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- - - 2008 Hurricane Season - - -

- Slap Happy Holidaze from the Caribbean
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 09:56:41 EST
Day temps in the low 80's (sea level) and night temps in the high 70's.  Mountain areas around here are often 5-8 degrees cooler than sea level. Strong winds make it seem even cooler. Today we have moderate winds, but offshore seas are expected to buildd up, causing small craft advisories. Isolated showers may dot the landscape, like a bit of drool from the blue vault of  heaven.  Montserrat is still regurgitating, but the ash is scheduled to blow south of us, as I look south, I see a thickish haze *cough* cough*. 
Last chance to shop for Christmas is soon come! I hope you were nice and not naughty!
At Serendipity Book Shop on Main Street in Road Town, you can get some unique  toys for children and adults as well as  fantastic books. Of course my book "Hurricanes & Hangovers" is for sale there too.   If you need a unique one of a kind gift, check them out, and be pleasantly surprised they offer more than just books.
A big THANK YOU to all who bought my book through Amazon and those lately who have shopped at Serendipity Book Shop. The owner tells me several people have mentioned seeing my book on StormCarib.Com  and actually bought it!  YIPPEE! 
So consider this a BIG hug and kiss from me!  xoxoxoxoxo! 
"She enjoyed traveling, including sailing trips in the Caribbean, where her favorite spot was Cane Garden Bay in the British Virgin Islands."
Whimsical Artwork on a fence in Tortola
We need more beautiful fences, we have some real ugly excuses for fencing around here, a big round of applause to this owner for making his fence outstanding!
Now that's something new to consider, a fence contest for the islands. We could have several categories such as most beautiful, most unique, most natural, most eco friendly, most functional etc.

- Ho ho ho! Tis the season to be jolly!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 12:38:10 EST
A beautiful glorious day. I saw the orange sunrise, but I was too tired to get up and photograph it, shame on me.
Back up to 84 degrees, rather warm for December!  Ho ho ho!  We had some hard rains last night, the islands are green and we are expecting our Christmas crowds to make things merry!
Sandy Claus made a TOP SECRET early visit to the BVI, he wanted to thaw out and work on his tan before going back to the North Pole to load up hi sleigh. He asked if I was interested in elf employment...things are no doubt very busy at his workshop.
Speaking of foolishness, I was reading a local article that read:
 "...of the Dominican Republic and Neverlands Antilles..."
Heck, another new country on the horizon, and I'm the last to hear of it...
1/4 cup of honey
6 eggs
1 liter (or quart) of milk
2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 fifth (or liter )of dark Rum
fresh ground nutmeg for garnish
In blender, toss in honey and eggs, give it a whir to mix thoroughly, add vanilla and half the milk, buzz again to mix, add rest of milk to blender and blend again, pour into large punch bowl or pitcher, whisk in bottle of rum and serve well chilled with grated nutmeg over the top. Alternatively, fill cups or mugs half full with blended mix, then top with rum, stir thoroughly and grate nutmeg over the top.
Fast, easy, delicious. 

Warm and Ho Ho Ho Regards,

Hurricanes and Hangovers

(and other tall tales and loose lies from the Coconut Telegraph)


 is now on sale!

- Happy Holly Daze
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 11:14:11 EST
Nothing but beautiful fair weather with the occasional spit from heaven above and we are good to go here. Peace in paradise. A fantastic day for the beach or boating.
Cooper Island Beach Club, Manchineel Bay, BVI

- You saw a WHAT???
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 08:26:07 EST
Another gorgeous day in paradise. The swells on the north shore have subsided some, but still enough for the surfers to have loads of fun. It's 80 degrees with moderate winds. 
My crystal balls predicts scattered showers with cooling trade winds and good surfing for the weekend.  I can't get on the internet yet, to check things like satellites and forecast and  reported wind conditions elsewhere. *sigh*  I dialed in 10 times and still no luck. But eventually it will kick in and I will whisk this out to cyber-space.
Years back, I was lifting the anchor by hand on my sailboat. Well, leather gloved hand (mama didn't raise any fools).  I stowed it away, took off my wet gloves, hung them up to dry, then walked back to the helm and proceeded at a sedate speed out of the harbor. I had gone maybe a boat length when I realized I seemed not to be moving anymore. I goosed the throttle a little and stared at a tree off my starboard side on shore and sure enough, I wasn't going anywhere at all!
I was quite puzzled by this. A gentle wind wafted by and the boat stayed put. Now this is odd!  I went forward, yep, both anchors were up, one was locked down on the bow rollers and the other stowed in the anchor locker. OK, my memory was good. I had done the right thing.
I scratched my head and looked all around me. I was turned 180 degrees from the rest of the boats and the winds did nothing to move my boat.
I went back to the helm, and turned the engine off. I put my snorkel mask on top of my head and launched the aft ladder. I opened up the port locker, pulled out a length of rope and cleated that off. Then I descended the ladder, while carrying the bitter end of the rope. This was in case my boat suddenly took off without me, I could use the rope to pull myself back to her. (Don't cha just HATE that when your boat takes off without you?)
I shoved the snorkel mask down over my face, took a long slow deep breath and swam under the boat. Well, what do I see?  But a mermaid caught in my rudder!  Incredible!  I must be seeing things. I made a mental note to stop smoking the local herbs and surfaced back at the ladder.
I stared hard at the tree off to starboard. Nope. The boat wasn't moving an inch, in spite of the winds. Something was preventing me from moving. I took a few deep breaths to clear my head. I swam back under the boat one more time.
Yep, there was a mermaid caught in my rudder, stuck between the rudder pin and the hull. I kid you not!  I resurfaced at the ladder.
No one is ever going to believe me. I wished I had an underwater camera, it would have made such a great shot, a mermaid, stuck under my boat, pretty as you please.  No camera, no witnesses. No one was even around as to come over and question my curious maneuverings.
I had seen mermaids before. Some boating company came out with small white boat fenders in the shape of a mermaid. I had seen them used on dinghies  to tie up alongside mother ships and docks. This one was apparently attached to the painter of a semi-submerged mooring ball.
I had not seen the little mermaid, nor the submerged mooring ball, when I took off through the harbor. Somehow, as I passed by, the mermaid, had managed to wedge herself between my rudder and hull.
I climbed back aboard, turned the wheel to port, went back underwater, and wrestled the little mermaid out of my rudder.  She bobbed up to the surface and I followed her. She was attached to a tiny bit of line, which was knotted to a submerged mooring ball that had so much underwater growth all over it, that it looked like a frightening monster. First a mermaid, then a monster. I've been in the sun too long!
I climbed back aboard and let the wind push me away from the little mermaid, while I started the engine and left her in neutral. After I had gently blown safely away, I engaged forward gear and sedately motored out of the harbor to set sail. I gave a quick glance, and there was the tiny mermaid, bobbing on the water, far behind me.
As I exited the harbor, I put the boat back in neutral, pointed my bow upwind, then ran to the mast and pulled up the mainsail, followed by the jib.  I  ran back for the wheel, and pulled the jib in for a nice broad reach. I turned the boat and headed for Jost Van Dyke, adjusting my mainsail until all was happy. I sat down at the wheel and  laughed.   Imagine that!  I snagged a mermaid with my sailboat.
About an hour or so later, I doused the sails, turned on the motor and anchored in my secret spot in Great Harbour at Jost Van Dyke. I was lucky to have shoal keel and only draw a bit less than 4 feet.  If I lined up with the quaint little church to the north, and Albert's house to the west, I would be in a nice sandy spot, about 6-7 feet deep, depending on the tide. No one could anchor near me and I could enjoy some freedom of not worrying about bareboats banging into me in the wee hours of the morning when they seem to drag anchor most often.
The brief engine time, had warmed up my hot water tank, so I went below, showered off the sea salt and sweat, dressed in a fresh sarong and went ashore in my little rubber dinghy at a full clip with a 2 horse Yamaha engine. That equates about the speed of hearty rowing.
At happy hour I was telling folks at the bar, about getting stuck and finding a  mermaid caught in my rudder. Before I could explain she was merely made out of white rubber, one of the island boyz at the bar spoke up rather loudly "Miss?  You be smoking too much of this local herb if you think you be seeing mermaids under your boat!"
Everyone burst out laughing and the joke was on me. I never did get to explain she was just a rubber mermaid. Everyone already thought I was crazy for sailing around alone on a sailboat I had rebuilt on my own. Now I was sounding certifiably crazy.
Well, heck, let 'em think what they want to. For the next few days, no one remembered my name, I was referred to as "the lady who saw a mermaid under her boat", followed by snickers and laughter. I just smiled. Let 'em wonder.

- A Spot of Rain (See Spot Run)
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 14:09:36 EST
84 degrees at 1pm, it was 76 last night and very windy,  I had to sleep under my fluffy afghan just to stay warm. Middle of the night, my kitty showered in the rain, then curled up in part of the afghan and began doing the kneading thing, he likes to do with the afghan. I guess it reminds him of mama or something, he kneads it like he is nursing again and purrs to himself with a faraway look in his eyes.
So in my dim brain, all asleep, I feel something COLD wiggle against me, then his outstretched paw accidentally touched my leg and his little claw poked me, and I flew out of the bed screaming, turning on all the lights,  thinking that snake had found his way back into my house and bed and bit my leg!   
Poor cat looked very frightened, and I had to calm him (and me) down again. He gave me that "Are you losing it?"  look as I petted and reassured him "Yes, I am losing it!"
Dat elec-tricky company done mash up the internet equipment, so I rarely have internet and when I do, it cuts off every few minutes, kinda like the cable TV does too. Ah, life in the islands, mon!  One day they will repair it, soon come, soon come.
According to my crystal ball  (I can't cruise the web) we are going to have scattered showers for today and this afternoon. The weekend should be fair with good swells for the surfers.
This will mail out, whenever that internet comes back on, could be in 10 minutes or 10 hours. I don't wear a watch anymore, why bother?
Today's QUOTE:
A true friend is a work of heart.
The Wishing Fountain at the Botanical Gardens
Road Town, Tortola, BVI

Cool and Rainy Regards,

Hurricanes and Hangovers

(and other tall tales and loose lies from the Coconut Telegraph)


 is now on sale!

- What a Life!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 07:20:05 EST
Washed up on the beach in a bottle:
You just might get your December storm and if I see what I think I see you ain't gonna like it!  grrr
I'm gonna just set and watch for another couple of days ....
My suspicion, 60 W 25 N.  What is it?  Nothing, yet....  Movement, yet to be determined, that's my concern?
Let me know when/if the winds on your end of the island start to prevail from the Northwest ....
Signed, Mad Max
Yeah, Max, I been noting that too, and the boyz in Miami aren't saying a word about it. Hmmm...
79 degrees at 8am today, now that is cooler!  No winds yet, just birds chirping happily!  Wind  speeds are predicted to be at 14mph from the North, but not much here YET.  We had our usual early morning rains.
At about 3am I got up to sleep walk to the bathroom and I had this uncanny urge to turn the light on and I did. There in my bedroom, outside the bathroom door,  is a FOUR FOOT SNAKE!
I screamed!
No one came.  I was home alone. I screamed again, the snake moved closer to an electric cord, as if I might not notice it. I called all the cats to come home. I ran for the broom and long handled dustpan. 
The snake was still. I poked him with the broom and he wiggled. I screamed.
All the cats showed up and stared at the snake. I implored them to kill it They just sat down and watched.
I ran and opened the front door, then ran back and the snake was headed for my closet!  I screamed. The cats scattered. I swept the snake up into the long handled dustpan, held him in place with the broom and galloped at break neck speed for the patio where I threw him down and ran back inside.
Now the cats gathered around the snake and began poking him and watching him. The snake played dead. They guarded him.  I watched from safety of the closed front door, through the window slats.
I returned to my bedroom, by now I had all the lights on in the house, as I searched for more snakes. I have no idea where this one came from. Must have snuck in through the cat door. I don't think the cats brought him home, as when they do that, the snake is already dead.
I tore my bed apart and remade it, to make sure nothing was in my bed. I swept under the bed and found dust bunnies.  I tried to sit down, and then worried about my feet on the floor, so I put them on the bed. I am of course, WIDE AWAKE by now. I searched the house one more time, checked on the cats, who were now attacking the snake on the patio, but he was still ALIVE.
I went back to bed and turned a movie on. I curled up with a flashlight. Every time I heard a strange noise, I turned on the flashlight and searched the bedroom, then turned it back off again.  Finally I fell asleep from exhaustion.
This morning I checked the patio and no sign of the snake. i was so hoping to find a nice DEAD snake, but no luck. Grrrrr.......
Now for the GOOD NEWS!!!!
My book:
Hurricanes and Hangovers
(and other tall tales and loose lies from the coconut telegraph)
 is available for SALE on Tortola at the
Located on Main Street in Road Town!
While you are there, you can go upstairs for coffee, snacks and lunch.

Warm and Sunny Regards,

Hurricanes and Hangovers

(and other tall tales and loose lies from the Coconut Telegraph)


 is now on sale!

- You wanna buy WHAT?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 08:32:20 EST
Hardly any  winds on the south shore today. It's a cool 80.0F degrees. In the wee hours of the mornings we get these nice rains, now my kitty has silky fur, he's had so many rain showers lately. He actually looks like a real cat these days instead of some scruffy ragamuffin.
High surf advisory in effect until 11am, that should make the surfers VERY happy!  Winds are scheduled to increase, but we're still waiting... 
We can expect some tiny small scattered showers and the typical passing clouds.
Shopping in the BVI can be such an adventure!  Yesterday I went to the store to buy a few things. They had 2 left of what I wanted, so I attempted to purchase them. The clerk informed me if she sold me BOTH items, she would not have ANY left to sell anyone else.
I smiled. I knew the owner of the store, who of course has a job with someone else full time during the day.  I said, "Well call the owner ,and suggest he bring some more tonight when he comes to the store!"
She didn't like this and said I should wait until they could order more, as if I bought both items now, she wouldn't have any left to sell.
I said, "Well, the owner knows me, and likes me, and lets me buy whatever I want to out of this store. If you are running out of something, you just order MORE!" 
She shook her head and told me I just did not understand.
I was a tad miffed. I've been through this before. Like the time I tried to buy a rug that was on display in a store. It was a beautiful handwoven grass rug of an uncommon size, perfect for a foyer,in a  house I was hired to decorate.
"No, you can not have that rug, it's on DISPLAY."
"Well, sell me this rug and you can order another rug and put it on display."
"No, you can't buy it, it's on display. It might be dirty."
"That's OK, I will buy the dirt too, I can clean it, it's the exact type and size of rug I want, perfect for what I am decorating."
"Sorry, we can't sell you that rug, it's on display."
For weeks and months, whenever I was near that store, I would go in, and try to buy the rug. It became a personal feud.  I would try to cajole the clerk on duty to sell me the rug on display and they would think up reasons why I couldn't buy it. 
It was a game I never won.
One day I went to go shopping and the store had bankrupted. Through the window, of the closed shop, I could still see my rug on display. I wonder what ever happened to it. I've never seen a rug like it since  to this day.
So, now, I have this clerk before me, who is adamant that I not buy both items, until more comes in on order. I finally said, "Look, I am going to ask the owner why he doesn't want me to shop here anymore!  I live and work near here, and he has known me for years and he has always sold me what ever I wanted to buy in his store and when he runs out, he just ORDERS MORE!"
She sighed, she sputtered, she looked to the heavens for help.
I smiled, I pulled out my money and reached for a grocery bag.
She shook her head, rang up the items, BOTH of them, and took my money and let me leave. She looked extremely sad and I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to feel bad or not.
Just the other day, I found the perfect  1.5-Quart Crock Pot , identical to the crockpot I mashed up while sleepwalking. I call it my "bean pot" because it's the perfect size for dried beans. I love to make all manner of dried bean recipes, such as split pea soup, 19 Bean Burritos, Chili beans, Hummus Dip, Black bean Dip, lentil burgers, Calico beans, Cowboy beans, BarbQ beans, Creole Beans, Bean Salad and so on.
When I tried to buy it, I was informed it was $75!  I was aghast, this item should sell for $10-$30 max. A small little slow cooker, nothing fancy. Ah, but the clerk explained, it came with an electric grill!
I told him I didn't need an electric grill, we had already fetched a charcoal grill out of the dump that we were more than happy with, and all I needed was the little 1.5 quart slow cooker and I could be on my way. Perhaps another customer would like to buy the electric grill without the bean pot and we would both be happy.
I talked to three different people in that store, and all insisted, if I wanted the little 1.5 quart crock pot, I MUST buy the electric grill with it. I pointed out, they don't match, they aren't even the same brand, and I didn't need nor want an electric grill.  One clerk suggested I try to resell the electric grill I did not want.
What?  Me open an appliance store with ONE grill in it and nothing else? 
How about you sell me the crock pot, and you keep the electric grill and you sell it to somebody who wants an electric grill without the crockpot. Afterall, you have 100's of appliances here on sell. Surely people don't demand that electric grills come with crockpots too.  The two items aren't even boxed together!  Nobody would know, it would be our little secret. Honest. I wouldn't tell a soul.
My pleas fell upon deaf ears. I had a few small items in my hands, I set those down on the counter and headed for the door. The clerk hollered "Wait! Don't you want to buy these things?"  I sadly shook my head.  It just wasn't meant for me to shop!
As I left the store, I could hear the clerk behind me, "You want the crockpot?  It's $75 and you get an electric grill with it!"  
Life be good here, no matter what. Some clerks can save you A LOT of money by refusing to sell stuff to you.
Funny but true!  Buyer beware, want but don't buy...

- Twos Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 11:26:06 EST
76 F degrees and windy, with 15-25 knots. That's more like it!  Christmas Winds, yahoo!  We had scattered showers in the wee hours of the morning, and more are expected.   Nothing heavy, just light scattering or smattering.  
I am so c-c-c-cold that I am wearing my fuzzy slippers and a heavy robe over my sarong this morning.
We still have a haze on the horizon, probably from the volcano ash as well as the Sahara dust. Yep, I just checked the Sahara satellite, and it's HERE. I figured as much, I am going through rewetting eye drops like I am in the desert!
Here you can see Montserrat at the top and the current ash plume trailing south.
    Sadly, I can't get any clear answers on whether the Flying Cloud is coming back to the BVI as a permanent reef.  As many of you know, she was a Windjammer passenger ship plying the BVI waters since the 60's.
    Because new international rules (SOLAS) in 2010 would  put Flying Cloud and all the tall ships out of business, (gee I wonder whose idea this was, given that certain creuise liners have overbuilt their new ship fleet...) many like Windjammer faced tough decisions on upcoming repairs. How do you repair a ship when you know in  a few short years you will be forced out of business?  I am so sad to see Windjammer go. Fortunately a great book about the history of her fleet with many fantastic pictures was written before the company's collapse. See  Barefoot Pirate: The Tall Ships and Tales of Windjammer an excellent well done book.  It's coffee table size, not something you sit down and read in one evening. It makes you want to run away to sea!

- Christmas Rum Cake, Ho ho ho!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 12:10:39 EST
Another gorgeous day in paradise on Tortola in the BVI. Winds are moderate at 15mph, still waiting on those Christmas winds to cool us down.  Life is good. It should cool off over the next few days but today at 1240pm we are at 83.3 degrees.
My Internet is intermittent, so no idea when I get to post these days. I don't care. I loaned out my watch, why worry. I never wear it anyhow, I was using it to hang on the wall in the bathroom, so I wouldn't be late while primping for an engagement.
Christmas is in the air, but I haven't found any lights to my liking. I want some of those tube lights in white. Maybe tonight I will drag out my Christmas tree.  It's a small but lovely homemade tree my mother made a few years before her death and I have treausred it every since. With Christmas only 10 days away, I should decorate by now.
Last year, I was busy moving and working and couldn't find anything anyhow. I can't even remember what I did on Christmas day. Shame on me. I think I just stayed home and relaxed myself.
Are you lonesome for the Caribbean?  There is still time (3 days)  to get mail-order before Christmas, of :
Caribbean Sarongs and Tropical Shirts from the mad gringo.  A great way to "drop a hint" at your loved ones especially if you are stuck in the snow.  Brrrrrrrr!
Here it is!  The famous Rum Cake Recipe!  Now this will warm you up!
A Tried and True Recipe

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts or both
1 18-1/2 ounce yellow cake mix
1 1-3/4 ounce instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Caribbean dark rum

1 stick butter (1/4 pound)
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Caribbean dark rum
Cake Recipe: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top with fork. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Use brush or spoon to put extra dripping back on cake.
Glaze Recipe: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Note: The rum will cause steam. Be careful not to burn yourself.
The longer this cakes sits, the better the taste, the Rum preserves it well. *hiccup*
If you want to print this out, click here for the plain page version.
This picture was submitted by Drew last year, when he made his Rum Cake. So if you make one, send me the pic (or better yet, just send me the entire  cake to Dear Miss Mermaid at PO Box 1533, St John VI 00831-1533)
I will be happy to photograph your cake for you.....
Yeah, I know that is a different island (US Virgins) but I get my mail over there, and live over here.

- The Good Life Gets Better!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 17:28:07 EST
Gorgeous weather all day. About 100 people at Smugglers Cove beach frolicking in the crystal clear Caribbean waters, cooling off and sunning themselves.
83 degrees at 540pm and sunset is not far behind as we approach our shortest day of the year, well actually shortest by daylight time. It will still be 24 hours...
Rolled up on the seashore in a French wine bottle:

'Not every full moon is the same. Since the moon orbits in an elliptical path around the earth, the distance between the Earth and moon can vary considerably from one week to the next.

At apogee (the moon's farthest point from Earth), it is 50,000 km farther from Earth than it is when the moon is at perigee (the closest point to earth).  And that change in distance means that the full moons that we see each month vary in size, depending on whether the time of full moon is closer to apogee, perigee, or some point in between.

Because the lunar perigee occurs Friday, at the same time that the moon reaches its full phase, we will see the biggest, brightest full moon of 2008. In fact, tonight, we will see the biggest full moon since 1993.  The moon will be 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon that occurs near apogee'.

Not from my pen but some geek at NASA!

'Luv  Frenchie

Ahhhhhhhhh, now we know why it is so bright around here at night!  So sorry I missed the Full Moon Parties as both were super busy, a big night since Christmas is near, many folks only go in December. 

Surf was up yesterday and the sun was out and surfers were in force, though it wasn't the least bit crowded. Some of our seasonal surfers haven't come down this season, so not near as busy. Wonder where they went?

Beautiful weather is predicted all week but I am still waiting on the Christmas Winds...

A friend of mine came off a boat from sailing around, all the guests left and she called me up to come help cart off the leftovers....  Ah, liquors, exotic cheeses, loads of basics like flour, sugar, marinades, hot sauces, and a few surprises like chocolate, champagne and charcoal plus a few cases of soft drinks. I'm not proud, my medical bills have dug a chunk out of my budget, and I feed a lot of friends, so heck, I went and picked it all up.

She had packed up the groceries in jumbo garbage bags weighing about 80-100 pounds each. We had a dock cart, to get it all to the jeep, so all seemed well and easy.  I gave her a ride to town, then drove home wondering HOW I was going to carry these big heavy bags of groceries, so, I stopped to see a friend of mine who bartends by the ocean, and she said what are you up to?  And I jokingly said, well I am looking for someone to help me unload the jeep and we laughed about it.

Well, I ended up chatting to some nice people, when this guy asks how to get to West End, he has to catch the ferry back to St Thomas and bartend the next day.  I said well, I am headed that way, I could give you a ride, turns out he has a surfboard to go on the roof and his friend, an airline pilot,  asked for a ride too, and I said, well there is no back seat, and you would have to crowd in with a load of groceries, but if we stop by my house we can unload them. (AH HA!) 

Turns out, the rope I usually carry, was not in the jeep, I could see it clearly at home in my head, so nothing to tie the surfboard down with.

My surfer friend rides in the front with his arm out the window, holding onto the surfboard laying on the roof, while I drive sedately, and the other guy, with his luggage, has managed to fold up in the back with all the groceries, and we must have looked very islandy, I don't think we could have put one more canned soda in that overloaded jeep. We had great fun, passing a hitchhiker, and slowed down long enough to tell him, sorry, no room left, and left him giggling.

Of course at Zion Hill, I had to floor it to get up the hill, praying the surf board didn't sail away, or the back door fly open and send my friend, his luggage and my groceries down the hill (I did lock him in for safety's sake!) and somehow we made it without losing a thing. My little jeep is a tough character.

At my house, they unloaded all the groceries in record time, 80-100 pound bags didn't scare these two, then they sampled some of the gifted rum (to make sure it was pure!) and we dashed out again for the ferry, which somehow the bartender missed. So we ate out together, and finally got him stashed on a special late ferry, so all ended well.

Late at night, my housemate comes home, and thinks he missed a HUGE party, because when he had left early that morning, all had been tidy and nice in the kitchen. That afternoon, we only tossed the perishables in the fridge, and there covering the counters, is drinks, liquors and other food stuffs everywhere. I had come home exhausted and gone straight to bed, leaving the mess to put away later.

This morning several people stopped by, as if they knew I had a load of food, and soon we are cooking and eating and yacking away. What a life.

- Dat T'ing done mash up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 08:59:32 EST
 83.F degrees. Never seen that on my thermometer, it always has a point something on it, making it 3 digits instead of 2, but today, just 2. It's 28C and my weather clock shows smiley faces on rain drops, so that means we will have light scattered rains. Unhappy smiley faces mean heavy long rains. Go figure. Who designs this stuff? 
My sailing friend arrived on island with treats from the modern world including organic catnip for the kitties, who are just ecstatic. Little do they know, the stuff isn't sold on Tortola, and I rely on the goodness of others to import it for them. Also, I like the entertainment!  They decorate themselves in catnip, then roll in it and dance a type of cat ballet. They look goofy, give me loving looks while purring up a storm. It often puts them to sleep after vigorous play or requires them to demand a snack from the kitchen.
Last night was the full moon and it seemed bright as day in the middle of the night. We also had the fool moon parties and I bet they were busy. I was sorry not to go, as usually in December everyone goes, kind of like an island wide Christmas party. 
WeatherBVI.com predicts no storm activity for the next 48 hours, well that sure is comforting!  Temps should start to cool and the tradewinds pick up.
My internet crashes every few minutes, so no idea when this will get out to you .I started writing it at 5am, and by 930am, I am still fighting to get the internet going.
Well, the elec-tricky done mash up my microwave.  It now works randomly, just like a true islander now. It only works when it wants to or feels like it.    Sometimes it gets tired of cooking/working half way through, and just stops cooking, but keeps the timer counting down, like it's on the time clock, wasting payroll, but not doing a bit of work.  
I open and shut the door and sometimes it restarts and sometimes not. Sometimes I leave the door open for a few minutes, then it MIGHT feel like cooking again.  Maybe not. I guess it's been zapped by so many power surges that it's tiny computer went bonkers.
I don't heat any fast foods in it. I like to reheat my made-from-scratch meals and to cook certain things in it from scratch, that do quite well.
I like it to poach my eggs in this  nifty 2- Egg Poacher that does magic. Sometimes I sprinkle bacon bits and a small slice of cheese on top, then poach and serve on an English Muffin. Yummy!  That's a hearty breakfast in under a minute, made from scratch. Bacon Bits now come made from Soya Mince, as well as the real t'ing made from pork or bacon.  I like the real ones best, but last time I bought some, I got home and realized they were vegetarian bacon bits and they are all right too.
When I get in a pancake mood, I like to make up a huge stack of pancakes, enough for an Army. Then I sort them into threes, separate them with little bits of wax paper and then wrap them or Ziploc them and toss in the freezer. One morning when you feel like pancakes, just bring a thee-stack out of the freezer (single serving) and microwave with a bit of real Maple Syrup on top and once again, you have breakfast in under a minute. If you use REAL  Maple Syrup , you will find that you need very little for a tasty treat, as opposed to the imitation stuff, which seems to require a lot to get a tiny bit of flavor.
I love to steam my veggies, sprinkled with herbs,  in the microwave. They require just a tiny teaspoon of water in most cases and the veggies retain their beautiful color and more nutrients this way. I like cabbage and it steams really nice in the microwave, and if you use lavender, or Herbs de Provence (with lavender), it never smells like cabbage or stinks up the place and gives cabbage dishes a heavenly flavor.
Seafood does surprisingly well in a microwave, fresh shrimp can be steamed in 1-3 minutes per serving. Fish will poach or steam quickly and taste wonderfully fresh. If your microwave is big enough, you can often stick your fresh conch in the shell in there for  a few minutes, then the meat pops right out of the shell. You now have a beautiful conch shell with no holes in it.
Corn on the cob, still in the husk,(trim ends to make it fit right!) cooked in the microwave will peel easily (the strings won't stick) and the husk gives it this incredible sweet flavor that can not be duplicated with boiling or grilling.
I have a griddle for the microwave that I mainly use for frozen hamburger patties. First I heat the griddle for 5 minutes in the microwave, then toss the frozen burgers on for a minute, flip them over and cook another minute and they are well done and tasty. During the five minutes the griddle is heating, I put my condiments on the bun and my side dish, if I am having one and then cook the burger and you have lunch in just a few quick minutes
Wax paper does wonder for any frozen bread products. Bread in the tropics can turn green rather quickly, but not so if you freeze it, tightly wrapped (no air). Usually you can just pop it in the toaster frozen, and then have toasted bread for sandwiches. But I find you can also wrap frozen burger buns or any bread in wax paper and briefly microwave it and it comes out steamy like it's just fresh from the bakery.
A hot dog bun with a weenie and chili and onions on top, can be wrapped in wax paper and cooked for 1 minute in a microwave and there you have a speedy meal.
So, being that I have my main office at home and work there most days, I often eat at home,  so I end up cooking something fast or reheating leftovers. The microwave, which has been around for 50 years, simply does magic. I guess I will have to replace mine at some point soon, as it is downright cantankerous about when it will and won't cook. I might get a convection microwave as they truly do magic, combining hot air cooking with the speed of microwaving.
The 10 or so  years, I lived on my boat, I didn't have a microwave, and I really missed it. When I moved ashore with just a sea bag and a laptop, I splurged and bought one for my home.
When I was chartering, we often did have a microwave on the boat. I liked to slice up assorted veggies, arrange them artfully into individual servings, sprinkle with complimenting herbs and steam in the microwave. They would come out perfectly and look very colorful. Then with a spatula, I could transfer each individual serving to the guests' plates and they always admired the colorful veggies. Colors are lost in traditional cooking of veggies, but not so in the microwave. This also saved time and pots and the veggies are healthier this way.
Sometimes I had grumpy captains who would hire me for a freelance charter than announce I could not use the microwave because they didn't "Believe" in it. So I learned to retaliate. On one boat, the captain was standing on the button to run his electric windlass and bring up the anchor. I went below and switched it off. He came to see what was the matter.   I insisted he could NOT use it around me because I didn't "Believe" in it. If he wanted me to ruin my beautiful veggies by cooking them on the propane stove, then he could ruin his beautiful hands and pick up the chain and anchor. Fair enough?
When people tell me they are scared of microwaves or don't "believe" in them, I wonder if they think the world is flat too. After 50 years, we haven't heard of any spectacular side effects from cooking with a microwave, so perhaps it's time to "believe" in them.

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:52:39 EST
Another gorgeous day in heaven, ooops, the BVI. Winds around 20 mph, scattered showers, big baby blue skies with cotton balls wafting by, disguised as clouds. Small craft advisory for the northern waters due to a east northeast swell.
Surf is up!  If you have surfers on your payroll, expect them to take some sick time (too sick to work, but not too sick to surf) you know the drill by now.
Some businesses claim to be busy as usual, others claim to be in a slump. Smaller businesses seems busier than larger ones, according to managers and owners, I've spoken with.  (Gosh, should government sit up and take notice of this???)
My sailing buddy flew in and miraculously found that most of the work he had requested to be done on his sailboat, had actually been done in his absence. WOW!  What a country, what a life!  Today he takes a shakedown cruise down to my neck of the woods.  He thought he was getting out yesterday, but forgot how the Caribbean warmth can have it's toll on you,  first 24 hours. Once he remembered to slow down, take it easy, all was well.
We instead treated ourselves last night  to Chef Vaughan's exquisite cooking at the Boat House at the new marina at Manual Reef. That is in Sea Cow's Bay, on the south shore. If coming from Road Town, head West,  go past the big Island Department store, then in the next big curve, you will see the marina on the left, before the start of the 7 speed bumps of Sea Cows  Bay.
We both had fresh blackened tuna (cooked to perfection, I might add) dressed with a light wasabi sauce over a bed of scalloped potatoes that even your mama can't duplicate, they were so heavenly, served with assorted greens tossed in a chef's  vinaigrette along with some steamed pumpkin (a type of squash that is green on the outside but orange on the inside, and  sweeter than jack-o-lantern pumpkin, plus it's not stringy).  Needless to say, there was very little washing needed of our plates when we were done. Poor kitties didn't get one scrap of leftover tuna.
I would love nothing better to drop it all and go sailing for a few days. But alas, my book sales  and unique calendar sales, haven't been near as much as I had hoped (ooops!) so I must slave away at other projects, to make sure the rent gets paid.  At least, thus far, no one is calling me to be on Oprah or Howard Stern, and the NY Times hasn't discovered me yet, and so it goes.   There's still time for folks to order books or calendars and get them before Christmas. You can even order the book gift wrapped with a card or just with a card alone.
Now, I'm trying my hand at pastels:
Pink Oleander

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, December 11, 2008 – This holiday season, DISH Magazine (www.dishvi) steps away from the traditional Christmas eats to cook with coconut, cranberries and seafood. We list the top five locations for brunch in the BVI and our holiday issue introduces the “Art of Cooking” with renowned chef Davide Pugliese of Brandywine Bay. You won’t want to miss this read as he shares his recipe for the Italian rendition of an island favorite: Baccalà and Polenta, a.k.a Saltfish and Fungi and award Winning Yacht Chef Martha Cabada gives us three of her winning recipes.

- Thursday
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 10:57:49 EST
Surf's up!  Winds are here at around 20mph, not quite breezy enough to qualify for Christmas winds, but soon come...
My buddy flew in last night and is sailing his yacht down my way to see me, and I bet he is thoroughly smitten with the terrific
Sun is out and it all feels great. 84F degrees (29C) at 11am here in the BVI.  We can expect surf all week and scattered rains to keep us green.
All utilities except for cable TV are working just fine so far today! (shhhhhhhhh!)
My housemate, like me, often sleep-walks late in the night, during the wee hours,  for a cold drink or a trip to the restroom. If the other one is still up, we  tend to ignore each other, at these times, so as not to "wake" the sleep-walker. It's easier to go back to a deep sleep that way.  We've seen each other with the slow feet shuffle, the eyes barely open a slit, go about these automatic actions, then back to bed, seemingly unaware of what we've done or that anyone else is around.
So early this morning, long before daybreak, I found myself tossing and turning, and finally I just got up and decided to start work, and get a head jump on the day. After all, we had water, power, Internet, I could easily knock out a few hours of work before sunrise.
Sadly, I come across the destruction of my favorite appliance, my little 3 quart Crock Pot  I use for making exotic dishes out of dried beans. I remember, ah yes, I was sleep walking last night, in search of cold water, when somehow, I tangled with the cord to the crock pot on the counter, and it lept to the floor, shattering the crockery. Thank goodness, I had forgotten to put the beans in, I was too tired when I went to bed, to start a new recipe  as I often let my dried beans slow cook all night. Now that would have been a huge mess to send me into tears, no doubt. But I was mightily tired when it shattered, and I simply went back to bed. Now I am up, looking at the huge mess and wishing 1,000 times it had not broken.
A few minutes later, I hear the familiar slow shuffle of my sleep-walking housemate, and I didn't bother to speak to him, assuming  in that dreamlike state, he is searching for temporary refuge in the bathroom. Next he shuffled back out and I THOUGHT, back to his bed.  
A few minutes later I hear strange hissing noises and that's when I realize he is wielding a steaming hot iron in the hallway, while slowly attacking his uniform on the  ironing board.  His sleepy eyes were barely open a tiny sliver.  Fearing he might burn himself badly in this sleep-walking, dream-like state, I spoke to him to wake him up and get his attention before the touch of a hot iron did so.
His eyes now raise up to half mast, as he slowly brings me into focus and digests my words, his iron hissing in mid-air. He mumbles "I have to iron while da current is on, don't want to go to work all wrinkled." 
I burst out laughing, these frequent power outages have made our lives upside down. He steams away with his iron, getting his work clothes pressed so he will look sharp for work. He methodically puts away the board and iron, then announces rather sleepily "Dat elec-tricky corporation can have d'eir current for dem-selves now, I done with it" then he collapses back  into his bed with a soft thud, and resumes a deep slumber.
I shake my head and notice the cats are now fully awake and looking at me eagerly to see if I will make them an early breakfast. I feed them, they scamper outdoors, and I too, go back to bed to the gentle sounds of the pre-morning rains.

- Winds Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 14:52:48 EST
The winds are blowing, we have intermittent showers for today and the rest of the week, but they will be short lasting, so no flooding or anything untoward.
We never made it out to sea yesterday, as by 8am, it was very dark, very gray and very wet. The island we were headed for, we had planned to do a lot of walking, so we just gave up and stayed ashore.
Hard to believe that Christmas will be here in two weeks! 
The government announced in the newspapers locally that half of our electrical bills would be paid for December. YIPPEEE!!!  So my neighbor went down there, was shocked to find out she had a huge electrical bill and asked them what about this newspaper article that said half our bills would be paid by the government.  The clerk told her they had no official word on that, and she would have to pay the entire bill herself.
Poor thing.
I hope dem government folks keep their word...
However, I just found an article written 21 hours ago, that says we will get this 50% relief in January. YAHOO!!!
Some Fun Stuff!

- Winds Soon Come
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2008 04:29:24 EST
Dark thirty an drizzling rain. Sun won't be up for another hour, so it could be construed as heavy dew.  I can hear the ocean roaring though, most unusual for the south shore. Could just be heavy rain out there, pounding on the ocean,  that hasn't reached me yet.  I hope the seas aren't too rough, I am going off island for the day or so.
A cool 77 degrees here, makes me want to curl back up and go to sleep.  Wind and waves are picking up and a small craft advisory may be possible soon. I guess the Christmas winds are almost here.
Well, I just had to rewrite this all over again, the cat came in, walked all over my keyboard and sent my email off into never never land.
Gee, thanks, kitty.
I am going to post my letter off to Santa Claus today, ask him for a  stocking full of chocolate for me and catnip for the kitties.   We've been good this year (well, most of the time).

- 17 Days Until Christmas
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 09:29:11 EST
Simply marvelous. The Christmas tradewinds are on the way and should arrive tonight. We have slight wind today and baby blue skies with puffy conttony clouds across the BVI skies. It is 82.5F or 28C temperature.
My car radio plays reggae Christmas songs whenever I drive somewhere.  It gives me the giggles to hear traditional songs done island style. I like it!  Puts you in the mood, even though we don't expect any snow this year.  However it will be a white Christmas here with white sand beaches, pasty white tourists to grace them and white sailboats on the seas.
Beware driving around at night, we seem to have a new epidemic of big pot holes in the road, many man-made intentionally, then NOT patched up at all or patched up 3-6 inches below the rest of the road. I hit a new one last night in the dark that had me spewing out words that would have made my mother gasp and faint. I thought my axle was going to break.
On the rest of the way home, I noticed I drove like a drunken sailor!  Many of the potholes have been there so long, memorized in my addled brain,  that I now mindlessly drive around them, playing chicken with the oncoming cars who are very often, doing likewise.
I am not sure which would be a smoother ride, galloping on my donkey or driving  my  heap of a jeep banging through potholes.
It just proves my point:
Ah, but the BEAUTY here is awesome. What a treasure to live in such a gorgeous place, bad roads and all. At least there are no ten lane grid locked  traffic jams  to deal with and YIPPEE I am so excited my jeep is finally legal now and got the sticker to prove it too!

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2008 12:53:03 EST
 Breezy and sunny, supposed to be dry for a few days then the daily rains should start back next week. Up to 85 degrees, unusual temperature for December!  Some nights are getting cooler, at least I have to cover my tail  in the wee hours to keep it cozy.
The Christmas tradewinds are due to arrive about Tuesday and bring more showers. Won't that be fun!  So don't be bashful about reefing the mainsail. It's going to be a real sleighride next week (though no snow is predicted for our lattitudes!)
Da current done mash up t'ree times yesterday and once today already. It's certainly the topic of conversation everywhere you go!  My whole "business life" now revolves around da current.  I find myself working in the middle of the night, simply because I have da current  and may not have it again when I wake up in the morning.
Today I would rather be at the beach, but since I have da current, might as well work until it mash up, then I will run for the beach.
As a tourist, I sure wouldn't worry about da current mash up, cause you can go sight seeing or beach hopping or sailing or boating and do loads of things that don't involve da current.  I think about 98% of the restaurants cook with propane mostly, so even they stay open without da current. The bars have long since learned to deal with current outages and stay open no matter what. Needless to say, candles and batteries are BIG sellers this season. If you are shopping for BVI friends, and unsure what to buy them, just buy  battery operated lights, and candles. 
I sure miss my generator.   It made my life so comfy. I could work whenever I wanted to!
MESSAGE in a bottle:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
As a result of LIAT "mis-placing" about 20 passenger's luggage on their evening flight from Barbados to St Vincent on Tuesday i/c my wife's - checked through from London to St Vincent) I tossed a large Green Bottle in the sea asking for your help...
Am pleased to say all the missing luggage turned up the following morning and was re-united with the worried passengers - who had to return to the airport to collect them.
To be fair LIAT rang my wife in St Vincent to say the suitcase had arrived.
Something for your readers...
Virgin Atlantic are operating a very useful "twighlight" check-in at Gatwick South Terminal from 1200 to 2100 where passengers can "check in" the evening before their flight. This i/c boarding passes (if you havn't got one from the "on line" check in) and saves taking heavy bags to/from the hotel or leaving them in "Left Luggage" overnight.
Bob S.
Chelmsford UK
PS : Keep up the good work on "StormCarib"
Thank you Bob!  Glad to be of assistance, and thank you for reading StormCarib.com!
Dear Miss Mermaid has six 2009 Calendar Designs on Sale
$60 orders qualify for free shipping through midnight, Click here for coupon code You can combine with shirts or bags or other stuff for sale there.

- Saturdaze...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2008 10:08:24 EST
82F degrees at  10am and getting some winds finally. Sunshine is raining all around us. A great day to go sailing or to the beach.
So why am I at home cleaning house?  (Note to self:  make the cats hire a maid.)  They make most of the mess anyhow, spilt food that falls out of their mouth, toys, cat nip, bits of fur here and there, dry food dish, wet food dish, water dish, more dishes to wash.  Thank goodness they don't wear clothes, but my washer has a cat fur catcher, and let me tell you, it catches A LOT of cat fur every time I wash t'ings. Then they hide bones around the house (oh now that's attractive... when you have company.)  They don't always wipe or wash their paws before tracking in a mess, sometimes after a rain, there is a trail of cat paw prints from the cat door to the feed station and so on. Plus the dang feathers, there is a pile of feathers in the corner and nothing else. No body parts, just feathers. No one is saying a thing about it, but it's left for me, to deal with the pile of feathers...
Violent emissions continue from the Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat ... but ash cloud is expected to remain well south of us. (I still see a thick southerly haze though.)  The pre-dawn blast on Friday followed three explosions earlier in the week, which released blistering gases and steam from inside a hardened lava dome topping the Soufriere Hills volcano.  No one was injured (thank goodness.)
The first explosion on Tuesday at the cloud-shrouded volcano — the first in nearly six months — occurred without any seismic activity. Subsequent explosions sent glowing streaks of red from pyroclastic flows down the mountain's western side.
Ironically, on December 11th, ferry service resumes between Antigua and Montserrat for the first time in three years.   Roundtrip fares will be around $135.
Still looking for my camera, so no pics yet.
Just found it, in the cabinet on the charger. (Gosh, WHO put it there???)   I have so many wires, cords, cables and chargers, that they occupy an entire cabinet next to my desk, which has a huge hole drilled in the back so the wires can snake around to puters, printers, elec-tricky outlets and so on. I can close the cabinet and thus hide the tangled mess, that would easily terrify  a fire inspector.
My new old home of one year, is old, and built at a time when elec-tricky outlets were still considered a luxury. I have to run a heavy duty extension cord just to plug in the refrigerator. Nearly every outlet has surge protectors and a 5 or 10 outlet extension.  They used to have the refrigerator near the outlet, but it blocked off two cabinets and I needed the storage, plus once I moved the refrigerator, I could put the washing machine under the once-blocked cabinets.  So I gained in the move, but then discovered there was no where to plug the fridge in. *sigh*. So I had to buy a heavy duty cord and make do.
Hey!  I have HOT water again!  Yippee!  Wonder how long this time?  A day?  A week?  Haven't had it much in the last year. But I have it TODAY, so I better go wash my long hair and scaly tail...
From the Port Hole
Warm and Sunny Regards,
The book!  It's on sale!  Free shipping (sometimes)
Hurricanes and Hangovers

(and other tall tales and loose lies from the Coconut Telegraph)

 is now on sale!

- ANother find day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 11:28:41 EST
Cooler temps and a few rain showers,  but no winds. No hurricanes either, so that's really nice. Sun has just made an appearance at 11:20am.  Winds and seas are expected to increase and a small craft advisory may be issued for offshore this afternoon. So head back into port and enjoy a good book...
I now organize my life entirely around the elec-tricky corporation. Not the way I would normally like to have it, but mainly, I get up early and work as fast as I can until da current done mash up. Then I drop what I am doing, leave home and go run errands or see appointments, which are made on the fly.
 My laptop battery which is lost in shipping was supposed to be a super duper 6-9 hour battery, with that I can foil da elec-tricky boyz and keep on working.  I hope one day it magically appears, it's rare that the Post Office has ever lost anything for me.
By the way, I got my car tag inspection sticker so I am 100% legal now!  Actually, my dear friend had to go to town to get his hair braided, so he took my jeep and ran by the inspection lane and finally got me legal!  Yahoo!  There was nothing wrong with the jeep, just that for some reason, the guy working there, kept making up excuses not to pass me. One week he said the jeep was too dirty, another time he said my tag was crooked, and I have never had this kind of weird problem before, so I was a tad bewildered and miffed, as I have been going by there since September to get my sticker. I try to play by all the rules but was beginning to feel a tad harassed. 
This time my friend apparently got the same guy who now said my muffler needed replacing which it DOES NOT. My car is as quiet as can be and there is nothing wrong with my muffler. Some how, my friend cajoled him into getting the sticker, with promises of a new muffler coming soon. I hear and see all sorts of LOUD trucks with NO mufflers roaming our roads, and my car is quiet as can be, so I just don't get it. But I am legal again!  YIPPEE!!!
So yesterday, da current mash up, I make a few calls, get some last minute appointments, then set off for town. For once, I could sigh with relief, as before I was always a nervous wreck driving around with an old inspection sticker. There wasn't parking anywhere, so I had to just make do, but most of my stops were quick, so I was able to keep moving.
My last stop, I actually found a nice neat parking space next to a building being painted. They were using white, my heap of jeep is white, so I figured I was safe. However, when my appointment was over and I went out, the paint crew had set up scaffolding and firmly blocked my driver's door.  I laughed, and emptied out my front passenger seat, which was full of toilet paper, batteries, juice, water bottles, my mail, cat food, coffee cans, Apple Cider Vinegar, Crackers, Peas, NIDO, Tuna and so on. Transferred all that to the rear of the jeep, climbed through the seats and over the gear shift and brake and finally settled into my driver's seat to go home. Whew, I was glad I had on a longish dress, as it wasn't that easy to maneuver around the front  of a small 2 door jeep from the wrong side. But such is life.
I drove home and to my delight the elec-tricky was working. But the handyman still hasn't fixed the latest hot water problem. I was thinking I could survive an icy cold shower, what with town heat and all. But then da current mash up and that means no water. *Sigh*
I took a whole slew of nice pictures yesterday and soon as I find my camera I will post some for you.  I seem to have laid it around somewhere strange. Maybe the cat has it.
But here is a sneak peek of a picture from my 2009 Mermaid Calendar for sale.

- Normal???
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 08:03:35 EST
     Quote from San Juan National Weather Service:
We are basically ... in a normal weather pattern for this time of the year.
    In other words, just another GREAT day in paradise! 81 degrees (28C) at 830am, it was 78 when I got up at dark thirty. Ah, those cool nights of wrapping up in my handmade afghan and curling up with a purring kitty.
    Nothing on the horizon to scare us yet.
    I woke up bright and early and wrote a nice long report for you. Then my Internet hung up, ate my email and crashed.
    Dear Miss Mermaid was very unhappy and suddenly feeling a tad grumpy!  Grrr...
    I was so mad. I decided to go make breakfast then try again. I haven't been shopping in awhile, so the pickings are pretty slim. Finally  I had to dig into the hurricane and himmacane stash and make tuna melts on leftover garlic bread. Yummy! 
Driving and shopping are my two least favorite things to do. I'm not sure which scares me more, the drivers around here or the food prices.
    You'll be thrilled to know I got my spell heckler fixed. The last few days have probably been torture for you to read my mis-typing's. Sorry about that. I don't know what happened, I finally had to uninstall AOL and reinstall AOL and that fixed a lot of problems. I hope.At least the spell heckler is working again.
    Now my Internet is flaky again but we've had elec-tricky pretty often lately.
    A message in a bottle surfaced on a beach in NJ recently. The message was dated from August 1969 and encased in a Schaefer beer bottle.  That's one sturdy bottle!
    If anyone is missing a reply from Miss Mermaid, after tossing bottle in the sea for me to read, simply check your spam or junk folder, for my reply, in case it got lost in there. If it's not in there, then write me again. I try to answer everyone that writes, but sometimes I might miss one and not realize it. Can't be  perfect all the time...
    My hot water t'ing broke again. 36 hours of pure bliss then POOF. I heard strange noises outside, went to check, and the pump room was flooding. I could hear water spraying and stuck my head inside and was splashed in the face  with hot water.
    I ran for the electrical box to shut the pump off and nothing is labeled in it. *sigh*. The pump cycled off again but I could still hear the water spraying everywhere.
    When the pump came on again, I frantically switched the electrical breakers on and off, one by one,  until one stopped the pump, then I got a crayon and labeled it. I called the caretaker who was none to happy to hear from me. He thought with putting in that new hot water  tank, he was DONE with me. Not so.
    He eventually came over and we had a good laugh. 
    Yeah, this is getting real funny.
    Ha ha. I laugh every time I take my c-c-c-cold shower.
    There is a broken Jacuzzi on the property, I think I will fix that next.  Maybe the hot water in it will work then. A mermaid could use a Jacuzzi to keep her tail in shape.

- Da Volcano Mash up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 13:41:01 EST
The Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat had ejected ash clouds
and steam earlier this morning ... however the ashs continue to drift
south and southwest and should  not affect the Virgin Islands and surrounding waters based on the present and expected wind flow.
However, my naked eye can see a southerly haze.
The volcano on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat has burst into action, hurling hot rocks that set buildings ablaze in the island's abandoned capital.
The director of the island's volcano observatory says no one was injured or evacuated. Roderick Stewart says the Soufriere Hills volcano spewed material more than half a mile (1 kilometer) into the air.
He said Wednesday that buildings burned for several hours in Plymouth, the capital city that was abandoned when volcano erupted in 1997 and killed 19 people.
Stewart says the explosion was smaller than when the volcano's dome partially collapsed in late July and spewed ash some 40,000 feet (12 kilometers) into the air.
In the BVI, a slightly sstrmy day with intermittant rains and peek a boo sunshine. Not much wind, nothing on the horizon to scare us yet...
To those of you that bought my book, Hurricanes & Hangovers (and other tall tales and loose lies from the coconut telegraph, I wish to THANK YOU from my heart, soul and pocketbook. (My creditors wish to thank you too.)  There is a certain nervousness upon launching a new book, that what if; what if nobody buys it? 
Unfortunatley, I have no way of knowing who buys it, except from those who wrote to tell me, you had bought one and those that wrote to say they had generously bought several for Christmas Gifs. I thank you all!  I haven't hit the top 250 on Amazon, a list they update hourly, however I went from a ranking of around 20,000 (with zero sales) to a ranking of 7,995 the first day.  What that means is that the day before when I sold Zero, Amazon had over 20,000 titles sell 1 or more copies. Day 2 when my sales began trickling in, my ranking hit 7,995, that meant that 7,995 titles had sold as much or more than I had, the same day. So THAT made me feel great.

- Here Ya Argh!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 08:51:30 EST
A gorgeous day in paradise. It's barely 80 degrees. I finally finsihed testing my refrigerator, so when my thermometer warms up, I will have accurate weather readings again.  Apparently my freezer works at -7.2F degrees and the fridge at 36.1F. That's after 12 hours of continuous current (Shhhh...)
Typically a good fridge will run at minimum,  -0- in the freezer and 40 in the fridge, so I feel great, (though I still HATE these rolling no-notice da current done mash up again, surprises...)
Surf might be up by Wendesday and good surf is forecast for Friday. Check out Cruzin Bar & Grille in Carrot Bay, get a cold one, some lunch,  shop for island art, store your surf board there &  have it conveniently located when you have the urge to surf or sip a cold one under a shade tree. No shirt, no shoes, no problem, they even have heap of a jeep parking plus that fancy racy car, the little convertible is often there.
Back to the weather...
It's still pretty hazy lazy here, with cool nights,  and this morning, dark clouds are rolling up from the south, a dark overcast is fighting with the sun.  I go out and water the potted plants and some planted flowers. That will make it rain for sure. I need to wash the heap of a jeep and me, now that I think of it. I come inside and do a bunch of housework, then I start sneezing uncontrolably (boy I must really be behind in dusting and sweeping). Such is the life with all the windows and doors thrown open all day and critters running inside and out. 
My kitties have neglected to sweep up their chicken and fish bones scattered on the patio (tsk tsk tsk).  When I give them treats outside, very neatly on a dish or on tin foil, they each grab a bone and go 3 different ways. After they've wittled the bone down to a large toothpick, they simply drop it where they may and fetch the next bone. I guess yours truly will have to sweep up after them; again.
My cat has a surfboard.  Here he is, on his little step stool,  washing and waxing his surfboard, getting ready for Wednesday. He'a a cool cat.  We call him Dude. (Hey Dude, you be surfin' mon?)
Surfiing British Virgin Islands
Getting da surf board ready...
I asked dem Elec-tricky boyz if they can give us notice of scheduled outages? (Absolutely! when we turn da current off, that's your notice, we be on scheulde now!) 
And it'd be nice if you were honest 'bout when dat current coming back so we can plan our work and schedule.  (When da current come back, we done with our schedule, you consider yourself be notified now.)
Why does our nearly new elec-tricky equipment break down daily and my current mash up? (It be da islands, mon, t'ings happenin'...)
Or perhaps it's just a reminder, we need to spend MORE time on the ocean or in the sea, doing t'ings dat don't require that elec-tricky and forget about work. Now we jammin'...We go limin'... 
Sounds like a  plan to me! (And ah money be growin' in da bush too...)
I asked dem elec-tricky boyz what ever happened to good old fashioned maintenance on dem joker-ators dat s'pose supply dat current??  (We boyz need limin', too mon, we be relaxin' ourselves like you...)
And so it goes, I have to be ready to change my schedule on a momen'ts notice, if da current mash up and da internet crash.  Forget work, go play. What a life...
But, I am so LUCKY!  As of this morning, I now have a brand spanking new tiny 6 gallon hot water heater.  Just in time for winter!  Only problem is, it's 60 feet from my shower.  Oh well. I have a bucket in my shower, fill that with "waiting for hot water" then shower when the warm shows up, dump the bucket in the toilet next time it needs a flush...  and we be savin' water too.  Ah, da crazy t'ings you do in da island mon, to save a few gallons of precious fresh water.
I haven't had hot water much at all in the past year. Every element they stuck in that 15 gallon antique rust bucket just shorts itself right out in a few days. Then we have months of cold again. This hot water tank was to be replaced last year. But t'ings happen. T'ings happen. Soon come, mon.
By the way, many folks in the Caribbean use Skype.com to make long distance calls all over creation for free or for pennies. We in the BVI now have 4 telephone companies and they are all still charging us by the minute, some by the second. At least gone are the days we were cahrged in 4 minute increments and a 3 minute call to the US could cost more than $15!
So, now,  if you live in the BVI and have internet, then you MUST get Skype.com and save yourself on local cell and land line bills. How?  Calling from your Skype to anyone else with Skype is always free. So if everyone in the BVI that has internet, also had Skype, then bye-bye per minute charges for land lines and cell phones. You can call down the streeet with Skype as well as overseas. Skype to Skype is free, whether you are calling next dooor, across the island or over the ocean. Slice your cell and land phone bills down to minimum.  Eventually phone will be free worldwide.  Get your skype today and punch a hole in your phone bills. 
And lastly, don't forget to buy a bunch of my new books for Christmas Gifts.  Get yours before they are all gone!  (Please, I'm begging...)

- Hurricanes & Hangovers
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 11:09:24 EST
80 something degrees, my thermometer is in the refrigerator, testing it.  Da current done mash up again. Grrrrrr.  I want to find out how much the temperature changes in the fridge during these outages.
We have a tropical wave passing south of us, which laready dumped a quick rain shower on us mid morning with lots of wind. Winds are moderate now and it's raining sunshine now.
It's in print!
Dear Miss Mermaid's NEW book:
is available mail-order from Amazon (ships worldwide!).  Order 2 or more and shipping if FREE in the 48 states. This books makes an excellent Christmas Gift for those you aren't sure what to shop for. 16 stories of madness and mayhem, the comedy of living on the edge in the Caribbean.
It will soon be on sale on Tortola at Serendipity Book Shop on Main Street in Road Town. I will let you know the day they arrive on island!  Their website is under construction but can be found at http://bvibooks.com/.  Soon you will be able to peruse their books in stock on Tortola, online and send them an email to "hold" books until you can get there in person.  Pretty nifty eh?
Upstairs, their new Coffee Shop has opened that also sells homemade pastries and economical lunches.
Dear Miss Mermaid is not available today, so da Rasta Mon wrote this for her.
Da Rasta Mon


- So Beautiful Today!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 09:06:03 EST
The winds are up, the sun is out with scattered white cotton ball clouds wafting by. Seas are kicking up and there is a mess east of us to watch, but it's so far east, I don't think it will bother us at all. At least not until late next week, if it forms into anything. That could be the December storm my crystal ball mentions to me now and then.
I now have 5 unique 2009 Calendars available for sale with one more coming on line later today (the mermaid one!).  Take a peek and buy some for Christmas gifts!

- Sunny and Breezy
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2008 14:22:49 EST
At last I am on the internet, it works intermittently these days, when it works at all. I have new equipment, but apparently that's not the problem.  84.5 F degrees  or 29 C for you  metric types.
Warm, sunny, breezy!  It's just like being in the Caribbean, a great day for scuba diving or snorkeling or sailing or beaching. 
The mess in the Atlantic is no threat to us, if you want the technical report it's a low pressure system merging with a frontal zone about 600 miles west of the western Azores.
The caretaker called and said sometime this weekend we are getting a NEW hot water tank. I wonder if I can sell the old one as an incredible authentic antique on E-Bay.  Oh my goodness. The thought of hot water again! Clean dishes, warm water for my hair. I don't mind cold showers but sticking my head under that icy c-c-c-cold water worries me. Our cistern is buried inside a mountain of dirt and this apparently keeps it VERY cool.  
I used to hike with my boyfriend who had super long legs and was always many strides ahead of me, no matter how fast I went. Sometimes he would stop to wait for me and then when I caught up, he would take off again. Grrrr....
One day he had a bottle of semi-frozen cold water with him and I hollered at him to wait on me, I was thirsty. I showed up at the top of the hill, where he was waiting, with rivers of sweat pouring down my face, soaking my shirt. He had just dumped some cold water on a sweaty bandana and wiped his face and chest with it.  As I walked up, I took my straw hat off to fan myself.  I was trying to catch my breath before gulping down water, when  he poured icy cold water on my head.  
I fainted dead away narrowly missing a big rock when I collapsed. I came to on the ground a bit confused. He looked shocked and we surmised that pouring icy cold water on top of your hot head was not a good thing to do. Later on a doctor explained the technical aspects to this. So you can imagine I am a tad shy in the icy cold shower, and just wish to wash from the neck down and avoid knocking myself out. But I have hair, and I'm afraid if I don't wash it SOON, I may find a bird's nest living in it, or another lost kitten. 
I once did find a lost kitten in my hair.  No kidding! Years ago when I lived in a cold land,  I had a heated water bed and a mama cat who gave birth in the back of my closet in a box I had stuck in there for her to "find".  At the time I had boxes stuck all over the house, for her to choose from when the time was right.  At night the house heat was set pretty low, to conserve fuel, but the water bed was always toasty warm. 
One chilly morning, when the kittens were only two or three days old, mama cat moved her litter into my warm water bed, finding it more comfy than her towel lined cold box in the dark closet.  I woke up alarmed, as I often  tossed and turned in my sleep, and feared smothering a kitten. Seeing we were short a kitty, her eyes grew wide with panic and I jumped out of bed, in case it was beneath me. That's when I noticed my long hair seemed heavier than usual and sure enough, there was a tiny kitten hiding in my hair!  The mother was very relieved when I handed her the missing baby which she frantically washed and groomed while he mewed out, unable to understand why this sudden aggressive cleaning.  I think she wanted to make sure he was well marked with her scent and wouldn't get lost again.
I tossed my bathroom and found an electric heating pad. I made her a new box, set the heating pad on low, topped it with a fluffy towel and we relocated her family to this new and improved safer home. I remember how mightily she purred with contentment when she realized her nursery was preheated.
Trimaran at Dusk

- Winter is slowly on the way
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 10:15:11 EST
Another great day in paradise. The Sir Francis Drake channel is pretty flat with little wind, but the surf is up on the north shore. It's 81 F degrees or 28 C degrees, take your pick. There is an area of disturbed weather in the mid Atlantic, north east of us, so hopefully no threat at all to our beautiful Virgin Islands. Whew. 
Winter is slowly creeping up on us. My hot water tank has been broken for weeks now.
I think I've now had more days with cold water than with hot water, in the year I've been in this home. All I get is promises and no final repair that works more than a few days.
Now when I want a shower, I have to go outside and work up a nasty sweat and heat myself up, then run in and take a c-c-c-cold shower.
So this morning I called the handyman.  Again.  He knew why I was calling, but I did the "How are you today?" bit then said "SOMEONE put a load of ice cubes in our cistern last night and it's too c-c-c-cold to shower now."
Well, that got a lot of laughter and more promises it would be fixed. 
I think they are going to cave in and rip out the 50 year old rusty one and put a new tank in. WOW.  They've bought five or six heating elements for it in 10 months, and they never last more than a few days, so ya think there's a problem? 
Speaking of problems...
I ran into a distraught young lady yesterday.  She was trying to get credit at the bar, to calm her nerves. She had just paid cash for a car and managed to lock it up with both sets of keys and her purse inside and nary a crack in the window. Many folks leave their window down a half inch to equalize the heat and save wear and tear on the vinyl dash and upholstery.
She had her cell phone in her pocket and was calling someone she knew that supposedly knew how to pick locks. I suggested she call the former owner, on the off chance they still had a spare key to it.  She said, "Well they gave me two keys, and both are locked in the car, but you're right, might as well call and ask, make sure everyone knows I'm stupid!"  We laughed and I told her I knew just how she felt, it happened to me once, after buying my new used heap of a jeep, sort of.
I once looked at a jeep for sale and the dash was melted and the upholstery ruined yet it had very low mileage. I said to the owner, "Let me guess; you always closed it up tightly without leaving the window open a bit."  He said he was actually the owner's house and car caretaker and the owner preferred his car tightly locked up in his absence.  Since his absences were often lengthy, the inside of the car began to melt; literally.  It took him a few months, but he eventually found someone to buy the jeep, but it was not I.
As for me, I found my latest heap of a jeep in a parking lot early one morning with a teeny tiny "for sale" sign on it. It was in great shape, no dents, new paint job, original interior in good shape, low mileage, newish tires, assuming it ran OK, what more could I ask for?  I wasn't even looking for a heap to buy, but one like this was a very rare find.  It was only 10 years old, and my heap was pushing 19 years and starting to depress me. Little things, like you had to hold the windows while rolling them up, you had to lift hard on the back door, to get it to shut right,  on rainy days, my feet got wet from the holes in the floorboard and so on.  I could tell the owner was reluctant to let this new baby of only 10 years old  go, with a sign that tiny.  Most folks put jumbo signs on their car to sell them. Like now, you see a lot of gas guzzlers up for sale with BIG signs on all four sides.   Anyhow, two days, later and a shoe box full of cash, and the heap was mine.  There was a tear in the former owner's eye, he said he was in financial trouble and the jeep sale, was his only way out. I tried not to grin like an idiot, I was THRILLED to get this jeep.
I registered the car in my name, we shook hands and went our separate ways. I stopped for lunch and to buy insurance, locked up the jeep, confident I had the keys in my purse.  An hour later and the key doesn't open up my beloved purchase!  I was aghast.  I went back in the restaurant to use their phone, as I had locked my phone in the jeep, not wanting to be disturbed while I dined (silly me!).
Everyone was laughing at my tale of woe, owned the jeep for ONE hour and now I am locked out of it with a key that doesn't work.
I called the former owner and he mumbled something like he didn't have a key for the doors. Even so, he came over and somehow managed to get the rear door unlocked, then he climbed inside and unlocked the doors for me.  Even though our deal was "done"  I politely told him I would have NEVER bought a jeep I couldn't lock up. After all, I had said to him "I need a hard top that locks up" when I looked at the jeep to begin with. I figured he would shrug his shoulders, not his problem now.
But he was a true gentleman, he took the locks out and put them back in a day later, and now one key opened the doors and started the engine.  I was greatly relieved. 
Last night, I felt sorry for the young lady and wished her well.  We all took turns looking at her new purchase, closed up tightly, keys dangling from the ignition, her purse on the seat.  Apparently she had stopped and hopped out to speak to someone she saw, and didn't realize the car self locked. Ooops. 
HATS off and a round of applause to Sir Branson!  Golf or Fish?  Now I like tourists and I like golfers, but I don't see why we have to destroy critical mangroves and our fishing in order to put in an overpriced mega golf resort. I thought folks came here for the sailing and water sports and beauty.  Maybe they can find somewhere else on island  to put their golf course. But it's going to be up to courts now. Golf or Fish?  Who will win?

 Warm and Sunny Regards,

- Groovy, Mon!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 06:44:58 EST
to America!
Sunrise was awesome this morning. Where in the world besides here can you live and get both spectacular sunrises and magnificent sunsets?  We are so lucky.  And to think of all the folks that sleep right through this early morning beauty. Tsk Tsk Tsk.
80.5 F degrees today, 28 C.  No storms on the horizon yet. That mess near Central America is just hovering and not doing much of anything to threaten us. WHEW!  All in all, we are expecting fair weather for a few days. 
I forgot yesterday, to mention what happened to my Bozo nose. It helps to know that at some point, I decided my tiny night table was always overflowing, so I rearranged the bedroom so that my long dresser is next to the bed and can hold a lot more junk such as books, table light, baskets, flashlight, candles, finger nail polish, nail clippers, DVD's, videos, newspapers, magazines,  snacks, drinks,  tissues, pens, paper, cats and occasionally a laptop computer. 
It was later in the day, when the night before came back to me  in little bits and pieces. What with power outages and 3 weeks of no internet and I do freelance work that involves both, I became seriously behind on my work. Therefore I've been keeping strange hours, working day and night, whenever I have utilities. I think that day/night I had worked a tad too much, and late in the night, ended up sitting on the edge of my bed, just dizzy and tired, debating whether to go to bed or make  a strong pot of coffee. Well, I dozed off, fell forward and smashed my silly nose into the dresser top next to the bed.  I vaguely remember waking up and crying out in pain, I think I let out a stream of unprintable words, then laid down in bed, thinking I was very tired. I forgot all about these events when I woke up and realized my Bozo nose was throbbing. I was puzzled (did I punch my self out in my sleep?  Did the kitty swat a big fly sitting on my nose?)  As the day wore on, I sat down on the edge of the bed, to fetch something out of the dresser and I suddenly remembered what happened  late the night before,  falling asleep and being rudely woken up when my nose made contact with the dresser. ARGH!  It just doesn't pay to eliminate naps, so yesterday, when I got tired, I took a nap, then started over again, all fresh. After all, we knows you only get one nose in life.

- Double Thrill
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 06:52:06 EST
It's dark thirty and I am waiting for the sun to come up. We still have that disturbed weather near central America to look after, but it hasn't made a move yet.
79.9 degrees at 530 am.  If it gets any colder, I am going to have to wear my fuzzy slippers.
I am recuperating from my Bozo nose. I woke up yesterday with an extremely swollen nose that was very tender to the touch. I couldn't figure out what happened and tried to go about working.  At some point I looked in the mirror and jumped!  It didn't look like me. I had a BIG nose.
I don't remember any surgery, even though Tortola is famous for the Purple Palace, aka, the private hospital that does plastic surgery at the Bougainvillea Clinic.  It is housed in an old Fort that was at one time briefly a hotel, and now the private hospital.  It's painted purple and overlooks Road Town, hence the purple palace nickname. It is quite grand inside with a hand carved bar and gourmet kitchen among many of the unique amenities.
All the patient rooms have sliding doors with a fantastic view of the gardens, the pool, Road Harbor and outlying islands.  A big feisty land turtle lives there. He was hungry one day when we were wandering around the gardens.  I had appointments up there when my leg was busted and had a driver with me.  The turtle began chasing us!  It was funny. I have never seen a turtle move so fast!  He would lift his heavy shell up and then those little legs could run!  The hospital chef heard our shrieks and came out and said "Oh, he's just hungry!"  Seeing her, he chased her back to the kitchen and she fed him salad and grapes, which settled him down. I took pictures of him that day, but they all came out blurred because I was running from him, with camera and cane!  We giggled ourselves silly on the way home about that spirited turtle.
The American Holiday "Thanksgiving" is this Thursday. Cruzins Bar and Grille in Carrot Bay will have Turkey and all the trimmings served in a beautiful garden setting on the water.  See their website for phone numbers.  Matter of fact, I had their Turkey dinner a few weeks back, a sneak peek, and it was heavenly.
I caught this double rainbow in Carrot Bay on the north shore of Tortola in the BVI. Click here or the picture for the full size image.
I was amazed at the number of cars that sped past me, as I stopped to take this picture. I felt so sorry for them. Here was a beautiful treat from Mother Nature, and they were too busy to stop and enjoy it.  I took numerous pictures until it faded it away, hoping to get a good one. At the time, I could only see the one rainbow on the right, and didn't even realize until I downloaded the pictures to my computer, that it was a double rainbow!  What a RARE delight!  (Does his mean my camera can see better than my naked eye?)
Well, Dear Miss Mermaid has two 2009 Calendars ready for sale, with more on the horizon soon. Check them out and order one for yourself and several for friends as gifts.

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 11:59:49 EST
Well, you can see that mess west of us, that could form into something and wander into the Pacific or it could meander across the Caribbean. Only time will tell. Maybe this is the December mess my crystal ball has been persistent about.
I was on the North Coast of Tortola last night. The waves were awesome, just pounding away with winds to boot.  My long hair acquired dread locks in short order which I forgot to comb out last night, so this morning I was a bit grumpy as I tried to get the knots out.  Grrr....
My internet is still iffy, though I have all new equipment now.  Hmm...
Beware of sink holes!  My friend found one on the beach and tore her leg up pretty badly falling into it.  First it was sand then suddenly POOF she was in a hole! 
The channel is fairly calm on the south side and winds aren't as brisk as I wish they were. Incredibly it's only 82.8F degrees at 1pm, so we have had a slight reduction in temperature.
Washed up in a Cruzan Rum Bottle from St John USVI:
Dear MM,
I hope you don't mind me being so informal, but we have communicated a bit in the past, and are practically neighbors.  I read with amusement your past "Yesterday the power went off at 115pm. Around 315pm I called to inquire if and when it might come back on. I was told it was a "scheduled" outage for "one and a half hours" and that it would come back on at 2pm. I said well it's 315pm at this end of the island.
Silence on the other end of the phone.
I guess the BVI Elec-tricky corporation uses a different CLOCK from the rest of us. Besides  one and a half hours later from 115pm is 245pm (maybe they use a different abacus from the rest of us too)."
Well, I think I have it figured out.  Their clock are electric!  No elec-tricky, no time passes. I know that a few years back the lines on St John were so bad that to get any voltage out to Coral Bay they pushed Cruz Bay at about 135 volts, and I guess they had to crank up the generator speed to do that because our electric clocks would gain almost an hour a day. Thank goodness things are better now and we get mostly 120v and the clocks keep "pretty good" time.  But we depend on the windup Schatz ship's bell clock for accuracy (and of course the system clock on the cell phone!)
Keep smilin', there's no better place to be.
St John
So RIGHT you are!  No better place to be, whether the clocks work or not. My friend wears a watch that works erratically and rarely has the correct time.  Mostly it is off by a few hours. I asked him why he wore it at all and he said "Well, sometimes the time is RIGHT!"
UPS found my book and delivered it this morning!  It should be on and other mail-order places SOON plus it will be at Serendipity Book Shop on Main Street in Road Town, Tortola. As it appears in other locations, I will let you know!
I thumbed through my author's copy which has PROOF in big bold letters on the last page. The type is right side up, the pics and drawings look OK, the margins neat.  So OFF TO THE PRESSES we go!  Yipppeee!!!!
Sign up here, if you want to be notified when it is ready to buy!  It says ALL fields must be completed then gives you ONE field to fill out (your email!).  I don't need to know all that other stuff that you may or may not want to tell me, and your email is only used to send you my "Message In a Bottle" that the book is available for purchase and the various places you may purchase it, locally and mail order.

Warm and HAPPY   Regards,

- First of the Week
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 18:40:14 EST
It's dark thirty and we have strong winds for a change, making it nice and cool this evening. Off to the west, is some disturbed weather we need to keep an eye on, just in case it turns into another Lefty Lenny for the BVI, but let's hope not.
I look forward to the cool nights of winter coming on soon.   It's been so hot lately, my cat feels compelled to sleep with his tongue hanging out, to cool off.
WHO?   ME?

- Thirst Day at Dark Thirty
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 21:56:56 EST
Another fantastic day in paradise. 10pm at night and 85 degrees. Kind of warm for late November.  The tree frogs are singing.  A cat is chasing a grass hopper across the deck. It hops. He hops. It hops. He hops.
Winds are slight, the stars are out. All is well.
My internet is all fixed now with new equipment. When CCT Global Communications called and said they were ready for me, they had new equipment for my cellular internet, which works without elec-tricky,  I jumped up from my desk, jogged out to my heap of a jeep and drove at break-neck speeds to town, to grab my equipment before anything else went wrong. I left so fast, I even forgot to feed the poor wittle kitties!   
In town, I was totally amazed and dazed to actually park within 100 yards of the place. WOW, must be my lucky day.  Everyone at CCT was so nice to me and very efficient and I was out of there in practically no time at all. I even hooked everything up to my laptop, right then and there, to make sure it all worked fine and it did. Hurray!
Then I went to the drug store, got a parking spot IN FRONT of  the store, AND they had my Sahara Dust meds in. Again, I felt truly blessed. "Is that ALL you need today?" asked the pharmacist, she has seen me through a LOT of trauma and drama, sometimes I arrive with a long list of t'ings I need from her.  She has seen me with canes and cranes, with crutches and walkers, with casts and wraps, with rashes and blotches, with fevers and aches. I guess, of all people, she has seen me at my worst, more often than others. I said "No!  I feel fine!  If we could get rid of the Sahara Dust, I wouldn't even need these!"  as I shook the bottle of pills, paid and left. On my way out, I saw them stocking the jumbo pack of toilet paper, and knowing they usually have a good price, I tried to buy some, but it wasn't priced yet, fresh off the boat they said.  I asked it was free and well, you can't win them all. It wasn't free and it wasn't priced.
At the hardware store, I found the bits and pieces I needed to repair my life and I thought WOW, life can't get any better. I got back in my heap and realized my sunglasses were in the buggy back in the store. I went in looking for them, the buggy long gone, asking around and finally the security guard told me he found them and gave them back to me. What a country!  What a life!  I love it!
At the wholesale place, I was able to park nearby. I thought I MUST BE DREAMING!  This never happens in Road Town. Usually I have to park and walk miles doing errands. I only need a few things and the cashier saw me coming and opened up to check me out.  Yes!  Usually they close right up, if they see you coming with a buggy of stuff, but she actually smiled, and waved me over!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Seeing that I was having such good luck, I went to government to get my car tags renewed. The man refused to inspect my heap, because he said my front license tag was CROOKED. Everyone around him laughed uproariously at his joke. I smiled. We were all sure he was JUST KIDDING.
He was dead serious. He turned me away as flunking my car inspection, because my front tag does not hang perfectly level. INCREDIBLE.  Well, I knew I wasn't dreaming and my good luck had obviously run out. So I went home, a bit crestfallen. It's only the third time in two months I have tried to get new tags for my car. Actually, a new sticker. The tags are fine, but I need a new sticker.
Now my sticker is out of date. Maybe by next year, I will pass inspection or manage to get the other guy, the one who doesn't obsess over self-made-up-laws.  I mean honestly,  WHERE in the BVI law does it say your front license tag must hang perfectly straight? I've seen folks lose their license tag, and draw one out of crayon on ripped cardboard and stick it with duct tape, in their rearview window and drive on that for months. (And it was crooked too!)
I've seen big mammoth trucks run me off the road and they have NO tags on front or back of the truck. But here comes the little ol' mermaid, and her tags must hang PERFECTLY STRAIGHT to pass inspection.
This is the same guy, who last year, was at lunch, when someone else inspected my car, pronounced it fine (everything works on my heap, I keep it very well maintained) and issued me a new sticker. He came back as I was driving off, ordered me to stop, and began a long loud lecture telling me how he would have NEVER passed me for inspection, had HE been there.
This long lengthy lecture, scared all the people waiting in line to get inspected, and one by one they all slinked away. By the time he was through yelling at me, he had absolutely no one left standing in line to get their car inspected. It was so funny. I was fighting mightily hard not to burst out laughing or to yawn for that matter at his unwarranted speech.
Well, it's 1050pm and da current done mash up again!  No electric wind tonight, dang it. Oh well, can't be lucky all the time, life would get boring I guess...

Warm and LUCKY   Regards,

- Simply Beautiful
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 07:02:15 EST
Gorgeous day with bright blue skies. All my utilties except internet are working. I am ussing a borrowed computer and borrowed internet.  So i have to jump drive my files around to work. What fun!
The Sir Francis Drake Channel is flat but the northerly swells should roll in soon for fantastic surfing.
Anegada Web Cam Picture

Warm and Sunny Regards,

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- Living like Cave People
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 09:30:13 EST
A very dark storm is on the horizon. I need the rain. But I need elec-tricky too and water and phone and Internet....  Why whine?  Even though all my bills are paid, much of my days are spent with NO utilities. This has disrupted my work, put me miles behind, and irritated my clients. Do I sound a teeny bit stressed?
85.7F degrees or 30 C.  Take your pick!  Nothing bad headed for us YET.  Only slight winds today. Still waiting on that big black cloud to open up!
Still no Internet. I am on borrowed puter and Internet.  It's dark thirty. Even if I get Internet, we have da current mash up everyday now. That big bad himmacane Omar with those frightening 40-50 mph winds must have scared up dem elect-tricky boyz pretty good. We've had so many outages, it's become a daily thing lately to have TWO lengthy outages!
I happened to be on the US Airways site the other day and discovered they have some really cheap air fares to come down here. Well they fly into St Thomas (STT), and then it's just a fun ferry ride to Tortola.  I guess fuel prices have dropped.  I didn't have a chance to check other airlines, but if you are lonesome for the sunshine and the beaches, check out those airfares and come on down.
Back in the dark ages, when I first flew into St Thomas, I was greeted with complimentary Rum Punch, as the plane disembarked, a lady was handing out a plastic cup to all who wanted some. It was  made from Cruzan Rum which is distilled in St Croix.
When I got on the ferry from St Thomas to come to Tortola, I was again served with complimentary Rum Punch on the ferry. Wow!  What a country, I think I like this place. I had never had Rum before in my life and it was going down awfully smooth with the splendid blend of fruit juices that made up the punch
At West End, I ended up in a rickety old rusted out taxi,  and we bounced our way to Road Town, dodging monumental pot holes, donkeys, horses, chickens, pigs, pedestrians, hitchhikers while the taxi mom asked me non- stop questions. He offered me Rum out of a bottle he was traveling with and then pulled out from under his seat, a wrinkled up brown paper bag with magic s'hrooms in them and offered me one of those as well.
I got to Tortola and joined the tall ship Frying Crowd, s'cuse me, the Flying Cloud, and was handed a complimentary Rum Punch as I boarded the ship.
We sailed to Cane Garden Bay and took the dollar tour of the Arundel Rum Distillery. At the end of the tour, there was the complimentary Rum again. I praised the taste and quality of it, so they gave me another complementary Rum.
I happened to be hiking with a stainless steel thermos jug (yeah, the strange things people pack for an exotic vacation!)  It was full of icy cold water and stuffed in my backpack.
Back then the Arundel Rum was sold in recycled liquor bottles. So even though the then, very simple label said Arundel Rum, the side of the bottle spelled out Gordon's Gin.
Back then folks were fiercely proud of their locally made rum. I was beginning to wander if it just flowed freely from faucets around the islands.
I opened my backpack and took out the s/s thermos jug to chase the Rum down with some water.  The kindly old man, who gave us the tour, seemed to be about 90-something and walked with a cane fashioned from a stick out of the woods, offered to fill up my thermos jug with rum for the princely sum of $1.
The Rum in the recycled bottled sold for $2-3, but if you brought your own bottle, or jug or cup or thermos or whatever, you could have it for $1.
I passed him the thermos, he helped himself to a long slow drink of icy cold water, then he tossed the rest on a withering bush outside the door, topped up the one liter thermos and handed it back to me.  I prayed the good Rum would not corrode the stainless  steel unbreakable interior of the thermos.
Fortunately, over the next 2 weeks of sailing, me and my new found boat friends, managed to empty out the thermos, before it corroded.  What are friends for, if not to help you out in your time of need?
Those were the days, when rum flowed freely and if not freely, then cheaply. It's been ages now since I've seen cheap or even complimentary rum ANYWHERE now. Kinda sad, as it was an instant ice-breaker (no pun intended!)
One day my ship will come in, and I will leave on it, and no longer worry about shore utilities...

- Alive and Struggling...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2008 11:13:16 EST
It's 86 degrees here, rather warm for mid November. We have a thick haze which has given us spectacular sunsets. Most mornings we have a thick dew in the form of a light rain. Thursday should be a great day for surfing and Friday should be fantastic!
I've been missing in action, but let me tell you. I think Tortola is having some sort of melt down. We have had massive utility outages EVERY DAY for weeks now. My Internet stopped 2 weeks ago, and though I have received numerous promises that it will come back one day, it has NOT.
I am using a borrowed computer with borrowed cellular  Internet access borrowed from  the generosity of one of my readers. We tried to transfer the Internet access to my laptop, but we could not as my friend has lost his password and he can't get it reissued without going downtown in person and he hasn't time for such foolishness.
However I have NO current (the power is off again) so I am operating on a battery that is rapidly depleting. I have NO water (ask the government WHY cause I do not know).  One of my cell phones refuses to work, even though my bill is paid up in full (charged on credit card each and every month).  Cable TV is of course dead.
Yesterday the power went off at 115pm. Around 315pm I called to inquire if and when it might come back on. I was told it was a "scheduled" outage for "one and a half hours" and that it would come back on at 2pm. I said well it's 315pm at this end of the island.
Silence on the other end of the phone.
I guess the BVI Elec-tricky corporation uses a different CLOCK from the rest of us. Besides  one and a half hours later from 115pm is 245pm (maybe they use a different abacus from the rest of us too).
Well, I did get in ALOT of reading these past few days of no power, no Internet, no laptop, no water, no cable TV.  Fortuitously my mail was delivered and there was a big heavy package from Judi Gilman. She sent me her three latest books. I am currently absorbed in: Voyage Of The Capricorn Lady: Lost At Sea With Daniel T. - Book I.  It's a real page turner and when our FIVE hour power outage ended, I very reluctantly laid the book down, so I could jump up and go back to work. Of course when one has been up since 4am trying to work around Internet and power outages, starting back to work at 6pm at night is tiresome.  Less than an hour later, I escaped and treated myself to Ladies Night at a local watering hole, then came home and fell asleep. 
Judi also sent Voyage Of The Capricorn Lady: The Shadow Of His Smile- Book II.  I clearly remember Capricorn Lady, she was a sleek classic Trumpy yacht that was in the crewed charter business for many years. Early in my sailing career, I briefly worked as a stewardess, while looking for chef work on yachts. Many charter boats wouldn't hire me as a chef since I hadn't been to sea much, so any stewardess or deck hand job that was advertised, I also applied for. One day Capricorn Lady was advertising for crew, either deckhand or stewardess or both, I forget now, and I ran down the dock to apply, but alas, there was a line of people for the interview, and for whatever reason, I was not the chosen one. Fortunately, though, I only did a few stewardess jobs, here and there, when I was hired to be a chef on a 110 foot yacht, and after that gig, I had no trouble continuing to work aboard various yachts as a charter chef.
Years later, I remember Capricorn Lady when she was home ported at Nanny Cay. We rarely ever saw Judi and her husband, because they were so busy either doing charters, or getting ready for a charter, or recuperating from a charter as their yacht was very popular and they enjoyed a large repeat business.
Judi's 3rd book is fiction and I can't wait to read it, because it's about a MERMAID!  Imagine that!  It's called Ohnalee, Mermaid of Heceta Head.
Well, I better go, my battery is about dead, it's very hot without the electric wind machine to cool me, and the current mash up and I have no water to cool me down with....might as well go to the beach and just bankrupt my life! 

- Fried Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 15:37:53 EST
Warm and sunny with scattered showers. I am on borrowed power and internet.
My home has seemingly gone off the grid with no backups! 
Himmacane Omar, must have been one powerful storm and those 40-50mph winds just devastating our apparenlty very fragile utilities it seems.  Internet has been down for 2 weeks, da current mash up every day, the water goes off and neither of my cell phones work, in spite of the fact I am a faithful customer who pays my bills on time each and every month.
Several times this week, I discovered I had NO utilities. The phones were down (both companies), Cable TV mash up, the current go and the water stop.  Everything is paid up, but the service just ain't happening.
Thank goodness, I just laugh about it, but honestly, I do have a few people yelling at me to do my work and I've had some frantic friends appearing at my door, quite worried, they could not reach me by phone or email.  Needless to say, I am very flattered!  I never knew anyone would miss me.
Life on my sailboat, years past was immensely BETTER!  I had solar panels, water catchment and VHF radio that always worked. Barbara at VI Radio patched through all my ship-to-shore calls , patched my shore-to-ship calls for business and she took messages if I didn't answer my VHF. Then she paged me every hour if not more often, until I got my messages.  She was a jewel.
Ah, those were the days my friend. I had 24/7 utilities and sailing to boot!  I loved it!
Well, one of these days, I will get my utilities back and be able to give yo you a bit more accurate weather forecasts, but don't hold ya breath.  Some say folks are busting up the utilities on purpose so they can "make work" and thus not get fired. That makes no sense to me, but Tortola has always beaten a different drum and gone against the grain of whatever the rest of the world is doing.
If all goes well, I am going boating Sunday.  Can't get any work done anyhow, under these crazy conditions, might as well go back to sea.

Warm and Puzzled Regards,

- Winds Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 08:15:27 EST
Warm and Sunny. We had a torrential downpour in the West End, but nothing in the East End. Temps are warm at 85 degrees. I am waiting for those Christmas winds to cool us down. Nights are real comfy and very bright, as tomorrow is the official Full Moon.
We should have fair weather through the weekend, and thus far, nothing on the horizon to worry us with. Well, there is some disturbed weather in the Atlantic, but it is north east of us. So we are blessed, thus far.
My internet is still DEAD and no idea when it will be revived. Nothing happens in a hurry here except hurricanes.

Warm and Silly Regards,

- Lovely Day in Paradise
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 07:46:15 EST
Paloma is now just a weak area of low pressure, along the north coast of Cuba and not a threat to us at this time.
Temperature is 84 F degrees and winds are slight.  Sunday should bring on a fresh swell and an increase in winds (YES!  We need our tradewinds!)  I prefer natural tradewinds over those elec-tricky wind machines that burn up my elec-tricky bill. The cost of everything going up here, though gas is now fluctuating a bit more, after lots of complaints from consumers. I have been buying gas in tiny amounts, in case the price drops, I can tank up on the cheap stuff. It is slowly creeping down. But I don't see the food stores giving us any relief in fuel costs. Naturally we import tons of food products and the grocery stores are eager to jack up their prices on a daily basis, but trying to get them to come back down when fuel and freight costs drop and they "forget".  Shame on them.
The only way to cope with the high food costs here, is to rotate around all the stores and study the prices carefully on your favorite things.  Buy the bargains (IF you can find any) and skip over the overpriced stuff.   There is no rhyme or reason to the pricing here. One store wanted $3.99 for a liter of 100% Mango juice and the next store $1.92 for the IDENTICAL juice.  Now mermaids LOVE mango and papaya juice, so this sort of news is important to a mermaid! 
By the way, when you look at the enlarged photo, there appears to be a string across the harbor. It's an illusion, it's  ugly elec-tricky lines that obscure my view from this vantage point.  I've heard there's a way to erase those with the puter, and I am using the free (YES FREE!)  Paint.Net but I haven't figured out how to do it. If anyone knows or can shed some light (har har har) feel free to email me. This FREE paint program is superior to the paint program typically included with Windows. You won't be disappointed if you download it. It's always nice to find something free that really works.
My publisher called yesterday. Loads of apologies, first copy of the book should arrive in a day or so and then if that is OK, I will finally be in print! 
Warm and Goofy Regards,

- Secret Outlets
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 06:53:58 EST
Weather is gorgeous, I've been using my crystal ball to predict weather. I just wish I could use it to send emails out too!  This week will bring us fair weather with moderate swells, so those surfers will be able to get in some surf time.
I discovered a place  that is not so far away, that has free internet access. So I went over there to do my internet thingy. Well, the problem is, I am bit known. Folks keep stopping by to chit chat, others want me to look something up for them on the internet and pretty soon, it seems I am getting nothing done. Ah, life in a friendly place. Then my laptop battery dies. It has a short life these days.   I looked all over and couldn't find an electric plug to recharge with, so I gave up and went home.
I mail-ordered a new super battery that is suppose to last 6-9 hours. Of course the mail-order company refused to ship here, even though I have a USVI post office box.  So I had to ship it to a friend as a gift in the US, and then get them to remail it to me. Sounds complicated, but sometimes it's the only way to get something. Pay to ship it twice. So it should be here eventually and that reminds me, I need to send my friend a check for the postage and handling as one of my emails informed me they had just got my battery and was mailing it on to me yesterday. Yippee!
So the next morning, I decided to go over bright and early and get my internet work done before the staff and others showed up. I got there at sun up and it was nice and quiet. I still couldn't find an electric outlet, so I just sat down and vowed to be really quick about my work.  I was able to get on the internet and had just opened up my email when POOF!  Da current done mash up.
Now I am on battery anyhow, but their wireless internet is not on a UPS so guess what, no internet!  I sat there working on battery without internet, hoping it might come on before my battery died.
It did not.
Then a maintenance worker shows up and he has a long orange electric cord and he plugs it into a hidden outlet, not even 5 feet from me. I was ecstatic to learn about this secret outlet. Ah ha!  But of course, as I told him, "da current done mash up".  He groaned, my laptop beeped.
A few minutes later and my battery died, so now I am dead in the water. I pack up my laptop.  It travels in a disreputable backpack, (this is so it does not look like a laptop case.)  Also, this is leftover from my boating days when I wore a backpack with the laptop in it, in hopes that I could climb on and off my boat and into the dinghy without getting it wet.  Also, it was to disguise the fact, I am walking around with a laptop as in those days, the dark ages, it was rare for anyone to have a laptop computer as they were very pricey.  I was often in a port that had some theft issues, hence the disreputable looking backpack.  Just another poor boatie...
I drive back home, remembered I had a mountain of cat food in the back of the heap of a jeep, that I bought a few days back and forgot to unload, so I came home heavily laden and sprouting sweat. The kitties gave me a warm welcome and insisted I pop open a can of the new stuff.
It was still early morning, so I decided to undress and slide back into bed for a cat nap with the kitties, who by now had bulging little bellies. Just as we get all comfy and cozy and I am drifting off into la-la land, da current come back.  Sigh.

Warm and Sunny Regards,

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 07:57:15 EST
We've had scattered rains the last few monrnings, kind of nice.  I have all my potted plants back outside now, but some need shade and the rain water never seems to reach those in the shade.
The weeds are thicker over the septic tank, so what else is new.  It's 84 degrees with gentle tradewinds.  The sun is out in full force and we may even have some surf up today. Won't that be nice?
My internet is still mashed up. Life in de islands.  Soon Come...  Dat means dey going to fix my internet in 2 hours, or in 3 weeks or never.  Soon come...
Well at LAST, I found a nice little secret spot where I can travel with my laptop very early in the morning, plug it into the elec-tricky and use the wireless internet.
All was going well, then POOF, at 815am da current done mash up, and guess what, the "borrowed" wireless internet needs dat elec-tricky to run t'ings, so me not so smart after all.  I guess they don't have their wireless hooked up to a UPS (uninterupted power source).  Ha!  Beggars can't be choosers.
No electricky and no internet. *sigh*
Oh well.  Such is life in the islands. Might as well go sailing!
Oh no, now that I mentioned THAT, the elec-tricky and the wireless suddenly burst to life again. Might as well work. Hmm...
Which to do?  Shall I ask a cat?

- Fried Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2008 07:56:33 EST
The Mermaid LIVES!  Reports coming soon.

- Saturday
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 08 Nov 2008 16:15:03 -0500
The Mermaid LIVES!  My internet crashed last Tuesday evening and so far it hasn't been fixed.  Hopefully it will come back up one of these days.  Hurricane Paloma is headed for Cuba, heaven help them, it's a powerful storm.
I will try to beg, borrow or steal internet access and report more often.  it has wrecked my work, but I found time to write another book.  No kidding!
Of course if the other book would ever come out in print, i would be ecstatic.
To all who wrote inquiring about my heath, I am ALIVE and mostly WELL and will do better at trying to get on the internet.  I am using a borrowed connection at this time.

- Don't Get Too Comfy Yet...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 08:01:31 EST
I remember just before Omar hit on Wednesday, I mentioned Omar to several people on Monday, who thought me nuts. They had not heard of a storm, and to hear about it by coconut telegraph seemed odd indeed. Well, as you recall, Omar was a LEFTY, he came from the west rather than the east.
Well guess what, we got another mess west of us that looks a bit curious.
Another disorganized mess to the east...
Can't you feel 'em circlin', honey
Can't you feel 'em swimmin' around
You got fins to the left, fins to the right
And you're the only bait in town


Of course today, they are voting in the USA for President. All that hot air, could send any potential hurricanes up there and away from us. You might be surprised to find ME on the ballot, but check this out, I am a last minute entry, thanks to the power of the internet!

Vote For Me!


- Paradise
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 11:25:58 EST
I sound like a broken record: the Internet done mash up again...  I called customer service, did my "good morning" and "how are you's" and went on to mention the internet was down, where upon the customer service rep got into a big fight with me telling me it was NOT.
I explained it had been working, but had crashed again, and I had called my neighbors, who are on the same internet system as me, and theirs was down too, so it was down, in our neighborhood at least. Customer service barked at me "What's your user name? What's your password?" and I explained I didn't feel comfortable giving out my password. What's the use of having a password if I am forced to give it out?  So he hung up on me!
I didn't bother to call back. They should call themselves "Customer Dis-Service!".  They could have a new logo: We aim to anger!
85 degrees and breezy though I am still using those electric wind machines to aid to the breeze. I am ready for winter!  I want to be chilly, well just a little bit, enough to not need the electric wind machines.
Friday, there was a huge crime rally downtown.  I guess it was successful. An hour later 2 masked men held up the super market one block from the rally march!  Talk about a slap in the face.

Let me send this out before the internet croaks again.

- Ponderances
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2008 16:04:53 EST
Another gorgeous day in paradise, just like living in the Caribbean. Nothing bad on the horizon yet (but it's not December either).
Remember the sad tale of the dog lost at sea?  He's been found and reunited with his human!  I love a happy ending.
My toaster and I are fighting again. The button you push down to make it toast, simply flies back up, to mock me without toasting a thing. Since I have to keep my bread frozen, to keep it from going green and blue with mold, it would be nice to at least thaw it out for a sandwich.
The toaster has fought me since day one. I tried to take it back to the store, the next day, but they don't take things back here. You buy it, you are stuck with it. I've tried to fix the toaster, and it actually worked for a few days, rather jubilantly. As soon as the toast was done, it would fly up high in the air, landing on the counter or floor or plate or sometimes just smacking me in my silly face.
To mock me.
Some days it requires me to very gently sneak the button down, a sneak attack and it will stay down until the toast goes flying. Lately, though it won't stay down, no matter what.  You ever tried to assemble a sandwich while holding the toaster button down with one hand?  It doesn't work very well.
Finally, I commandeered my 8 pound dumbbell weight. I can use that to force the button down and make the toaster toast. Of course I have to be careful, as I seem to burn a lot more bread this way. But, the rooster doesn't care. He will eat moldy bread, frozen bread, burnt bread, whatever is tossed his way, he will eat. Toasters aren't cheap here. I'm saving up for a new one. Ha.  Something else to mock me.
I have a burning question.... WHY do toasters come with a burn setting?

Warm and Burning Regards,

- Mee-Ouch
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2008 20:46:43 EDT
Here it is dark thirty, and the Internet has frustrated me all day, its up , it's down, it's up, it's down.
Weather was/is gorgeous, very warm, breezy and lots of gentle rains this morning. A friend and I sat in the gazebo, gazing at the view, sharing a pot of coffee. Now that is a nice way to spend a morning. My cats think they are supposed to sit at the table with us, and they did, making friends with my friend.  I mentioned the "B" word and one certain cat KNOWS that word now.
It's (SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHbelly-rub!  My friend went to pick up the cat and I said "Well, here comes the 30 second test..."  Generally my cats refuse to be held for more than 30 seconds and will do any manner of extreme acrobatics to avoid being held, one second longer.
But I said the "B" word.
I said he likes belly rubs.
Next thing I know, he is laying upside down in my friend's lap, awaiting the expected belly-rub. I was aghast!  He never sits in MY lap...  He sits next to me, like he was previously in his own chair with us at the table before he wandered over to "talk" to my friend and see what he could get... Sneaky little devil!  He is a smart cat, I think he knows at least 50 English words by now plus one German word and two Spanish words.
He also has his own meow language. Different tones, pitches, lengths and so on. I can TELL by the way he meows, what he expects from me.  He has a me-ouwt (open the door) he has a me-ow, me-ow, me-ow (Ow!  Belly hurts, the food bowl is dangerously low on provisions) and a real high pitched me-owie! (thank you, I got what I wanted!) 
If he is in a hurry and has no time for me, I get a quick abbreviated meep!  as he scampers off, like someone has called him urgently back to work.
When he is bored, and wants catnip to play with, he says me-wow, me-wow.  So, I put some catnip outside for him and his brother.  A few seconds later, he is at my side, with his ears folded back, looking very mad and upset, just glaring at me. He let's out a very sad mee-ouch that sounds so pathetic.
I get up and realize, his naughty brother, has stolen both piles of catnip and is frolicking at his achievement. This has made his brother very upset and he lets out another long low mee-ouch, with his ears still folded back in disgust.
I put out some more catnip in a secret location, and his ears rotate back to normal and he gleefully rolls around in his secret catnip, looking at me with pure love in his eyes.
Who is training who here?
Meanwhile, my cell phones also have been playing games with me. They are up to their old tricks of only letting it ring TWICE then it goes into never never land and when I answer nobody is there, because they are listening to a non-voice-mail message that says something idiotic like " choose a box number" when I have no box number.
As I explained to the cell company, the reason I got a cell phone was so I wouldn't have to deal with voice mail. What if people called me and I just TALKED to them?  What a concept.
So after many many MANY phone calls and numerous visits to the phone company,  I got them to take the voice mail off my account, but they replaced it with the ridiculous message.
Two rings is NOT enough for me to answer the phone if I am more than 30 feet away. Do they want me to break another limb? 
I have called them repeatedly and they CLAIM I am up to ten rings and yeah, that lasts about a week, then suddenly I am forced yes FORCED back to 2 rings or forget it!
Am I supposed to wear the cell phone around my neck 24/7?  Is it too much to ask that if I leave it in the bedroom and if am in the kitchen, I need more than 3 seconds to sprint for the phone?  Grrrrrrrr...
My OTHER cell phone with the other company, simply stopped working 2 weeks ago. The signal is never around even though I live very close to the tower they broadcast from. I bet I am not even 500 yards away from the tower!  Do I have to go climb the tower to use my phone?
And why is the good powder milk $8.50 in one store and the identical size and brand is $3.99 in another?  Why is lemon juice $10.50 in one store and $2.50 in another store 1/8th mile away?  Is it just me, or do these seem like LARGE price swings?   Why was a teeny tiny jar of Cayenne Pepper $4.59 in one store but I could buy the jumbo restaurant size at another store (and refill that tiny bottle 200-300 times) for only $3.90?
What I hate MOST is that many stores have gone to MYSTERY pricing. They refuse to tell you what you are paying until you are at the register. Then while you are bent over unloading your cart, the cashier is rushing to ring things up before you can SEE what you are paying. I like to put the overpriced stuff back. I know this irritates the cashiers, but as I explain with a smile, well if you didn't have MYSTERY pricing, this wouldn't be necessary. They always tell me about the ONE scanner in the aisle (which I never can find) where I am supposed to check my stuff and not irritate them.
ONE scanner?  Why not one at the end of each and EVERY aisle? Are they afraid for us to know what the cost of items really are?
Why is the small catsup bottle cheaper per ounce than the jumbo size per ounce?  Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
One employee told me they hid the scanner,  because the kids had figured out how to play Internet games on the scanners.  Another store has put out only ONE scanner (heavily disguised) for the entire store, and it is  very high up. You need a #10 can to step on, just to REACH it!
One store even hid theirs in a wooden box, so it resembles nothing like a scanner at all. Looks like a wooden box on a pole and I've no idea WHAT it is.  I have never seen anyone playing Internet games on a grocery store scanner, but this is what I was told by an employee.
And WHY does the only cashier on duty, close up her aisle as soon as I show up with my buggy?  Is there a union in force, that you can only check out customers if there are none to check out? 
Why was I directed to another counter and after I had emptied 2/3's of my buggy was told I was at the WRONG counter and had to reload and start all over again? 
And why are quite a few items in the wholesale store on sale for MORE than in the retail store?  Am I the only one that has noticed this? 
I've also noticed that certain small neighborhood stores are able to offer far better prices on staples than the big stores.  Now how dey do dat? 
I love patronizing the little stores and saving money, not sure why it works that way, but it does.
Pretty strange if you ask me.
I think I will go on a diet and just stop eating all together.  Of course my social life will collapse, as mostly it consists of cooking for my friends. I've discovered that taking myself out for a night alone on the town, at my expense, costs about the same as entertaining 4-6 guests at my home, at my expense.
Our BVI economy is topsy turvy, and anyone's guess. Two months in a row, my electrical bill doubles even though I was super frugal and the third month, it is slashed 40% and I am still super frugal. Do they just guesstimate my meter readings, then occasionally show up to get an accurate one?  Are they the banana thieves?  Though, this TIME, we guarded our bananas and disguised them, and no one stole them. Whew!
Yeah, I painted the banana trees to look like poison ivy!  Har har har!
I think if I get a webcam, I will aim it at the fruit trees so I can see who is thieving what when. Tee hee hee! 
I love it here. Not sure why, but I do.
The morning after all that Halloween candy!!!

- Trick or Treat!!!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 08:53:23 EDT
84.4 F degrees at 830am in Tortola. Sun is playing peek a boo and winds are moderate but could be more cooling. Why are we so warm when I hear much of the US is way below normal in temperatures?
South Carolina is down to 37 degrees, probably a record breaker for that area. I heard NY got 25 inches of snow. Then someone reported that Fort Worth,  Texas had an earthquake! Brrrrrrrr, even a friend in Florida writes to me how cold he is this morning.
Rumor is air tickets are dropping, so it's a good time to plan your vacation to the Caribbean!
This Kitty wants to be a BOX for Halloween
(But me thinks he needs a bigger box or a smaller body!)
Good Morning
We have had the coolest weather yet this fall. It was -6 this morning and snow flurries all over the place. in Ottawa which is an hours flight away they have had 15 cms of snow this morning. They can have it as it will help to cool all the hot air the the politicos in Parliment
Have a great Carribean day
I have been enjoying your LIAT stories.  Over the years we have had many experiences traveling on LIAT between St. Lucia and Barbados.  My favourite acronym is Leave Island Any Time.  Thank you for keeping updated on Island Life.  Although each of the Islands have their own flavour  it appears that Island Style is the same through the Caribbean.  You help keep us warm up here in The Great White North -- London, Ontario, Canada
Warmer Regards,
Have you seen this dog?
Lost Dog
By Frank Barnako
He has tried to contact everyone possible on Jost; it was also mentioned on the local ham radio net, which has participants from Tortola as well as the USVIs. Following the swamping, the dog took off swimming towards Jost. ...
From caribbeanracing.com
Caribbeanracing.com - USA
VI Raceweek, a natural combination of the St. Thomas International Rolex Regatta, BVI Sailing Festival and BVI Spring Regatta, is back by popular demand. ...
Project Lifestyles Health Month to Focus on Wellness
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
The Department of Education in collaboration with the BVI Diabetes Association and the Elmore Stoutt High School will focus on the physical, mental, ...
Author: Rotary Club of Tortola
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
The Rotary Club of Tortola has announced that the much anticipated annual Fun Car Rally will be held on November 22 at the Festival Village Grounds, ...
My 3rd kitty is resting up and planning to wear his doggy mask to freak out the neighbors!

Warm and Spooky Regards,

- Thirst Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 09:47:19 EDT
1200 miles away is a disorganized mess, nothing to worry about yet.  Today it is 84.9 degrees and breezy.  Sun is out, skies are blue.  MaxWeather correctly predicted that storm that hit late afternoon yesterday, but thanks to my Internet being down, I didn't see the report until today.
In over 100 years of hurricane recording, himmacane OMAR was only the 3rd lefty, (moving west to east) the other two being Lefty Lenny in 1999 and Santa Klaus in 1984.
As for my new book, Hurricanes & Hangovers,  coming out in print, it has been a comedy of errors, mostly on the publishers side and not mine, but ONE day, it will be in print, no idea when, but soon come...
I thought people in the USA (where my publisher is located) were better organized than us limin' islanders, but now, I am beginning to wonder.  If they don't lay on the beach all day drinking rum, then WHAT are they doing?  Cause my book has been shuffled from department to department to department, like they are playing soccer with it. I guess ONE day it will turn up in print, but I sure can't get a date out of them. So far every  date, they have given me as to when it will be ready was ages ago!  Grrrrrrr....
So it pays to be patient...  The stories are going to read more like history than current events... which many of them are from OOOOPS!  I don't want to give away the book, then no one will buy it...
Escapees spotted!
Now this could cause a riot... already we have this fuel surcharge which is out of control, my fuel surcharge exceeds my actual electricity bill.  The local merchants are NOT cooperating. Every time I look at appliances I look for the energy star rating, which indicates the appliance draws the minimum possible current,  and they never carry any of that stuff here. Sad, but true.

- Stormy
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 17:35:44 EDT
Since about 4pm it has been very dark and stormy here. Even my shower-in-the-rain cat was a bit miffed. First he ran out to enjoy the shower, then when it came down in buckets, he took cover under the heap of a jeep, as it was closer than the open front door.
I was hanging out half the laundry, under cover, but now I have the other half to hang. The load was so heavy, I only carried half out the door. After hanging it all up, I got good and soaked coming back inside and it felt WONDERFUL!
My plants and cistern are happy, with all the company coming and going lately, and the washer machine with it's never ending loads from the "spring cleaning" after himmacane Omar, well, it was GOOD to hear that trickle of water topping it up again.


- Beautiful Blues Day, Blue Sky, Blue Water
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:21:16 EDT
I never knew the world possessed so many hues of blues until I set foot in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Sea is the most beautiful in the world. Even on TV or Video, the unmistakable trademark color of this sea is unmistakable.
Even Hollywood can't fool us. Recently I was watching a movie with local friends, and Hollywood had chose a Pacific island to film a movie based in the Caribbean. When the scenery unfolded and the caption said "On an island some where in the Caribbean" we all said "That's NOT the Caribbean!"  No way can the Pacific Ocean ever hope to even come close to the incredible color of the Caribbean Sea. Why Hollow-Wood thought they could fool us was preposterous. Now don't ask me the name of the movie, cause we started watching it late and missed the title, but I will eventually find out.
Warm, Sunny, Blue Skies, looks just like the Caribbean around here!  That mess midway in the Atlantic, is still there to annoy us, but nothing to report about it yet...
I hear they are getting that white powdery stuff up North, will that cool things down here for us?  My landlord's local agent promised me an overhead fan 10 months ago...  I wonder how much longer I must wait...
Another Bottle of Gin Washes up with a Note Inside:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
A few years ago I went to see my Inlaws (and wife - who had gone before me - and came back after me) in St Vincent.
At the airport on my return I checked in for the flight to Barbados and went into the departure lounge when requested by the tannoy system - "LIAT welcomes you to join LIxxx flight to Barbados"
On entering the departure lounge I couldn't see any aircraft on the tarmac so asked where it was. (Apparently still in Barbados)  Couldn't get a drink in the terminal as a) nowhere to buy a drink b) handed my EC dollars to my wife before departure.
Eventually staff let me and other passengers back into the terminal and found my wife who bought me a drink and something to eat (and asked what was going on).
Was advised another plane would pick us up. Shortly afterwards one arrived and the tannoy said it was for Air Canada and another airline (can't remember name) only- I was traveling on Virgin from Barbados.
After a further wait - my plane arrived and took me and several others to Barbados.
On arrival some of us found we had no luggage. It was still on the tarmac in St Vincent.
There was no Virgin rep. in the arrivals terminal at Barbados and time was getting short. The staff let us out of the terminal to see the Virgin staff on their check in desk. They were great and gave us the latest time we could check in.
Problems then getting back into the arrivals area to get out cases which arrived "just in time" except...
Customs decided to search our cases and found 4 mango's in mine which I had to take to the Ministry of Agriculture desk. They OK'd them and so quickly got luggage to Virgin's check-in desk and made it, dripping wet (in & out of aircon building), to the plane. Luckily I was able to change my clothes on the plane prior to departure.
I wrote to the weekly St Vincent paper and they published it; also complained to LIAT - after 6 months LIAT replied saying... They didn't have the best team on duty at St Vincent that afternoon.
Chelmsford UK
PS : When in St Vincent the "locals" were saying LIAT = "Lost in Antigua and Trinidad"
Tug Boat Sinks At Leverick Bay
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
(Submerged tug before it was lifted by a crane and towed to Tortola.) BVI Platinum News understands that diesel oil was released from the vessel into the ...
Royal Gazette
What it was like: Sir Richard Branson speaks to reporters at ...
Royal Gazette - Hamilton,Bermuda
The Bransons were due to leave Bermuda on Saturday morning, headed for their privately-owned Necker Island, in the British Virgin Islands, on a private jet.
Tuesday, October 28th 2008
Virgin Islands Daily News - U.S. Virgin Islands
The first hurricane we have knowledge of striking the Virgin Islands was on Oct. 14, 1526. On Oct. 9-10, 1713, a dangerous hurricane hit the Virgin Islands. ...
Wreck Week
By Webmaster(Webmaster)
This week the British Virgin Islands celebrate Wreck Week. Organized by the BVI Scuba Organization, Wreck Week coincides with the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Rhone, one of the island's most famous wrecks. ...

- Good Grief
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 15:31:53 EDT
Pardon me, I forgot to use the spell heckler to correct my booboo's.

- Two's Days Reports
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 15:31:10 EDT
I just emailed this report to myself!  Clever aren't I?  Well, now I am posting it! 
85 Degrees on Tortola at 11am. 87 degrees at 3 pm.  Yes, the internet has been cranky with me today.
Daybreak brought light showers and gray skies which quickly turned into sunshine against a blue backdrop. Midway in the Atlnatic ocean is another area of distrubed weather, possibly headed our way but nothing to worry about for now.
Winds are slight and I sure wish our winter winds would kick in and cool things down. It seems unusual to be this warm in late October.
 I am going to HURRY and email this before the internet powers change their mind and cut me off again!
Bert Kilbride, a treasure hunter who came to the Virgin Islands in 1958 and created one of its first diving operations. A frequent customer was Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the renowned ocean explorer. The two dove together for 13 years, and Cousteau made a movie about Kilbride.
Road Town was destroyed by hurricane in 1819, by fire in 1853, (following an uprising over an increase in the cattle tax), and again by hurricane in 1924.
Don't worry, be happy!
Acting Premier Presents Bouquet to 102 Year Old BVI Resident
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
Acting Premier Honourable Dancia Penn, OBE, QC today presented a bouquet of flowers to Mr. Cecil Georges who celebrated his 102nd birthday yesterday. ...
So THAT's how long you gotta live to get noticed around here...

- Picture Link Fixed
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 13:18:30 EDT
Ooops!  My wittle paws make a booboo!  If you tried to see the BIG picture (below) and could not, Well I fixed that, try again!
The Cute Wittle Cat, Fillin In for that Mermaid
(notice my pic works fine!)

- Wiff my Wittle Paws
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 12:38:46 EDT
A beautiful sun shiny day, warm temps in the mid 80's mild winds, great surf.
OOOPS!  The mermaid left!  So I am going to finish this up...
A good day for chilling...tonight should  be great for hunting prey, as the moon is teeny tiny (as seen in the teeny tiny pic above)
That teeny tiny pic is cause I wanted room for MY PIC OF ME!
The mermaid is unavailable, so I typed the rest of this report wiff my wittle furry  paws. 
I can't wait for Halloween!  I am dressing up as Santa Claws!
Having this internet all to myself is fun!  I found a great cat bed, now if I can find the human's piece of plastic... I could order it up...
 I hope the mermaid doesn't mind that I did a bit of shopping online...

- Big Dark Holes....
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 10:55:05 EDT
It's a bit overcast and grayish today, but the islands are still this incredible emerald green rivaling the hues of a rainforest.  It's 84 degrees and the surf is up.  Nothing on the horizon to bother us, my crystal ball still says wait until next December...
If I look frazzled, it's that monumental hole I hit around Pockwood Pond. It wasn't marked (are they ever?) and someone had dug up half the road and poorly filled it back in about a foot lower than the surrounding pavement. The hole took up my entire lane and was about 6 by 6 feet and located on a curve.
I was driving westward late in the day, something I often try to avoid, the sun was glaring in my eyes, despite washing the windshield, pulling down the visor and wearing cheap Polarized sunglasses (my expensive prescription sunglasses were recently stolen in a public place and I haven't replaced them yet.)
There  I was zipping along at the ridiculous rate of 32 miles per hour when I saw the road change color and then there was this huge noise of metal crunching and cracking.  It was a good thing I had my seatbelt on, as I would have surely exited through the roof, like a jet pilot, moments before he realizes the jet is about to crash, with or without him.
I had a load of groceries in the back and some other stuff, which all flew up in the air, and landed down hard again, making it's own cacophonous noise.  I bounced out of the hole equally hard.  Matter of fact my gallon jug of plain white vinegar, the one I use for all purpose cleaning, burst when it landed.  Of course I didn't know this until I got home.  If both my axles had broken, I would not have been a bit surprised. Miraculously, my heap of a jeep made it home, but I think it took quite a few years off it's little life, and that saddened me.  I just don't like to spend much on my transportation needs, matter of fact, I don't even like to drive!  I just do so, because I am forced to because the politicians here refuse to let us have a park and ride bus system.
I feel sorry for anyone else that hit that incredible hole in the road. I am sure that within a few days, we will see somebody parked nearby with a broken axle or CV joint or something horrendous. Later, when I unloaded my groceries to put away, I noticed that nearly ALL my canned goods, mostly cat foods, were dented.  At first, I was thinking, funny, I don't remember buying dented goods, I never do unless they are on sale and nothing is on sale these days, food has shot up, even dried beans were pricier this week. But that hard landing of the groceries was so bad, it dented up 80% of my canned good, now THAT gives you an idea of what a rough hole in the road it was.
Recently some friends and I had a fantasy conversation of what we would do if we won a zillion dollar jackpot. When it came by turn to fantasize, I said I would hire a super safe driving chauffeur with a comfy car and never drive again.
Everyone laughed!
About the dang sunglasses,  I am peeved about that too. I was invited to meet friends at a well known watering hole and restaurant. I was prompt and they were not, so I was standing at the bar, sipping a cold drink, awaiting their arrival. There were 2 bartenders and several customers. I had laid my prescription sunglasses next to my drink as I had forgot my case for them (shame on me!) and someone behind me spoke to me.
I whipped around chatted with them a few minutes, then turned back to get my drink.  We chatted some more, then they wandered off. My friend came and I looked around frantically for my sunglasses. I asked both the bartenders and everyone around, but mind you people had come and gone and apparently somebody on one side of the bar or the other, took a fancy to my eyewear and made off with them. I surely wish they would return them, as by now, they have probably figured out they are prescription driving glasses and unless they are half blind, they can't use them.
Incredibly, about a week later, I was at the same spot and now I had my expensive non-prescription sunglasses with me, the ones I used to wear when I wore contacts. Guess what. Same thing. They just VANISHED. Talking with management has gotten me nowhere as they claim that lately there have been numerous complaints of cell phones and sunglasses vanishing.  Well duh... you would think they would do something about it!
At least my cell phone is decorated quite liberally with assorted finger nail polish colors, this is in fact, to discourage anyone from taking it or mistaking it as their own.
It reminds me of the shoe thief, we had a few years back. People at several beaches were reporting their shoes being stolen while they swam.  I wrote about that at some point, because I took a friend with me to the beach and I told her to leave her shoes locked in my heap of a jeep as there was a shoe thief. She laughed at me and mumbled something like I was smoking too much local herb.
Well, guess what. When we got ready to leave the beach, she did this frantic search of the beach, and never did find her shoes. All the way home she lamented over and over that they were a $90 pair of sandals. Eventually the shoe thieving stopped and I don't know that anyone was ever caught. But honestly, isn't that pretty darn desperate; to steal used shoes?
Life in the islands, a mystery a day!
Bananas from the garden (this is over HALF of the bunch!)

- Surf's UP!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2008 13:16:30 EDT
Hot, bright, sunshiny today!  Surf was up yesterday at Apple Bay, with only a few surfers out there.  Surfing should be good through Wednesday, with Sunday being an optimum time for experienced surfers.
The moon is still out as sunrise threatens to break the darkness.

- T.G.I.F.
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 09:29:42 EDT
83.9 F degrees. My thermometer reads more like a radio station than a temperature. Lately it has been hitting the mid to late 80's which is kind of unusual for this time of the year. Sunshine is out and the water is glistening, winking bits of sunshine back at us. Nothing on the horizon YET to bother us, but keep an eye on December, that's what my crystal ball reads.
Washed up in a California Wine Bottle, I found this note from Gert, the Webmaster of StormCarib.Com:
More LIAT:
    Late In, Always Trouble.
    Luggage In Another Terminal.

The beach was busy today, I found yet another Bottle!
Our names for LIAT: Lost in a tissy
                                           Late inconvienient and terrible

               I remember one day we were arriving in the BVI by AA and our six human-sized bags, (we stay for two months so we need a lot of stuff), did not arrive. Not one. All we had were the carry-on bags we had with their insides as well as the clothes on our backs. Naturally after about half an hour of waiting and watching others from our flight pcik up their bags and leave, we figured something was up. So we went to the desk and wanted to know where our bags went. They informed us that they had travelled to another island...and probably waiting for us there. We had them call to send the bags back, but  it would take at least 3 days (it's da islands mon we don't move ting's fast aound here) for our bags to arrive. We spent those 3 (possiblely the 3 hottest) days in the same clothes (yech) waiting for our bags to arrive. We couldn't be happier to see them when they did. I guess our bags wanted to take a little vacation of their own.
Warm and Lost Regards,

- Where Tortola Be
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 14:34:28 EDT
For any of you who might not know where Tortola is, it's diagonally to the right of the top hump of South America.
Awesome directions dude!  I don't make this stuff up!  But I about fell out of my chair laughing, with those expert directions to Tortola.
Here we go again!  Another beautiful day in paradise. 86 degrees, a bit warm for October, but we don't care, just don't send us any more himmacane Omars.
And a roudn of applause to:
BVI Philatelists Bring Home Best in Show & Two Gold Medals
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
With two gold medals and a Best in Show Award, Americas 08 was a truly resounding success for the British Virgin Islands. Philatelists from North, South and ...
BUT, could you bring home some SAND with those medals too?
Sand-snatchers shrink Caribbean beaches
AZ Central.com - AZ,USA
No one knows how much sand in all has been carted away, but the islands of Tortola, Anguilla and St. Vincent are now vulnerable to flooding, said Gillian ...
FOUND on the seashore in a Gin Bottle:
Overheard on a flight from Antigua to Beef Island....
LIAT......Luggage In Another Town.

(wishing he was on Anegada right now instead of in London. )
Dear Martin
    I too wish I were on Anegada right now instead of Tortola.
And Another Bottle Rolled up:
Another name for LIAT is Leave island Any Time. I worked for Pan Am in Barbados in the 60'S and that was the name then

Lost in Paradise,

- Trash and Treasure
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 13:39:52 EDT
Another boringly wonderful day in paradise of tropical winds, summer temps, bright sunshine and awesomely GREEN islands to gaze at.
I, like so many in the islands, are busy un-hurricaning.  However, I've suddenly had a burst of energy, so I am taking advantage of it and doing a major spring cleanup. Out with the garbage, (the MORE the better!) plus donating useful stuff that I don't need that is still usable, plus organizing and cleaning what remains. It's both fun and frustrating!
However, the problem with making numerous trips to the dump is that others seem to be parking useful stuff by the dump too...   I found a nice slightly used  Weber Charcoal Grill parked 5 feet from the dumpster.  I was dismayed that I couldn't figure out how to squeeze it into my hardtop heap of a jeep, however that didn't stop me from hiding it in the bushes, then asking my neighbor with a pickup truck to go grab it for me (he eats here often anyhow). So now my patio sports a charcoal grill (now, all I need is charcoal and food!)
However, I managed to load up  a beautiful  wicker  headboard. It fit in the heap of a jeep but I hadn't quite figured out where I would fit. Sadly, someone else beat me to the matching night stand (shame on me for not grabbing that first!)
I donated, to the dumpster, well beside it actually, a lovely  brass touch lamp that just drives me crazy. It used to be that you could merely touch it anywhere and it came on dim, touch it again and it lit up to medium, touch it again and it lit up to  bright.  I loved that little lamp, especially the 3 settings. 
But then it died.
You had to plug it in, plug it out, plug it in, plug it out and it only worked on one light setting. I took it apart and still couldn't repair it. So I dangled it on the edge of the dumpster, in case someone was desperate for a lamp. I was about to climb in my jeep with my wicker headboard, when a young man in an old beat up rusty sedan, slammed on brakes, making a horrific noise and giving me quite a fright, as he stopped in front of me, inches away.  He hopped out and asked me if the lamp worked.  I said "It does but..." and he was back in his car with the lamp and rapidly driving away as my sentence trailed off "But you have to plug it in and out..."  Well, I guess by now, he has figured that out...
I squeezed into the heap of a jeep, and drove home with my head and arm hanging out the window, due to the wicker headboard. I can just hear my mother now, I am 4 years old and she is saying "Don't hang your arm out the window, a car could come by and knock it off!  I know a little girl who hung her arm out the window and now she has only one arm!" 
My mother knew the most tragic of children and often used them to illustrate her point, such as "Don't cross the street until you have looked both ways, twice!  Why I know a child who didn't do this, and she was run over and ended up flat as a pancake!" 
One day, my mother trusted my older sister and I to cross a busy street to go to the library. I waited and watched in horror, as my older sister dashed out in the road, leaving me on the sidewalk and BAM!  She was hit by a car who managed to slam on brakes, so the impact merely threw her up on the hood of the car. She climbed off and assured the pale shaky shocked driver she was fine and shooed him away. She was more horrified that my mother should find out, than worried about her injury. I finally crossed the road and caught up to her and she made me promise over and over not to tell our mother. Secretly, I was let down, that I didn't get to see what my sister would look like; flat as a  pancake. 
So I shudder to think, what my mother would say, if she could see me with my arm AND my head hanging out the car window, as I drove home.  I know if I was lazy and having trouble with my homework, or if I had done something particularly stupid that took her notice, she would say "Use your head for something besides a hat rack!"
Getting home, I unloaded the wicker headboard and realized I had forgotten to stop by the store. So back in the heap of a jeep, I dashed to the store. I had to pass a different  dump, on my way to the store and OOPS what did I see?  But 2 perfectly good, but used  folding beach chairs!  Well, actually, it was 4 beach chairs, but 2 were beyond help and the other 2 were just fine, but used. One was a regular sized chair and the other was the low model, ironically, both matched and into the back of my heap of a jeep they fit.
So I don't know how well this spring cleaning is going, I seem to be trading my trash for treasure...
Washed Up Ashore In a Cruzan Rum Bottle...
Been so busy un-hurricaning that I just got around to reading your post regards LIAT.  Yes, they're an adventure. We sat for seven hours at the airport in Antigua (their "hub"/headquarters) looking at 5 or 6 of their planes sitting on the tarmac, watching planes arrive and depart for other destinations, WAITING FOR A CREW! Incredible.  My call on LIAT is "Late Is A Tradition!"  Although, flying LIAT often beats the Eagle which has to return to San Juan between every island. If travel weren't so quirky it just wouldn't be Caribbean, and Caribbean is one of the reasons we are here.
St John
Dear J,
    I LOVE IT!  Late Is A Tradition for LIAT!  Good one!

Warm and Treasured Regards,

- No Pun Intended
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 11:46:56 EDT
Beautiful Caribbean day here on Tortola. Slight winds could stand to pick up, but the sunshine it out, the seas are cerulean and all is well!
There is more than ONE way to patch a crack in a wall... This crack is sprouting beautiful sword  fern and purple heart.
On another note, if da current elec-tricky corporation can't keep up with our current needs (ha-ha another pun...) then WHY are they issuing building permits left and right like there is no tomorrow?  WHO is going to fulfill their current elec-tricky needs?  Ha!  One wonders...

Warm and Pun-ny Regards,

- Sturdy Foliage! Delicate Poles?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2008 12:24:27 EDT
Another fantastic day in paradise!  80 something degrees, gentle trade winds, bright sunshine, a few scattered clouds for decor.  A fantastic day to be off work for St Ursula's Day.  Nothing much aiming at us these days, a little mess rolling off Africa and one in the western Caribbean. 
Last night company came over, it had been a hot windless humid day.  I was still unhurricaning the house and covered head to toe in grimy sweat at the time company was to arrive, they called; going to be late and I dove into a cold shower that just didn't seem cold enough. I made sure all the electric wind machines were working and used copious amounts of WD40 to coax all the jalousie windows to horizontal to partake of the most winds, of which there were none.
I had chopped, sliced, diced, and julienned a stack of veggies for stir fry. When they arrived, I lit the stove and tossed in the cabbage and POOF BANG.  Da current done mash up!  *sigh* We were left in complete darkness while I fumbled around for battery lamp, candles, lighter. 
Turns out a utility pole in Carrot Bay said enough was enough and toppled down bringing darkness to the majority of the Tortola plus Jost Van Dyke for hours. Scary that ONE pole can cause so much drama and trauma. But if you pay attention to the poles around the islands, you will see they lean at various precarious angles, no two alike, some are actually vertical and looking to stay that way but others were planted willy-nilly and left to their own devices to choose a lean.
23 candles later, we resumed cooking, as by now my guests' son had taken over cooking while I fetched every candle I owned.  We wanted a lit path to the bath, plus light the kitchen and dining area etc. It was so oppressively hot, without the electric wind machines, we ended up outside star gazing trying to remember all the constellations we forgot.
These tiny delicate flowers in my garden survived Omar, but some of our utility poles did not???
Is that a HOOT or what?  Tee hee hee!
Life is FUNNY here! 
Sometimes I think we are a few elephants short of a circus...
But we sure got the clowns to make up for it!

- Breathless
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 11:21:28 EDT
I woke up groggily, stumbled to the fridge for some herbal iced tea and noticed it was pink and red outside.  I struggled to wake up, find the camera and snap this incredible picture of daybreak unfolding in the BVI. It was so lovely, I just decided to stay up for awhile. The beauty here can take your breath away. The colors this morning were just plain
Note that the street lights on Frenchmans Cay are still on in the larger version.
85 degrees and humid, the channel was flat calm this morning, as it is now at 11am.  Winds are gentle. Tomorrow is a holiday!  Yippee! 
Right now there is NOTHING in the Atlantic to bother us.  Yahoo!
If you are lonesome for the Caribbean, you can also check out the newly updated webcam page.  New webcams have been added!  If you know of any Caribbean webcams missing from the page, by all means let me or the webmaster know.
St Croix didn't fare as well as we did during himmacane Omar.
The Associated Press
USVI warns of oil spills after storm damages boats
The Associated Press
CHRISTIANSTED, US Virgin Islands (AP) — St. Croix authorities were trying to contain oil spills after more than 40 boats sank or washed ashore during ...
Heaven help you when you fly LIAT, it's always an adventure!  LIAT stands for "Leaves Island Any Time"  due to their erraticness.  They throw the clock out the window, and you go when the plane shows up, if it shows up. LIAT can also mean "Luggage In Another Terminal"  another problem that plagues the beleaguered airline. My favorite is "Lost In A Timewarp". 
LIAT once flew me to 5 islands before they delivered me to the island I was going to. At one point, when the plane disembarked, they asked us WHERE we were going, then had spread us around the tarmac and counted heads for each island. The island with the most passengers, got to get back on the plane and go to their chosen island!  The rest of us had to wait...
Another passenger laments his travels with LIAT in this article.
LIAT Strikes Again
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
... I can't help but believe that after a plane leaves TB Lettsome Airport late for a run to San Juan to return to the BVI before going on to Antigua, ...
Have you seen this man?
Police Suspends Search For Missing Man But Family Refuses to Give Up
Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
The Officer told BVI Platinum News that it’s difficult for the Police to follow any leads since no information is coming forward and they are yet to make ...

- The Ghost Wears Sequins...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2008 13:53:21 EDT
Internet done mash up again, no idea when this will get out. One of two cell phones is working, Cable TV done mash up too.   I can only get sound and picture simultaneously on 2 channels. But da current be going strong on much of the island. I fired up my boom box and have one of the numerous CD's playing that Herby, a gentle DMM reader,  recently sent me. Man it is heaven on earth to have some tunes to listen to! 
The mystery ladies slippers  (faded chartreuse flip-plops with sequins) that were parked outside my front door have VANISHED!  Yet, not a female has been by here in awhile. So I still ponder, where did they come from?  Where did they go? Did a ghost in slippers take refuge here during the storm?  I kick off my sandals at the door and go foot-nude indoors. But these weren't mine.  Did a ghost wear them here, park them politely at the door,  take refuge during the storm, then don the slippers and  leave again? Very strange...because I felt I was not alone during the storm, I kept seeing something move in the shadows of the candlelight, and the cats did too, but nothing was really there, or was there? That's pretty much how ghosts act.  I know, I sailed with one for years on my boat that could be a real chatter box at times. I can say that now, now that the boat is sold. More on that later. At the time of Omar passing, I tried to reason, the presence I felt, was really  all you wonderful readers, sending me good wishes. But what did the cats see?
This little angel guards my humble abode.
He's not mine, though I'm quite fond of him.  
He's taken up temporary sanctuary here, while his owner builds.  
85 degrees, moderate winds, bright sunshine, scattered clouds, another typical day in the Caribbean. After the Omar scare, folks rushed to make things appear normal again. This has always been true of Tortola. We wait for no one. Even if Omar had been a strike on us, this hearty lot would have already cleaned up the mess and moved forward. In past strikes, I saw this phenomenon unique to the BVI.
Of course we still have that mess in the Atlantic, unnamed and unnumbered, seemingly aiming for us.
Thursday, the powers to be pleaded for folks stay home so the road crews could have a chance to scrape up the mess and make all roads passable, but some did go to work (or sight seeing) anyhow, while others stayed put. However, in the afternoon, those with power, opened up some of the bars and restaurants for post hurricane parties since we had no chance for pre-hurricane parties.

Warm and Happy Regards,

All Links Are Underlined

- Another Bowling Ball Aims for the Strike...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 17:53:06 EDT
Dodger (cute name) alerted me to check out the latest and greatest which is the new tropical wave #3 on the heels of #1. 
#2 is not likely to cause us problems unless it decides to head east. The red thingy, is of course Himmacane Omar who skirted by us.
Sooooooo...  we get more cardio exercise;  Put the shutters up, take the shutters down, put the shutters up, take the shutters down...

Hey Dearie,

Glad to hear you survived.  We had a friend down there for the week on his honeymoon.  Can't remember who he chartered with, and he's a new sailor, so it should have been a honeymoon to remember.  I think they're due back tomorrow.  Anyway, question:  In those recent photos of Soper's Hole, including the one with the two freighters, there appears to be something extending from the marina over towards the ferry docks, floating on the water.  At first I thought it was the wake from a boat but, it's in three different photos that you posted.  What is that?
It's the power lines (t'ose t'ings da elec-tricky corporation be stringing up everywhere to make t'ings uglified around here).
It's an illusion!  I took it from up above Sopers hole and the dang power lines are in the way, I don't know how to move them or I would. They are actually lines strung across my vantage point on the hill, but it appears (erroneously) that they are running across the harbor or something in the water.
AOL compressed my pics for speedy loading, I should (in the future) give you a link to a full size pic, then you could see more clearly.
Warm and Fuzzy Regards,

- The Aftermath
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 11:35:46 EDT
Sun is out, southern seas are flat, it is 83 degrees with slight winds.  Hard to tell a storm went by at all!  We had some road flooding, on the south shore,  where the roads drain towards the land rather than the sea.  Not sure why they were engineered that way... 
A few brush trees are leaning, I think they are just water laden.  It's certainly going to be a very green  season around here and everyone should be enjoying a full cistern.
I tried to post this picture yesterday, but the internet Gods were not with me...  This is Sopers Hole in West End Tortola, after the storm.  The freighters there earlier, pulled out the moment the winds subsided.
There is a tropical wave off of South America, but hopefully it will bore itself out and not cause us any trauma.
Himmacane Omar is out to sea, in the Atlantic, threatening any hapless boats in his way. 
Electrical Power problems were still plaguing parts of the Tortola as of last night, a real shame considering winds never seemed to get past 50 or so. Makes you wonder about our electrical plant being prepared.
Internet was flaky from both suppliers (we only have two choices) but then again, that's par for the course on good weeks. Ditto for TV Cable, it came back in many areas eventually, but most of the channels were garbled for some reason. Typically we always have a few channels malfunctioning, I am not sure if I have ever seen all the channels work on the same day.
I think I had more phone calls inquiring about my power-internet-tv cable than I had about my personal post hurricane condition. *Giggle* But I can see too, with many off work yesterday, why not kick back and enjoy the internet or movies.
Thank you for the numerous emails I received inquiring about me and the islands.  Your well wishes were welcomed.  There is a common local belief that all our prayers pushed this storm out to sea and away from us. Well, more power to prayer!
Himmacane Omar came up on us so sudden, and it was already pouring rains, that I hear the fool moon parties were a bust. So we had very few hurricane parties, but many post-hurricane parties. Many folks did report to work in order to get paid, even if sent home again. Others decided not to go at all and "unhurricane" their homes.  We are just so LUCKY!
I read an article where a writer said Omar "threaded the needle" by heading out through the Anegada (Oh-my-God-dah) passage not making a direct hit on any major islands. I liked that term "thread the needle"  seems I went white water rafting and did the same thing in a few treacherous areas.
I still have to haul the plants back outside and do some more sweeping up. I was behind on laundry before the storm, so I have that to catch up. I am still washing moldy clothes I found in my moldy chest of drawers from last week, before the storm. Argh!
I've also discovered plain white vinegar does more to kill mold than bleach does.
It's just life in paradise. Some things work, some of the time, and many things don't much of the time...
Monday is a public holiday here!  Oh sure, we need another day off!

- Oopsy!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:44:19 EDT
Max from Florida sent me the St Kitts pics, so I assumed (how foolish of me!) that they weren't on StormCarib.com but they are!  On the St Kitts page, of course!

- Pics from St Kitts
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:38:32 EDT
Hurricanedamage   see pictures from Frigate Bay, St. Kitts

- A Pic Of What Hit Us
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:28:24 EDT
A part time resident of Tortola, managed to catch and save this radar pic of Omar skirting by us!
That was actually the BEST path we could have wished for and certainly minimalist chances for damages. WHAT LUCK!!!
I just had some people drop in on me and one began laughing at my hurricane shutters and went on this whole spiel about how foolish I was to get ready for a hurricane and HE THE ALMIGHTY SOURCE standing here before me KNEW it was going to miss us.
I retorted with well it's so EASY to be an expert after the fact!  Why weren't you broadcasting that all over the BVI before the storm?  Everyone is an expert when the storm has come and gone, but to predict it in advance, of exactly where the landfall will be?  Well now that is HARD and was certainly proven here once again. I never heard anyone broadcasting to ignore this storm and to fail to prepare, after all it wasn't coming. He said he didn't get involved with local politics. I said this has nothing to do with the politicians, this is mother nature! 
Which brings to mind, if we sent all the hot aired politicians out to sea every time we had a hurricane scare, then maybe that hurricane would follow that hot water and leave us alone...
It was a super dumb conversation all around, one that I wished to avoid.
But now that we had a near miss, I still WONDER why my crystal ball says beware of December...

- We are so LUCKY!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 12:04:53 EDT
11:30am da current done come back!
Sunshine, slight breezes, 81 degrees.
The garden hardly looks like a storm passed.  Dead leaves and bits of debris blown around and that's it. Banana trees which are notorious for falling as their root system is very shallow, were all standing and the baby bananas in progress, still hanging up where we left them. Flowers in bloom are still in bloom. 
My laptop bat-tree (battery) done mash up and is in need of replacement. *sigh*.
That's why you haven't heard from me in awhile. It died several hours sooner than it should have, in spite of me using the minimal settings. I tried to plug the 12 volt thingy into the heap of a jeep and run the laptop that way, but it wouldn't stay plugged in unless I held it in place, so I gave up, as I can't hardly type with two hands, much less one, cramped up in a small jeep to boot!
We are so LUCKY!  Those that didn't prepare at all are feeling real smitten, and those of us that did, well better safe than sorry (mama didn't raise me to be a fool.)
It just goes to show once again, NOBODY knows where these storms are headed for sure until the last moment. 
I spoke with dem elec-tricky boyz and they alluded they had some problems and da current be coming back here and there at some point today.  I thought to my self lawdy mercy, if dem elec-tricky boyz can't handle 50-60mph winds, we in big trouble. 
Just goes to show, they should require all this new building going on everywhere to put all utilities underground, besides it makes for a more beautiful island. So many vistas where I try to take pictures, I have these ugly lines in the way.  But that's life, ya can't have every t'ing! 
Just so HAPPPY that all well. I still have a ton of un-storm work to do. My living room is crammed full of so many potted plants that you can't even sit or move, except to get to the door.
At day break, the cats and I all wandered outside, they were greatly RELIEVED to have their freedom back. This business of having their cat door locked and their butler requests (let me out!) refused was not to their liking at all. At some point, they did settle down in bed with me and quit pestering me to let them out.
I already received a long distance call, so phone lines are working, though I operate with 2 cell phones and no land phone.  One cell phone has been out since yesterday, but other one works fine.
Cable TV is out, but it goes out several times a month as a norm, so why worry, be happy. 

- Tortola Hurricane Omar
  • From: Belmont <belmont at surfbvi.com>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 11:35:02 -0400

Last night Road Town and the easter part of the island received heavy rain and some winds. The western part of Tortola had little rain and little wind. Due to the over saturation of the ground, there were mud slides along the Sir Francis Drake Highway and flooding in some low lying areas as well. Electricity did not go off until early this morning and it is back up since about 9:30 AM and earlier in some places. 

Water that had gone off late yesterday is back on.

Little damage is reported in Virgin Gorda and Anegada,

Rudy reported from Jost Van Dyke that some large boulders have cone loose and had rolled unto some roads.

The sun is out!

Nadine Battle
Belmont House
Overlooking sparkling Smuggler's    Cove Beach
284 495 4477

- Update
  • From: "John Cope" <yatsurvy at surfbvi.com>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 08:55:46 -0300

- Wx Report
  • From: "John Cope" <yatsurvy at surfbvi.com>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 08:55:39 -0300
H/W repport for the last twelve hours 151800 hrs to 160800 hrs from weather station at Hodges Creek (18.25657N 64.34202W)
Rainfall 3.17 inches.
Wind highest gust 36 MPH, at 0117 Hrs today.
John M. Cope, BEM. AMS

- Is it Over?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 03:19:47 EDT
314am as I type this, not sure how quick I can post it.
It's eerily QUIET and pretty bright outside, thanks to the full moon.
No rains, no winds, no dripping...
Two and  a half hours until daybreak.
Either the brunt of the storm has missed us or the eye is over us. Last report from hurricane center said Omar had sped up to 20mph so I was thinking GREAT that sure is better than creeping by at 2mph!
When I upload this, I can download latest email too, maybe that will give me a clue.
I now hear a lot of strange noises like a loud generator in the distance or maybe the freighters are warming up to go somewhere.

- ramblings
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 01:01:24 EDT
Well, since I woke up at 1130pm, delighted to find the power on, only to have da current mash up 10 minutes later...well I've been wide awake ever since.
I have my computer at minimal settings to preserve the battery, including havin the screen lit at barely-can-see light. Pardon me if I dont waste time with the spell heckler and just send out my ramblings.
I think the winds are coming from the south, but hard to tell. I opened up the west facing window in the front door (alumnium jalouise) and also the east facing window in the bathroom, but just barely. Nothing blowing in, either direction!  Hmm...
Lots of candles are scattered around, so I can just pace back and forth, wondering around and see where I amble next. Already had 2 cats with a slight disagreement. I fed them salami (tee hee hee).  They aren't sure they like it, (they'll learn!) and I am drinking the last carafe of herbal iced tea.
Earlier at happyhour, I had a few stiff drinks when I realized nothing else was getting done, I was wore out and sore and only so much one can do.
The winds speed up and slow down and I hear the foliage slapping itself silly. I took pictures of the garden before the storm with a tear in my eye...
Much of the living room is full of potted plants. I saw one cat inspecting them for kitty needs and shooed him away.
It seems every hurricane I have been through arrived at night. THere was one that arrived by day, but I can't think which one at this point.
I think ahhhhh, sunrise is 5 or so hours away. THe moonlight is somehow showing through. I press my face to the open window in the front door. I debate about parking my bar stool there and keeping vigil, for what I do not know, except I am WIDE awake and wish I could sleep.
Everytime I go near the cat door, I am flanked by pleading kitties who want to sneak out and NO WAY am I letting them out.
It;s 78 degrees, winds seem to be about 50mph with gusts much higher. I hear things dripping and dripping, unable to tell if the drips are inside or out.
ANother cat meows at the door to be let out, puzzled as to why I am not complying. If the truth be known, I am SELFISH and want them here with ME. Besides, I don't want them stuck out in the storm with mud up to their ears.
I give them more salami. 
I see my battery is draining frightfully! 
1am and I am signing off.

- written at midnight
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 00:04:50 EDT
Not sure when or if this will get emailed and posted. Forgive me as I wont be using the spell heckler either, to save time!
My ears hurt like I am flying. Well, my throat hurts too. Things seem stuffy so I opened up the jalousie aluminum shutters on the front door. The fridge is off and in the bottom drawer is all that salami bought on sale before this storm scare.
I lit a few candles. Cats are walking around cross-legged eyeballing the litter box. Soon, they will understand why I won't let them out and will have to deal with it. It's a nice clean litter box with fresh litter, not sure why all the panic.
I can hear winds have picked up substantially. I want to just go SLEEP but I am wide awake and soon I will be back in the dark. I would rather stay on the internet.  I can hear angry winds and the sea sounds pretty cloppy choppy sloppy out there.
I dont dare open the door for fear of losing a kitty.

- Da Current Done Mash up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 23:52:59 EDT
Power is off at 1144pm!  Winds are getting aggressive, coming and going, wish I could see the ocean, can only hear a roar out there, like planes or trains in the distance.
Heard a car drive by recently, can't imagine what they are doing out at this hour.
Going to save my laptop battery, and pray.  If internet is working when I wake up next, I will post a report. I can't sleep more than an hour or so at a time.
Cats aren't happy, but one has been cuddling with me, so that is nice.

- Omar creeps up on us
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 23:41:17 EDT
Winds are at 30-40 knots, steady rains. Electricity is still on.  I can hear the winds come and go, with some howling.


- 105 mile per hour winds
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 21:04:12 EDT
Omar is a category 2 hurricane now that may very well pass over us tonight and tomorrow.
The alpha cat just spent a good 5 minutes lecturing me on why they should all go out, and if not all of them, then him. He especially detests the litter box.
Now that I see Omar is packing 105 mile per hour winds, I say NO. We are off to bed kitties, where I will rub your bellies and tell you sweet wittle stories!
It's calm outside and not even raining, the frogs are singing. It's eerie.

- 809 pm rather quiet, slight winds, no rains
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 20:10:28 EDT
Very eerie, like OK, we are ready for.......... the calm before the storm...it's 80 degrees and very dark outside.


- 7pm and all is well
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 19:00:17 EDT
Hugs and kisses to the caretaker and his buddy  who showed back up and made last minute wooden storm shutters for a door and a window that were missing shutter frames. Some sort of confusion, they were supposed to be made awhile back and weren't. The rest of the house has aluminum frames and aluminum shutters. But they are kind of fussy to put up. They aren't air tight, which means they aren't water tight, but heck, I got to breath too!
He fashioned temporary ones out of wood for the window and door to my housemate's area. Since my housemate hasn't made an appearance, (and therefore missed out on all the FUN work today....)  I could have some real fun with him by spray painting "EVICTED!" on the wooden shutter over his door, that is now blocking his entry.
Tee hee hee.
The caretaker and his assistant got a real giggle out of that one! 
The Bananas! 
He was leaving when I yelled "The Bananas!" and he came right back as they weighed well over a 100 pounds and no way I could have hauled that in without damaging a lot of them. 
We've been waiting until the last minute to chop down the fat green bananas.  He wanted me to have them all, and good grief, I am sure he could use half of them easily, so we split the bunch. By last minute, we were waiting for them to start to ripen and then grab them before the birds did. Not that we meant to wait until the last minute before the storm!
We left the baby bunch of bananas on another tree, they aren't ready to eat, even green and boiled, so maybe they will survive, maybe not.
There is much more to do, but I couldn't bare to ask them, I know they have to get home and take care of their own life and property. Whst isn't done now, isn't getting done, for shame.
I rounded up the cats, and they are now locked inside, so out comes the dreaded litter box they hate. But I am not taking chances and having them caught outside.  I've blocked off the kitty door and I think they know, cause they protested when I closed the front door and locked it.
They have eaten TRIPLE their normal food intake, so they KNOW it's coming, but they want to sit in the gazebo and watch and I don't want to be alone, so sorry boyz, ya STUCK inside with the human.
My friend called me long distance and I told her it's the FIRST time I have been alone for a hurricane!  Usually I have a small crowd so we can play cards and cook  and freak out together! 
I'm not as prepared as I wanted to be, but I did all I could. I am AMAZED at the number of houses I can see without shutters up!  Lawdy mercy. We all take our chances.
Rain is barely drizzly and winds are very slight. Guess I will go set up the kitty litter box and face those "Oh no we are not...." stares from my fury friends.
It's kind of claustrophobic having all the shutters up. I do have one window in the bath that is not shuttered. I think the caretaker overlooked it and I wanted it as an emergency escape! It's at the opposite end of the house from the front door. So if that door got blocked, I could possibly make it out the bathroom window. No way can I break out of the aluminum shutters from the inside!  It's like prison. Yikes!
The bathroom has sliding doors on the shower, so I can shut the window, shut the shower doors and shut the bathroom door and hope that's enough.  It's a  fairly protected side of the house, facing an overgrown lot.
Now pitchforks to the neighbor down below me with the HUGE pile of wood on his roof!  He threw a tiny string over it, like that would keep it in place. I see those as dangerous missiles waiting to happen!  YIKES! His house isn't finished, he could have thrown all the wood inside the house, the floors aren't even done yet.
Right now I have nearly all the lights and fans on as once da current done mash up, no more luxuries.


- 6pm 2 freighters in Sopers Hole West End Tortola BVI
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 18:22:48 EDT
Sir Francis Drake Channel 6pm, you can barely see St John in background, that is Frenchmans Cay in foreground, Norman Island is obliterated.

- Sopers Hole West End Tortola 4pm
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 18:22:12 EDT



- Sopers Hole West End Tortola 4pm
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 17:58:29 EDT



- Rains have stopped at 5pm, one more hour of light
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 17:08:22 EDT
5pm no rains. I am at the house alone. Finally got the shutters up. Dark and oppressive inside!  Two plants are too heavy for me to move indoors. I think of how long it took me to get them so big and lovely and well they may not survive.  Maybe someone will show up to move them, but doubtful.
No idea WHEN this will get posted. I've set up AOL to run every half hour Internet permitting, which goes in and out a BUNCH.
Harbor emptied out moorings then amazingly some boats snuck in!  Will try to post a pic when I can.


- Calm and Gloomy
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 17:01:39 EDT
415pm, the rains stopped about 330pm. Our Internet is on and off, same for cell  phones. I am here all alone. Usually I have a crowd at my place, but not yet.  I've never been through a hurricane alone.   Yikes!
If you don't hear from me every 2 hours or so, you will know that Internet has died completely.  If you send me any email, please DO NOT send attachments. I am using AOL's auto feature and attachments will slow it down and use up precious battery time.
All is calm, no rains, only slight winds and its very gloomy outside.
Internet died again, this will go out with next "auto AOL" email.

- Rain Rain Rain
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 14:16:38 EDT
At noon the rains started in earnest. It is very dark. I ran out to the store a mile away, and already a tree down 100 feet from my driveway. Got out and moved enough to get around it, got back in heap of a jeep, soaking wet. Store was emptying out shelves fast, their battery delivery did not show up but the liquor did, so guess what, we are going to have a bunch of drunks in the dark...
Lots of folks just hanging out at the store, not shopping, just chit chatting and holding the wall up. Everyone real friendly. Folks parked all in the road in front of store while parking lot was nearly empty. I couldn't carry all my stuff, still some trouble with my flaky arm,  and other people just pitched in and loaded up my heap!  Everyone wishing you well, heck I felt like hanging out at the store too, seemed a lot of fun!  Watched someone buy 70 pounds of rice and nothing else.
Listened to a couple fret over whether to buy 1 or 2 candles, I suggested they buy at least a dozen, to be able to SEE around their place. They said, oh they didn't live here, were flying out Friday, 2 candles would be enough.
Came home and now there is a pair of female slippers parked at my door, they are not mine. I have no idea where they came from. Have looked around for a female hiding somewhere but found no one yet. Very odd. Did she park her sandals and just walk away barefoot?
On way back home, took me a half hour to go the ENTIRE MILE!  Some "smart person"  had his truck, trailer and boat STUCK in middle of road, crossways, forcing traffic snarl to detour through swamp with 4 wheel drive. What fun! I can't make this stuff up, it's just too wild!  I wanted to get pictures but my car insides were steamed up (from my heavy breathing?)
I think maybe he was moving the boat, slammed on brakes and jack knifed and had no idea how to un-jack-knife and then got his wheels stuck in the ditch. He had his kid out trying to direct traffic through the swamp. Only the 4wd cars were trying it. Whew. I made it in 4wd.
Close to home that same pesky tree had commandeered the road again with yet another tree! Got out in soaking rains and fought with it for awhile, managed to clear enough to get my skinny heap of a jeep through. Met guys in a big truck on other side, trying to make a 14 point turn. I guess they didn't want to get out and deal with tree either. Waited for them to finally get turned around. Pulled into driveway, still 60 feet from door and SOMEBODY upstairs pulled the plug on the bathtub in the sky!  My eyelashes were dripping, my home is tracked up with wet cat paws, wet people paws and wet mermaid slushing around.
I know you are all wondering WHY I didn't get ready yesterday and truth is I had an emergency I can't talk about, basically someone else's problem dumped in my lap by mistake, and I was left to deal with it. We really need street names and house numbers but after the hurricane, could be a mute point...
Caretaker promised to put up shutters, haven't seen him since and can't figure out how they go up, still moving potted plants and outdoor furniture between downpours. Trying to warm up, soaked to the bone and very c-c-c-cold! Maybe I will get it all done, maybe  I won't.
2pm, steady rains, can't see more than 1/2 mile in any direction. I am dead tired and so much more to do!
Omar could be 100 mile per hour winds!  Not a pretty thought, the rains are likely to do more damage. We are over soaked. Saw many waterfalls and rivers on my short drive. I don't dare go sight seeing as planned, so no pics for you, sorry!

- Yikes, Omar is plowing along with his eyes us in the BVI
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 11:53:36 EDT
Himmacane Omar is at 85mph winds and expected to increase before he hits the BVI. With my generator broke, I am not sure how many reports I can put out once da current done mash up.
It's cloudy and gloomy here, the channel is thick and visibility is low, no rains yet. 80 degrees.
A lying mechanic kept my generator for MONTHS and then returned it broken. What a deal!  Pirates in paradise!  *SIGH* 
Incredibly, the houses below me are still under construction, the crews working like nothing going to happen, their building supplies scattered everywhere, so we will have "missiles" during the storm. Some folks believe the hurricane will miss us and are not taking precautions.
I gotta run and do a zillion things!
Before a hurricane we have a handful of atheists, afterwards, none!
Well, like we used to say at sea SHIP HAPPENS!!!

Warm and Gloomy Regards,

- Ooops!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 09:11:27 EDT
Another gloomy day with only slight winds, and still flat seas. Sopers Hole has emptied out the anchorage, but about a dozen boats remain at the far end tied up to docks. I bet they will come to regret that choice.
Himmacane Omar, is about 265 southwest of St Croix and San Juan, forming a triangle between the 3 points. He has picked up speed to 7 miles per hour, and at that rate he will hit us this evening, give or take. Winds are up to 80mph per the aircraft reconnaissance report. He could easily be a category 2 by the time he hits us.
The cryptic post below,  was a note to self, that was supposed to be filed under notes but I emailed it off like a lunatic... What the heck is sushi in the gift store?
It was Christmas after hurricanes Luis and Marilyn.  I was temporarily working on the North Pacific Coast in Northern California. I was out walking around and stopped in for some sushi for lunch.  Knowing it was going to be a lonely Christmas, I decided to order extra sushi to take home and have for dinner that evening in my hotel suite.  The sushi arrived in a beautiful white box, as if ready for gift wrapping.
I was carrying this sushi and walking in the bitter cold back to my hotel. A curio shop caught my eye and I found myself wandering through a maze of endless shelves of unique novelties.  Something caught my eye, and I set the nice white box of sushi down on the shelf, then picked up the object to inspect it closer. Deciding to buy the object d'art as a gift, I paid for the item and left.
Back at the hotel, I hung out in the lobby for awhile, where a blazing fire attempted to warm up my icy cold bones while cheery Christmas music played in the background.  Later I went up to my hotel room for a nap.  When I woke up, all I could think about was that wonderful sushi awaiting me in my fridge for dinner. But alas, when I opened my fridge, there was no sushi box!  I remembered now, I had left it sitting on a shelf in the curio shop.
It was still daylight, so I bundled up and walked back to the curio shop, shame all over my face, as I rehearsed my apologies in my head. But when I got there, the shop was closed, as were all the rest.  After all it was Christmas Eve. I noted the sign on the shop stated it would be closed for 4 days. Christmas Eve came and went and I ate no sushi.
After the holidays, I was back working full time.  At lunch time, a colleague showed up to take me out. We drove rapidly passed the curio shop, which I noted had both their front doors propped open against the bitter cold with summer fans blowing in the doorways, and a big sign tacked up "Temporarily Closed."
I've often wondered, whatever happened to my sushi, sitting innocently on the curio shelf in a nice plain white box, seemingly ready for gift wrapping.

- sushi in th egift store
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 04:34:27 EDT

- Eerily calm
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 03:56:53 EDT
Omar is a category one hurricane but could hit here at a category two or three. At 4am, all is quiet, with slight to no winds, no rains and tree frogs merrily singing away. With the generator still mash up, I am not looking forward to this mess at all. (Who is?)

- Himmacane Omar on the Warpath
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 23:36:50 EDT
Hurricane Warnings have been issued!  Tomorrow morning will be BUSY BUSY BUSY as everyone rushes to get ready for this surprise himmacane!
At 1130pm all is quiet, no winds on the south shore, flat seas, no rains.
The calm before the storm.



Warm and Insomniac Regards,

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- TS Omar is a BIG BAD BOY!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 23:07:19 EDT
Look how BIG Ominous Omar is and how teeny tiny we are, to the right of Puerto Rico.  Unless this baby turns due North, we are in for some kind of hurricane or storm by tomorrow night!
Rush to finish preparations in the morning.

- The Rains Reach, Mon
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 21:31:18 EDT
8pm and the rains started.  That's because the caretaker showed up 10 minutes earlier to start on the shutters...  Needless to say, no shutters up yet. Well, actually the upstairs is done, but I live downstairs and much of the upstairs was done awhile back. Perhaps in the morning, they'll return and put up the shutters, no doubt when many are going up around the island.
The rains came down in earnest, long enough for me to get soaking wet relocating many of the potted plants indoors.  More of those to move tomorrow, then the outdoor furniture and where it's going to be stored, I haven't figured out yet.
It's now 920am and the winds just aren't happening. The calm before the storm. The rains have stopped, the tree frogs are singing.
The cats have bulked up on food but not hit the panic button yet. I need to make up some catnip toys for them, they can become bored and cranky when their outdoor freedom becomes a soggy mess. I just take  cloth remnants, some wire ties I save from bread wrappers, put a tablespoon of organic catnip on the cloth then tie it up tight with the wire tie, trim off the excess material and they have these catnip hobo wads they love to chew on, rub on, fight with, play with, and try their best to either rip the material open or untwist the ties. This makes for a bigger mess, of course. However, I've pretty much learned how to outsmart them with a crafty way of doing up the wire ties.
About a week later, I find these drool laden packets of catnip, ready for the dust bin, no longer catching their fancy,  then we start anew with more toys. Oh to have a cat's life. If the sun is out, I just chase them outdoors and deposit a spoon full of catnip in 3 corners and let them go at it.
Stay tuned for more reports, internet and power permitting!

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 17:28:38 EDT
Tropical Storm Omar is packing up strength and near hurricane force winds. He is on a path headed our way and could be much stronger when he lands here.  See the full official report here.
He is bringing high seas, and loads of rains. The BVI is under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch. Incredibly, Soper's Hole, which is open to the west, is still full of boats.  Omar is coming from the south west and it ain't going to be pretty...
I wanted to go out and take care of some pre-storm things today and see how the rest of the island is preparing for this, but I didn't get out, due to an emergency being dropped in my lap, and the few I have talked to, wre clueless there was anything out there to worry about. YIKES!

Warm and WORRIED Regards,

- Hunters Full Moon Tonight
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 15:16:10 EDT
In all the excitement over Ominous Omar Omen...  I failed to mention this is the Hunter's Full Moon tonight

The Hunter's Moon (also known as Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon) is the first full moon after the harvest moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox.  The evening light is supposed to be good for the hunters and not so good for the hunted.

Since there isn't much to hunt on Tortola (except criminals) and guns arent' allowed (except for criminals) then most would-be hunters,  will be out at either end of the island at the Fool Moon parties, hunting down dates and mischief!




- Ominous Omar keeping us on our toes!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 14:45:12 EDT
Reconnaissance aircraft sent to investigate Tropical Storm Omar, so it may be 5pm, before we know anything further. Currently winds are estimated at 50mph and he is creeping along at 2mph, not good because that gives him time to pack a punch and strengthen before possbily hitting us in the BVI. Currently he is headed southeast, but expected to turn east, then northeast, which puts him on target for the BVI. YIKES!
The last lefty I recall bothering us was Lefty Lenny in November 1999 with 100mph gusts.
Ominous Omar...  what will you do next?
Tropical Depression 16 has formed near Honduras, headed west north-west and not a threat to us in the BVI at this time.
The construction workers below me were going full tilt boogie until they heard the 2pm weather and Ominous Omar, they've decided to go make storm preparations and all construction has been abandoned. Oh how I LOVE that peace and quiet!
I took this picture Sunday from Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island, BVI during a rain squall in the background. If you look very carefully, you can just barely make out the outline of Tortola in the background.


  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 11:24:31 EDT
Better take OMAR seriously!  This proposed track shows him headed for us in the BVI!

- Tropical Storm Omar is now named, no more innocent 15
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 11:15:03 EDT
Tropical Storm Omar is coming from the left, most unusual, haven't seen that since Lefty Lenny.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the BVI, Puerto Rico and the USVI. So, it's high time to get READY this thing could pounce on us quite suddenly with torrential rains, high seas and blustery winds of 40mph.
TS Omar is believed to be Latitude 14 north and Longitude 69 west.
Using Gert's StormCarib.com "How Close Is It?" and we could be feeling the storm TONIGHT AT 9pm!

Results for Tortola (18.45N, 64.53W):
The eye of the storm is about 426 miles (686 km) away. If the system keeps moving at its current speed of 2 mph and directly towards you, it will take around 213.2 hours (Thursday, October 23 at 8:12AM AST) to reach you. Given the current windfield (70 miles from the center), tropical storm winds will be felt in 178.2 hours (Tuesday, 9:12PM AST).

IF you are in the BVI, I would take some time off work TODAY and get ready for a storm!  40mph winds aren't life threatening by any means, but if this thing builds up any stronger, we could be in for a BIG SURPRISE!
Get your rum, candles, rum, canned foods, rum,  water, rum, batteries etc. in order TODAY. Better SAFE than sorry!

- Meet Me On Dock Three!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 09:17:37 EDT

It was gloomy all day Monday, but in the night we had some rains and a bit of a tiny storm. Still overcast today with no winds. It was a tad chilly, I had to find my fuzzy slippers to keep my tootsies warm.  For the first time in a long time, the afghan was put to good use keeping me and kitties warm and dry.

The BVI is under a tropical storm watch as TD 15 meanders around, threatening to come closer to us.
The final advisory has been issued on TD Nana, so no more worries from Granny.  We hope. Ha! 
Locally, we have a prisoner who cut a hole in the prison fence and is running loose plus two more murders. Our 2nd double murder in 3 months, and just 3 days since the last murder! Gosh, it doesn't pay to keep bad company. We are in a bit of shock, 8 murders for the year, that is ALOT for us. Used to be we would get one murder every 10 years or so. The powers to be are holding press conferences and making all sorts of promises. All 8 murders are unsolved and our Governor says "No Need To Panic!" (see the article)
What planet is he living on?
In 2007 we had six murders of which 3 were amazingly solved.
I've had a long talk with my kitties who are notorious for staying out late at night and told them, to stay away from bad company, stay away from bad drugs and stay away from  late night clubs.  Just stick close to home with familiar faces cause I can't imagine the grief these families are going through losing loved ones to unsolved murders.
Guns are illegal to own in the BVI but apparently that doesn't deter their ownership and use. Rumors abound about gangs and drug wars, I just hope they aren't true. We must work hard to bring back our peace in paradise. To simply say our crime rate is far lower than everywhere else, just isn't good enough.
Salt Island, BVI


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We have waited years to see this!  Technology has arrived!
Hello?  Are you my insurance agent?  Great! 
The Name of the Boat is "Temporary Insanity II" which gives one to ponder, what in heck happened to "Temporary Insanity I"???

By Dear Miss Mermaid

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:00:08 EDT
The public advisory issued at `11am says TD15 has 35mph winds, but where I am in the BVI (teeny tiny red dot east of Puerto Rico) we had ZERO winds. Bands of heavy rains are predicted for the islands today, but so far we've just had a sprinkle, like the heavens merely sneezed on us.

- It's a Grandma Storm!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 07:41:56 EDT
Tropical Storm Nana has been named but as of 5am remains disorganized and in the mid Atlantic Ocean, far away from the BVI.  
Nana is an endearing term many folks use for their grandmother or family matriarch.  It's sad that the powers to be chose NANA as the 14th storm name. 
Today it's pretty gloomy so far, but its only 730am.  Yesterday started off really stormy but clear up in time for us to go  boating. I am drop dead tired, and going back to la-la land with the kitties.

- 6.1 Earthquake
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2008 08:18:38 EDT
DATE: October 11, 2008
LOCAL TIME: 06 H 40 M 11 S
GMT DATE: 20081011
GMT TIME: 10 H 40 M 11 S
LATITUDE: 19.282 N
LOCATION: 137 km al NE of Fajardo, Puerto Rico
DEPTH: 26 km
MAXIMUM INTENSITY: VI in Las Piedras, PR, Modified Mercalli Scale (MM)
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) received reports that this strong earthquake was reported as felt throughout Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands. The maximum intensity reported was VI (Las Piedras, PR) in the Modified Mercalli Scale (MM). At the moment of generating this bulletin damage has been reported, an minor damage can be expected considering the size and location of the earthquake.

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2008 06:50:37 EDT
640am and I am chased out of my bed to the outdoors. An earthquake was shaking my 2 story duplex with a deep menacing grumble.  It rumbled for what seemed like a long time but was probably just 30-45 seconds. It sure sent my heart racing, as I struggled to get the cantankerous lock of the front door open. I didn't want to be found at the bottom of a pile of concrete rubble. I was amazed to stand there and watch the entire structure rattle.
If you felt this earthquake in the Caribbean, report it here:
I am going to go file my report now, though my heart is still racing, I think adrenalin surged through my body, fight or flight!

- Nana being conceived?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2008 04:33:15 EDT
We have a tropical wave almost on top of us and a tropical depression forming midway in the Atlantic, which could be Nana in the makings...
Today the south shore was flat calm and nearly windless, yet I drove over to the north shore and the surf was up, the winds were brisk and the surfers were having a blast!
I have pirated MaxWeather's forecast:
Caribbean Sea:  
The Leeward and Windward Islands can expect explosive convection resulting in strong winds, heavy rains and severe isolated storms.   Conditions are such that rapid intensification can occur seemingly out of nowhere?   Please take nothing for granted.   Opposing winds, surface vs aloft are colliding over the Lessor Antilles. grrr
As if that is not bad enough, here comes the rest of the train,
The NHC has finally put their finger on the tropical wave in mid-Atlantic ITCZ as Invest 97.

- Forgot some purdy pics for your eye candy!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 11:02:52 EDT
Maya Cove, Tortola, BVI
The bigger picture...

- Windless Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 10:57:47 EDT
Who t'ief out wind?  Every morning I see flat sea lately. Wha' happenin' here?  I dunno...
84 degrees with partly cloudy skies today. Notihng much on the horizon to worry about...yet...
However, a large area of disturbed weather is  located midway between Africa and the Leeward Islands. Well, that gives us something to look forwards to!
Someone recently suggested I write a gossip column for the islands in the newspaper. I said "WHAT???  You want me to get killed???  Besides, I am the last to know good gossip, so what good would old gossip do anyhow and since one of the main past times of islanders, is spreading gossip, why would anyone need an article detailing old gossip???  No thanks. 
I must admit, I once lived close to someone who generously handed out copious amounts of daily island gossip, which over time appeared to be about 1/3 true, so not very good odds there. Then there are folks who say if you hear the same gossip 3 times in one day, then it's true, or if you hear the same gossip in east as in west in same day, then it's true. (Usually, only time will really tell if it's really and truly true.)
Of course in my opinion, we already have gossip mongers in print. I pointed out that every year the newspapers print this glowing article that the BVI Electricity woes are finally over. Ha!  They aren't. They should tell us the truth, that our electricity woes are likely to never be over, there is just something here that has never clicked right ever since they installed electricity to start with.
If I had my dreams come true, every building in the islands would sport solar panels on their sunny roofs and that these would be allowed to feed back into the system with the customer getting a rebate on their electricity bill. This is done in many parts of the world. So if you have solar panels up and aren't using all you are putting out, then it feeds back into the system and your neighbors can draw upon it.  Meters measure electricity coming from you building as well as going to it.
This I believe would substantially reduce the pollution in the BVI as the electricity corporation wouldn't have to work so hard to provide electricity once we have all these solar panels in place.
Ha ha ha!  Tee hee hee. Who is going to listen to a little ol' Mermaid preaching about the silent wonders of modern solar electricity?  Basically the government would have to make zero investment initially, just perhaps make all solar panels completely duty free to give us all a chance to afford them. We have frightful duty on imports here, it's the reason many stores are too scared to fully stock their stores, the duty has to be paid at the time of import, forcing local businesses to be cash starved before they've even had a chance to unpack and sell their wares.
Visit St Martin, which has NO duty, and you see the stores are just overflowing with merchandise, making them more competitive and also encouraging locals to keep their money home rather than dashing off island to shop elsewhere. Last time I went to St Martin, I packed only a teeny amount of stuff, showing up with a near empty suitcase, because I planned to shop for clothes and toiletries. I wasn't disappointed either and I found many bargains, things at reduced cost, a rarity in the BVI. 
Life ain't perfect, but I do love the BVI for it's beauty, laid back lifestyle, and popularity of watersports including boating.  I meet folks from all over the world who have managed to garner a spouse or work permit or business or both here, making it an interesting international crossroads. The fashion statement here is very interesting as folks develop their own sense of style, often disdaining what's hot on the designer's runway.
The one style I am not fond of, is grown men dressing like toddlers, waiting to "grow into" their clothes. Many smart mothers will outfit their toddlers and kids in bigger clothes, (unless they have ready access to hand-me-downs), so the kids get double milage, as then he/she has room to grow into his clothes.  Growing up, our father insisted our mother buy our shoes with an extra "thumb's width" in the toe, so we flapped around in our new shoes, waiting to grow into them...  Our father thought, this way, it cut our shoe costs in half.
Luckily (for him and me) I grew up in the southern US, where at that time in life, kids kicked off their shoes after school let out for the summer and didn't bother to put any back on, until school started, other than occasionally donning a cheap pair of rubber flip-plops. (And you better NOT lose your only pair of those!)  So I grew up with toughened feet and ran all over beaches, sand dunes, mountains, streams and rivers barefoot.
I once astonished a Captain I was working with, because we arrived at Bitter End to go hiking and I had forgotten my shoes. Everyone else was wearing very expensive athletic shoes and socks for the hike. I shrugged my shoulders and said I would just hike barefoot and I did without any trouble much to everyone's surprise. Sadly, since injuring both my feet and legs (should have just stuck to the mermaid tail!!!)  I am now a tad tender footed, and end up wearing sandals (slippers, as they are locally referred to) rather than run wild barefoot, as much as I used to. My French friend could never grasp the word "barefoot" in her memory and always referred to it as going "foot nude".
Some men here wear these ridiculously oversized pants that perch precariously around their crotch, are cut super wide, as if at any moment their legs may sprout 4 times their width, with hem lines for shorts falling somewhere between their knees and ankles. They often top this with a shirt they could easily stash their oversized twin in and still have room to spare, and to me, the overall look resembles a giant toddler, waiting to grow into his clothes!    Tee hee hee. (And some of these men act like giant toddlers too, helpless at every turn it seems...
I read a great blog article today:
I can certainly identify with the author who wrote " I guess I have taken off my tourism hat here, but I think we could do so much more for our tourism if we only PICKED up the garbage."
AMEN TO THAT!  Pick up some garbage, even if it ain't yours!  A little here and there and we could really make our islands spotless.

Warm and Sunny Regards,

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- Can you take a hurricane named TEDDY seriously???
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 11:57:53 EDT
 Da current done mash up again!     ONLY 5th time this week.
Life in paradise.
No winds, flat seas, 85 degrees, and without my electric wind, it does feel hot. Might as well go to the beach.  To heck with work. Let the credit cards ride.  I need electricity to run my office and make money.
My generator  broke and I was robbed by a lying, cheating, stealing, thieving,  mechanic.  So now I am double  F%$%*&!!!   Grrrrrrrrr!
Every year the newspapers in the BVI say we have seen the last of our outages, that everything be fixed and everything gonna be all right and guess what. They lied!
For those of you asking about my book, well that's another embaressing MESS. The final proof was supposed to come back with all my final changes. Well, they keep sending me the final proof without the final changes and we go round and round with the apologies and we're sorry's, and it was overlooked and on and on and on. And yet THEY have had 24/7 power since hurricane Hugo in 1989 as they are located in the US. I know because I asked them WHEN was their last power outage?  Thinking maybe they have it go out five times a week like me, and I am forever telling clients, I am sorry, I had no power for 10 hours yesterday...
Well, on a FUN note, friends and I are going back out with Captain Roy on Maxsea this weekend. If you and your friends or family are looking for something fun to do in the BVI, go out on Captain Roy's boat for the day. He does snorkel trips, fishing trips, island hopping trips, Anegada trips, whatever you want with a maximum of 6 guests, and the price is right. I NEED a vacation, even if I have to take it one day at a time.....  See Captain Roy's fun slideshow of underwater critters at his website.
FLOATED up on the beach today while I was washing my tail...
Dear Miss Mermaid,
        I come to the islands every year for two months (I'm spoiled rotten and I know it *sheepish grin*). I was sad to read in a post long ago that fat hog bob's has closed. I loved to go there and look out across the lagoon. I remember one time I was there we saw a baby white tip swimming in. I hadn't the stomach for the hot dog I was trying to eat, and when we threw the hot dog in next to him for him to eat, he ran away (tail between his legs if he could). (But to the topic I ACTUALLY e-mailed about) I was reading your post today (Oct 8th) when I realized how silly some of the names are for up-and-coming hurricanes. Personally I have only been through one in the islands (bertha) and I have to say, I can't exactly fear a hurricane called "Teddy" it sounds too cuddly and fluffy to be taken too seriously (perhaps I should hide my bunny slippers?).
Just wanted to send some funny thoughts and stories
Spoiled rotten
(P.S. My mom and I LOVE reading your posts everyday and we love your stories, thank you for sharing them)
Dear S.R.
    Thanks for writing!
    I too miss Fat Hog Bob's, though why you or anyone would order a hot dog there (or anywhere!) is beyond me, however, otherwise, their food was wonderful, as I was particularly smitten with their BBQ sandwiches at lunch time that were heaven on earth.
    Sure, I've been known to eat hotdogs, but never at a restaurant, it seems to me, something you whip up at home when you're too tired to make anything else. However, on the hotdog subject, the south (in the US) makes the absolutely best hotdogs, as they come with real meat chili (no beans) and finely chopped onions on steamed buns. If you ordered a hotdog without chili, they would likely toss you out of the restaurant. When I started traveling, I was SHOCKED that everywhere else in the world, you get a weenie and a bun and they call that a hotdog, hence why I never order a hotdog at restaurant. Or even worse, I've had hotdogs with bean chili, and nope, it's just not the same as the good ole southern hotdogs with the real meat chili and onions on top.
    Enough of that, if Fat Hog Bobs is closing, who will be next?  Kinda scary!
    Now about those hurricane names...  You made me LAUGH!!!
    I agree, how do you take a hurricane named TEDDY seriously or Nana or Sally...  At least with Bertha we had some fun (Big Bad Bertha...) 
    Hurricanes and himmacanes should be named something ferocious like     
    Wasted and so on!
Let's call it what it is! 

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- Paradise
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2008 12:38:35 EDT
Tropical Storm Marco is a has-been, tossed away like a jilted lover, never to be seen again.  
The rest of the unused storm names for 2008 are:
86 degrees today in the BVI, with sunshine and clouds, a glorious day!  We might get some scattered showers later today. Winds are nearly dead.   A few tropical waves are headed our way.
I am still pondering over why my crystal ball says we are safe until December. That's an odd time for a storm!  I guess we just have to wait until then and see...
Since 1851, 10 tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic basin in December.
Of those 10 named tropical storms, five became hurricanes.
The 2nd storm of the 1925 season, (names weren't used then), formed on November 29  off the coast of Honduras and moved northward. It hit near Venice, Florida on December 1 as a weak hurricane or strong tropical storm. It moved over Florida, strengthened over the Gulf Stream to 100mph winds, grazed the Outer Banks on December 2, and moved out to sea and dissipated. 55 people reported missing from ship sinkings were likely killed, and $1 million in damage is estimated for this storm
Hurricane Alice, which formed on Dec. 30, 1954, didn't dissipate until Jan. 6, 1955.
In the 1984 season, we had Hurricane Lili, which lasted well after the official end of the season, reaching peak winds of 80mph. It was downgraded from a named storm on December 24, 1984.
In 1988, hurricane Nicole,  a Category 1, formed in the tropics in late November but was still raging when December came around.
Hurricane Epsilon formed as a tropical storm on November 29, 2005 in a hostile environment in the middle of the Atlantic. It reached hurricane strength on December 2, 2005 and defied forecasting by persisting for over a week before dissipating.

Found in a Bottle on the Shore Today:
Hi Miss Mermaid
I read your tales with much interest & look forward to your stories of daily life on the islands.
I myself live in England along with my husband who originates from Antigua where my mother-in-law still lives.
I'm just wondering if you have any advise on getting rid of the dreaded cockroaches, on our last visit in March of this year we found the kitchen to be alive with them & as much as we tried to eradicate them when we snook in there at night & switched the light on we would see the darn things scattering around to hide in dark corners.
Not wanting to upset my poorly sighted mother-in-law (who already thinks I am too 'fussy' and obsessed with cleaning) we didn't make a big issue of it by calling in the experts, especially as she wasn't aware that she was even sharing her home with them, we are however going back in November & the thought of meeting up with those roaches is stressing me out.
HELP.... can we sort this ourselves or are the experts needed?
Kindest regards from chilly England
 Miss MG
Dear MG,
    I can imagine your frustration!  My cats and the odd lizard they allow to live inside, seem to keep me mostly bug free.   I say mostly because I prop my doors open everyday and don't have screen doors. So once in awhile a bug might wander in, only to be pursued by the lizard or the cat and killed or ate or both, sometimes ate alive.
    However, I used to store my boat in boat yards and they are notorious for bug infestations, so we used bug bombs or foggers before storing the boat and this worked wonders.  I once moved into an apartment with a bug infestation and also used a bug fogger to rid myself of them. I politely mentioned it to the neighbors,  as I figured my bugs might simply move from my apartment to theirs! 
    Sounds like you need to (1) obtain a bug bomb or fogger for every room in the house (2) find a way to get granny out of the house for a full day!
    By the way bug bombs are sold in aerosol cans, and meant to be "set off" to discharge all their contents at once.  YOU MUST MAKE SURE you have gas/propane turned off and that NO pilot lights are lit at the stove or anywhere. Otherwise this highly flammable stuff will go off like a BOMB and scare you into changing your undies right away.
    For best results, empty house of all humans and pets for the day. Close up all windows and doors. Set off a bug bomb in every room of the house and RUN like hell for the outdoors and slam the door shut!  Do not return for 8-24 hours or more.
    When you do return, be prepared to sweep or vacuum lots of little dead bodies.
    Also, search granny's house for corrugated cardboard boxes. Bug eggs like to hide in corrugated cardboard and they also like to eat the glue. Some will eat the glue on hard bound books and make a mess of things. Most folks in the Caribbean, know to get corrugated cardboard boxes OUT of their boats and homes as soon as possible.  It always irritates me that you have to keep the original packaging of stuff to return it to the store if it is defective. I think they want the original packaging so they can resell it!
    Anyhow, I sometimes keep a box for 30 days, on new equipment,  then it hits the dumps.  When I buy in bulk to save the money, the first thing I try to do, is empty any corrugated boxes and get them down to the dump rapidly before the bug eggs hatch. By the way most bug eggs look like DIRT and are often impervious to bombs and foggers. So a well infested place may need 2-3 treatments, spread over several months, to kill all the newborn bug babies a month or so later.
    Many Caribbean folks don't care for vacuum cleaners, but a HEPA Filter vacuum cleaner will often snag all the bug eggs, (and mold spores too!) then when you empty out the vacuum cleaner make sure the garbage goes straight to the dump.
   Well, that's the best I can give you  for "do it yourself" bug riddance. Otherwise, call in the pros, to come by every month for 3 months.  Let me know what happens in November!  Ya got me real curious now.
Willy T's Virgin Cup Race October 11
Friday 10-Oct

  • Sunday 19-Oct
    Local BVI Band to Perform at 2008 Annapolis Boat Show
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    Local songstress Shereen Flax-Charles and BVI Band ‘Profile’ will be performing at this year’s Annapolis Sail Boat Show, slated to be held October 9-13th in ...
    Earthrace Eco-Boat Prepares to Make a Stop in the BVI
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    This Friday when it arrives in Road Town, the BVI will have its opportunity to find out what Earthrace really is. Earthrace, valued at 3 million is a 24m ...
    Update from the BVICCHA on airlift situation into BVI
    By nospam at example.com (Kerry Hucul)
    As you are aware, various efforts have been made to secure lost airlift to the Territory from San Juan. As a result of those negotiations, additional flights have been added while others await confirmation as follows: I. AMERICAN EAGLE ...
    Path to Paradise!

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

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    - Bye Fat Hog Bob
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2008 12:01:31 EDT
     87 F degrees, the Sir Francis Drake Channel running down the south side of Tortola and bordered by Virgin Gorda, Ginger Cooper, Salt, Peter and Norman is flat calm. On a motor boat, you could go any where today and arrive quite dry with some fuel savings.
    We have hit the ominous 13, now named tropical storm Marco who is menacing Mexico but no threat to us, unless of course,  our islands drag anchor and we all end up over there. 
    There is a tropical wave in the mid Atlantic, but I don't think he's going to do much. Though, I am surprised at how warm the waters are for October. So anything could really happen, but my crystal ball just doesn't see it.
    Maya Cove with Buck Island in foreground, Tortola to the left with Virgin Gorda in the background, on the right, Ginger Island in the background.
    On a sad note, Fat Hog Bob's in Maya Cove has closed down.  I had many fine late lunches there, after fetching friends from the airport. Rumor is another local restaurateur is taking it over, sure I know a name, but hesitate to mention it here, since it may be still under negotiation.

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    - Schooner, Ketch, Yawl...come back here, ya hear?
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 10:09:37 EDT
    85 degrees, slight winds, mostly sunny bright skies flanked by pale blue skies and bold white clouds.  Another great day for the beach!  Nothing on the horizon of nothing bad headed out way. 
    My crystal ball says we are safe until December. December???
    My friend mentioned he had never been to Smugglers Cove Beach and got lost trying to find it recently!  I insisted we all go immediately, as he has lived here about 20 years and it would be a disgrace if that kind of rumor got started...
    I was happy to plunge into the warm waters and paddle about and try to do my  scissor stroke and wiggle my mermaid tail and generally have some great fun!  Salt water is so healing and afterwards I felt very well.
    Well enough for a nap! 
    Ah, life just can't get any better. The beach is free and it was a perfect day to be there. I took my camera, but was too lazy to take any pictures as it is not waterproof.
    Last night on the weather channel was an hour long special on the 1900 Hurricane that hit Galveston and their remarkable efforts to rebuild the island after such mass devastation.   They dug up some little known video footage of the aftermath. Thomas Edison's assistant showed up with the newfangled camera and seeing the Texas Rangers were acting edgy, he announced it was surveying equipment and was permitted to enter and subsequently film, the incredible tragedy. Only 3-4 cameras were in existence at that time. It is believed to be the oldest moving picture account of a historical moment.  You can download the clips here.  One is particularly fascinating, the launching of a schooner, stuck on shore, it's rather dramatic.
    Speaking of Schooners, Here's a pic of the William Thornton aka WillyT
    on a busy Sunday afternoon.
    What's the difference between a schooner, a ketch and a yawl?  A schooner has a taller aft mizzen mast than the foremast. (The pointy upright stick on the left  of the pic is towards the front of the boat and the aft mizzen is the taller one in back).
    A ketch  has a taller foremast than the aft mizzen mast. 
    A yawl is like a ketch except the mizzen mast is aft of the rudder post. (A rudder post being d'hat t'ing that steers the boat!)
    The circus came to town and we didn't even know it!  Lack of advertising is like winking in the dark:  you know what you are doing, but nobody else does!
    Seyranyan’s Family Circus Thrills BVIslanders
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    Speaking to BVI Platinum News, Lenia Smith representative of LCJS’ Enterprises whilst thanking the persons that came out to the show, expressed discontent ...
    As a small child, I remember my mother dashing off to town with me one day. We parked and walked to Main Street, which several blocks of it and other streets had been cordoned off. The circus arrived by train, and they had to move all the animals over to the auditorium area. It was easier to just ride and march the elephants than to load them up in rented trucks. Other cages of tamed wild animal acts, were on wheels that were pushed and pulled by circus help, many dressed exotically.   The elephants were even adorned with head dresses of sequins and anklets of glitter. I remember watching in awl, as these massive beasts obediently marched from the train station to the auditorium. They had a baby elephant with them, and she came up in the rear, holding onto her mommy elephant's tail with her trunk.


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    - Moldy Sunshine
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2008 09:19:47 EDT
    85 degrees, th eSir Francis Drake has tiny white caps and winds are slight, but the sun is out!
    MaxWeather sent me this weather post this morning:
    ITCZ and it is a nasty looking system slowly coming along a line to the South of 15 N at 50 W and moving West at about 10 mph like a freight train! Toot toot! grrr    Rumble rumble rumble. Oh, and by the way, this freight train is almost 1800 miles long! grrr
    Just so you don't get bored in the Lessor Antilles, there is plenty of convection between the bad boy and you to keep you on your toes until the train comes into the station. grrr   You just might need the practice?  This season is by no means over ...
    Dust, mold, mildew...  All those lovely rains that topped up our cisterns, turning our islands to a fairy-like emerald green oasis,  have also turned my chest of drawers into an ugly disgusting mess!
    A few weeks ago, I spent a small fortune on chemical dehumidifiers for my closet which wasn't smelling so sweetly, and that seemed to have fixed that problem.
    Now I opened up my chest of drawers to fetch some things, and to my horror, the clothes stink and the drawers are lined in greenish-blue fuzzy stinky moldy mildew. YUCK!  What's even worse, I was at the store and forgot to buy bleach. It will take a full day of washing all the clothes, scrubbing the drawers with bleach and drying the whole mess outdoors, using the natural disinfecting properties of the sunshine. UGH.  I have plenty on my plate these days, and this is one nightmare that almost brought me to tears.
    When things like this happen, I get in this less is best mentality and start seriously purging my belongings and sending things to the dump or the charity or welcoming friends. 
    Less stuff = less to worry about = more freedom.
    "Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose"
    Music Trivia:
    Lyric from "Me and Bobby McGee" is a song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller, but best remembered for Janis Joplin's cover of the song, recorded a few days before her death in October 1970 on her 1971 Pearl album. Joplin's version topped the charts to become her only number one single and only the second posthumous number one single in rock & roll history (the first was "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding).
    BlissMountain shares his creative side with us...

    Warm and Hiccuppy Regards,

    Today's Words of Wisdom:

    Person Who Drive Like Hell,
    Bound to Get There!

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    - Saturday
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2008 07:49:35 EDT
    84 degrees, sun is not quite out yet, but it's bright and willing, just some wayward clouds playing peek a boo.
    The kitties are all healthy again, relaxed and eating normally, more or less, which indicates that no foul weather is on the horizon. They were all seasick last week, and I never did determine the cause. One had to be spoon fed a formula of egg yoke, honey and milk as otherwise he wouldn't eat at all, just lay around looking half dead. But now they are all fine. At 4am, I awoke briefly to fetch some mango juice and they inquired about breakfast, which they gulped down and licked the bowl for good measure, then they ran outdoors to greet the early morning and look for unsuspecting prey.
    My first apartment came with a plethora of chickens and birds, so I was used to tossing stale crackers, old bread, leftover unpopped corn kernels from popcorn snacks and stuff like that in the yard.  It kept the chickens and birds happy and busy, cleaning up the treats. Out of habit I was doing that at my new place, and before I knew it, I had loads of visiting birds and chickens. I suppose, I've inadvertently provided more hunting opportunities for my crafty cats.
    Yesterday, I came home to find a pile of feathers in the dining room and nothing else. So somebody apparently felt well enough to have a fresh fowl picnic, in my absence.  Had they tried this while I was at home, I would have greeted them and their bounty at the cat door with a "Stop!  Do not pass go!  Make a U-turn on those wittle paws and take dat t'ing and go dine under the lime tree!"
    I have no idea if they had chicken or some other bird. This was all that remained when I arrived with a few more feathers scattered around under the table and chairs.
    Gee thanks, kitties, I needed more housework...
    I've decided if it weren't for my cats, I would have very little housework. In an ideal world, every cat would come with a vacuum cleaner and  their own maid. This would drive the adoption fees up, but would be well worth it.
    Shhhhh...we have bananas coming in again. Every day we check on them and pray the banana thief doesn't  beat us to them. Should I put up my new sign?  "Go pick your nose, NOT my fruit!"
    Read the latest newsletter and help us name our roads!
    Don't Mess with Me Rum, Me Son...
    US territories defend bailout package's rum bill
    The Associated Press
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A tax break for rum produced in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands may trigger a hangover for proponents of Congress' huge ...
    Artisanal Rum in Tortola, BVI
    Also produced are 'wines', made from exotic local fruits: soursop, golden apple and banana. The Callwood Distillery is found in the Cane Garden Bay area on the island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands.
    Fatal wounding of man confirmed
    SKNVibes.com - Basseterre,St. Kitts and Nevis
    By Melissa Bryant TORTOLA, BVI – LOCAL police have confirmed that Archie Todman aka ‘Basha’ died earlier today (Oct. 2) as a result of a stab wound to the ...
    Fashion guru Terry Donovan named as Production Director for the ...
    By vifashionweek
    Terry Donovan, a native of Tortola, British Virgin Islands and currently resides in New York City, is known for the gala events he produced in the British Virgin Islands, including the Miss World British Virgin Islands Pageant. Mr. ...
    Virgin Atlantic celebrates a decade flying to the Caribbean
    Travel Counsellors - Bolton,England,UK
    Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, commented: "Since we started flying to the Caribbean in 1998, we have carried over four million British ...
    Boating Safety and Accident News
    By Ike(Ike)
    Activities in Observance of Boating Safety Week 2008 Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands Boating Safety Week will be observed in the Territory from October 12 – 18. The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry has organised a ...
    Celebrity Solstice leaves shipyard
    TravelMole - London,England,UK
    ... a series of alternating seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises calling at San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and Tortola during the autumn and winter. ...
    Stellar Lineup at BVI Performing Arts Series
    By Gail Hartman
    From stylish New York jazz saxophonist, Steve Wilson, to young and hip classical artists, the Ahn Trio, the BVI’s HLSCC has been bringing top-drawer jazz and classical artists to the College for the past 14 years. The BVI may be a small ...
    Warm and Sunny Regards,

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    Dear Miss Mermaid's next book; HURRICANES & HANGOVERS
    and other tall tales and loose lies from the coconut telegraph
    is available to buy.

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    - Windless, waveless, rainless...but lots of beach bottles found!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 3 Oct 2008 08:27:14 EDT
    Windless, waveless, rainless, 83 f degrees on Tortola in the BVI.  Nothing on the horizon yet to bother us much. Whew!
    Shake, Rattle, Roll...
    EQ 3.6 Settlement, Anegada, British Virgin Islands - PRELIMINARY ...
    An earthquake with magnitude 3.6 occurred near Settlement, Anegada, British Virgin Islands at 06:30:45.70 UTC on Oct 2, 2008. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
    BVI Cycling Federation
    By Webmaster(Webmaster)
    For those of you that do not know, cycling is very big in the Caribbean and there is a very active cycling group in the British Virgin Islands. On Sunday, October 5th, the BVI Cycling Federation will host the Jason Bally Memorial 100k, ...
    Ah, the life of a sailor in paradise with Ginger Island in the background.
    Rolled up on the seashore in a French Wine Bottle:
    Simply that I thought your post on mozzies and dengue fever were excellent!  Had an attack of dengue shortly after I married the mother of my children..........was up-country in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and a friend told me to get into bed with my new wife and stay there until I'd sweated out the fever.............it took all of three days!   'Luv  Frenchie
    Ha ha Frenchie!  That is one way to sweat out a fever...
    Found in a Florida Milk Carton on the seashore:
    RE: Mystery Pesky Tree
    I am fast running out of bottles! That tree in Florida does not look like the one in your photos which are exactly what I have in my garden, the pesky trees in Anguilla do not have shiny leaves and would bleed white milk if you tried to write on them, the sea grape leaves are the best for letter writing and you can even curl them up and put them in a bottle, if you have one that is! I am back in Anguilla in November and as I belong to the Keep Anguilla Beautiful Society (or some such name) I will ask one of the esteemed botanical ladies (who know everything) what it is called if you still haven't found out. JH
    The Beach was just littered with Messages in a Bottle today!
    Dear MM,      
    Great reading your messages each day. Again this year you kept KYLE too long then cast him adrift making him mad and taking it out on us  in the NE. Contrary to your recent report I think LAURA is headed for England arriving Sunday next...  Hope the financial crisis doesn't adversley effect the Islands. I will be in St.Lucia again in December but your pix etc. make me homesick for the BVI. If your not going to be kind to the himmicanes in the future don't send them up here. We seem to be generating our own (Laura)...JOHN  

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    Men's Beachwear

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    - Pesky Mosquitos
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2008 11:21:56 EDT
    85 degrees with only slight winds and glistening seas. Nothing on the horizon to bother us yet.   Bright and sunny, just a typically lovely day in paradise on Tortola in the beautiful BVI.
    Washed up in a Rum Bottle on Shore from B.K.
    More on the mystery tree, as pictured in past posts below:
    You can even autograph the leaves, amazing!
    Thanks BK!!!
    Found In Another Rum Bottle with  a few Mosquitos inside
    Hello.. Hope all is well..
    Looking forward to reading your book !
    I have a question..... I have a cistern for my water supply. I was wondering if you ever have any problems with mosquito's getting into
    your cisterns ? 
    The area around our house is swarming with mosquito's.. our house sits
    on top of a hill and without any natural water supplies.. It has been as dry as a dessert in our area this summer... but we still have thousands of mosquitos...  I can see them flying when I open my cistern to check the level of water.
    I love to sit outside on our porch area.. but it's miserable.  I have heard that having a Thai Lemon Grass plant in your yard  helps.. any suggestions ? And do you have them in your cisterns too.. ?
    Take care..
    Signed, Mosquito Bitten
    Dear MB:
    YIKES! First of all, you should not have mosquitos breeding in your cistern. Yuck!  You need to run out shopping for some fine mesh screens or mosquito netting similar to what you use on your windows (or bed) to keep mosquitos out.  Locate  all your overflow outlets from the cistern, and cover these in screens or flap valves that only open when the water pushes them open. If using screens or mesh, you may have to buy some jumbo hose clamps  or plastic wire ties to hold the screens on over the outflow pipes.
    Next, you have to go up on the roof, and put screens on the inflow pipes or downspout filters.   You may need a sturdier screen that you can cut much larger than the hole, and mold like a cup with lips, to place over the downspouts. It helps if you already have gutter mesh or screen to keep the leaves and debris out of the gutters (some roof rain catchment systems don't use gutters, they often have a sloped roof with a wall around it and  downspouts at the low ends.)
    Stock your cistern with tiny male fish guppies, usually 2 will do the trick, as they will happily eat the mosquito larvae. Do not mix male and female guppies together or else you will have a fish tank instead of a cistern. I know in the BVI you can get these from the Agriculture and Fisheries department.
    ANY standing water can breed mosquitos in short order. Water left in plant saucers, water in old tires laying around, water in ANYTHING laying around, even just a tiny bit of water. So check your property for junk that may be harboring standing water. If possible, just get rid of the junk.  Moving water doesn't breed mosquitos, and neither does salt water.  Pools utilize pumps to keep the water flowing and prevent mosquitos. Salt water ponds do not breed mosquitos.
    Finally wearing loose light colored clothes that cover lots of skin will prevent bites as well as does of OFF and other products. Matter of fact, I put together a product listing of  "Alternative Mosquito Repellants" .
    Citronella candles will keep mosquitos away from the immediate area. I buy these by the dozen and use them for dining al fresco. So sit outside and burn a few candles. Alternatively buy a mosquito net and drape the sitting area of your porch. But mostly you just want rid of the mosquitos to start with. Also see books on mosquito control.
    Well, I hope all this helps and if any gentle readers have more bright ideas to get rid of these deadly pests, let me know. I say deadly, because of the types of dengue fever. I had the dreaded hemorrhagic dengue fever a few years after having dengue fever, and was lucky to live through it, though it wasn't pretty.
    I was living alone on my boat, we had gone through 2 hurricanes a few days apart.  I had money in the bank, but the banks and machines were shut down and I was penniless. I had credit cards, but since the banks were closed up, no one would accept credit cards or checks. My boat had run out of food, and I reluctantly stood in line at the Red Cross. I was feverish and covered in red bumps and a rash. A Red Cross worker, pulled me out of line to have a seat and she asked me if I felt well and I told her no. She gave me a box of food and a voucher to go see my doctor and another voucher for the drug store.
    I managed to stagger to the doctor.  The waiting room was crowded but inexplicably, his wife/nurse took me ahead of the other patients and put me in an exam room, where I promptly fell asleep from the exhausting walk, which was only maybe 100 yards from the Red Cross, but it felt like a 20 mile march to me.  My body was covered in pinpoint spots of blood on the skin, which I found out later, is why the nurse rushed me out of the waiting room. All they could do was treat the symptoms and send me home again with promises I would consume copious amounts of water.
    The Doc wrote out a stack of prescriptions that might ease up on the symptoms. He took my Red Cross voucher as payment and so did the drug store. I was trying to stumble down the street with my box of food and meds, when I ran into  a retired friend who had come over by ferry, from another island.
    He grabbed my box and went out to my boat with me, where I promptly fell asleep. When I awoke, he had settled himself in and declared he wouldn't leave until I got well again.  We played endless card games in between my frequent naps and showers to cool the fevers. He tried to make all sorts of tasty things, from the Red Cross box, of which I seemed to have little appetite for, although I remember the canned grape juice and the canned beets being my favorite treats.  Meanwhile, another nurse, who lived on a boat, stopped by daily on her way to and from work, to check on my prognosis and bring me water, juice and treats. I remember I had a strong craving for yogurt and the island had NONE at the time, as I was in St John and after the 2 hurricanes, power was spotty and store selections grim. I still had no cash to pay her, but promised to make it up when the banks reopened.
    As you've seen, every hurricane I solicit donations for the Red Cross. They save lives. They saved my life. The Red Cross vouchers were promises of money to my doc and druggist, who were able to collect their fees and thus stay in business treating the needy. The box of food came from massive bulk purchases Red Cross made from existing merchants, supplemented by canned goods shipped in and paid for by Red Cross.
    Red Cross Volunteers, spent their days opening up cases of foods and sorting them into boxes, so that my box (like others) ended up with a wide variety of liquids, canned vegetables, fruits and meats.
    I owe my doc, the nurses, my friends and the Red Cross for saving my life. My friends kept me restocked in water and juices, and just having them around, kept me from being terrified. My friend read his way through my library, and fetched water and food when the box ran out. I remember I had wild dreams, a terrible fever, a constant rash, numerous aches  and was often confused. 
    We heard the Tortola banks were operating, so after I got well, we set sail for Tortola, where my visiting friend lived,  and I remember how weak I was, pulling in a sheet (rope) on the mainsail  or jib, felt like my arm would tear right off. After a few more weeks, my strength came back. Dengue fever is a serious disease and one you don't want.
    I must have nine lives like my cats.
    Now THIS is something we've needed for a loooooooooooong time, let's hope they keep their promises!
    Relief in the Works for Lengthy Work Permit Process
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    Persons interested in working in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and persons seeking renewals of their work permits will soon not have to go through the ...
    BVI concludes discussions with LIAT over additional flights
    Caribbean Net News - Georgetown,Cayman Islands
    ROAD TOWN, BVI: The British Virgin Islands government has concluded discussions with LIAT to provide three daily flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico, ...
    Digicel BVI dismantles towers as network roll out resumes
    Caribbean Net News - Georgetown,Cayman Islands
    ROAD TOWN, BVI: Digicel BVI Ltd on Tuesday began the process of relocating the first of several cellular sites in the British Virgin Islands in areas of ...


    Warm and Sunny Regards,

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    - 84.2 F Degrees
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 09:00:20 EDT
    Tropical Storm Laura is headed for Canada. We have a tropical wave going south of us and very slight winds here as a result of same. Laura is sending swells to Tortola, so today should be a good one for surfing!
    View through the porthole;
    Cooper Island Beach Club
    British Virgin Islands

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    - More Sunshine!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:52:41 EDT
    82f degrees on Tortola at 615am, slight to no winds, but that could change, sunshine with pink and blue clouds, an odd combination I think from the way the sunrise is hitting the clouds and making it quite colorful.
    Sunday we went out with Captain Roy on M/V Maxsea.  It was a fun day to be at sea, and to sneak away to some other islands. If you love to snorkel and want to find the out of the way places to go, then CaptainRoyBVI.com is the place for you to sign up for an unforgettable  day trip of snorkeling.
    Alternatively, if you want to fish, then go with Roy, you won't be disappointed when he shows you how to catch a boat load of fish, enough for your dinner with plenty leftover.
    Recently Captain Roy returned from a fishing trip and set up his scales on the back of his truck in East End, and soon he was swarmed by eager shoppers, anxious to pick out their fresh fish for family dinners.
    Sunday, we were too lazy to fish, preferring to spend some time island hopping.  We lunched at the William Thornton floating bar and restaurant as well as had libations and dessert at Cooper Island Beach Club.
    I look my old self now, with my boating tan back in order. A day at sea, made me homesick for my old boat!
    M/V Maxsea on the left, Tortola in the background
    Timeshare Holders Consider Lawsuit against BVI Government
    By Mike
    The Prospect Reef Vacation Club (PRVC) is going to file a lawsuit against the British Virgin Islands government in the US Federal Court, for an estimated sum of US$4-8 mln. The international group is alleging that the BVI government ...
    BVI Offshore Business: Grey Area - http://bvi-grey-area.offshore-journals.com/

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    - Monday
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 10:58:25 EDT
    Sub Tropical Storm Laura has formed in the mid north Atlantic, due east of all that hot air in Washington DC. She poses no threat to that area though.   Kyle, after pounding Nova Scotia, Saturday, is no longer a tropical storm, so he is more or less dead. Bye Kyle!
    I just wrote a lengthy email for today and guess what, I somehow hit the wrong button and managed to highlight everything, type over it and LOSE the entire email. Talk about disaster. *SIGH*
    85 degrees here on Tortola. Seas on the south shore are slightly choppy, nothing heavy at all. Sun is out and we have big puffy clouds wallowing around.
    Swells are increasing on the North shore and today through Thursday should be good for surfing, with Tuesday and Wednesday, as the best days.

    Dear Miss Mermaid


    Google will help you out if you type in Calotropis procera

    Around the islands known as French Cotton, Monkey apple, Cow heel, Milk bush, Giant Milkweed, Bois petard_firework tree


    Toxic for the heart says my book! “Plantes medicinales from Exbrayat”

    The pods can certainly make you jump when they pop open noisily around midday.

    External use

    Crushed roots and leaves can be used as a poultice on painful inflammations.

    Latex, the milk, can be used undiluted, on warts and corns.

    Other use

    The silky tufts of the fruits were once used to fill pillows.

    In Africa the latex is used in the making of cheese as it contains an enzyme that curdles milk.


    Thanks for all the pleasant and informative reports in all the years gone by ;)

    Hope this information helps.


    Greetings Corrien


    Thank you Corrien for all your help!
    Dear Miss Mermaid
    *Scroll down to last 2 days postings to see pictures of this plant.
    The Flying Cloud has run into MORE trouble, as our future BVI reef. Read the article and see if you can help.
    BVISO- Windjammer Flying Cloud
    By admin at saildivebvi.com ( BVI Captains Log Blog)
    When we first started working on obtaining the Windjammer Flying Cloud to sink in the British Virgin Islands, almost a year ago, it was tied up at a dock in Trinidad, with the Marine Museum, who did not want it. ...
    David Swain’s friends, family plead for a fair trial
    Providence Journal - Providence,RI,USA
    But the real reason and the real benefactor of the evening’s fundraising event sat 1700 miles away in a sweltering hilltop prison on the island of Tortola. ...
    I read that Swain read through the prison library in a few days time. Friends have mailed him more books. His address is in the article, perhaps if you feel like mailing him some used books, they will end up in the prison library, which sounds like it could use some book donations.
    LIAT adds flights to British Virgin Islands
    International Herald Tribune - France
    AP TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands: The British Virgin Islands says daily flights are now shuttling tourists between sparsely populated Beef Island and the ...

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    - WhatChaMaCallit
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 07:26:02 EDT
    Himmacane Kyle if off to Nova Scotia and the Gulf of Maine.
    Calm seas, 82.6F degrees, slight winds and SUNSHINE at 645am Sunday.  Birds are chirping and the neighborhood is quiet, even the roosters. Typical short scattered showers may come and go today in the beautiful British Virgin Islands.
    Two lizards are frantically flirting, one is inside on the window screen, and the other is outside, sitting on the jalousie window pane. They can't quite figure out what is wrong with this picture, it's comical to watch them run up and down, trying to get together, and finding that one or the other appears to be in prison.
    Three more tropical waves are marching across the Atlantic, but nothing to worry ourselves with yet.
    A walk on the shoreline tossed up this very fine blue wine bottle:
    Dear Miss Mermaid,
    Out of a bottle—very fine blue wine bottle I might add—on the beach this inquiry:
    Loved the picture of the plant with the pod that produces beautiful flowers—what is it????
    And also, to let you know that your daily updates are greatly appreciated!!
    Freesong—in North Carolina
    Dear Freesong,
    I was afraid SOMEBODY was going to ask that. By the way, there used to be a Freesong sailboat homeported in Cruz Bay, St John, awhile back, would that be you or just a coincidence?
    At the time, I took the pictures, some locals I asked, gave me a local name for it, that even they weren't sure of. I thought I scribbled it on some paper, perhaps not. I checked my purse for scraps of paper and what I came up with was 2 phone numbers and a quote:
    "Life's a Garden:  Dig it!"
    So, I will make an appeal to my gentle readers, some are in the Caribbean and see if it can be identified by some smart cookie out there. Scroll down to yesterday's post to see more pictures of the plant, pods and flowers. What I know is that it is hearty, and will grow in sand without much water. The one I saw was  probably 10-12 feet, growing along the roadside, in sand near the beach.
    This pic shows the flowers to the left and a pod on the right and of course the leaves.
    Below, is a picture of the tree trunk.
    If you can identify this plant, let us know!

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    14kt Seashell and Starfish Toe Ring - C2082

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    - Summer Daze
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 10:40:14 EDT
    84.8F degrees, sunny skies, calm seas, gentle winds. Summer still lingers on, even though we are technically into Autumn. Waters are warm, and the islands, are this incredible green, thanks to all the recent rain activity the past few weeks.
    I feel positively weak and lazy, it must be the summer daze...
    Anyone that doesn't have a full cistern of fresh rain water by now, has a serious leak somewhere, or very bad gutters.
    The final proof of my book "Hurricanes and Hangovers" finally arrived (and I just need to check it over. If all is well, then we should be in print SOON!  Yahoo!
    Is it a fruit? A nut?  A veggie?
    No, it's a pod!
    And it opens up to reveal these brilliant flowers!
    Warm and Sunny Regards,


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    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 09:27:38 EDT
    Tropical Storm Kyle is meandering around, a storm watch is in effect for Bermuda, then Kyle looks like he may head for New England, he's so big, he's dumping ferocious rains, aided by 60mph winds, wherever he wobbles. By Saturday he will probably be a himmacane.
    There's a disturbance in the Atlantic we are watching, but no worries yet. My crystal balls plans to send it packing elsewhere.
    Seas are flat calm today with slight winds.
    OH MY!  What's on fire???
    It's da fog mon, come to spray for dem skeeters!
    Here's a  fun coloring book for sale, drawn my Gayla Kilbride, formerly of Saba Rock, BVI and wife to the last pirate of the Caribbean, Bert Kilbride.
    BVI premier holds talks with American Eagle in attempt to resolve ...
    Caribbean Net News - Georgetown,Cayman Islands
    ROAD TOWN, BVI: Premier and Minister for Tourism Ralph O’Neal has put forward several proposals to American Eagle in an attempt to resolve the serious ...
    BVI’S New Shipping Registry Status
    By Gail Hartman
    As one of the leading countries/territories in financial services (the BVI has more than 600000 international business companies registered), the territory is now moving towards vigourously boosting its shipping registry. ...
    British Virgin Islands Sailing Charter – 10 Reasons to Sail Tortola
    By Nancy Hardy
    The British Virgin Islands are conveniently located about sixty miles east of Puerto Rico, and the volcanic island of Tortola is the largest of the chain. Ten reasons that Tortola is an ideal location for a sailing charter are as ...
    16-Member Delegation Represents BVI at Monacco Yacht Show
    SKNVibes.com - Basseterre,St. Kitts and Nevis
    The BVI’s participation is a joint effort of the VISR and the International Affairs Secretariat, IAS. Director of the IAS, Mrs. Lorna Smith, who is part of ...
    BVI, St. Lucia offer electronic customs clearance
    The Triton (press release) - Fort Lauderdale,FL,USA
    "This pilot project will permit yachts entering and leaving St. Lucia and the British Virgin Islands to submit the relevant customs documentation on ...
    Virgin Islands for $351 on American
    Atlanta Journal Constitution - GA, USA
    By CLARA BOSONETTO MAERZ No passport is required* to enjoy a trip to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands! And at this time of the year deep pockets aren’t ...
     BVI experiencing power outages   (LIKE THIS IS NEWS???)
    Caribbean Net News - Georgetown,Cayman Islands
    By Oscar Ramjeet TORTOLA, BVI: The British Virgin Islands is now experiencing power outages and the General Manager of BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) ...
    Warm and Sunny Regards,

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    - Kyle Konfusion
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 18:20:43 EDT
    Washed Ashore in Recycled Bottle:
    I see on your site that you are seeing "Kyle" in the distance.
    We are suppose to fly into Tortolla this Sat. (27th) for a Tradewinds Cruise thru Oct. 4th.  Do you see that the storm will be in the BVI through this time? 
    Dear "On The Way",
    Good news!
    Kyle has already been through here!  He could come back for an encore, it's happened before, but he's not predicted to...yet!   
    My crystal ball says so.
    Last Sunday, the 21st, I wrote: "Last night the storm blew in, I think it's going to be named Kyle in a few days." 
    The red blob, more or less, is where the Virgin Islands are scattered. That big white behemoth north of the islands, is KYLE. He is moving north at 8mph.
    There is a blob in the middle of the Atlantic, (not shown) due east of the Windward Islands and I am keeping my eye on him and warning him away from us, so your trip should be fine.
    Matter of fact, washed up ashore in a Cruzan Rum Bottle was this note intended for you when you last wrote (see September 11th)  See?  Those bottles tossed at sea seem to find Dear Miss Mermaid!
    Dear Miss Mermaid,
    My wife and I were on a Tradewinds cruise 8/23-30 and can testify that the folks have nothing to worry about. First off it is a fully crewed charter on 45' or 56' cats and so they won't have to figure out what to do with the boat, (in the event of a storm) although planning for an early departure is prudent.
    THANKS J.F.!
    And on a final note, what do sailors do in inclement weather in the BVI?  Well, that's a good time to curl up and enjoy some wonderful books from Serendipity Book Shop at #5  Main Street in Road Town. Stop there before you go sailing and pick up some good books, they make terrific souvenirs and lasting gifts too. 
    Serendipity Book Shop
    5 Main Street
    Road Town
    will be selling here soon!  Not yet, but SOON COME, MON! 
    (Perhaps October?)
    All Links are underlined

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    - IT'S A BOY! TS KYLE!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 17:05:59 EDT
    My crystal ball was right again.    Since  September  19th, I've mentioned the future Kyle who  is now about 640 miles south south west of Bermuda, but he is one big boy!  Beware!  He packs a lot of moisture and has no qualms about dumping it all on you, diapers can't even keep up with this prolific baby.
    Kyle is wobbling north at snail's rate of 8mph (Even a house cat can run over 30mph!) Kyle has  45+ mph winds and extends about 210 miles across.
    The Hurricane Hunters reported a minimum central pressure of 1001
    MB...29.56 INCHES.
    So roll up those Bermuda Shorts, and shed those socks and sandals for some serious rubber boots and foul weather gear.

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    - One of The Best Days Ever...
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 14:29:24 EDT
    Beautiful!  Sunny!  85 degrees, with trade winds. It's just like living in the Caribbean! 
    This was a drive by shooting...
    (With my camera!)
    Washed up in a Michelob Beer Bottle on the Seashore:
    Afternoon DMM,
    So what kind of celebration do you have in Tortola for Halloween..
    love the festive items for sale...!! 
    Dear Marsa,
        The big hoopla will be at FOXY'S on Jost Van Dyke. He is famous for many great parties, which when I had my boat, I probably made about a dozen or more parties each year at his place from the legendary Old Year's Night (New Year's Eve) to celebrating his birthday or Halloween or Christmas or the Wooden Boat Regatta and so on. Yes, I've spent many a Rum Squall there...
    cat fight 2008
    A Story Unrelated to Halloween...but about September...and about Foxy's
        It used to be on Labor Day Weekend, the first weekend in September, Foxy held the Wooden Boat Regatta. It is now held Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May).
        I was there,  the last time the September races were held. I was living on my 30 foot sailboat alone. The party was coming up and I was delighted to be off work and heading for the party. At the last minute, a girlfriend called in deathly sick at work, and  jumped aboard, as I was leaving to go over on a Wednesday even though the festivities didn't start until Friday night. A week on my boat, would heal her body and soul perfectly!
    Takes me away
    To where I've always heard it could be

        I figured I would spend the week over there, get a nice anchorage, do a bit of boat work in the mornings, (the dreaded maintenance of polishing stainless steel rails, oiling teak, changing the engine oil) all that fun stuff, to keep my home afloat,  then I could spend my afternoons swimming and my evenings ashore, dancing in the sand, to the sound of the band.
    It's not far down to paradise
    At least it's not for me

        It was nice to have company along, as so often, I ended up sailing alone, for lack of finding someone with a crazy schedule, that could afford to go. In this case, she could take the ferry back, if she felt the urge to have a miraculous recovery and go back to work.
        As we exited the harbor, I turned off the engine, gave the helm over to my friend and commenced raising the sails while Christopher Cross sang his hit song  "Sailing" on the CD player:
    The canvas can do miracles
    Just you wait and see

        If I had died and gone to heaven, I would have thought life ended on one of the very best days of my entire life.
    And if the wind is right you can sail away
    And find tranquility

        We made the trip from Cruz Bay, St John to Jost Van Dyke in under two hours of just really pleasant sailing. The type of day when I just felt like a child of the planet, barefoot, dressed in my bathing suit and big straw hat,  lazily sailing on a picture perfect day with moderate seas to a favored anchorage and the promise of a fun weekend in the makings.  What more could you want out of life?
    And if the wind is right you can find the joy
    Of innocence again

        We found my special secret anchoring spot was empty and waiting for me. My friend was new to sailing, but eager to help out. We put out one anchor to hold the boat and then carefully laid out the second anchor, so we could sleep soundly at night. We covered up the sails, tidied up the lines, put up the rain catcher over the forepeak, then draped the boom with a tent-like awning for extra shade, rinsed the seasalt off our faces, then sheathed ourselves in colorful sarongs over our bathing suits. We launched the swim ladder, climbed into the dinghy and smiled when that Yamaha engine started on one little pull.
        Ashore, Customs and Immigration were surprisingly cheerful and stamped us in for the week. Word had spread like wildfire that two single women has sailed in, so as we exited the clearance building, we seemed to have a bevy of single men, awaiting to escort us where ever we wanted to go. First we stopped by Christine's Bakery to get some sent from heaven, whole wheat bread before she ran out.  Our escorts, of course carried this massive heavy loaf of bread for us (ah to be young and single...) and we ambled down to Foxy's for some much needed cold drinks, courtesy of our new found fan club.
        Single women arriving by sailboat, at that time,  was a rarity and considered an oddity! It was mid week in September, and very boats graced the anchorage, as most would arrive on Friday and early Saturday.  We were pummeled with endless questions as these island guys were incredulous that two young women could manage a boat.  Many believed that only men could sail, why I do not know, but that is the way it was then. My friend kept remarking that she felt like a celebrity! 
        She  announced she just KNEW it was going to take a solid week for her to "get well" and we had quite the giggle about that.
        Saturday rolled around and the Wooden Boat Regatta was in full swing. We had an extra jerry jug of gasoline, so we tied that down in the dinghy, and motored out to sea, to watch the wooden boats cross the start line.  I remember it clearly, all those beautiful graceful yachts, with all their sails up, loaded up with crews and ready to spend a day at sea.
        Next we motored over to White Bay Sandcastle and had a few at the Soggy Dollar Bar or somewhere, we spent time swimming and tanning then decided it was time to go.  On the way back, the engine sputtered and came to a stop. We drifted silently, while I  topped up the tiny tank with our spare gasoline, then continued back to Great Harbor. After a nice siesta, on board, we dressed and went ashore to greet the returning racers.
        Rumors spread about Himmacane Lewis. I told my friend, that I had just left a 3 point mooring in St John, and perhaps we should return there, so my boat could ride out the storm on that plus my other 3 anchors. During the party that evening, it was announced, that the Sunday race plans had been dramatically altered. Instead of the Wooden Boat races, the gun would go off at 8am, and everyone was to race to their favorite hurricane hole!
        The next morning, was incredible, as hundreds of boats, set sail en masse and the population of Jost Van Dyke shrunk from about 1500 to 100 in a few mere minutes. The only boat left in the harbor, was Foxy's fishing boat, looking very lonely indeed.
        I kind of felt sorry for the bars and merchants ashore, this big bash was supposed to bring them in lots of needed cash to carry them through the lean month of September. Now they were stuck with inventory, watching their dollars sail out to sea. 
        Himmacane Luis and the subsequent Hurricane Marilyn, a few weeks later,  injured and destroyed so many wooden boats, that it was announced that forevermore, the Wooden Boat Regatta would be held in May instead of September.
    It's not far down to paradise
    At least it's not for me
    And if the wind is right you can sail away
    And find tranquility
    The canvas can do miracles
    Just you wait and see
    Believe me
    It's not far to never never land
    No reason to pretend
    And if the wind is right you can find the joy
    Of innocence again
    The canvas can do miracles
    Just you wait and see
    Believe me

    Takes me away
    To where I've always heard it could be
    Just a dream and the wind to carry me
    And soon I will be free

    It gets the best of me
    When I'm sailing
    All caught up in the reverie
    Every word is a symphony
    Won't you believe me

    It's not far back to sanity
    At least it's not for me
    And when the wind is right you can sail away
    And find serenity
    The canvas can do miracles
    Just you wait and see
    Believe me

    Warm and HAPPY  Regards,

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    - Missing Wave
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 12:17:49 EDT
    Bright and sunny so far!  Where is that tropical wave we were promised? From 79 last night to 84F degrees at nearly noon now. Winds are moderate, seas are a tad choppy and the SUN IS OUT!
    I had lunch in Road Town at Le Cabanon the other day. It was excellent, great service, delicious food, pleasant atmosphere, in spite of the outside deluge going on, we stayed dry and nearly cleaned our plates. Some leftover fish was brought home for the kitties, and they were thrilled to have take-out, licked their bowl clean afterwards and looked at me with goofy loving looks.
    Halloween is just around the corner, and I'm pushing my mail order costumes and props again.   Back in the dark ages, I owned a house inland, and for 7 years in a row, I hosted adult masquerade parties around Halloween. It was great fun, though somebody always got in trouble it seems. Costumes bring out the "other persona" and it seems there was always a divorce in the making, a day later, from the couple you least expected it from. But, I can see too, if you go home with a fantasy rather than your spouse, that could tend to cause trouble. (Ya think?)  But other than that, it was always great fun. My dear friend Lisa, now long departed from this world, arrived in her wheel chair one year, she was about 28 then, all wrapped up in catsup stained bandages,  to look like an escapee from the emergency room. Lisa couldn't walk, due to muscular dystrophy, (she was the poster child one year for the Jerry Lewis MDA Foundation) and apparently many guests had no idea and they would say "Hey, hop up and let me ride in your wheel chair for awhile!"  She took this in stride, giggled and told them "No way!" 

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

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    - Kinda Creepy
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 07:07:15 EDT
    Well it's been a busy day, first it was cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy, then sunny, now cloudy again. Mid morning we had torrential rains with ferocious winds, the rest of day were on/off light winds.
    This mess passing over us, seems to be building up, and I expect it to be named in a few days.
    My crystal ball predicts this will turn into Kyle.
    Yesterday, I went to town in this mess, I have to drive by the notorious cliffs where the car sized boulders sometimes fall off onto the road below when it rains heavy. Naturally, it's a bit nerve racking to drive by there. What's worse, it's on a curve, so you're limited as to the speed you can safely drive.  Not that people drive safely on Tortola, most DON'T!
    But I tried to race passed the cliff and fly around the curve without rolling my heap of a jeep over. My type of jeep has a small wheel base, matter of fact, it is banned in the U.S. and possibly other countries. They claim if you go 90 miles per hour and slam on brakes while turning the wheel sharply, it MIGHT roll over. (Ya think?) 
    The benefits for me driving this scary arrangement, is that you can turn it around (2 point turn, not 3) in ONE lane (not two), it's cheap on gas, and it can U-turn on a two lane road, it's cheap on gas,  it's easy to find a teeny parking spot for it, and it's cheap of gas. (By the way, did I mention it is cheap on gas?)
    It's a basic engine (even I understand most of it).  Actually, I can open the hood of my car and name all the engine parts and doodads. Yep, that seems to shock men, like it's secret knowledge, only they should know and keep secret from women. Most men who are not mechanics at all, are a tad surprised when they find out I might possibly know as much (or more) shade tree mechanics than they do.
    Newer cars and jeeps, are much more complicated now, I remember trying to help a friend out and we popped her hood and the engine was so high tech, I couldn't even locate the BATTERY!  Later, someone told me you have to remove a tire and a few other parts to get to the battery. Oh my goodness!
    My friend, whom I have known since he was 47, is now about 60-ish. He has resisted computers and cell phones for the past umpteen years. We sailed together many times, and he did actually use my cell phone a few times (but preferred NOT to). and while I used my laptop, he had zero interest (fine with me!)
    A few years back, um, maybe 8 years ago, he inherited his mother's almost new car. He was going to sell it for something sensible (like just keep his Triumph Hog) and decided since it was such a comfortable ride (Big Lincoln) he would just keep it. Later he sold his Triumph, and I said "WHAT?  But I was coming to see you, what will I ride now?" (Yep, I used to ride a motorcycle, a Triumph too, back in my young and foolishly fun days.) 
    Awhile back he called me up from the states, and was pretty upset. His car mash up and he had to get it repaired. Much to his horror, they had to replace his car's computer for over a thousand dollars.
    He was aghast!  He didn't want computers, nor cell phones, GPS was OK, because he owned a boat, but everything computer  like,  he has steadfastly resisted. (Should I ruin it for him and tell him the GPS is like a mini computer?)
    He fought with the mechanic, that he did NOT WANT a computer and to rip it back out and keep it.
    "But sir, you're car won't run without it."
    So, he caved in and paid the repair bill.
    Anyhow, he announced "I don't know how to run a computer, but I now own one, that apparently my cars needs to run on.  It doesn't do a thing for me, I don't even know HOW to operate a computer,  but my car does."
    He paused for a moment then said,
    "That's kind of creepy, isn't it?"

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    - Stalling...
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 18:05:33 EDT

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    - Rainy Off and On and Gloomy
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 11:40:55 EDT
    Big rainy mess here. Every now and then we get a cough of a grumble like the thunder is terribly shy today. We have a depression building right on top of us, could be the future Kyle, though I don't think it will damage us as we have nearly no winds.
    Cisterns are overflowing and the ground is about saturated to the max.  Gardens will bloom and fruit will swell and all will be well for a beautiful season, which autumn starts today and I missed Talk Like a Pirate Day on Friday. My calendar was turned to the wrong week. I know, LAUGH at me!
    Temperatures plummeted to 79 degrees, which woke me up as I searched for my fluffy afghan to warm up with, yes, LAUGH, my feet were C-C-COLD! I've been so used to sleeping with no sheets or blankets or comforters, those days are over now I guess. Even the cats were cold!

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    - stormy sunday
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2008 11:55:06 EDT
    Last night the storm blew in, I think it's going to be named Kyle in a few days. We have had dark stormy clouds and lots of rain. We may have some flooding as our ground is about saturated to the max, so I expect rock and mud slides to start the next few days. This mess is expected to be over us another day and then Tuesday night or Wednesday morning we are getting yet another tropical wave.
    Winds are really gusty and temps have plummeted to 80 and I am not that far above sea level, so in the mountains, brrrrrrrrr, they must be  really cold. I woke up around 4am and had to fetch my afghan to wrap my cold tootsies in.
    I snapped this picture about 3-4 minutes before this storm hit us. That is Frenchmens Cay in the foreground with Norman Island to the left and St John to the right.
    I usually navigate my bathroom in the dark at night, why upset my eyes, if I just need to make a quick pit stop and then back to bed. But my angel was looking out for me, and warned me at 3am, to turn the lights ON. Well, I am no fool, I listened to the angel and turned them on. I guess it's more fun to scream with the lights on! 
    There on my bath mat, the one with the painted palm trees, lay a dead RAT.  No doubt, bounty from the kitty cat. Grrrrrrrrr...  I managed to find the broom attached to the  dustpan, the one with the four foot handle, that I like, matter of fact just that day I had washed the broom and dustpan and they looked nearly new. *Sigh*. So the dead nasty filthy diseased laden rat was swept up with my clean broom onto my clean dustpan. I deposited all that outside on the patio, to deal with at daylight.
    Daylight rolls around and my housemate mentions a "dead" odor and I said yes, it's the dead rat we have to relocate across the street to the vacant lot, where it can stink to high heaven without affecting us or the neighbors. I guess I am too lazy to bury the bounty.  I could wrap him in the garbage I suppose and send him out that way and spook out the guys at the incinerator.
    Back in the dark ages, my mother came to visit me at my first apartment and accidentally ran over my new found kitten, who promptly died. I know she felt positively awful and we had a good cry together. Well, I didn't have a shovel, so I wrapped kitty up in some leftover material from a sewing project, laid him gently in a shoe box, then tied it up with twine and many knots. I carefully laid him in the outside garbage can, and prayed for his lost soul.
    Well next morning, the garbage workers arrive to haul off the garbage.  Then I heard this loud startled scream!  I ran over to the window, the worker had cut off the twine, opened the box and unwrapped  the piece of material and instead of the expected discarded treat, it was my dead kitten. I guess I should have labeled the box "cat coffin; open at your own risk." 
    I bet he didn't open another strange box for a long time afterwards. I felt bad for my kitty, felt bad for my mother, felt bad for scaring the worker, I guess it did look like a tempting treat lay beneath the neatly twined box.
    Now for GOOD news, the dog mangled kitten, rescued by Roger's wife Sandy,  at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke, has finally found a loving home.  It seems he overstayed his welcome, long enough to wrap Roger and Sandy and their two dogs around his wittle paw, and guess what, now they are keeping him!  The dogs that absolutely hated cats, have decided this little one makes a great pet.
    Awwwwww, isn't he so cute?

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    - Stormy and Sunny today...
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 14:07:43 EDT
    Yesterday it started storming about 6pm.  In the picture below, the rain is so thick on the right, that the island of St John,  appeared blue instead of green.  We expect more showers and another tropical wave to hit us Tuesday night with another one close on its heels.  We've had rains off and on today.
    I caught this rainbow at 445pm yesterday! I was dashing out to the store, realized I had forgot my camera and phone, grabbed those and went back out and good thing too, as I saw this huge rainbow!  That is St John on the right, in the foreground, the green tip is Frenchmans Cay.
    Grand Turk Itinerary Changes
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    KREN CW 27 TV - Reno,NV,USA
    Brit billionaire Richard Branson's Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands sees more than its share of important people, Steven Spielberg and Oprah ...

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    - Gorgeous Day in Paradise
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 11:36:52 EDT
    85 degrees, calm seas, light winds, bright sunshine.
    One, two three, four...  (we are the red dot!) so we only have one, two, three...
    Which one will be Kyle or are we DONE for the season with Ike as our grand finale?  (We wish!)  Ike did way too much damage.
    The other day, my email was eaten by the computer. I had written about the freedom of living out of a seabag for 4 years, with no fixed address, no home, and that sometimes less in best.  After you've lost all you own anyhow, maybe it's time to just live simply with nature.  This of course is of absolutely no comfort for those devastated by hurricane Ike, having the fabric of their lives ripped beyond repair. My prayers to you all that somehow you find the strength to pull through.
    If you aren't part of the solution, you might be part of the problem, donate to the Red Cross to help the victims of hurricane Ike.
    In response to Hurricane Ike's landfall along the Gulf Coast, the Red Cross is providing shelter, food and emotional support for thousands in need. Those affected by disaster are relying on the Red Cross for emergency aid in their toughest times - especially now in the peak of hurricane season.
    These storms have an impact. You can too. Your gift fuels the Red Cross mission of disaster relief and lifesaving services every single day.
    Signs of the times:
    "Shooting to kill, bad mood"  and "U Loot, I Shoot"...

    Warm and Sad Regards,

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    - engrish
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 11:50:09 EDT
    86 degrees, slight winds and da current done mash up an hour ago. *sigh*.  Here we are in the height of hurricane season and not a storm around us, and we don't have any elec-tricky.  I can't run my electric wind (fans) and my generator is in the shop. *sigh*  Laptop is about to die, and that is how I do my work...
    So,  might as well head for the beach! 
    Found in a Serberian Beer Bottle on the seashore:
    Dear Miss Mermaid
    How are you?
    I hope that you and your region had not problem with Whirlwind (Uragan) Aik.
    I wish you the best.
    Dear M.T.,
        We survived the whirlwinds (tropical storms) and Uragan Aik (Himmacane Ike) just fine, though others throughout the Caribbean and United States have not fared so well.
        You can see pictures here:

    - Himmacane IKE-the pictures...
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 13:42:25 EDT
    Himmacane Ike's aftermath, this is one of the tamest pictures...
    See more Pictures people have sent me (not for the faint of heart!)
    Actually Bullwinkle sent this link to me. The pics load quickly and give you a heartrending glimpse of the power of Himmacane Ike.
    View all the pictures, and when you are through crying,  PLEASE consider a donation to the Red Cross to help the hurricane victims. Every dollar counts and goes directly for relief aid.

    Warm and Sad Regards,

    - Flat Calm and Sunny
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 08:57:16 EDT
    Flat calm again, no winds, great sunshine, 84 degrees, nothing suspicious coming our way, which makes me suspicious.  It is mid September, when we are generally dodging strikes port and starboard, so what's with the calm conditions?
    Do you see ANY ripples in the Sir Francis Drake Channel? It almost resembles blue ice, as if we could merely walk across the channel.   That is St John to the right and Norman to the left with The Indians in the middle.
    Washed up on the Seashore in a French Wine Bottle:
    DMM. I think we've come adrift somewhere......your post of September 14th. To my mind it's poor practice to motor upwind with a headsail.  It's likely to flog itself to bits with sheets flaying all over the deck, and  will surely slow progress through the water.  Worse a loose sheet can end up under the boat wrapping itself around the prop. However, it's always better to maintain the main in situ not only to steady the boat against possible rolling, but as a means of manouvering should the engine fail.  Properly set it will aid progress.
    Personally I hand the helm over to someone else as soon as I possibly can so I can attend to managing the boat and its systems. The work a skipper does.  However, I hesitate to delegate the actual steering of the boat when coming alongside, anchoring or in a 'man overboard' stuation.  
    Perhaps none of this mattters so much in the non-tidal waters of the West Indies where the wind blows predictably 10/15 points North or South of East and where one hardly ever sails at night........except on passage in open waters.
    'Luv Frenchie
    Dear Frenchie,

    Sure it's poor practice to motor upwind with sails, afterall it's a sailboat ain't it?  But years of chartering with newbies and not wishing to terrify them (or clean up after their seasickness) taught captains like me,  that there is a time to motor sail upwind in favor of making the passengers comfortable or hastening the passage or both.
    By myself or with sailing friends, we would hardly want to be caught dead motor sailing and therefore chose the purist route. However, in the event of seeing a squall up ahead, I have been known to start the motor in neutral, as a safety precaution, in case we didn't reef quick enough or underestimated the power of the squall. The motor, in that case, can help regain steerage, if it is lost, due to a gusty squall nearly knocking us down, and thus off course.
    When we motor sailed, to keep the sails from flapping, we still headed at the same compass heading as if we had NO motor. Therefore the sails didn't flap and flog.  We kept our sheets on deck with a close eye, as they can tangle with the prop below, whether one is motoring or not.  The extra power would merely bring us close to hull speed and often we had reduced sail, so as to keep things a bit less dramatically heeled so the newbies could get their sealegs. Having the sails up rather than down, kept the boat from rocking and rolling so much, here again, keeping the newbies more comfortable.
    Actually, all the Windjammer ships almost always motor sailed their tall ships and kept it a secret from the passengers, telling them the noise was from the generators.
    Some of the boats could make it under their own sail power, but not at max speed, more like snail speed. Most needed the extra motor boost, so the boat could appear to be doing close to hull speed. Since most of the Windjammer ships were refitted for the passenger fleet, they realized if they built the rigs tall enough true to a serious Windjammer, their crew needs would be much greater, and their passenger space lessened, hence they made a compromise in order to keep fares lower (most passengers, less crew).
    I don't think any prudent captains would delegate steering when in a harbor or doing something delicate like retrieving a man overboard. (You know it is usually is MEN overboard, and when we rescue them, invariably their fly is still down!)  Women tend to be a bit more careful and aren't as eager to flop overboard (tee hee hee).
    I guess we are close to non-tidal in the BVI and USVI, though around a full moon, our tide can be upwards of two whole feet!  We don't sail in the dark around here because the hazards aren't marked, GPS and charts don't agree and it seems when folks do sail here after dark terrible things happen.
    Most of our tragedies in the last few years, resulting in loss of life were almost all after dark. The speed boat on the north shore,  that bounced out two passengers which haven't been seen since;  the French boat that crashed on the rocks and lost a child and the yacht, the two speed boats that were both rounding Steele Point, from opposite directions, after dark with no navigation lights, when they crashed nearly head on, both lost crew, never to be found.  These  are just a few that come to mind and good enough reason for me and 99% of the others, not to sail around these islands after dark. Too many unmarked  rocks, reefs and points.
    I remember the story told to me by my captain friend. He was on a ship  ship coming in here late at night, years ago,  and they had been hit by lightning and had nothing but the compass to rely on. It was overcast so they had no stars to steer by. When they finally found Road Harbour, they were ecstatic and even more pleased they found the marking lights on shore, the two lights you line up vertically, to let you know you are coming in the harbour channel correctly.
    Eagerly they poured a round a drinks before clearing through the channel and anchoring. Right as they toasted their arrival prematurely, all the power went off in the BVI and they were plunged into darkness with no idea where to steer to next. Ooops!
    Many bareboat companies in the Virgin Islands,  have a curfew around 4-5pm, that boats must be at anchor or on a mooring until sunrise. They make the curfew early, to give them leeway, to still get in before sunset.
    I remember one evening, my friend lamented he wanted to go to Jost Van Dyke, one more time and we were in Sopers Hole and it was after 5pm. I told him if we jumped on my boat right NOW and sailed as fast as we could, we might make it into Great Harbour, by sunset and heaven help us if we didn't.  My friend was new to sailing, but had already had several lessons with me. After we set sail, I said my prayers, because entering the crowded anchorage of Great Harbour, after dark, struck me as fool hearty.
    I guess the angels and seas were with us, we managed to set anchor just in time to watch the sun drop beneath the horizon. I remember we had a good laugh over that one and it was one of the rare times, I did something foolish on my boat. I say so because I know my navigation lights were malfunctioning and I too, was only sailing by a mere compass with no other electronics. Women can be foolhardy too (though it is RARE!)

    Well, you've heard me say it a zillion times:
    United Airlines Boosts 2nd-Bag Fee to $50
    ABC News - USA
    ... will apply for tickets bought beginning Tuesday for travel beginning November 10 within the US or to or from Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

    - WOW
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 17:47:08 EDT
    At this link you can see pictures of before and after, hurricane Ike hit the Bolivar Peninsula, in Texas.
    These pictures illustrate so dramatically, what I have seen first hand after hurricanes, one house can stand while the rest of the neighborhood can be in ruins. I remember after hurricane Hugo, seeing a whole neighborhood flattened out, yet inexplicably stuck on a metal fence post, which was still standing, was a nearly full roll of toilet paper, sitting there pretty as you please.
    I also remember going to help a friend retrieve her belongings and when we got to her house on Water Island (near St Thomas)  all her baby clothes were blown high up in a tree, stuck to the bare branches. It was an eerie seen, the clothes were way too high for us to reach. The roof off her house was gone and we didn't see traces of it anywhere.

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    - SUNSHINE!!!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 12:25:12 EDT
    85 degrees, slight winds, flat calm seas and the SUN IS OUT!  A beautiful day in the BVI. It's a bit quiet around the island, some businesses are closed for vacations, many residents are off island for lenghty vacations and here I sit dreaming of a vacation!  I know, I know, why would you want to go anywhere when you already live in paradise?
    My last vacation was simply to another island (I kid you not!).  I traded one beautiful place for another beautiful place.
    It is really sad for me to read and hear about the massive destruction of Galveston Island in Texas. I spent six months there, working as a Chief Purser, on a cruise ship that did evening gambling cruises. Actually we did 8 per week, with 2 on Saturday, one in the day and one at night.  Once in awhile we had a rare night off, usually due to mechanical difficulties.
    Because we were basically at dock all day, some crew members had homes and cars ashore, so through them, I got to see and know Galveston.  Everyone from there always talked about the big hurricane of 1900 which wiped out so many people, that a final head count was never accurate. Deaths range from 4,000-12,000 depending on whose account you read.
    One particularly sad story is that they tried to bury the dead at sea, but they all washed back up on shore the next day. You can read more about that historic storm here.
    Thoughts and prayers to the many victims of Hurricane Ike. Sad, to say, but it may be months before Galveston is habitable again.
    In a language all can understand, this public restroom is 
    The 4th Annual Miss Caribbean World Pageant will take place at the Multipurpose Sports Complex on Saturday 20, September 2008 at 7:00 p.m and will feature contestants from a total of 18 countries from around the region.
    Miss BVI Will Not Compete in the Miss Caribbean World Pageant
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    The reigning Miss BVI Maquita Richard has confirmed that she will not be competing in the 2008 Miss Caribbean World Pageant scheduled for September 20. ...
    BVI Gives Support to TCI
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    In response to Hurricane Ike and its impact on the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), BVI Department of Disaster Management officials have been deployed to ...

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    - Shhhhhhh...The Sun Has Come Out!!!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 11:51:19 EDT
    Whew!  I am so glad to see SUNSHINE!  I was afraid the Tourist Board would yell at me for reporting all these overcast cloudy days. It's 85 degrees with nearly flat seas and some light winds wafting by. TZhe greens on the mountains are just so vivid against the baby blue boy skies.
    We did have a bit of rain last night, just a sprinkling.  The cats were showing their boredom with being indoors a bit too much the past few days and getting fussy.
    I trotted out the cat nip, a tablespoon laid out on the patio for each of them and they were thrilled to no end. It apparently provides terrific entertainment for them and watching them play in it, is rather comical.
    I went out last night to look at the full moon, which is officially tonight.  Two cats followed me out and I just assumed the 3rd one was already out. I went back inside to lock the door, and go to bed. I didn't have any lights on (better for star gazing) and I stepped on the 3rd cat who let out an awful squeal that scared me. By the time I found the light, he had ran off and hid from me. I felt just AWFUL.  I had no idea how badly he was hurt and it was definitely a leg I stepped on, I think I tripped over him with one foot then stepped on him with the other. 
    I went to bed feeling awful and he refused to answer or show up when I called him.
    I woke up a few times in the night looking for him, to no avail. I woke up this morning, and my bed was empty. Now I felt truly awful, that he had limped away and needed aid. Yet I reasoned, surely the other two would alert me, they aren't total dummies.  They have their own cat door, so I had no idea where he had gone.
    A few minutes later, he slowly walked in and climbed in bed.  I tried to check his various legs out, which he pulled each away abruptly with a dirty look at me. Then he flopped over and offered me his belly, so I gave him a belly rub (his favorite way to be petted!) so I guess he has forgiven me and miraculously, he wasn't injured, though he may be bruised up and I just can't tell it since he refuses to let me check.  Whew. Looks like poor kitty will survive.
    Sopers Hole Marina against a backdrop of vivid greenery.
    I just discovered Shakatak's album: Blue Savannah has a song on it "Tortola Sunset".  Amazing the number of musicians who have become so inspired here to write music. I think it's the beauty and ambiance.
    Iron Duke Due to Arrive in BVI on Saturday
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
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    Casting Call Announcement
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    A special casting session will be held here in the BVI on Thursday September 18th between 8am and 5pm. All persons from all walks of life and age groups who ...
    Leo Club of Tortola Undertakes Major Beach Cleanup Project
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    Nearly 15 heavy duty bags of rubbish have been collected from the island of Great Camanoe, as part of a major cleanup project by the Leo Club of Tortola. ...
    Bransons paradise island only place for Heather Mills to escape ...
    Thaindian.com - Bangkok,Bangkok,Thailand
    ... earlier this year and has pleaded with the business tycoon to be allowed to move to Necker Island, his 74-acre paradise in the British Virgin Islands, ...

    - Still Cloudy and Overcast
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 10:24:25 EDT
    We had a stormy evening and torrential rains in the wee hours of the night. It is pretty cloudy today with some sunshine poking out here and there. I hear a grumble of a mumble of a rumble of distant thunder, so more may be on the way.
    Another tropical wave is about 800 miles east of us with yet more rains. It is 83 degrees with very slight light winds and flat calm seas.
    Found on the Seashore in a French Wine Bottle:
    Puzzled by your series of pics yesterday (below).  Would any boat motor-sail with its headsail up? 
    'Luv  Frenchie
    My Dear Frenchie,
    When I chartered and we had light winds and guests with tender tummies, I would motor-sail upwind to get us THERE quicker so they could pretend they enjoyed the sail...
    Even in heavy winds, I sometimes reefed to keep the boat from heeling much, then added the motor to make it easier for green guests (those new to sailing)  to steer the boat upwind (and get us there quicker).
    Alone I rarely ever motorsailed, as I was content to take what was dished out, but with paying guests, you just want them happy enough to remember to maybe tip you at the end of the trip for a good time,  and proving bravado takes a back seat while guest comfort is of premium importance, especially for those new to sailing. We threw up the main and foresail, to make it LOOK like we are sailing. Indeed, if you play the music loud enough, they may not realize the engine is even on.
    Something else I discovered, if you see someone on board,  looking sickly or they  express concern over becoming seasick, just give them the wheel and basic instructions (and/or sit nearby).  Most become so engrossed in handling the boat, they forget all about tossing their cookies.
    Make SURE to get their picture with your camera and theirs, several shots, everyone loves a great shot of themselves at the helm.  Many newbies have been pleasantly surprised to see in the background just how far over we really were heeled, while they steered us to our next port of call.
    I worked with a handful of  super macho captains that never let the guests sail the boat (aka STEER the boat!)  and it seems someone (usually ME) was scurrying around cleaning up after seasick guests. If you are a helm hogger, (and you KNOW who you are) consider next time letting your guests or friends have a turn at the wheel and get their picture for fond memories.
    When I taught "an introduction to sailing" on board my boat for 1-2-3 passengers for 2-4 days and nights, I discovered most did NOT want to learn to sail. All they wanted was to steer that boat, with the sails up and get their picture taken with that big smile plastered across their sun burnt face, something to show the folks at home, look what I DID on my vacation, I learned to sail!
    Last night we sat on the patio marveling at the already full looking moon until the rains chased us back inside.
    Prayers and thoughts go out to those ravaged by the recent hurricanes. Remember you can always count on the Red Cross to get relief to victims. 

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    - A Good Day to Stay Ashore...
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 12:13:54 EDT
    GOING ONCE.....
    GOING TWICE.....
    About 90 minutes later, you can see the sailboat, now going the opposite direction!
    This morning we went outside to watch the storm coming across the Sir Francis Drake Channel from the south.  What did we see?  But a small sailboat out to sea!  There were no winds so I am pretty sure this guy in the top two photos was motor sailing, as he was moving at a good clip and we had virtually no winds.
    We watched in earnest, thinking any minute he is going to douse the main or at least reef it, as often gusty winds come with the squall. Suddenly we saw him heel drastically as the storm hit him, it was so thick he was obliterated in the deluge.
    It's now high noon here, and still pretty overcast, though the from the west, the sun is fighting to make a breakthrough. It's only 83 degrees, winds are faint. 
    The cats correctly predicted the storm, they were all clingy this morning before it hit. I've noticed if bad weather is on the way, they want to be exactly where I am.
    I woke up and they were in bed with me instead of out hunting. We watched the last half of a movie then got up.   I sleepily went into the kitchen, followed by 3 cats, then I transferred to the bathroom and had company while on the throne, (gee thanks guys!) I finally  traversed to the office, only to have my desk draped in cats, leaving me very little room left to work.  When my housemate called me to come outside, to look at the storm (weather fascinates us!) I went outside, followed by my three shadows.  When the rain hit and we came in to shut some of the windows, we were dutifully followed from window to window by 3 cats. Then the food fest began as the  cats gorged on food, something curious they do when it is stormy, stocking up their tummies for possible lean days ahead.

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    Sign up for "Message in a Bottle" and be notified when
    Dear Miss Mermaid's next book; HURRICANES & HANGOVERS
    and other tall tales and loose lies from the coconut telegraph
    is available to buy.

    - Flat Calm
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 20:09:04 EDT
    Amazingly the brief sunshine we saw this morning was just a rare cameo appearance. Weather like this could wreck our reputation for typically only have 5 days a year of inclement weather.
    The tropical wave is passing by us with a great deal of thick cloud cover and moisture. Only slight winds, and flat calm seas. More tropical waves on the way.
    Bowling balls and we are the pins.

    This morning I ran out in the rain, it felt good. I used to do that when living on a boat, it was a good way to shower and wash the outside of the boat too.
    Sometimes I could get stuck, like have the deck all lathered up and then the rain stops. I would have to finish with salt water rinses. Thereafter, I learned to clean one section at  a time in the rain, that way I rarely got caught with suds and no rinse water when the rain abruptly stopped.
    I ran out in the rain, to cool off, to feel good, to feel the cold water against hot skin, to feel alive.
    Tonight, I made the mistake of watching the news about Himmacane Ike and Texas. They were ahead of things already, predicting 125,000 destroyed homes.  I was aghast, sure it could happen, but it hasn't happened yet!  But they were already discussing it, as if it was a past event.
    Perhaps I misunderstood.
    My prayers are with those in Ike's path and that you somehow survive.
    Peace on earth.

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    - Himmacane Video Feeds
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 11:10:41 EDT
    Max sent this link and it works really well:

    - Very dark and stormy here this morning
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 09:45:35 EDT
    I wrote this big long email to post today and my computer ate it. I know, I made a colossal boo boo. Now I am too tired to rewrite it.
    In the BVI it is 83 degrees, very dark and stormy with flat seas and a dark squall on the way.
    The picture below was taken a few weeks ago.
    I was trying to post my lousy attempt at doing a panorama of Nanny Cay and the email program just folded right up on me after I had written a dozen or more paragraphs and forgot to save.
    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    - mORE sUNSHINE!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 13:41:16 EDT
    Weather is great, sun is out, seas are flat, not much wind at all, just the odd zephyr now and then. We have three tropical waves headed out way. It's 85 degrees and a great day to be out in the sunshine.
    Yesterday, we had a 9 hour power outage. I was miffed, as I had work backed up to do and the current done mash up!  I hope those boyz at the elec-tricky corporation can get a handle on t'ings.
    Nice and green on Tortola, with a view of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, looking at Salt, Peter and Norman Islands (BVI).
    Message ONE in a Bottle:
    Too much rum before breakfast  Dear Miss Mermaid?  Thank you for all the photos of Norman Island etc., when my father was Administrator of the BVI 1954-56 there was a huge cash of pirate treasure found on Norman Island, sadly handed over to Her Majesty's Government.  Think what might have been.  I hope the hurricanes keep avoiding you and everyone else (also my house in Anguilla).
    All the best,
    J. H.
    Dear J.H.
        I suppose you mean the yogurt and sand (cracked wheat) incident.  Perhaps I will cut back on the *hiccup* rum before I attempt *hiccup* making breakfast!
    Message TWO in a Bottle:
    I was at your website today and saw the pictures of the beautiful sunrise.
    My husband and I have a Tradewinds cruise scheduled for departure out of Tortola on September 27th.  I am getting a little nervous that this trip will be a pleasant one because of the recent hurricanes.  How has your daily weather been in the last week?  
    Dear P.,
        The recent hurricanes are no worry, as they are already GONE (tee hee!). Suffice it to say, today is about the peak of hurricane season. 

    Compared to the long-term historical record, the first half of the 2008 hurricane season has been busier than usual. According to meteorologist Scott Braun at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.: “Looking back to 1995 and earlier, most seasons have had only 5-7 storms by Sept. 2, whereas this year has had 10. 2008 is surpassed only by 1995 (13), 2003 (11), and 2005 (14) and matched by 2004 (10). Prior to 1995, the last time there were 10 storms by Sept. 2 was 1936 (11).”

    The beauty of sailing on someone else's boat is that you don't own it!  So in the event of a hurricane scare, just get in touch with Tradewinds, as they will tell you where to put the boat then you can go ashore and get a nice sturdy room in a concrete hotel.  Alternatively, at the first scare you can run for the airport and fly home standby.  At some point the LAST plane leave before the storm and then all flights are canceled until the planes return, after the storm. Our airport is pretty empty in the event of an imminent storm threat. So in other words, if you want to fly out, you can't wait until the last minute.
    Don't worry if you get stuck here, we have terrific hurricane parties, before, during and after!
    This time of year many vacationers buy Trip Insurance, of which I happen to be an agent. Click here for more info.
    As for the daily weather, the past week,  just scroll down for my daily postings. Have a GREAT trip!
    Recently a reader informed me they found my "reply" to their email in their junk folder!  ARGH!  No idea why I would end up there, but years ago my email name was stolen and compromised for junk purposes, but I thought, since it was years ago, my email name was now safe. Maybe not!  So if you wrote me in the past and did NOT get a reply, check your junk folder or rewrite me and I can dig up the reply I previously sent you. Confused?  Me too!

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    Sign up for "Message in a Bottle" and be notified when
    Dear Miss Mermaid's next book; HURRICANES & HANGOVERS
    and other tall tales and loose lies from the coconut telegraph
    is available to buy.

    - Sunshine!!!!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 12:18:20 EDT
    Himmacane Ike is still churning away in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.  He is growing in size and strength, with 90mph winds and creeping around at only 8mph. Keep your fingers crossed on this one!
    Today we have SUNSHINE!!!!!  It may not last, but it's HERE!
    Daybreak this morning, brought brilliant hues of vivid rainbow colors. That is Peter and Norman Island (BVI) in the background with the tip of St John (USVI) shown on the far right.
    Look at how FLAT the seas are. Winds are nada, but the greenery is abundant.
    There is nothing YET, on the horizon to scare us. We have been very lucky this year, so far, so good. My prayers go out to those not so lucky, I understand some of our neighbors are not doing well at all in Haiti and the Turks.
    In the islands, it's common to keep your food stuffs tightly sealed, often transferring them to an airtight containers after opening them. For instance, I save up plastic wide mouth jars, typical of some name brand peanut butter jars.  Then I use these to store dried beans, baking goods like cornstarch, pancake mix, dried cereals and so on.  I also have store bought containers, but I like the plastic jars with lids for the most part.
    I happen to like Cracked Wheat which is typically used to make Tabouleh Salad, but also, served hot,  is a great tasty healthy alternative to rice.  I am also drawn to plain yogurt tossed with Grape Nuts with a scoop of my friend Lori's homemade jams as a tasty breakfast or snack.  I purchase Soya Mince from the local health food store which is a protein alternative made from freeze dried soy beans and basically you rehydrate it and use in place of ground meats.
    Well, GUESS WHAT.
    Soya Mince, Cracked Wheat and Grape Nuts all look suspiciously alike. So I label the lids when I store stuff in jars. Flour and pancake mix can look alike and so on. Well, I guess now I will label the JARS instead of the lids as apparently I mixed up my lids for Grape Nuts and Cracked Wheat.
    This morning, I scooped out a blob of plain yogurt, topped it generously with Grape Nuts, stirred in some of Lori's Key Lime Jelly and took a big sleepy bite, while sitting on the patio, photographing the sunrise (above).
    It was like taking a big mouthful of beach sand. I grimaced and stared at my bowl, and wondered what on earth had happened to the Grape Nuts.  It was totally unpalatable, so I stumbled back indoors, and rinsed my mouth out and put the yogurt mixture back in the fridge. I could still feel gritty sand in my mouth and rinsed some more. Yuck.
    A few coffee cups later, I ventured back to the kitchen and pulled out my jars of goodies. Well, apparently, somehow the lid labeled Grape Nuts had switched with the lid labeled Cracked Wheat. Cracked Wheat requires basic cooking, such as covering generously with boiling water and waiting 20 minutes for it to SOFTEN and fluff up.
    I had apparently dumped a generous amount of raw dry Cracked Wheat over my yogurt and that alone will not cook the wheat. In it's raw state it tasted like beach sand instead of the heavenly nutty flavor it gives off when cooked properly.  Ugh...
    I guess now, I will label the jars instead of the lids. I still have NO idea how the lids got switched or did someone play an impractical joke on me?  It temporarily ruined my taste for yogurt. About an hour later, I timidly made a sandwich for breakfast and it went down without grit.
    Deputy Governor’s History Research Awards
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    This year’s theme is “Historical Sites in the BVI” and the deadline is 1st November. The purpose of the awards is to promote, encourage and recognize local ...
    As part of the 60th Anniversary celebrations, Land Rover donated 60 vehicles to the British Red Cross Society and its sister national societies around the world.  The BVI was lucky to get two of these, one for Tortola and one for Virgin Gorda.
    Hats off and big bow of thanks to Land Rover for their generosity!
    BVI Red Cross Receives 2 Brand New Land Rovers
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    His Excellency Governor David Peary and members of the BVI Red Cross including Director Mrs. Edris O’Neal, President Mr. Gordon Stanley and Treasurer Mrs. ...
    Ceres Juices 10K Series to be Part of Caribbean Wellness Day Events
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    Several walks throughout the districts on Tortola, will begin at 5 am and finish at the Central Administration Complex. The course will take participants ...

    - Still CLoudy
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 15:22:36 EDT
    Well it's a bit overcast today, but finally the sun is making a hard try at showing up. I even feel the heat and sweat.  Himmacane Ike seems to have sucked out all our wind and flattened our seas. It's 85.5F degrees today at 230pm.
    I was having Internet troubles earlier today (what else is new!) We had the light rains this morning, everything is green like emeralds around here.
    Yesterday, I snuck out of the house and went to see my Spanish friend. We had great fun torturing each other with our lack of language skills. She is learning English and I am learning Spanish. Finally she brought out this ten pound dictionary, as we got stumped and our conversation came to a funny halt.
    I am embarrassed, she is learning English much faster than I am learning Spanish, but now and then I throw out a word at her that sends her eyebrows up. We must sound funny, because we both speak very slowly to each other, as I try to grasp her English and she tries to understand my Spanish. It's great entertainment as I say things in Spanish,  like "Is that an elbow in your hair?" and she answers with "You have a rabbit at home?"
    One thing we do really well; is to giggle a lot!
    Carnival Miracle’s Sept. 6 cruise from New York will replace the scheduled call in Grand Turk with a visit to Tortola on Thursday.
    Grand Turk, home to a Carnival Corp.-built cruise port, appears to have sustained “substantial” damage from Hurricane Ike, which also forced itinerary changes for a number of cruise ships. “It appears it is going to take some time for Grand Turk to recover,” Carnival said. “As a result, we are not able to provide an estimate for re-opening of the Grand Turk cruise facility at this time.
    When green, bananas can be peeled, sliced and boiled then served as a starch. 
    Once they ripen, they are fruity and sweet. A favorite pick-me-up snack, is to take a soft whole unpeeled banana and slice it carefully lengthwise about 3/4's of the way through, (don't break the skin on the other side) to make a pocket.   Stuff peanut butter in the pocket, sprinkle with cinnamon, place on a plate and microwave about 60-90 seconds. 
    Optionally top with plain or vanilla yogurt or ice cream or whipped cream or sour cream and devour. YUMMY!

    - Gloomy Again, Amazing!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 10:26:33 EDT
    Well, I hate to tell you, but it's gloomy here again.  
    This is the longest running gloomy days I have ever seen in my 20+ years around here.
    The rain pictured below, has obliterated Peter Island (BVI) on the left, though Norman Island (BVI) is still shown on the right. Now the rain has reached me, where I took this picture. We have had scattered rains throughout the morning and it's only 10am and looks like dusk. Thunder just let out a loud low rumble in the distance. 84F degrees with intermittent winds and mostly calm seas.
    I  heard through the coconut telegraph that many residents,  in the Conch Republic have ignored the mandatory evacuation (I am not surprised...hearty lot, those folks!)
    Hurricane Ike is over Cuba and Josephine has lost her name though she is about 1200 miles out from us with lots of rain activity.
    Message in a Bottle:
    Washed Up Ashore in a Blueberry Jam Jar:
    Dear Miss Mermaid,
    Can you describe the missing cat's bowl for me? Ceramic, plastic, how big?  Thought I'd check here in Minneapolis and see if by some chance the bowl found it's way into the Sir Francis Drake then the ocean, was picked up by Gustav, floated up the Mississippi, then maybe, drifted North to the beginning of the Mississippi.
    Desperately seeking your Kitties bowl!
    Skipper From Minneapolis
    Dear Skipper,
    Thanks so much for your concern!  The errant bowl was oval, made of woven wood and last seen, may have contained remnants of wet canned cat food.
    For nearly two days, the disappearance was a mystery.  Then I began tossing the fridge, to see if any leftovers or "must goes" were getting lost in the fridge, as I was hungry and looking to organize the tiny untidy fridge and whip up something quick to eat.
    Well, lo and behold, in the very back, hiding behind a bunch of containers, was the missing kitty bowl!  Ah HA!  It only had a few dabs of errant cat food and needed a good wash and the kitties are plenty grateful to have their bowl back.
    I scratched my head over that one, then I vaguely remember cleaning up in a hurry before the pizza party, and somehow I guess in my haste,  the kitty bowl got tossed into the back of the fridge.
    The cats never thought to look there and neither did I. As kittens, they had been scolded plenty of times for climbing or attempting to climb into the refrigerator, every time the door opened, so that now, they totally ignore it. (Curious kittens and some cats will inspect your fridge, given half a chance!)
    Maybe I inherited this occasional absent-minded tendency from my mother who once recounted this story to me:
    She was home alone with a small crying baby, and frantically trying to keep baby happy and stuff and season  a big turkey. She had picked up the baby, to console her, then when she stopped crying,  laid her down, wrapped in her blankie,  on the big china turkey platter, to keep her from rolling off the counter top. The baby happily watched mom stuff and season the turkey in the baking pan. Finally the baby dozed off quietly. Mom cleaned out the fridge leaving a large shelf open, so she could put the turkey back in the fridge while the oven preheated. She had a million things on her mind, getting ready for a big feast and company. She was consulting her list of things to do, and absent mindedly reached over to pat the baby and felt the clammy turkey skin.  She whipped around, opened the fridge and there lay the nearly newborn, still sleeping, on the turkey platter, on the  refrigerator shelf.  Fortunately, the baby was fine, and only my mother's pride was injured.
    More interesting stuff:
    Lightning Strikes In The BVI
    By admin
    As the trailing end of TS Hanna continued to affect the BVI on Monday night (Sept 1), a thunderstorm rolled around the hills. This short 42 second clip shows two sets of lightning hitting Tortola. Look out for the fork hitting Tortola ...
    Assessment of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Jost Van Dyke Begins
    Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands
    Historian and Lecturer of the H. Lavity Stout Community College (BVI) visited Jost van Dyke on Saturday August 30th, 2008 to conduct an assessment of ...

    - (no subject)
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 19:24:59 EDT
    We just had a cold hard rain as daylight quickly transformed into darkness.
    To see lots of  videos from the Turks and Caicos of their hurricane floods and damages, click here.
    Internet access is awfully slow and interrupted often in the BVI this weekend.   Fun fun fun!  We  had some SUNSHINE today. Woo Who!

    - Sunday
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 11:05:48 EDT

    TS Hanna is dying out and TS Josephine has already died down, but big bad himmacane Ike is such a bully now as a category 4 (out of possible 5) and winds of 135mph, with much bigger gusts.  Not a pretty site. Prayers for all those in his path, the Turks & Caicos have already taken a beaten. If you want to help, then scroll down to yesterday's post and donate to the Red Cross (links provided below).
    Himmacane Ike spaghetti (which came with this disclaimer: If anything on this graphic, causes confusion, then ignore the entire product. )  Now THAT is telling the honest truth. Remember, this is just the EYE of the hurricane tracks, the storm is HUGE spreading about 145 miles from the eye. Yikes it's Ike!
    The Florida Keys are under mandatory evacuation, but I've heard from the coconut telegraph, that many residents plan to HIDE and stay put. I hope they are pretty hearty, because if it knocks out the power and  bridges and so on, they will be on their own for awhile. I suspect the reason the authorities want to evacuate EVERYONE is so that they don't have to send aid back in, if the damage is catastrophic and it could be, so I hope you Parrot Heads think this one through and DO NOT stay on your boat, no matter what. It's NO place to be during a hurricane. Just ask my dear departed dead friends who tried to ride out a hurricane aboard...
    On Tortola at 1030am it is 85 degrees with moderate winds, and a very thick haze over the area. I am trying to bring up the Sahara Dust map to see if that is what is over us, but my Internet has slowed to a pathetic crawl, so I give up and wish to get this out while I still can!
    Pink Oleander
    For some Fun Reading:
    Jim Donovan at 23 Has the World to Sail
    All At Sea - Saint Thomas,US Virgin Islands,U.S. Virgin Islands
    Then using a GPS (ah, the modern world comes into play) he sailed directly to Jost Van Dyke. “I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. I pulled in at 6 am, ...
    The Barge Dog's Turf
    All At Sea - Saint Thomas,US Virgin Islands,U.S. Virgin Islands
    On its maiden voyage, Amory wrecked his new boat on the Anegada reef, a total loss. His dog lasted longer but met a similarly undeserved fate. ...
    Scuttlebutt Europe #1605 - 4 September
    Tortola, British Virgin Islands: The fourth annual Nanny Cay Nations Cup will take place the weekend of November 15/16 off Nanny Cay Marina in the British Virgin Islands. The US Virgin Islands team of Peter and John Holmberg, ...

    - Sunshine is back
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 11:12:39 EDT
    TS Josephine has died down, TS Hanna is moving quickly through eastern North Carolina, Himmacane Ike is 210 miles east of Grand Truck Island.
    The sun is almost out and about in the BVI with temps at 84 this morning and gentle trade winds wafting by.  The seas are fairly calm. I am watching a freighter make good time going upwind.
    This morning's daybreak was beautiful with vivid hues of blue, yellow, pink, orange and purple. That is Peter and Norman Island (BVI) on the horizon.
    Each new day is a miracle, to see this view and listen to
    Morning Has Broken at the same time.
    The Red Cross needs your help so they can help victims of recent storm flooding and hurricane disasters. You can make a memorial donation in honor of a loved one. The stories coming out of Haiti are particularly chilling.
    Alternatively, help those who can't speak out,  help the the 4 legged creatures who suffered through disasters by giving to the BestFriends.Org who rescued countless animals after Hurricane Katrina and recently Hurricane Gustav.

    - Hanna, Ike, Josephine...
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 09:02:36 EDT
    TS Hanna is about 425 miles south of Wilmington NC with 65mph winds. Himmacane Ike is about 460 miles north of us with 125 mph winds. YIKES it's Ike! 
    TS Josephine is 665 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands with 50mph winds.
    It's a roller coaster out there! 
    We had unsteady drizzle throughout much of the night and wee hours of the morning as the tail of Ivan passes over us. At 830am the skies are decidedly overcast with the sun in a fickle mood as to when or if he will appear. Enough rain to keep us saturated, if we get any more major rains, then we are ripe for rock and mud slides plus flooding.
    The Sir Francis Drake Channel is just flat and mirrors the sky. 
    My cats are tracking up the place with little muddy paw prints. *Sigh*.  You can see where they come in the door and walk AROUND the fluffy rug.  That rug  was put there for humans AND cats to get the mud and dirt and grime and rain off one's shoes or feet or PAWS.  I don't know HOW to get this through their fluffy little hard heads. GRrrrrrrrr... 
    Last night some friends came over and we had a pizza party. I made extra so I could have leftovers today. Ha ha ha. What was I thinking?  We didn't have two crumbs leftover to rub together!  I bought some whole wheat flat bread that was 12 inch in diameter, also known as pocket bread, as if you slice it open, well there's your pocket. But leaving it whole and topping it with tomato sauce, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms and cheeses then baked until the crust was crisp,  ohhhhhhhh man,  it came out wonderful!
    SO this morning, realizing there was NO leftovers, I thought I would whip up  a simple scrambled egg sandwich. SPLAT. Egg lands on the floor. I so much wanted to go back to bed, if this was an omen of things to come. But leaving egg to dry, is like leaving permanent glue on the floor, so I managed to clean up the icky mess, make a sandwich and survive. 
    The cats inquired about breakfast and their wet-food bowl has vanished. Very odd. We looked high and low for it. It's oval, the only two oval bowls I own belong to the cats, one for dry kibble, one for wet food, both are oval so 3 cat heads can share together. Nope. I refuse to have six cat bowls. The little guys have learned how to share. Sure they have a squabble now and then, but when it's feed time, all squabbles are forgotten and they always eat in peace without fighting. I have caught one cat, who sometimes shoulders the other cats out of the way, and I pick him up, deposit him outside and shut the door. He must think I am awfully mean, but I am trying to teach him that shouldering his buddies away from the food dish is not acceptable. He isn't too bright though, so he is very slow learning this, but now he seems to eat in peace without the need to "lean" on the other cats making them move.  (Sneaky little guy!)
    I don't know WHERE they hid their bowl. It's a mystery.
    LOST: One oval cat food bowl.
    Reward for safe return.
    No questions asked.

    It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

    - Ike, Hanna, Josephine but no Fay!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 07:34:03 EDT
    Himmacane Ike is punching out winds of 145 mph!  He is northeast of us at 22.7 N...55.8 W with movement towards the west northwest.
    Tropical storm Hanna is sprawling all over the place. She is holding just under hurricane strength with only 70 mph winds.
    Tropical storm Josephine is still quite a ways away with 60mph winds.
    On Tortola we  still have dark clouds and gloomy weather here with flat seas and no wind.
    I caught a rainbow this morning!
    A territory-wide heart healthy walk,  is among activities scheduled for the Territory’s observance of the first Caribbean Wellness Day next Saturday, 13 September.
    The Royal BVI Yacht Club is having a back to school regatta Sept 13-14.
    The Willy T Virgins Cup race is Oct 11.
    The Performing Art Series will host classical music at the College Oct 3 and 31st.
    On yesterday's map, I put Fay's name where I should have put Hanna's name.  Ooops!  A big thanks to Chris T. for being the first one to point this out (followed by Tyler, Joe, Helen,  Chuck, Bill, Sharon....) 
    Well, I can't be right all the time, otherwise no one would believe me.

    It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 17:56:38 EDT
    The BVI has been in a thick overcast all day with intermittent rain squalls and occasional gusty winds.
    It would appear Fay has stalled and is growing bigger and we have her tail spraying down on us, like a territorial dog marking her territory!
    Himmacane Ike (21.6 N...52.7 W) has become the 5th hurricane/himmacne of the season, with 70 mph winds,  and has moved north and hopefully will pass north of us Friday or so across open waters.
    Stormy Josephine (13.8 N...29.9 W) is sporting 60mph winds and not a threat to us..... yet.....
    84 degrees, dark and stormy in the BVI.
    I concur, let's go hide under the rug and wait for t'ings to improve!

    It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

    - It's a Girl!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 08:30:51 EDT
    Tropical Storm Josephine is south of the Cape Verde islands with winds of 60 miles per hour, moving at about 13 mph.
    Tropical Storm Hanna is meandering off the coast of Haiti with heavy rainfalls.  We even had a big rainfall right at daybreak.
    Tropical Storm Ike could very well miss us, as he is now slightly north but still east of us by about 835 miles with 65mph winds.
    Lastly, Tropical Depression Gustav is slowly dying out across the southern states.
    I wrote the above at sunrise, then forgot to to mail it!  I was still sleepy and the dreaded jerk-hammers had not started their work, so I tried to go back to bed. Of course by 700am, the jerk-hammers were in full force and I was up again. Grrrrrrrrr...
    Yesterday da current done mash up FOUR times!  What's wrong with dem elec-tricky folks?  It's not even a real storm and dey can't keep our current running. Sad, just sad.
    I met a young man who had just spent two years at war. He came here for a month long vacation to recuperate. He said in the first week,  he was here, the BVI had MORE elec-tricky outages than he experienced in  a war torn country over the past two years. He was laughing about it, but said it was true, and I believe him. These outages are an embarrassment and make us look plain silly.
    Dark, gloomy and flat, looking at a near bare Soper's Hole in West End, Tortola, BVI with the USVI in the distance. No sunburn today!

    It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

    - Yikes! It's Ike!
    • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
    • Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 11:00:11 EDT
    Yikes! Tropical Storm Ike is about 1200 miles east of us in the BVI and we shall watch him closely and often while he figures out if he wants to be a himmacane or not. He is moving west at about 15pmh, with 50mph winds.
    Gustav has downgraded to a tropical depression. Hurricane Hanna has downgraded to a tropical storm. Tropical Depression Ten (Josephine?) has been numbered and noted near the Cape Verde Islands.
    We now have 5 different houses in my neighborhood using jack hammers. Most are underpowered so it takes them three times longer to do a job. It's frustrating, I want to wrap their jerk hammer around their neck. I think all my neighbors are deaf. WHAT???  Yes, deaf!
    I get a nice home office on Tortola, and then we had this construction explosion. But they've about run out of land in my neighborhood and I am lucky to be on a large lot, just that I wasn't planning to learn to work by jerk hammer noise, grrrrrrrrr...
    I ponder, how can you be building to code and plans if half of all your work has to be jerk hammered out again?  What am I am missing in this picture?  Today, I noted another neighbor is going up another floor and argh, on the last floor, he jerk hammered all his window frames out. Poured thick walls without window frames, craziest thing I have seen. Then he jerk hammered the window holes.  Seems to me that just weakens the wall again, but I'm not a builder, just a dreamer.
    Maybe years at sea, aboard a quiet sailboat, just listening to the waves slap the hull, was music to my ears. Sure there were times I had the stereo at near max volume and other times at subdued peace, but there were times when I just sailed to the gentle rhythm of the winds and waves occasionally interrupted by a seagull chattering or some other bird tweetering.
    Looking at Ginger, Cooper, Salt and Peter Island, BVI.

    Warm and Sunny Regards,

    Sign up for "Message in a Bottle" and be notified when
    Dear Miss Mermaid's next book; HURRICANES & HANGOVERS
    and other tall tales and loose lies from the coconut telegraph
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    It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.

    Even older reports from the BVI have been moved to another page.

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