. And if it rains? We're wet anyway...and if people start celebrating in the afternoon and make it until midnight, I doubt many will know anyway...

- Tropical Wave
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 06:51:58 -0400
Good Morning,   Culebra received 3.1 inches of rain in the last 20 hours, with 
wind gust of 32mph.  This system is sure to be dropping some heavy rain on DR, 
Haiti, and Jamaica in the next few days.  We are presently having nice breezes 
and a steely colored sky.  I appreciate what St Thomas said in her post about 
water useage on the islands.  With this rain all our containers are full, but 
still think about what we use with the taps on.  It is also our drinking and 
cooking water, can't believe all these people buying bottled water these 
days(how did we survive without it all these years!).  Anyhow, a real good 
"gulley washer" for Culebra.

Enjoy,  William

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- Wowza
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 18:12:41 -0400
I'm cheating here and copy/pasting what I put on another weather site where I'm just a weenie of sorts...with the island added tidbits they might not get or appreciate...(like, that I'm copying it because WHILE watching the game we were getting deep into the libations...only to be supportive of the Swedish tourists while sitting with our Brit friend, naturally, and the part of coming back to find the dinghy full of water so pitching pitching bitching pitching pitching water out...does that count for a rain gauge?)

<x-tad-smaller>Wow...what a day! I was hoping to have the cart open at least through the whole morning...not! Hard rain starting around 10:30, respite, harder rain, respite, then OH MAN!!! for 30 or 40 minutes, while my good friend fretted...she and her husband were supposed to fly to Vieques for their anniversary at 2. Hope they got to leave but it has been crazy! Most shops closed and I think we were all in Mamacita's with some Swedes watching the World Cup. Of course the rain was blowing in and we were all freezing but it was fun anyway. Now...calm, no rain, a slight breeze, and the plants in the garden are SINGING! I haven't even looked at the radar yet...

But now I have and whatever it looks like, I don't care because it's cool and I'm home and have dry clothes on!</x-tad-smaller>

- Well, dry Happy Father's Day!! maybe!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 19:28:32 -0400
It looks like, for the moment, we are in the cloudy clear zone. Though things are dry, I don't talk about needing rain until the end of November, remembering the results of a rain dance done once upon a time much too clearly. The Weather Channel...let me count the ways they are NOT concerned about us. No, YOU add to the list, ok, wait in line! Mid day so called Tropical Report -"This wave will just NICK Puerto Rico and the VI's and NOW ONTO THE GULF OF MEXICO." I like high tech terminology a lot, it gives me something to think about and research. I mean what does NICK infer in meteorologist speak? Does it leave scabs? Or should we just beware of falling razor blades? Will umbrellas do the trick or should we be *hunkered down* in case we are of the melting variety? Whatever the case, Happy Father's Day to all of you Papa's out there. Give those offspring a hug and let 'em know you're glad you get to be called Dad!

- Coming to an island near you
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 06:35:16 -0400
Watching that big area to the east of us that looks like it could make the Father's Day BBQ's an indoor event. But right now, it's calm with my end of the harbour glassy and sun is blaring good morning.

- Flying objects
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 15:18:24 -0400
After my brand new umbrella blew inside out at the Island Woman cart (good thing it was tied down...I'd be looking for it a couple of islands away) I decided it was time to close up and call it a *sorta kinda seriously gusty almost rainy* day and head for home. White caps in the bay, whistles in the riggings, but not really much in the way of steady rain...yet. The satellite looks pretty darn colorful though! The good news, beside the gardens being really pleased, is that the bees (do you all get *bee season*?) seem to have been blown away for now. Stay dry, and for MOST of you (except the ones who want to close up their shops and go home and you know who you are!) hope the electric keeps humming along.

- It's not the heat, it's the
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 21:53:28 -0400
worries of storms? Maybe it's just me, but it seems like more island reporters are checking in early - always fun to hear from places unheard from in months. Here on Culebra, we're all talking about the water temps, the heat, but it was like this last year also, summer starting in Spring and I am hoping we'll be fortunate this year (we were, and some of you were terribly not fortunate, I know). Strangeness is in the air, so I suggest singing loud, dancing fast, laughing a lot and preparing well. It's just another day in Paradox. Our Memorial Day weekend is continuing apace, boats rafted up, music playing, streets full of visitors wondering where to go for sunblock. And I still don't get what reggetone is, even after listening to it waft up to my shore all weekend. I was looking at the stars from my wonderfully dark yard, in a finally very clear sky, incredibly clear and beautiful. They were singing so loud, I couldn't hear the other stuff. Play on!

- Hot Hot Hot
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 07:41:05 -0400
"I sweat IN the shower!" "I've never had sweat pouring into my eyes just taking a walk" "Could you breath over there? I think you're getting some of my air here."

It has been really hot, and even with some flukey breezes, really still. The water side of the bars is a coveted sitting area and talk is slanted toward where on the island there is REALLY a decent breeze. The gardens are making little gasping sounds and landcrabs might be cooked below ground already. Sweat...it does a body good!

- Open!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 3 May 2006 13:08:47 -0400
The Island Woman cart is closed (after a very good morning, Island Woman hot sauce is HOT these days) but the cisterns are open and filling up! After a cloudy morning promising more rain, it has come along, much to our delight and visitors' consternation. Some get it and head to the bars or back to cozy rooms (or...for the Flamenco campers...well, I can't say what they are doing) and some can't believe we are allowing wet from the sky to intrude on their holiday. Perdon!!! The gardens are happy, my neem, avocado and mango trees are sprouting new leaves, the mint is going crazy and if those peppers need an incentive to bloom, it's here. By the way, Miss Mermaid, loved what you wrote about the PR's but shhhh, don't tell, or everyone will want to come here!

- May Day!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 09:24:15 -0400
We got some welcome rain yesterday that actually lasted more than ten minutes! This morning has seen a few droplets through the sunshine.

Happy May Day!

There are a lot of customs celebrating May Day around the world, but this one has become my instant new favorite:
Some people would gather flowers and put them by their doors and windows to keep out troublesome fairies.

<x-tad-bigger>So gather your flowers (here, lots are blooming, my helliconias and bouganvilla are thriving, even if my frangipani isn't yet!) and be gone you troublesome fairies! Wonder if bad weather is stirred by troublesome fairies??? I'm not taking any chances, and there will be flowers in the casita!</x-tad-bigger><x-tad-bigger>


- 1st Quarter Rainfall
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 12:23:38 -0400
Good Afternoon,  Please see the attached chart indicating 2.8 
inches of rain in Culebra for April, making a total of 8 inches so 
far this year.  Just a bit below the norms.  Also, as you will see, 
the Frangi Pani don't mind the dry times, they are blooming like 

Enjoy,   William

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JPEG image

JPEG image

- heart cloudy
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 08:07:43 -0400
While the weather has been of postcard quality, today is overcast by losing yet another well-loved, well cared for dog to poisoning. Buddy, Bike Steve's wonderful dog, lost the fight last night (if you visit here and have rented a bike from Steve, most likely you met Buddy).
After a day of treatments and suffering, Steve took Buddy to the big island but didn't made it to the vet's before it was too late. Gail and Steve, hugs.
I don't know about the rest of the islands, but this is a dark side to ours and any ideas for solutions would be welcome. Though it seems education would help, some appear impossible to educate out of cruelty.
RIP Buddy, we'll miss you.

- Glorious rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 07:52:20 -0400
Making tin roof music, filling cisterns, eliminating garden watering chores, the big rain early this morning has been long awaited. The air smells like plants growing. Poor Semana Santa campers! Drying out might take awhile though; it looks like more rain is coming.

- snow on mt. resaca
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2006 06:59:29 -0400
Amazingly, we woke to the sight of snow on Mt. Resaca, our highest point here on Culebra. After a night huddled by the propane stove in our lined coats, dug out from lives past, we weren't terribly surprised. As the sun rises, it is melting but no doubt there will be pictures sent in later.

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