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- - - 2007 Hurricane Season - - -

- And the weather is...
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 07:30:02 -0400
looking like another beautiful day in Paradox! What can we say? When ya got it, ya got it and we have it.

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- Looks like a good'un
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 07:07:22 -0400
While the official forecast last week was heavy with predictions of big rains toward the end of the week and this weekend, we've had nothing but spectacular weather. Yes, it's getting warmer (I believe I've heard the word *hot* bandied about...y'all forget what hot is so quickly?), but the trades, while fading, are still blowing, the nights are still cool enough for a light covering - I still have my perfect purple blanket out (and no, F, you can't steal it).

This morning looks like another winner in the *before it's so hot you are wet after your shower dry off* sweepstakes.

This is a three day weekend in PR, celebrating the life of Jose de Diego, the poet and...well, if you want to read more about him, check out the link below. His birthday was really the 16th, but in true holiday fashion, it is kept to the third Monday in April to give another three day weekend.


This is the first really beautiful three day weekend we've had in ages. The rest were wind and giant swell events, keeping people on home turf. Making up for it, the waters are full of boats from the big island, rafted up and partying (with birthday cake for Jose, no doubt). I'll be out among them this afternoon, so if, late in the day, you hear a spirited, if not melodic, group rendition of Happy Birthday, Jose, wave to us.

Enjoy a happy Sunday! p.s. The laughing gulls are back!

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- Back and forth
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 07:46:02 -0400
While some people were saying it was hot yesterday, I was enjoying the good breeze coming over my shoulder at the cart (knowing I'll be sitting there in dead, seriously hot air not long from now, each breath of coolness is highly appreciated).
In the afternoon, home again, the fire engines sirens were wailing as they sped down the road toward the east. I couldn't see any smoke, but had three phone calls asking if I could see anything. So a friend and I hit the road, finding a small fire at DRN. It seemed to be encaged in a cyclone fence and not much was going on and it didn't look particularly large or dangerous, and there was plenty of bombero protection, so we headed to the beach instead.
The water was cool but once in, it was perfect. The sky was blue, the water was bluer, the air was that wonderful afternoon temp we've been enjoying so much.
And much better than a fire!

Today at dawn the sky and water were bright and shiny, but even as I was taking a photo, cloud cover came in and has remained (the pic is from yesterday. Au currant I'm not). Chances of rain are supposed to be slim, with this from the offiical honchos. I think it's an Olympics thing.

"...there is a potential for weak streamers to develop over all local islands."

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- Culebra Rain!!!
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 05:33:18 -0400
Good Morning,   Thanks Dominica for sending the rain North to PR.  
The sand is in the mail!

Culebra received almost 1/2 inch of rain yesterday and it sure did 
"perk" everything up.  The Flambeuan trees had started blooming in 
spite of the drought and now they are greening out also since the 

Enjoy,  William

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- A lot of rainy day
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 22:58:33 -0400
As it turned out, we got more than the fringes of rain and I guess less than many. I closed the cart about 11 in the morning, maybe a half an hour before I thought I would...but sales were going on in the rain, and it was warm still, so we laughed and kept at it. Strange humid cool/heat and soaking wet, time to go home.

Home with the rain coming down and that cozy rare feeling of a full rainy day. In between showers I walked around the yard almost hearing the plants growing in that weird green light. Hot sauce on the stove, the cat who isn't mine curled up in bed, radio news from the islands turned up loud with the blender on puree.

Lots of bottles on the countertops, wind dying down, rigging from a sailboat making a song in the breeze. And the plants are still unfurling blossoms; blossoms for peppers, blossoms for tomato, blossoms for mango. Racao (Puerto Rican cilantro) making perfume in the air, colliding with Thai basil, its licorice scent making me hungry for soup.

An unusual, scent-u-all night ending a hot tea and good book while cooking day.

One of my neem trees, that has struggled to live for a few years now...skinny tall survivor, still opening new leaves...can't wait to see it in the morning.

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- This and maybe that
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 07:21:30 -0400
This morning dawned dimly with a small shower, the sun in and out of clouds. With a system moving in from the south east we could have on and off rains today. The on part would be a good thing as we've continued to be very dry.

I've been watching the water trucks filling up over and over again to deliver water somewhere, so who ever that was, thanks! We should get some rain now.

The official take is that we'll have this pattern through Wednesday, and then again over the weekend, but that is far away for us, weather wise.

For now, we could get the skirted edges of rain, from the look of the radar.

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- Clear Days
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2008 11:25:00 -0400
Since the winds have backed down and the seas have laid down, it is 
time to get out, do some snorkeling and enjoy the sights.  Deeper 
water was still stirred-up a bit, but the shallows are plenty 
clear again.  With only 5.3 inches of rain this year for Culebra, 
we are jealous of Dominica with all their water supply.  Does all 
that rain affect close to shore visibillity?

Enjoy,  William

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- Earthshine
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 09:03:35 -0400
While it was hazy last night, it was also the most calm I've seen it in ages...the moon and sun and earth were doing a nice dance...
Right now it is barely raining, cool and a little breezy. I think the sun is going to win though.

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- Starting out cool & breezy
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2008 07:42:40 -0400
Finally a good sunrise! The sun is in and out patchy, a fair to strong breeze and it's only 75 degrees (yep, I'm cold). Lots shifting around out there; cold fronts dropping down our way, high and low pressure systems playing tag, and supposedly, only occasional showers over the next few days.

Every time I feel sure *summer* is here (like late yesterday afternoon when it was hot and still), the cool air comes back to let me know weather does when and what weather wants to do, regardless of our timetables.
Happy Monday!

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- Over and not over again
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 09:04:00 -0400
Today will only see the cargo ferry running, but no passenger ferries. I really thought, late yesterday afternoon, that it was laying down somewhat. And I think it has, a bit. But not enough to bring things back to whatever we call normal.

We still have a high surf advisory going on and I swear the wind is picking up each minute I type. The sky that started out with a bit of hope for sun has now gone flat grey and it's cooler than it was at dawn. (oops! the sun just came out for four seconds; I lied!)

This might turn out to be another Closed Some Days day at the cart. Between the umbrella trying to fly to sea and the wind chimes balistically beating instead of charmingly chiming, I can barely get a page of my book read!

Playing hookey yesterday I went with a friend around the island taking photos of the waves and exploring roads untaken. We found this very cool little cabin in the woods, old stuff, and I was happily tromping around when I ran a rusty nail right through my sandal into my foot. A gush of blood and a trip to the clinic for a tetanus shot later (I would rave on about the clinic, but then everyone would want to live here), it was back out to another part of the island for more shots. Me hobbling, my friend's dog hobbling (her's is permanent though and doesn't faze her much), and my friend walking like a somewhat normal person (which is as close as this friend gets to normal). A good day of howling wind, gorgeous waves and back road discoveries.

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- And the wind came rushing down the....sea~~~
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 07:55:08 -0400
What a woolly, wild day we had yesterday, and it feels like today is a  fraternal twin.
It was like the Saturation O Meter was on full blast. Rain would fall hard and heavy and end abruptly, as if giving our parched ground time to absorb it, and then it would start again. The wind blew like mad and then would calm, with the sun making celebrity appearances to the delight of some. The rest of us, I hope, enjoyed the rare weather (well, it's SUPPOSED to be rare!). This time, we have gotten the wind *event* promised.
The weather weenies say this pattern is going to continue through late Friday, and while it may abate somewhat, Saturday will bring in more. We'll see what happens.
There will be no ferries running today. That is a major hassle for some, but not for others, depending on what the needs might be. But...it is what it is. Gives one time to reconsider that huge televison purchase...
This is what slightly past dawn looked like in my world. Along with a sailboat catching sun in a very shortened sail.

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- A little rain with that wind, madam?
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 08:38:40 -0400
I was getting all set to do this post - getting the radar pic showing rain EVERYwhere but here. I even watered the gardens first to give it a fair chance! But noooooooo. So of course, it just started spitting. But I'll show the radar anyway, because it's kinda cool looking this morning.

The wind gusts were hard enough yesterday to prevent me even putting up the umbrella and I think the same will be true today. The bungee cords are strong, but I think I would have needed a three point set up and still someone could have been hurt, or worse, the umbrella broken! Yikes!

Chances of rain went from 40 to 60 % while I was at the gym (sweat in the air? NOT!). We'll see what happens.

High surf advisory in effect until 8 am AST Friday... Wind Advisory in effect from 8 am this morning to 8 PM AST this evening...

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- Culebra Rainfall
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 08:13:54 -0400
Good Morning,  Including a brief shower last night, Culebra 
received 0.4 inches of rain in March.  An extremely dry period for 
the last two months has brought a drought and many grass fires.  
The high pressure gradients with high winds contributes to the 
dryness and the rapid spread of the fires.  If you smoke, please be 
careful with those butts!

The only thing thriving in the garden is the Desert Rose.     William

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- April Fool!
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 07:29:09 -0400
Which is a bit what I felt like on waking after some very weird dreams I had last night. Were they induced by the wind howling around? The rain that occasionally drummed on my tin roof? Spring in the blustery air? Or was that herbal tea really chamomile?

This morning is fluctuating between gusts that knock the screens around and flat calm. No rain yet. So off I go to the weather discussion, which, as much as I respect the heck out of this team, says a lot of *huh* with some flair.

Part of the discussion from SJ:
These more favorable middle to upper level conditions
will combine with strong April sun...local terrain effects...and
available moisture...but only limited local sea breeze
convergence the next few days due to a moderate to strong trade
wind flow. Nonetheless...there should be some cloudiness...
scattered to locally numerous showers and isolated
thunderstorms...especially over the central and western interior
and west sections of Puerto Rico each afternoon.

So I looked at the sat loop (you know where to click). OH my! No wonder it's a bit difficult! And that is just from a extreme novice point of view. Which, of course, is why I get to play Weather Goddess with few consequences except a blush when wrong, and they get the blame and shame if something bad happens that they weren't expecting.

A bit of a gaudy sunrise after a very delicate beginning. A weather day for April Fools.

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- More rain, please!
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 07:43:51 -0400
Last night, after a party near the top of one of our hills on the west side of the bay, we were all moving slowly to our vehicles when we looked and saw a huge fire burning  on the other side the bay. While we've gotten on and off showers, there hasn't been one that truly soaked the ground in awhile, making for very dry conditions. The fire basically encompassed the entire hillside from the main road to a side road going to the water. Our bomberos (firemen) did their usual heroic job of keeping it under control and (as far as I know so far) away from any houses. It was a pretty dramatic sight.

Yesterday's forecast was for a 50% chance of rain...and natch, it turned out to be one of the most glorious days we've had in awhile with clear blue skies and perfect breezes. The sun was warm enough to heat up the pool water at the above mentioned house where the party was held, to almost 90 degrees (ok, it's a small pool, but deep!) This morning the skies aren't as blue - yet - and the forecast is for a clear day. So...that means it should rain, I hope.

That seemed like enough excitement...until this morning. I was making tea and heard a thundering of hooves headed straight for my window. Four horses, two mamas and two babies, sort of did the UH OH! move of stopping in mid gallop inches short of crashing into the wall before serenely strolling out of the yard after depositing a nice amount of fertilizer on the path to my car...so I wouldn't miss their not so little gift, I have no doubt. I'm pretty sure the cat who eats here and I both had our heart rate going pretty high for a moment there...

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- Really spring??
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 08:31:55 -0400
I woke up in the wee hours to the waning moon shining like a crooked spotlight, obscuring the closest stars with its brightness. Then clouds rolled in and there were some serious gusts going on, along with a few brief showers.

This morning dawned bright and blue and there is bird song of at least three kinds, drowning out the crowing of the roosters. The dawn breeze is growing into a wind blowing steadily around here. They say the seas are going to pick up enough for small craft advisories to be posted for shore areas later today, with winds and seas increasing through Friday.

Oh..and it may rain on a lot of us later on. I'll stick with the moment though, which is pretty glorious!

The nest is down to one baby now. The nest itself is sort of falling apart at this point. What I romantically thought of as lichen as a building material looks a lot more like bits of toilet paper as it disintegrates. That's what I get for reading about the nesting habits of Up North hummers.

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- Another one just like the other one?
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 08:01:15 -0400
Yesterday was an odd mix of sun and a lot of heavy, moist air as it became more and more overcast, bringing along on and off rain.
This morning looks like where yesterday left off, with a sky a variety of cloud types and the sun struggling to get clear.
But the baby hummers seem oblivious!

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- Are we normal yet?
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2008 21:00:40 -0400
There are ferries coming in...and as soon as they did the electric blew out this morning. It doesn't affect me at the cart as I have no utilities there (sorry, no credit cards!) but lots of new faces and vehicles regassed were around. All the places closed on Good Friday were open today and it seemed everyone was enjoying the sunshine (with a few on and off moments of clouds and high gusts).
Right now I can hear wavelets slapping on my little beach and laughter coming from boats out in the bay. Lots of spring break kids around as well.
The wind gusts were big enough to toss the umbrella skyward a couple of times again today; luckily people were standing nearby to catch it until I rearranged the bungee cords.
This afternoon I was inside until outside caught my eye...a glorious sunset...
Welcome Spring!

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- Sigh
  • From: MJ <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 16:04:48 -0400
We have not had anything like the damage and destruction of what was seen in the Puerto Rico report or what has been noted in other island posts.

The kiosks we have on Flamenco beach (the only beach with anything manmade even close to it that is on a north shore) are well off the beach itself, with the only business being affected being the chair and umbrella rental guy. The two guest houses (one is a sort of collection of freestanding cottages) on this beach are also far enough back to not have been affected. So to see and hear of the damage around us is pretty shocking. We may not have gasoline, incoming food deliveries or use of the ferries, but this will pass soon enough. There is loss, and there is loss.

Best wishes and hopes for all who have suffered losses during this time. I wonder how St. Croix is doing...when I lived there we once had a big storm out of the north and many fishing boats and sailboats were lost. Hopefully this time there was enough warning early on to keep that from occurring again.

(added later today) The weather is winding down. The cargo ferry came in today with provisions, but gasoline won't be in until 6 tomorrow morning. Some people got gas, some didn't. Probably good for the ones who didn't as the end of the tank usually has a lot of water in it. Whatever we call normal should be starting tomorrow.

- argh and wow
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 22:50:17 -0400
My server has been wonky, maybe the wind maybe...they don't have a clue? But maybe THIS report will go where it is supposed to go, rather than the floating invisible cyber ether. The other reports from yesterday...they be gone, including the very poetic official forecast for today out of SJU...I'm really sorry that one got lost.

This afternoon the surfer boys and girl were out in force, entertaining those of us way too cold to even think about going in the water. The red flags were up (rightly so - there are some serious rips around our beaches - plus, the water was COLD and the wind made the air more so). The last ferry left at 6:30 this morning, stranding a LOT of people and no doubt keeping lots of visitors on the big island. Gasoline is gone, the gas truck, due today, couldn't make it. Bikes are renting out big time! Yep, we're a small island...but the veggie guy was here today still (well, he didn't have much choice) and the pincho stand next to the panaderia was open...both those events usually don't happen until Friday, so driving by, I was momentarily completely confused as to what the day actually was. Like it matters...

We'll see what tomorrow brings...and if I'm lucky, tonight will bring this to you.

This doesn't happen at mellow Flamenco beach...but it did today

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Pan, checking out the waves....a *few times in a Culebra lifetime* event

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- A many time failed attempt of slight warning
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 21:19:55 -0400
I've tried to post this three times now...and both blown to the cyber cosmos wind through no understanding of my own. So...the weather is going to get windy, really windy. I tried to tell about my weekend away on Jost Van Dyke, blah blah blah...but it's late, I'm too tired to try much again and ...stay tuned!

The official version, plan accordingly: (Oh wait!!! After pasting, somehow I caught a bit of what I tried to write before..)

So, while I was a bit concerned this morning leaving Jost in a sailboat with no engine that the wind would not be enough to move us (and yet it was, good juju oh yes!) and flying out of St. Thomas was a bit of an awareness that the wind was picking up, and our landing, with an excellent pilot, was rock and rolly should have been a clue, along with a friend on Jost heading to Bequia tomorrow delighted with the forecast of high HIGH winds, I still hadn't clued in until I was a Dinghy Dock catching up on the weekend events and the wind was high and I was getting cold (which regular readers and friends know doesn't take much for Ms. Cold Weather Weenie and Proud of It) to know, something is going on. Plan your laundry and traveling accordingly! Ferry don't run in 15 foot seas, chirrun.

NOW, the official version out of San Juan:

Continue to expect the approaching frontal boundary...currently
passing through the southern Bahamas...to reach the north coast of
Puerto Rico and the vi around 12z tomorrow. While an increase in
winds and shower activity is expected across the local islands
tomorrow with the passage of this boundary...the much anticipated
event remains the large long period swell that is being generated
behind this front by the associated low pressure system over the
northwestern Atlantic. Will need to monitor this developing
situation closely as this swell approaches buoys north of the
local islands overnight...but for now...a coastal Flood Watch has
been issued for the north coast of all the local islands excluding
Saint Croix...beginning tomorrow morning. This watch will likely have
to be upgraded to a coastal Flood Warning along with high surf
advisories for all the north and northeastern exposed coasts.

This is what I was about this weekend; the 40th anniversary of Foxy's bar on Jost Van Dyke (there was more in the other blown efforts but...this is what it is). I can only say, it was good, very very good. Tess and crew gave us a feast, Fox put on his own lovely version of a show - we didn't think he'd sing again, but he did). Parker's painting of Foxy's when it was as many of us remember it was on display...a good time was had by all. Fox and Tess...we thank you...again.

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- Flying in the sun and angels
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 15:57:55 -0400
Yesterday was the start of a big shift in the weather, at least as far as I'm concerned. I thought last night, maybe not, because it was cold enough to have the blanket AND the quilt on, but by 8 this morning it was hot! I'm not the only one to notice. So I think we'll have about our typical two days of Spring... Right now it is brilliant blue sky, brilliant blue water, sunny, slightly breezy. Very warm. Good for drying laundry...which I am because I'm flying over (I'll wave to friends below who are boating over, but this time I just want to get there fast!) to Jost Van Dyke this weekend for Foxy's 40th anniversary of the bar. Should be great fun, good weather, good music, seeing a lot of old friends. Jost is always where I experience "don't know what is going to happen next" and it's always been good surprises, so, tossing off the ever so official smiling me (and yes, my life here is about as official as it gets - for me), I'm going back to the "walk on the water and see if it holds me up" me for a few days. Yahoo!!!

So there I was at the cart, minding my own business and in flies this semi-tropical angel..she made my day (well, so did the people who bought lots of stuff, but angels are even better than money).

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- Breezy blues
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2008 07:06:47 -0400
The wind is breezy and cool, the sky is fairly cloudy, the radar shows dribs and drabs of rain to the north and south of us. Which, lately, all ends up in a beautiful day of brilliant blue skies and seas and maybe a shower or two to make us glad for the rain and glad for the sun. Winter is beautiful, wish you were here.

Yesterday's marathon collection for Vladi and Mairian went very well. Those walking in town with collection jars and those selling plates of fantastic local food (and I do believe I had some excellent sangria, but that was a *gift*) were glad to report good news. To all who gave, whether you ate or not. Vlad and Mairi thank you. Let's keep our community heart united and strong.

Today is a day of voting (primaries), so if you want your voice heard, head over to the old school and vote! But what it also means, most importantly, that there will be no alcohol sold or served (since midnight last night) until this evening. So if you aren't stocked up, you better go find a friend who is!

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- wet & dry, cool and warm
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 15:45:37 -0400
Like yesterday, today started out with some light showers and still misty drizzle, though during the night we had some heavier rains. A good thing for plants and cisterns and keeping fire at bay.

Grey and cool, we'll see what the day brings. Yesterday turned out to be almost hot, with gorgeous blue skies and multi shades of blue waters, with good breezes. Today is looking to be more gusty, but the planes are flying, the pelicans are diving and for wet or dry, it's still another good day in Paradox.

and the day went on:

After a few rain showers in the later part of the morning (I once again bless my huge umbrella at the cart, which shelters me and any passers by who get caught for those few minutes), the sky has once again turned blue with wafty clouds and the sun shines on.

Hopefully we'll have a dry night for the concert (Gettysburg College Choral group is singing tonight at the basketball court behind El Batey - let's cross our fingers so that, as advertised, it really will be *under the stars*. We don't get much like this around here, so we're going to put on our best t-shirts and try to act civilized. I know we can (the Culebrense ladies will be dressed, as usual, in very civilized attire; they always are)! Bring a chair, I'm sure there won't be enough and the court could be a little soggy.

Some of Sue's oleanders (from the house next to the cart) after the last rain of the morning (the sky was still grey, the flowers so bright).

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- A different view
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 21:07:45 -0400
I've been house/dogsitting the last few days so my take on life was from a different perspective. Usually when I house/dog/catsit, the view includes the water. This time, it included jungle view. The rain fell, but I couldn't really hear or see it much. I've swept out Island Woman Lake in front of the cart for two days in a row now...just enough rain to keep it full. Today was cloudy and sun on and off, with a lot of *in like a lion* winds. But all I could see were weird iguanas...nothing like those in my yard. Two school boys came over yesterday to see the iguanas. Well, they didn't exactly *come over*, they came to the gate, said "iguanas, grande" and I said, c'mon up. They were afraid of the dog (she's a big one) until they found out she was nothing to be afraid of...well, unless they were naughty, but they were nice. I pulled my computer onto the deck so they could see photos, while we were looking at the real deal right in front of us. They pointed out the huge old man and I took photos. The boys didn't speak much English. My Spanish is shameful. We enjoyed the a good 20 minutes where language didn't matter much. Another moment in Paradox (and I didn't find anyone to ask for a date on this Sadie Hawkins Day - I guess I'd have to go out to do that, huh? Ooopsy me! glad to be home again).

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- Auctions, Museums, Drums and Dawns, oh my
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 08:16:13 -0400
The rain stayed away...the sun and moon shone. A little magic in the weather...

The Humane Society auction was a hit - paintings and prints, art objects, jewelry and certificates from the dive shop to a few restaurants were all sent off with the highest bidder. The animals say thanks! The museum opening was wonderful. Speeches that weren't boring, a very impressive display of Culebra artifacts, good food and drink. A fantastic beginning of another chapter here...as this is a work in progress.

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Wiki's Sound Machine with congas and shakers was gearing up at Mamacita's by the time I got there, with dancers and listeners ready to sway; a not quite full moon overhead. A good evening for Culebra.

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This morning dawned awash in pastels. There were clouds and rain way out to sea. Since then, the sun is weakly making its way through an increasingly blue sky, with winds going from almost still to blustery and back to calm again.

In other words...another winter night and day in Paradox. Happy Sunday!

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- Lunar Eclipse in Culebra
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 08:12:23 -0400
This was the view of the eclipse from Culebra.  We had a few
cloudy moments, but they seemed to pass quickly and it was worth 
staying up to watch.  Some of the best colors I have seen at 
eclipses, and the closeness of Saturn and Star Regalus was 
interesting also.

Culebra's weather has begun to warm up a bit, still cool at night 
enough for covers.  We had a local downpour the other day that 
covered half the island, so the rest of us still need more rain.  
The "Christmas-Like" winds have dried the grasses out quickly.

Enjoy,  William

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- The eclipse
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 08:08:07 -0400
It was a clear, perfect weather night until right before the moon was abscured with shadow. Then the sky cleared again, showing the moon in surreal reds, with Saturn and the star Regulus <sp> contending for attention. Incredibly beautiful.

As the eclipse was ending, another cloud cover came in and it was time for bed. What a great show!!! Wish I was a better photographer (some friends got much better shots - as did a few zillion strangers, no doubt), but this is as good as I got.

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- time in a bottle
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 23:11:32 -0400
Today was so beautiful...again. Even with a morning heavy dump down of rain for three minutes, the weather struggled back to sun and breeze and cool.

Tomorrow is the lunar eclipse to watch. Early rather than the wee hours and the last one we get to see until 2010. All you have to do is look up! This is the NASA take on things, good site:

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/LEmono/TLE2008Feb21/ TLE2008Feb21.html

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This morning it was good to see the sun rising instead of the grey view. I am not sure how the sun got caught in this bottle, as it was in front of me over the bay...but somehow the water tossed it up the yard. and into the glass. In the six years I've lived here and had this bottle hanging from a tree, I've never seen that happen...it's good to be surprised every day we are alive!

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- Different weather
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2008 12:11:12 -0400
This morning dawned windy and cold (at least it felt cold to me) and cloudy, with streaks of blue around and in between the grey. Then an, at first, fairly heavy, and soon just misty rain moved in over the bay, covering the hills like thick fog, that is almost gone now, leaving behind even cooler air.

It was enough to close up the cart and do what I'd wanted to do since waking up...have a good coffee drink and come back home for long sleeved clothes...and maybe socks.

Days (rather than moments) like this are rare...one of those days to curl up with a book or a movie and enjoy something different. Cook some soup or comfort food; try not to spill.

Sooner than we think, just the sight of a long sleeved shirt will be enough to make us sweat. In the meantime...I'm glad I still own a few!

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- Happy Valentine's Day - late!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 20:35:05 -0400
Perfect weather, forecasted winds blew somewhere else I suppose...

I had just gotten done with being downtown at the cart and lunch (came home to print hot sauce labels and get sauce down to Susie's) but on the way saw Chaffa <sp?> who is my reason for being on Valentine's Day (can we sing Tradition??). I thought I'd missed her as I usually see her V Day in the early morning, but of course...there she was, at her post, in the afternoon! To my "You look beautiful!" she sang back "Everyone looks beautiful on Valentine's Day...even me!"

I had lunch time with a friend along with my sometimes early cocktail (hey, when you go to bed at 8, and start the day at dawn...cocktail hour is early!). But I had to go to the PO and the bank...where else can you go to the bank with your drink still in hand and your banker saying, how good is this life? (since she saw me while she was having lunch...and offered to make my deposit for me...holy moley!...I'll save that for a more needed day). Falling in love with Culebra all over again - again...don't try this at home, kids (in fact, don't try it on Culebra...it was my lucky day).

Happy Valentine's Day! Feliz de dia amor (if I messed that up, you Spanish speakers, please forgive - and correct - me!)

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- Windy blowy
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 17:32:16 -0400
After forecasts of today being one of the windiest days of the year, here on Culebra...hey, it's getting pretty windy! But nothing like sustained gale force winds as predicted. Just windy enough to blow away the biting things of various sizes. A blue sky all day and now going to grey-ish and rockin'. Ok...it's getting a little more windy now. Maybe the forecast was a half day late?

As long as I remember to hook the majorly huge bungee cord onto the umbrella at the cart at the right points...a poor lady today was close to being speared as the concrete filled 5 gallon bucket that holds the umbrella gave up the fight in a burst of wind and the eight foot umbrella came hurtling her way...my oopsy! Luckily, nobody was hurt...bad PR when Island Woman Umbrella Attacks Tourist Woman On Culebra.

Some people may not like high winds, but I like the energy of it all (well, I'm on land...there ya go)...um... even when it blows my book off the table - did that just happen???

"Yak yak yak...everyone talks about the weather and nobody does anything about it. I just hold on tight and laugh at the humans."

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- What more can you want?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 18:41:08 -0400
Today we had sunny with overcast, less breezy, a spot of rain now and then...and visitors reporting 11 inches of white stuff in the far northern places they came from...yep, we're glad to be here.

Best thoughts to those in the tornado affected areas in the US. Like a cat 5 hurricane sweeping our chain of islands, these destructive storms took lives and homes, with little warning and less time or place to hide.

For some good news...another great update. Zuleyma came by the cart today to tell me...to share with you all...if there is a good Centro Medico story - and we know they are rare - they are claiming it. Only one day and night of waiting and the doctor's work seems to be well done. Miracles happen. Steve still does not have feeling in the two toes most affected (not surprising, he's early in still) but she reports the color in the affected area is good, so there is good blood flow happening. With help from our favorite nurse, Zuleyma has learned to change the bandages and says everything looks clean and right with healing progressing in its time. Without going into mushy detail, I can say that Steve and Zuleyma are pretty hugely overwhelmed with the love and support they are getting from our close and far flung family. Thankful and grateful would be greatly understated operative words here.'Nuff said. So far, so very good!

Though this might look like something much bigger, it is a rather small rock on my shore with some busy water behind it...it reflected the day - not terribly bright, but enough for the beauty factor.

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- Sunny after the rain...again
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2008 15:28:43 -0400
Today has been beautiful, sunny, breezy with the only clouds being those over the fans of the Patriots.

For those who read this who know Bartender Steve from Dinghy Dock: He had an unfortunate too close encounter with a saw landing on his foot while it was still running yesterday morning. After a night in the hallway of Centro Medico, he was operated on this morning, hopefully having all of the tendons that were severed reattached. Since Zulema hasn't been working since Kai's premature birth three months ago, Steve has been working a number of jobs to cover expenses...and now won't be working at any of them for at least a month. We're taking up collections at Dinghy Dock and Mamacita's and other businesses, or checks can be mailed directly (Steve was pretty speechless about this part but being my gentle, subtle little self, I filled in the silence with, just say yes and work on getting better. Period). Please email me for name and address info.

We may be a tossed salad of a dysfunctional unrelated family, but as the tee shirt suggests...we're going to put the fun back in dysfunctional for Steve, Zulema and Kai. Because...that's what we do.

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- It's so confused!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2008 15:59:59 -0400
Today started out as a slightly cloudy but beautiful morning, without the last few days initial rain. I had a quietly good morning at the cart; then one, then two then about five people had walked by saying, you better close up, rain is coming. I nodded and kept reading, with a lazy eye to the sky (which means craning around backward, where I can't see much anyway, unless I go out to the middle of the bridge, a few feet away).

Sometimes that means rain is coming, but won't last more than two minutes. Sometimes that means rain is sliding down the far side of the bay and won't touch me. Sometimes that means one cloud is spewing rain at the head of the bay and never gets any closer. How I respond, if I don't get up and see for myself, depends on who tells me it is going to rain on my head. But sometimes, no matter who says it, I know by the air temp change, a quick darkening, the hair on the back of my neck going up...it means, close the cart fast, and get under cover. Today was one of those days. I closed up in a slow hurry and headed over the bridge looking out to the sea . Coming in was rain covering both sides of the bay and out as far as I could see. About 10 steps on, fat, cold raindrops, the sort that sting your face, started slamming down. Mamacita's was the quickest dodge for cover. That must mean it's lunchtime. Fish tacos, yippie!

It has rained on and off since then. A going away party got shifted from the beach to a friend's house, via the coconut telegraph. But rain won't stop the Superbowl festivities planned at a few local bars, where I do believe that it could literally be dumping cats and dogs and the diehard fans wouldn't notice a thing...unless their beer started getting lapped away.

Sometimes people ask me what I do for entertainment (translate, don't you get bored out of your mind, since there isn't much organized entertainment going on here?). One thing we are good at is entertaining ourselves, usually through random, unexpected but very welcome diversions - watching boats try to dock or anchor, sharing weird questions we all get asked, talking about each other in front of our backs, catching a good rainbow, rainstorm, sunset, snorkeling time, whatever it might be). I don't bother to explain much but usually just say that it doesn't take much to entertain me...and that is true.

One diversion I get almost every morning at the cart is girl dog play time. Harley and Willow meet up with their respective owners and play in the middle of the road until they wear themselves out, a guaranteed 15 minutes of entertainment. Time outs are for cars that can be coming from any of 4 directions, ignoring the one stop sign in the bushes. Everybody stops anyway though, as two of the roads, though two way, are really 'one way at a time', since cars are parked up the sides, and if a car is coming it has to *clear* before another can go through. I often get asked if these are one way streets...the answer, as it often is on Culebra, is "Sometimes, but not really."

Here are Harley and Willow executing Flying Dogs of Culebra.

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- January Rainfall
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 08:06:32 -0400
Good Morning,  Culebra's January total rainfall is 4.3 inches, 
above the average of 2.5.  Our records indicate that when the 
January rains are more than 4 inches, the year's total will be 
above 50 inches.  Our average yearly total is 45 inches.  As the 
attached photo of our now famous Flamenco Beach shows, there is 
plenty of green in the hills this month.

Nevis:  My guess is Bermuda,    William

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- Early rain
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 07:21:37 -0400
With our local radar down, it's a little hard to tell how long this sudden rain is going to last...long enough to water the gardens well, I hope! To the southeast, it is grey-bright, to the north, dark and darker, while the rain falls hard and harder, with a wind kicking up behind it.

I have recently entered the world of home ownership, a houseboat home. It will be awhile before it is where I live 100% of the time, partially because I love the gardens, partially because I need to de-junk my life. After going from boat living/working owning very little to being in this tiny place, somehow over my almost six years Culebra time, stuff has managed to attach itself to me, little by little. And it's stuff I like! But it will get done and in the meantime, I now have a place to offer for family and friends (a guest boat?) instead of the hammock out in the yard!

Along with the houseboat came (boy the rain is now ROARING down) a vehicle, tossed in with the purchase price (with a very wicked grin from the seller, who enjoyed watching my jaw drop to the ground). Yes, I'm lucky. I haven't had a vehicle for years and now I have this tiny green car, which I got yesterday, in need of a serious bath. It is now getting a serious power washing (little car, your old owner is laughing again, I just know this)!!!

- Clear!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 08:01:22 -0400
I woke up a little bit after 6 this morning, shivering under a sheet and blanket, wishing I'd pulled the quilt up but wishing more that the cat knew how to make tea. Except for some far off roosters, it was very quiet and still. Then I heard the first plane take off (bye Jimmy! I waved) and the sound of its take off and flight seemed to go on an extraordinarily long time. Next I heard the bellow of a boat horn. I wondered what sort of boat was in my bay...and then realized it was the ferry as three more notes sounded out. I do not live anywhere near the ferry and to hear that so clearly was amazing. I imagined (huddled in the covers) the air cystalline, with a skim of ice on the bay. No snorkeling for me this morning mi amigas; I'm working on training the cat in the fine art of making tea.

There is a high surf advisory until 10 this morning, for any intrepid surfers out there. Bring your wet suits!

Of course, there was no ice on the bay...only a sunrise much like yesterday. I would have walked to the end of the yard to get a bit of different perspective, but I was afraid there might be dew on the grass and my toes would suffer frostbite. So...this photo really is yet another day beginning, in Paradox!

Happy Monday.

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- Stormy weather
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 08:29:41 -0400
Ok, it wasn't really stormy yesterday; it was more drizzly. But it felt like the song of the same name, and the cart only stayed open a little while (sorry to any of you who finished breakfast and wondered where I'd zipped off to, but wet and cold is not my favorite thing to be). Clouds tumbled over the hilltops, a rare sight here as our hills aren't very high...

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Snorkeling in the early a.m. wasn't bad (even though the water was pretty cool), at least while the sun was out. Once behind the growing cloud bank though, it was time to head in. Of COURSE, I missed the big eagle ray I would have seen if I hadn't been on a zoom path back to the beach...I even heard my friend call, "Eagle ray!" but figured by the time I went back it would be gone and my toes and fingers would go from tingly to pure numb. Another day, another ray. Even without the special sightings, it's beautiful enough to be a little bit cold, and anyone that knows me knows that is saying a whole lot...I'm a cold weather/water wussie of the first degree.

Today has started off with a gorgeous sunrise and lots of sun, a little breeze and cool temps. Hope it keeps all you people complaining about the cloudiness happy for awhile!

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- Officially broken
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 08:12:03 -0400
The long lasting string of almost perfect days is officially over as of yesterday...and if the four huge downpours weren't convincing enough, try the deluge coming down right now, complete with lightning and thunder. It's the rolling sort of thuder right now, but a huge hit of lightning just came so I'll finish this...later.

- Zowie!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 07:26:44 -0400
This is from yesterday...it seems our server decided to take the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday...
The deluge type rain is easing up, that roar of water receding. I can still see the occasional flash of light and hear a more echo-y sort of thunder.

Not like 20 minutes ago when I unplugged everything for a bit there as the center of the system must have come right over my little spot in the world, white hot lightning and thunder strong enough to shake the walls. Not like my walls are all that thick, but it still gives a flutter to the system. The cat jumped, irritated to be scared away from breakfast, but soon back at it.

We're pretty much covered up in shades of grey for now, and the water is sinking into some really thirsty earth, even with the strong rains we had on and off yesterday. It's been so dry, this has been a good thing.

If a dinghy can be a rain guage...we've gotten this much rain!

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- oopsy on the forecast!
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 19:01:34 -0400
While today ended up more cloudy and rainy than I expected, that wasn't a bad thing. We had a fire out at Flamenco that, while not threatening any homes, did burn quite a lot of land and the rain was welcome.

Also, today was our first mini triathlon. For more on that, if interested, you can check out http://www.gotoculebra.com/forum/view_topic.php?id=901&forum_id=9 .

A good day!

- Southern Cross
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 05:39:01 -0400
The Southern Cross constellation is bright and shining! If you were lucky enough to be awake around 4:30 or so this morning, and have a fairly good view to the horizon (yes, Virginia, that would be looking to the South), that diamond in the sky was crystal clear. In fact, it is still fairly clear to see right now, but not as well as with the intense pitch black sky behind it of 45 minutes ago. The wind picks up on and off, and a few clouds have scuttered across the sky, but basically in the dark, the only thing to do is look up and see that upside down bowlful of beauty.

- Cool & Clear in Culebra
  • From: "William Kunke" <wkunke at verizonmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2008 08:21:55 -0400
Good Morning,

This morning dawned cool (64 degrees) and clear.  The photo shows 
the entrance to the harbour, showing the Sun steadily moving to the 
left (North) each morning now.
Tortola, thanks for the info on Bert Kilbride.  This area sure 
produces it's share of characters and he was one of the best, he 
will be missed.

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- Three King's Day
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 15:02:53 -0400
Well, I missed the Three King's, who showed up early. This is not a concept I'm familiar with here...but of course, I heard about it without even leaving home. I thought I missed the horses too...who were ALSO early. Hmmm. But soon enough, the clip clop of horses was heard coming down the road and the parade went right by, with great timing, as the sun was shining, breezes were blowing nicely and the air was clear and fresh. We have just had a strong, longish rain that hasn't quite stopped yet. It may interfere with plans to go to one of the beaches in a little while for some snorkling, eating and drinking (I'm still going to look for those Three Kings!)

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- Gale?
  • From: M J <mjstark at coqui.net>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2008 18:03:16 -0400
While I personally wouldn't say we had a gale, we did have some fantastic waves on the north shores. A bumpy four wheel drive and a good hike down the path through the woods led to a beach the surfer boys like a lot, though it was too choppy today and they went elsewhere for waves. So I took pictures of water, rock and sky instead.

We had a couple of heavy, short lived showers and the sky was full of sun and dark clouds racing along. One of those days that gives you energy and then leaves you quiet. Right now the winds seem to have gotten quiet, though I can still hear the surf over the mountain.

Tomorrow is Three King's Day. The kings will come in on the ferry from *across the water* with gifts for the children down in the plaza. Paso fino horses will parade through the streets. The cart will be closed and I will wait for my favorite part of the day, when all the horse riders stage in my yard for their ride into town. I'm not sure WHY this happens, but I'm glad it does.

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