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For the most recent reports from the BVI see this page.

- - - 2006 Hurricane Season - - -

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 10:07:37 EDT
We have intermittent showers today. We hope they will clear up  by tonight, in time for the Fool Moon Party!
I hope I get to go and dance under the full moon on the beach at Bombas.  Nothing beats dancing to the beat, while the warm Caribbean Sea laps at your feet and the full moon shines down on the waters.
For a tamer party, but comes complete with the spectacular fireball, lit in an incredible round iron fireplace type thing right on the water, is at Trellis Bay.

- weather and nifty pics
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 01:16:04 EDT
941pm Sunday, pouring down rain, about the 5th shower for today. Everything smells so fresh!  Slight wind gust, as if a herd of angels raced by on the wings of zephyrs.
943pm, rains subsiding to a drip, drip, plop, drop!
944pm, can hear the tree frogs, rains have stopped.
Such is the nature of a typical rain squall around here, start to finish in 3-5 minutes!
At midnight we had an encore, almost identical to the 941 squall. Same tune, different time...
Over the past few weeks,  about a dozen bottles have washed up on the shore, with  quite a few requests tucked inside, for more pictures!  So here are some new photo  links you might enjoy. I will try to take the hint, and provide more pictures to satisfy all. I just love those messages in a bottle. I can see that Rum is the #1 bottle in use.
 NEW:  Perspective Map of the BVI  (really cool, it must be how we appear to  low flying angels.  See if you can name all the islands you see, if not I will get around to labeling them one day, just remind me)
 Updated:   Weather Satellite Imagery  (new and old stuff to look at)
1am Monday morning
Temperatures are plummeting to the high 70's, the last rain squall really cooled things down! 
Brrrrrrrr...I am definitely going to need my blankie tonight to keep my Dear Miss Mermaid  tail warm and cozy.

- By Golly, I got this posted before da current mash up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 09:07:59 EDT
9am Saturday
 Well it seems that tropical wave went north of us with little consequences here thus far. We had a nice gentle rain shower this morning.  It was a cool 79 degrees overnight and now it's up to a scorching 82 (just kidding!) the trade winds are keeping t'ings cool for now.  Just another great day for the beach!
Yesterday da current was mash up all day, so I  went to the beach where a little impromptu bar made frozen margaritas with a blender attached to his car battery. Life can't get any better!
1157am, I was writing today's weather report and POOF, da current done mash up again. Just prior to that we got a gust of wind and a tiny bit of rain. Lawdy mercy, my nerves shot from these chronic power outages.
To make matters work the local Honda dealer, who promised to look into actually ordering a Honda generator for me, left the islands on a lengthy vacation.  He go to come back. Might be back in 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 years.
He tried to sell me this huge noisy t'ing before he left, not like dat little Honda dat purr so sweetly.  I don't want his huge noisy t'ing. Already told him dat.  I want the tiny little EU Honda that purrs like a sewing ma-ching.  Lawdy mercy, I would have thought dose cute little generators would be sold everywhere here in view of our continued chronic power problems. Tortola be different, mon. Not like anywhere else in the world.
Trying to get any real information out of the BVI Lec-Triss_tee Corp-por-rah-ray-shun is like asking dem to give up a year's pay to answer a simple little question.
My neighbor says her neighbor's generator is too noisy and too close to her bedroom window and some nights she done feel like she be ass-fix-ate-ted.
Lawdy mercy, life can be tough on an island. Well, I am going to the beach.
Meanwhile it's a cool 82 degrees with gentle variable winds. The little squall didn't even last a full 3 minutes. The weather moves so fast here.

- Marvelous Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2006 11:24:25 EDT
1126am Friday
It was chilly last night and I had to use my afghan for cover and still I curled up in a tiny ball like the kitties, who were also sleeping on the afghan. They think of it as THEIR blankie, that they share with me...My brother had it handmade for me, and I treasure it dearly, as do the kitties.
Yesterday the Sir Francis Drake was quite choppy but the North Shore was almost flat calm.
Today we have 2 tropical waves, neither are affecting us for the time being.
One is along 45W/46W S OF 13N MOVING W 15 KT.
The other is along 62W S OF 13N MOVING W 15 KT.
You can look them up on the satellite .
Today the sun is out, the sky is blue, the water is warm, it's  just a perfect day to be alive in the BVI!
All links are underlined.

- Pretty Weather
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 09:42:26 EDT
Lovely weather here today. Bright and sunny, some clouds, par for the course. My clock is off some, it must be hungry, because it went back four seconds...
My  brother fell into the upholstery machine at work, and he was fully recovered.
This weekend might bring some good surfing on the north shore. 
If you are looking for some BVI Books to read, here's a list of suggestions:
A backward poet writes inverse...

- Galactic Sarongs
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2006 09:33:57 EDT
I wrote the following report Wednesday morning and at 924am, about 30 seconds before I was planning to to zip it out into cyber world to be posted for your perusal, ZAP, the current done mash up again.
At 940am, da current come back, so ZAP, here goes!
Gorgeous weather. The tropical wave seems to have skirted around us, just giving us cloudy skies and not much else except some higher seas.
The Chief Minister's Cup Youth regatta is this weekend. On Monday is the Fool Moon Party at Bomba's and also at Trellis.
Sea swells are supposed to be around 7-9 feet this weekend.  Check out this cool wave height graphics, with 168 hour forecast.
So far no chair thefts have been reported today. Many bars and restaurants close up for the night and leave their chairs out, unchained and unlocked. The 1000+ beach rental chairs, the lounge type ones at Cane Garden Bay are always inexplicably locked up, I think the fear there is more that you might sit for free, than actually walk or sail off with a lounge chair. Theft has never been much of a problem here, but one wonders if this trend is changing.
When I visited in St Maarten, they too had chair rental, but it was different from Cane Garden Bay. There they sat out big colorful lounge chairs with soft cushions, under huge sun umbrellas. If you were staying at the hotel, behind the chairs,  it was free, otherwise you paid a fee that included chair, umbrella and a bar drink or two. It seemed every hotel tried to outdo the next with the  nicest chair, nicest cushions, biggest umbrellas and fastest bartender. Many of these chairs were simply too heavy to run off with.  Every evening though, they pulled the chairs back in, and the beach was once again clear and beautiful.
I am a mermaid, so I just show up at the beach with a galactic sarong. The sarong clothes me when I am bare, I use it as a towel when I am wet, if I want to sit, I lay it out on the beach and sit or lay down. If I need head cover, it makes a turban. If my  face and shoulders are getting too much sun, I drape it around my face, neck and shoulders, Muslim style. If I am collecting seashells or cleaning up the beach from thoughtless litter bugs, I tie the sarong into a hobo bag for my jewels or debris.   If I am tired, I ball it up into a pillow. If it rains, I use it for cover.  If I am having a picnic, it becomes a table cloth. When I leave the beach, it becomes my dress.
Honestly, how anyone can go to the beach without a sarong is simply beyond belief!

- Rockin Pirates in Paradise
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2006 07:16:28 EDT
The current tropical wave is passing north of us creating sloppy sailing conditions. Hope you have a cast iron stomach, if you plan to be out there today, you are gonna need it!
We have had a few scattered showers, and  more are expected.
It is 84 degrees with gentle trade winds at 715am.
Lots of grumpy people around lately, it is speculated that the power outages are getting on folks' nerves, making them less than happy.  Rumor (from a very reliable rumor source, I might note) has it that the foreman on the job installing the new generators left the island on a one way ticket and without any notice to his employers. This is not good!  We pray they find a quick replacement soon.
On another note, I heard a funny story, sad part is, it is true!
The Soggy Dollar bar on Jost Van Dyke reports that a blond woman from Virginia was pestering the staff about buying a certain wicker rocking chair that lives at the bar and is a favorite seat.
She was firmly told no, repeatedly, to buy her own chair in America at a wicker shop and leave their alone.
Later, a staff person noticed the chair was GONE. She tracked down the blond lady from Virginia on the beach who claimed to know nothing at all about the missing  chair.
Later the staff followed the lady to a day sail boat, and noticed lo and behold, that their rocking chair was tied down on the deck!  After much screaming and shouting to the captain, (boat was on anchor) he came ashore and reported that the blond passenger from Virginia, had informed him she bought the chair for $175 from the bar staff!
They informed him that actually she had STOLEN the chair!  The captain was mortified and promptly returned the chair.
Can you IMGAINE the nerve of some folks?  Talk about modern day pillaging!

- Bright and Sunny
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 07:25:08 EDT
Bright and clear day with roosters crowing and baby chickens peeping.  Winds are very light.
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion...
The tropical wave east of us is expected to hit late tonight. Today is a Public Holiday in the BVI.  It is Territory Day, which was July 1st, ,but is being celebrated today, because it is Monday.
Tomorrow, is the big July 4th holiday in the US and US Virgin Islands. St John on the US side is in the middle of their big carnival week.

- More mayhem home and abroad
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2006 10:34:04 EDT
Beautiful day in paradise. Just like we are supposed to have. It's 83 degrees, with light trade winds. The sun is bright with occasional clouds wafting by.
DearMissMermaid rescued again...
    There I was hopelessly trapped. I could flop down below, it was only 12 feet or so, but it was thick hard concrete.  It was also the lair of a dog, that is not mine. A dog on a chain. A dog who had not had breakfast yet and had already complained about that. He might think a broken mermaid, falling from above,  was fresh brunch, sent from heaven.
    So I did what any fool in my situation would do, I yelled for help!  My rescuer couldn't understand HOW I got my self in this position.
    I must admit, I was a tad embarrassed.
    It was my enthusiasm for suddenly being the perfect housekeeper. I was organizing, storing, rearranging, cleaning, wiping, dusting, vacuuming, washing, scrubbing.
    I went out on the balcony, which is about 12+  feet above the bottom floor, slammed the heavy sliding doors shut and began washing the outside glass.
    I heard a strange thud and suddenly the kitties, who were all  inside, ran over to the sliding door and began crying on the other side. I laughed at them, don't worry,  I meowed back at them, I will let you out in a minute.
    One of them, folded his ears down in a perturbed way and still fussed at me quite loudly.  
    I continued to wash the window. Convinced it was about as clean as I could see, since I hadn't washed the inside yet, and it's hard to tell which side is dirtier at that point, I grasped the sliding door handle and put some muscle into opening the cantankerous door.
    It teased me by opening exactly 4 inches. Even thought the cats could easily squeeze through there, they looked at me with a look of horror, maybe they were mirroring my face.
    I saw that the anonymous thud, I had heard earlier, was the safety pole, which had dropped firmly into the sliding door track. It usually leans in the corner of the track.
    At some point in my earlier history, I had paranoid company staying with me overnight. They were overly concerned that I slept with the sliding doors wide open. They were sure somebody could scale the mango tree, leap over ten feet from a flimsy limb, land on  my balcony and rob us all of our combined twenty-two dollars and ten cents.
    They found an old broken piece of metal rod and spent about an hour sawing it to fit. I convinced them, to leave the 4 inch gap so the kitties could come and go , as they have a thin cat walk around the side of the building that connects to the balcony and enables them to come and go from the great outdoors to the cozy indoors. The dogs don't like this, but the kitties sure do. They are high up in the air, prancing down their cat walk, while glancing at the dogs below, who can't possibly reach them  And I think we all know how much cats enjoy being the superior creature.
    For the rest of my paranoid friend's  stay, they kept that rod firmly in place in the sliding glass doors.  When they left, I only used the rod occasionally. Mainly when I shut the door to keep out horizontal rain out, the rod would fall down into place on its own.The sliding doors rumble and groan as they close, this is an old building and the slight vibration is just enough to make the rod fall into place, nice and neatly, like my dear safety conscious friend intended.
    I hadn't shut the doors in awhile, I knew the rod was there, but had forgotten about it. I forget things, but I forget why.
    Now it had firmly locked me out of my own home. I thought about my past paranoid company. I hoped they were HAPPY ad safe  now.
    The cats continued to cry, they are convinced that doors are kitty voice-activated. After all, when they show up in the hallway and meow at the door, it miraculously opens. So  they meowed quite pitifully, and louder with each cry, trying to make that door budge.  It would not.
    I decided to yell for help. I didn't want to chance breaking my tail or limbs by foolishly jumping below into the pit dog, dog pit. My building has very thick walls. My neighbors didn't hear me until I yelled so loud I believe the entire harbor heard me as well.
    After awhile, my neighbor hollers over from her balcony, "What's wrong?"
    I tell her I am locked out and ask her is she will let me in.
    "How did you get locked out?  I didn't think you could lock sliding glass door from the outside!  Why would you want to lock your doors from the outside?"
    I explained that it wasn't my original intentions, I was merrily washing the glass and the safety rod fell into place and locked me out.
    "What's a safety rod?"
    I asked her to come through my front door and let me in.
    "I don't have any keys! Isn't your front door locked?"
    "You don't need any keys. The front door is unlocked." Frankly, I had no idea whether it was unlocked or not, but I wanted her to at least try.
    "What if it's locked?" She asked.
    Lordly, by now the seasons could change and I would still be on my balcony, answering questions.
    If I had a cell phone, I would have already called for a ladder truck, from the fire department, 12 miles and another half hour away and thoroughly embarrassed myself. That is, IF they would come at all, the laughter of such an absurd phone call would surely permeate the fire hall.
    I said quite firmly that the front door was unlocked. I prayed I wasn't lying. 99% of the time my front door is locked if it is shut and that is because a strong wind can blow it open if the dead bolt is not on.
    I found that out one hot summer night, while sleeping au naturale, that while the door knob was locked the dead bolt wasn't and a strong wind had come along and blown my door open. Any neighbor walking by would have seen a naked mermaid, fast asleep. So since then, I lock the door 99% of the time when I shut it. The other 1% is when I suffer from that disease I forget the name of, the one where you, um, forget things.
    "Well, even if your front door is unlocked, how am I going to open the sliding doors?'
    The sun began setting...
    "Just come over, through the front door and I will show you."
    "You SURE it's not locked?"
    I honestly think she wanted to catch me in a lie.  I bit my lip. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. I wondered why I was still on my balcony having this yelled conversation with another balcony. I had carried the garbage out and come home again, I don't think I had locked the door, but I had no idea.
    I yelled, "I don't think it's locked, go check and see, please."
    "But how am I going to unlock the sliding glass doors?"
    The moon was rising in the sky.
    "Just come on over, and I will show you!"
    For a few moments there was silence. Then I hear my front door open and my neighbor walks in. I was so relieved. I pointed out the  rod, through the half cleaned glass door.
    If the front door had been locked, I don't know WHAT I would have done next. My front door is thick solid treated  wood, nothing you are going to casually kick in with a foot.
    "I don't understand!" my neighbor says, as she stand there on the other side of the door, hand on one hip.
    " How did you manage to go outside and lock the door and place that rod in the track?"
    "It fell."
    "How did it fall?"
    The sun was rising...
    "I don't know!  It just fell down when I shut the door."
    "Why did you shut the door?"
    "I wanted to wash the windows."
    "Well, you don't have to lock the door to wash the glass, do you?"
    I thought about asking her to call out for lunch...
    "Just pick up the rod and I will come INSIDE and explain. "
     She  reached down and petted the crying cat.
    "I still don't understand HOW you did this!"
    I rolled my eyes.
    She bent over again and finally picked up the metal rod.
    The kitties quit crying. I stored the rod in the broom closet.
    DearMissMermaid was safe again! 
    I watched my neighbor retreat, her head shaking from side to side, as I yelled a very grateful THANK YOU!    

- Lawdy Mercy, dat current done gone again and me living by candle light
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2006 08:07:19 EDT
714am Saturday
Amazingly, da current done mash up all day Friday. It was out 8 times. Yes 8. We had a few teases too, da current would come back on and 5 minutes later it was gone again for hours.
I am so glad I stocked up on candles because sunset rolled around and we were still powerless. I was trying to clean house and cleaning by candlelight is very rewarding. Everything looks great by candle light. Then this morning when I woke up, I saw lots of dirty everywhere.  Funny, I didn't see any of that by candle light!
Yesterday is rained off and on all day, the tropical wave passing through, proving to be a very wet one.
This morning everything looks shiny and green, and while it is still cloudy and overcast, at least much of the Sahara dust and Volcano ash have settled down.
If there are any generators left for sale on the island, I bet there won't be by the end of today.
Today's Weather Pictures, Click here to enlarge all.
1120am Friday
Da current done mash up again!  Probably because the electrician was scheduled to fix my place today. *sigh*  Many weeks ago, the current came on and my bathroom light went KER-BOOM.  It hasn't worked since. I notified the landlady a few times, and she has promised to have it looked into. The electrician came a few weeks ago, then said he would be back at 6pm, I thought that real funny, cause my bathroom is very dark with just the tiny window near the ceiling, that faces a steep sunless  hill. You can barely see in there in the daytime and by 6pm you really can't see in there at all. I was hoping he had a lantern to strap on his head to fix the darn thing in the dark. He never showed up. Today, the landlady promised me he would come fix it, once and for all. Meanwhile the bedroom light went POOF and it died too. New light bulbs do nothing to encourage it to work. Dang.
My father grew up without running water and electricity, so he doesn't see what the problem is.  He lived on a farm where you worked by daylight and dined by oil lamps and slept by the fire.  His home came with three rooms and a path. Now he thinks it funny, that I grew up with the luxury of running water, electricity and even a phone and yet I  live in a place where all utilities are intermittent.
Such is life on Tortola. Everyone talks about the new generators being installed at the plant, but I think what they  bought is merely a band aid for a severed  limb.  Their old generators and engines are for sale.  Click here to get details on buying them.    I am sure if I bought my own generator, they would fix the plant for good and I would never need the generator. (hahahahahahahahahaha)
Maybe I should just move to a tent with a path on the beach, and forget all this nonsense of living like a modern mermaid. I could send my messages out in a bottle, cast in the sea.
Meanwhile, it's 1138am, Friday, and the winds have picked up slightly. I was going to do some laundry, which of course will make it rain, soon as I hang it out. Luckily,  I have a covered place to hang it (many folks here do) but still we sometimes get horizontal rains.  However, it is now stuck in the machine, soaking wet.
On my drive to town, there is a house with a seemingly large family and a long clothes line in the yard. Clothes seem to be on it everyday and the laundress seems to wash by size. One day there is nothing but teeny tiny baby clothes from end to end. The next day, that is gone and replaced by men's work clothes and underwears.  Next day down the length of the line is  ladies apparel. Then come male  teenager clothes with the  shorts  wider than they are long, and these huge oversized T shirts, a trend many teens like to wear here, is to have your pants half way falling off and a T shirt 8 sizes too big. Another day there is nothing but sheets on the line and then come the parade of towels and washcloths, another day, nothing but school uniforms are strung from end to end.
One day there was nothing on the line, and I wondered about stopping to see if everything was OK!  Did the machine break?  Was the housewife or maid or whoever does this mountain of laundry  sick?  Or perhaps, like me today, their laundry is stuck in the washer, soaking wet with no current to finish the job. Maybe it was her birthday, and she just didn't do any for a day. The next day, I was relived to see fresh laundry strung out on the line again. I guess all was well again.
All links are underlined

- 838am and still kinda sloppy around here
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 08:36:16 EDT
Not sure if I can beat the power company to get this out!  Our power is surging up and down, like mad. I don't know whether to laugh or cry!
I lost!  Power company won. We are dead in the water here...tee hee hee.
Today it is very overcast with no winds at all at this time. I can see the sky reflected in the harbor waters. It rained lightly off and on throughout  the night. The tropical wave didn't affect us much, just gave us big ugly skies yesterday, like something bad was going to happen but never did.
Town was without power too for part of the day yesterday. I work in town for a few hours a day and lucky we have a generator. It drives our costs up, but at least we are able to work. Many businesses do not have generators, and for some it's truly awful.
I am too scared to buy much refrigerated food. All his off and on business is not good for preserving food. I hate eating out of cans, but this business of shopping every day gets old too.
There are four food stores near me, and only one has a generator. The rest just let the food thaw and refreeze and hope we buy it. Sometimes I have bought frozen stuff and later when you open it, you find a BIG surprise.
Once when I was sick I bought this awful TV dinner.  I got home and opened it up to cook it. I guess it had sat on the shelf vertical, because the mashed potatoes, peas and cardboard meat were all in one big bluish green lump at the bottom side of the box. I have not bought frozen prepared food ever since. I mean that thing was like $6 and I was 10 miles from the store I bought it from. I had stopped there after going to the doctor and come home with it. I was too sick to drive all the way back to the store.  I made some popcorn and went back to bed.
We win!  Power is restored again!  WOW, that was FAST!  What is scary is that we aren't even into a storm situation and we have all these power outages.
I was at a certain local store recently, they are the Honda dealer, but they don't have any Honda generators. I want one of those little ones, about the size of a sewing machine that  runs whisper quiet. Immediately the salesman brings out another catalogue and tries to tell me these funny named ones he is trying to push off on me (also not in stock)  are just like the Hondas.  I was having none of that. Then he said well the Hondas are pricey and hard to get. I said, well the last one I had, I actually shared with a friend who used it Dec-May and I used it June-November (while he was  off island).  It was well over 22 years old when he sailed away with it for good. And it was still purring.  I have missed the generator ever since.
Oh yeah, I miss my friend too. *giggle*
So if a generator that tiny can last 22 years, I want another one by the same company!  The local company promised to look into it, I was trying to get the manager  to buy a whole container lot of them, I mean they are so cute and so handy.  Everyone that saw mine, wanted it, I had to keep it carefully locked up so it wouldn't grow legs and walk off.
I was at the store,  3 days ago, and no one has called me with the good news, that the Honda dealer is actually going to carry Honda stuff. Oh well. That's life.
Back to the weather, this tropical wave is still going by us and might make for a sloppy weekend. Surf should be good on Saturday though.

- Tropical Wave Saying Hello
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 10:02:36 EDT
Da current be off again dis morning when I wake up to start my day.  Cheese and bread, lawdy mercy, I just don't know what dis island comin to.  Every time I shop for me vittles, da dang current done mash up and da fridge done plug out.
10am, electricity is on and I am racing with the power company to get this report out to you!
We have a tropical wave passing over us today and tonight that may bring more squally weather.
Batten down the hatches and get the laundry inside!
Read more about earthquakes and such  here.
If you aren't in the BVI and want to know what time it is here, right now, click TIME in the BVI

- Small Earthquake
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 21:33:33 EDT
Wednesday Evening...
At 616pm I felt a tremendous rumble and wrote it down and filed my earthquake report.  However, the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, has posted the quake as 613pm, 44 nautical miles NorthWest of Saint Thomas, at a depth of 25 kilometers with a magnitude of 3.5.
This has me curious, did it take 3 minutes to reach me over here? My clock is accurate, is theirs?
At 855pm a squall hit West End, with  frenzied winds and rains. I could hear it coming before it hit!  At 903pm is subsided with a few loud drops, but I can still hear winds and rains, as it marches onwards.  At 9:13, all is quiet, the winds are light and the tree frogs are singing again.
Earlier in the evening, I had unloaded a large paper bag. The wind had knocked it in the floor and I let it stay there since I have cats. When the squall started, one cat moved INTO the paper bag and hasn't come out yet.
I guess this squall is all  my fault! I had just hung out some late laundry...
919pm, laundry very wet, but blowing in the breeze,  thunder rumbled loudly.

- Simply Gorgeous!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 18:10:45 EDT
It's 5:17pm, bright and sunny with gentle tradewinds wafting by. It's 88 degrees and just another gorgeous day to be alive.
Hola Miss Mermaid!
        Well, we leave for the BVI on Wednesday night!  I was just hoping for a last minute update on the place to be this Friday and Saturday night?  Do you have any idea what is happening in Cane Garden Bay, Sopers Hole or The Bight?  Those are our choices for our first two evenings and we want to enjoy some music and have a couple energetic nights out.  Any suggestions?
Already There
Hope this message reaches you in time!  There are many things happening this weekend including live music at Myett's in Cane Garden Bay to raise money for  a dialysis machine for the hospital.
West End has the Chili Cook Off and a Regatta going on and of course the Bight at Norman, you can jump off Willy T naked and get a free T shirt!
Check out these happenings and more at the Calendar of Events for the BVI

- Festival Soon Come to dey Islands, Mon!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 08:16:06 EDT
Wednesday Morning:
    I hope I can get this out before da current mash up again.  Yesterday I was ready to email from West End but da current mash up.  I drove to Road Town, with intentions of emailing from there, but guess what.  Da current go off before I get anything sent.  Later I headed for Nanny Cay and their Cafe to send out the email and when I arrived, da current know I am there and POOF it go out on me.
    I drove back to West End, computer still in the jeep, and it poured down rain like God himself was draining a big old bath tub in the sky.  The funny thing was, on the way home, I stopped at a new store called Bed and Bath in Duff's bottom near the huge Island Department store. I have been searching for a special shower curtain, not the cheap thin ones sold everywhere here, but a nice thick one that can hold up to machine washing (keeps them like new).
     I couldn't believe it, but right here on Tortola, that new store had exactly what I wanted in the style I wanted.  So I bought it cause if you see something on Tortola and you just know it is perfect for what you want, then you better grab it, cause tomorrow it be finish and you may have to wait another year to get it.
    I get home and it is pouring down rain like I haven't seen in ages. So I unwrap my new shower curtain, wrap it around me and head up the hill for my home. Someone is storing a horse in my backyard and she was quite happy and rolling around in the mud while it rained. The gardener who was hiding from the rain, gave me strange looks as I ambled by, peeking out from under my shower curtain. He probably thought mermaids are supposed to love water and I do!  Just that I was hoping to get me and groceries home dry.
    I dripped, plopped, dripped, my way inside and hung up the wet shower curtain on the new stainless steel rings I bought to go with it. The current was ON!  So I sat down at the desk, which was empty because I had left the computer in it's bag, in the backseat. It continued to rain a while longer so I busied my self with other things.
    So today, if I HURRY UP and finish, before we lose da current, you get two days worth of reports!
Wednesday 8am
It is dry and sunny with light winds, overnight the island seems to have turned very green again. Last night the tree frogs were singing like drunks in a choir practice, louder than my movie.  I turned the movie off just to hear what the frogs had to say.  Today, assorted  birds are chirping, all God's creatures seem  happy for the rains.
Tuesday Morning:
I had just finished writing this report, when POOF, the electricity went out and dsl went down. I used to have a cellular connection, but the cell phone company has done away with my type of connection, so I can't send this out. For the first time in years, if we get hit by a hurricane, I may not be able to report, with this method, but I hope that somehow we get something worked out in time with the cell company. So if and when the power comes back on, I will email this, but we have had outages every day of the week for weeks now!
Weather is gorgeous today though we still have that Sahara Haze and to get rid of it we need more rain. There is a tropical wave about 800 miles east of us, nothing much to worry about at this time.
From the Mailbag:
I  have a question about festival,  what would you recommend going to and seeing, with this being our first time down in Tortola for the festival.  Are there things that are a must see? 
Festival is something else here. The parade which starts notoriously late, is well worth seeing. The costumes and dancing is just incredible. Mocko Jumbies are a  must see, just be sure not to trip any up as some tower 12 or more  feet in the air!  Be sure to wear a   BIG Hat , as the sun can be brutal. Even men  will want a  Big Straw Hat , as a baseball cap will still leave a lot unprotected. Or you can do like many islanders and simply hold up your  sun umbrella  the whole time.
I have been begging for a carnival schedule, it's not even online yet, and that is ridiculous, the powers that be,  are so slow here to embrace the power of the internet. Even the government websites are way out of date with email addresses that don't even work and schedules from 3 years ago. I have a picture of last year's Carnival Schedule, like that's a lot of help...But actually, it does give you an idea of what to expect this year, though some things will be different.
The carnival village is worth an evening trip, just to people watch as well as taste some very local food and listen to some great Caribbean music and watch some very funny drunks.  If you are single, well you won't be for long, as Festival is a time for the meet market to get into full swing and the men aren't shy when it comes to asking.
Then there are the horse races, the J'ouvert or tramp which starts in the wee hours of the morning, the greased pole contest which is pretty funny and held over the harbor. It is often speculated that some men, who fall on the pole, may have already had their last child...
It's also a time of year when a lot of off island belongers come home for family reunions and beaches and stuff will often have huge parties going on. 
Dear Miss Mermaid often shares their food with them, claiming  to be the mermaid sheep of the family...
I believe there is an entrance fee again this year for the village but the parades, both the children's and the adults are free. The children's parade is priceless and both offer excellent photo opportunities.  The Village opens August 4th, on a Friday.  They will hold a Miss BVI Contest, a fishing tournament and loads of contests.
One is the greased pig contest, which my friend won a while back. He took the pig home and fattened it up for a big party the following year. I arrived for the Bar B Q and saw that nothing was yet on the spit and a lone goat was tied to a tree. Inquiring around, my friend said, "Oh yeah, we are roasting a pig, but he ran off, so we have to hunt him down..." Said pig was sadly hunted down by an enthusiastic crowd that merrily tackled him on site, and eventually slaughtered and roasted him. I felt so sorry for him, that I told everyone I was a vegetarian so I wouldn't have to eat any.
The Carrot Bay Festival, held after the main carnival in Road Town, is one I go to every year without fail. It boasts the donkey races, loads of good foods, lots of good neighbors, nightly entertainment, and plenty  of kid races which are pretty comical.
I believe East End holds a mini carnival too, though I haven't been.
Now, for reality, FORGET about doing any business on the island before, during and after carnival. Many businesses are closed or short staffed.  It's also a popular vacation time, so many folks leave the island for a month or so.  Some residents vacation on a nearby island and escape Carnival all together. Plus the 7th, 8th and 9th of August (Monday-Wednesday) are all Public Holidays.
Make sure you have enough cash on hand, the banks close, the bank machines empty out and seem to be very slow refilling.  As far as I know, Carnival Village is all cash and no one uses credit cards. You will also notice, that there doesn't seem to be a chicken left alive anywhere on the island. 
Be careful where you want to go, as traffic can be closed for miles, due to a parade or party or donkey race. So know before you go and HAPPY CARNIVAL TO ALL!

- Monday Moods
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 08:12:41 EDT
We have a small area of low pressure about 100 miles east of us, so not much to worry about for now. No rains yesterday, blue skies with some clouds today, about 83 degrees with birds chirping.
Very light winds.  A small swell of 3 feet from the north.

- Sahara Dust
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 11:37:24 EDT
Internet has been off all morning, finally around 10:30ish, it came back to life.
We have southeast winds of 10-15 knots, with slight seas of 3-4 feet. Scattered showers are expected, but not likely.
Yesterday the tail end of the tropical wave was hovered over us, a thick low dense cloud, that seemed to suck all the wind out. It was hot and airless, uncommonly humid.
Looks like when this mess blows over, we are in for some dry weather, at least for a few days. I don't think it will rain today, but I sure wish it would.
Billions of tons of fine grained dust blow off the Sahara  Desert in Africa each year and are carried west by the tradewinds and about 90% of it is deposited into my  home .
The dust season usually begins in April, May or June, peaking in July or August and then begins to ebb, give or take a few weeks or months, usually subsiding by December. (I think we have covered all the bases now...) Sunsets are typically wrought with brilliant diverse shades of various reds and pinks.

My cat needs a bath and the silly thing only bathes in the rain. Go figure.  So I hope it rains, for his sake. I have never bathed him, except once when  he was sick, I spilled his special eye dropper food on him, because his brother (who was not sick) kept crawling all over him trying to share the eye dropper while I was feeding him.  He wouldn't eat on his own, and you can sustain a cat with  a mixture of egg yoke, honey and milk.  Cats burn off so much energy, doing nothing, (literally!)  that a sick cat can starve before his disease does him in!  Once I spilt the eye dropper mixture on  the sick one's fur, his healthy brother enthusiastically gave him  a loving bath and the little sick cat, just perked right up, like he wanted to live after all. Since he did survive that, for some strange reason, he now showers thoroughly in the rain, then comes inside and begs me to brush his fur backwards for him. This gives him a punk kitty look, and he struts around air drying himself with a little lick and nick here and there to complete his grooming. Then once he is dry and sufficiently pleased with his punked up look, he runs outside to play again, often taking time to roll around on the ground, as if to say, "I prefer the disheveled punk look for outdoors."

Check out the Local Web Cams and see the weather for yourself.

NEW ads are posted the BVI Classified Ads at ThisOldPirate.com


- tiny earthquake in the early hours
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2006 11:29:38 EDT
240am distant  rumbling
330am more distant rumbling
336am a loud rumbling
No rain, no winds, just rumbling. It felt more like an earthquake than a distant storm, because it seemed to be grumbling form the earth and not the heavens.
I went back to bed, after writing this down, I couldn't get onto the internet to make a report to the USGS. We never have al lout utilities at once, so the electricity was on the internet was down.
When I woke up again,  I checked the earthquake reports and sure enough there was a minor earthquake reported at 4:05am,  49 nautical miles north west of Isabela, Puerto Rico, of 3.8 magnitude.
I reported my  rumblings above, anyhow,  to the USGS, because it felt like the earth was grumbling rather than the heavens (a thunderstorm). 
Now it is 1115am and the winds are stiff, sun it out but it is somewhat overcast.
Today Montserrat is reporting ongoing emissions of gases from the volcano and a tiny plume can be seen from the satellite, making its way northwestward.
I know we have been getting some ash fallout in the past weeks, because the more I dust and vacuum, the more it seems to fall.  I live open air style,  but with a roof over me, so there isn't much to stop the dust from blowing in. It seems to be everywhere!

- Great Weather, Just Erratic Electricity
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 13:07:17 EDT
It is 84 degrees ere today. The electricity was just off for two hours. *sigh*. 
We have two tropical waves and one might make for a sloppy weekend here, but today winds are light and the sun is out. 
I can't seem ti find out much about the ash situation from Montserrat, but I can tell you, my place is VERY dusty and I just dusted the other day!
Check out this cool star chart.
And for today's giggle, check out this BVI advertisement.



- Another little tropical wave
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 09:39:15 EDT
Latitude of British Virgin Islands: 18º 30 North of the Equator
Longitude of British Virgin Islands: 64º 30´ West of Greenwich
We have a tropical wave along 56West,  South of 17 North moving about 15-20 knots per hour. We may have thunderstorms and scattered showers starting tonight and through the weekend, but we hope not!
Surfing should be good today on the North shore, but expected to die down over the weekend, so the beach goers will have a grand time this weekend between scattered showers.
Mangoes are starting to come into season here and they sure are delicious!

- Summer Soltice
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 08:50:14 EDT
It's here, our longest day of the year!  Sunrise was 5:44am and sunset will be at 6:55pm.
It's 81 degrees with gentle winds. Yesterday at 230pm it was so dark, it looked like dusk and the rains just poured down yesterday as a small tropical wave plowed through the islands. We are VERY green again.
For  information on June astronomy highlights click here.
If you are bored check out the new BVI Classified Ads at ThisOldPirate.com, there are some interesting ads there, only in the BVI!

- Living through Showers
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 10:29:33 EDT
We have had scattered showers during the night and morning. The sky is overcast, most unusual for here. Surf is up some.  It's a cool 82 degrees with light winds.  We expect more showers, and just as I typed THAT it began raining!  Too funny!
Lately, I haven't felt very well, so I prepared a Living Will.
 My Living Will:

I, DearMissMermaid,  being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.
Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.  Nor in the hands of lawyers and or doctors who are interested simply in running up the bills so that my heirs have nothing left to enjoy.
A nursing home in Ireland has hit on a cheering way to keep up the spirits of its elderly patients -- by providing its own pub.  If at all possible, please transfer me there for my final days.
However, if a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:
Rum Punch
A steak or fresh lobster dinner
A glass of wine
The remote control
A scrambled egg sandwich
A Bloody Mary
A bowl of ice cream
Some chocolate
My computer
A Margarita
Or a  hug and kiss

..it should be presumed that I won't ever get any better.
When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.
At this point, it is time to call  The New Orleans Jazz Funeral Band to come do their thing at my funeral, and ask all of my friends and family  to raise their glasses to toast the good times we have all had.
Amen!  Cheers!


- Today's Weather with a Geography Lesson
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 08:37:51 EDT

Warm and sunny at 82 degrees today. Scattered rains are expected. Winds are very light so expect to drift some while sailing today. Though if we get any squalls, those will give you a big push if  you have all your sails up when they hit.

Surf conditions are pretty good today, though not excellent, but enough to surf with.

Today's tropical weather outlook states:


I give the forecaster an A+ on his geography, but for the rest of us, I have listed below a geography lesson on the Caribbean. Enjoy!

The name "Caribbean" is named after the Caribs, one of the dominant Amerindian groups in the region at the time of European contact during the late 15th century. The analogous "West Indies" originates from Christopher Columbus' idea that he had landed in the Indies (then meaning all of south and east Asia) when he had actually reached the Americas. The Spanish term Antillas was commonly assigned to the newly discovered lands; stemming from this, "Sea of the Antilles" is a common alternate name for the Caribbean Sea in various European languages.

The Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands are part of the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean Sea.

The Windward Islands are southeastern islands of the Caribbean and include Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and Grenada. They're called the Windward Islands because they're exposed to the wind ("windward") of the northeast trade winds (northeasterlies).

The Leeward Islands include the Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, St Maarten and Anguilla. They're called the Leeward Islands because they're away from the wind ("lee").

Which islands are in the Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles?

The West Indies are composed of the islands of the Caribbean Sea and can be divided into the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles.

The Greater Antilles are the four largest islands in the northwestern portion of the Caribbean Sea and include Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.

The Lesser Antilles include the smaller islands of the Caribbean - the Virgin Islands and the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands.

Thus, the Virgin Islands are in the Lesser Antilles, part of the Leeward Islands, located in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea.

No lesson is complete without more visual aids:

My favorite map of the Caribbean is the one on my wall like this one.

Click here to see link to a  cool satellite picture of the Caribbean, once there, click on "Hybrid" and the island names will pop up for you.  You can also zoom in and out and have great fun exploring the islands, from space!'

If all this studying and learning has made you sleepy, I suggest you try my favorite coffee,  Cafe Caribe Espresso Coffee (shipped anywhere in the US)

- tropical wave getting us wet!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2006 09:36:48 EDT
We've had numerous scattered showers as the tropical wave passes over us. It's nice and cool for a June summery day.
21 West south of 15 North (this one is passing near us now)
49 West, South of 16 North
The BVI Bulletin Board is up and running at ThisOldPirate.com, take a sneak peek when you get a chance.
100 Years Ago and Today
100 Years ago, Tortola had 144 miles of donkey trails and no cars.
Today, Tortola has 17,000 cars and 188 miles of donkey trails...
100 Years ago, Marijuana, morphine and heroin, were all available at the only drug store.
Today, they are only available on the corner, at the banyan tree.
100 Years ago, Crossword Puzzles, Canned Beer nor Father's Day had been invented. (No wonder rum was the most popular past time).
Today, Rum is still the most popular past time.

- tropical wave on the way
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 15:28:12 EDT
We have had scattered rains today.  There is a tropical wave approaching the Lesser Antilles and it may bring some scattered thunderstorms. It is 88 degrees with light to moderate winds.

- Scattered Showers
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2006 14:05:18 EDT
Nice warm and summery. Next Thursday will be summer solstice with the sunset in the BVI as late as 7pm.  Today we have had scattered showers and gentle winds.
This Saturday is Family Fun Day at Nanny Cay Beach.   Sunday is Father's Day.
Homesick for the BVI?  Get some Caribbean comfort food, delivered to your door, in most cases, free delivery if you are in the US, check out the   Caribbean Sea Salt Calypso Marinade Ting Tropical Hibiscus Tea and Jerk Seasoning  just to name a few things available.
Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes...

- weather is here, wish I were there
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 09:58:45 EDT
Weather is gorgeous today, though overcast. A huge tropical wave is out there, about 1000 miles from us.
The BVI has a new Bulletin Board under construction, for notices and classified ads. See ThisOldPirate.com
Smiles all come in the same language...

- Oleander in Full Bloom All Over the Islands
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 09:58:05 EDT
Tropical Storm Alberto is stubbornly refusing to become a hurricane, which is good.
In 2000, Alberto, who didn't arrive on the scene until August, was one of the longest lasting storms ever recorded in history, running from August 4, 2000 through the 25th. Around August 13th, Alberto reached wind speeds up 105mph, only to die back down and continue to meander around.
In the BVI, weather today is quite nice. We are expecting some scattered showers, same as yesterday, but otherwise just a great day to be alive.
Oleander Flower, grows on a bush, and is seen in different shades of pinks and whites all over the BVI.  Bushes can grow to 20 feet tall!
Surprisingly,  the leaves and branches, if consumed, are extremely poisonous, affects the heart, produces severe digestive upset and has caused death.  Pretty to look at but please don't eat!
"White Oleander" poison was made famous by the book and movie, of the same name because the narrator's mother killed her ex-lover by poisoning him with oleander.

- links for Alberto
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 19:39:26 EDT

- Tropical Storm Alberto
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 10:23:31 EDT
It's official, we now have our first named storm of the Season, Alberto. He is headed for the northeast Gulf of Mexico coast, packing winds of 50 mile per hour, but creeping along at only 8mph which means he can strengthen if the waters are warm.
The Dog Show had intermittent rains yesterday with a backdrop of dark skies, it kept the crowd smaller than expected, but it was a fun filled day.
Below are two pictures, one showing the squall line marching down the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the other my favorite little fluff bucket. A Pomeranian, just 3 months old, doesn't even weigh a full pound, dripping wet,  yet. He entered the puppy class and the purse class (aka toy dog class).  Like all the puppies there, he was more interested in sight seeing than in trying to walk nice and neatly in a circle for the judges. When the judge went to inspect the puppies, they took it as a fun filled game while they were poked and prodded for inspection.
Some dogs arrived early and had to leave early. Their owners had never had them out in public before, had not socialized them around other dogs, and they showed up like little gang leaders, looking to start trouble.
If you have a dog, make sure you have socialized it in public and around other dogs first. Don't wait until the dog show and expect your innocent pooch to show up with immaculate manners.
 Others dogs had clearly been out in public before and wagged their tails furiously as they recognized other dogs and humans they knew. Babies and children were in abundance. One baby fell asleep in his carriage, and though his parents were nearby,chatting with others,  the family dog, who was unleashed, paced back and fourth in front of the baby buggy, checking left, right, behind and forward, clearly, a dog on patrol, protecting the youngest member of his pack.

- Sunday Morning
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 09:13:17 EDT
Tropical Depression  One is 335 miles from Key West Florida. It is gently raining here in the West. I hope it dries up before the Annual Dog Show at Nanny Cay. The owners have a hard enough time keeping them out of the pool and the sea, and factor in mud to the scene, and well it could be funny!
Coming soon is a BVI Bulletin Board on the web offering free classified listings with pictures. That should be entertaining. Watch the What's New in the BVI page for the official opening.

- Tropical Depression One has arrived!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 11:14:15 EDT
Well the first tropical depression of the season has arrived, and its headed for  Cuba and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, so it's not a threat to us.
Today everyone is primping their dogs for the annual dog show, which is being held tomorrow at Nanny Cay. Proceeds go to the animal shelter. It's always a fun time and the dogs are very entertaining.
One year, a little girl was trying to get her dog to go through the obstacle course and he wasn't having any of it. Finally she had to do the obstacle course herself, while her dog followed her and imitated all her actions.  It was hilariously cute and she and doggy got quite an ovation.

- The Emergency List
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 10:32:27 EDT
Friday June 9th, no storms, just warm pleasant weather tempered by gentle breezes.  The weekend is here!  Yahoo! 
I was walking down the street.  A car zoomed passed me and a piece of paper flew out the window. I picked it up, to carry to the public dumpster about 80 feet ahead.  It was on a crisp piece of yellow ruled paper.  Very neatly printed.  It seems so useful, I thought I would reprint it here for my readers.  If you are the owner of this list and  have lost it, look, you can print it out again, I haven't changed a thing!
Hurricane & Himmacane  Emergency Supplies Shopping List:
Rum, Dark
Veggies, Canned
Beer, Carib
Meats, Canned
Wine, White
Candles, Lots
Rum, Light
Matches, Wooden
Beer, Red Stripe
Juices, Long Life
Rum, 151
Baggies, Ziplox
Wine, Sparkling
Milk, Long Life
Rum, Mount Gay
Cigarettes, Reds
Beer, Presidente
Crackers, Assorted
Rum, Cruzan
Peanut Butter, Crunchy
Champagne, Cheap
Jelly, Jam
Beer, Heinekein
Water, Sparkling
Rum, Pussers
Cookies, Assorted
Bleach, Plain
Wine, Jug
Flashlight, Torches
Beer, More
Batteries, Assorted
Rum, Case
I hope you found this useful.

- Fool Moon's Coming Soon
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 10:13:08 EDT
A beautiful day in the islands mon.
50W S OF 10N MOVING W 10 KT., this one bears watching as it has showers and isolated thunderstorms assocaited with it within 120 miles east of the wave axis
63W S OF 11N MOVING 10 KT. (mostly inland over South America)
75W S OF 13N MOVING W 10 KT. (also over South America)

- Beautiful Days
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2006 12:50:51 EDT
Beautiful day here in paradise. The water was off this morning but the electricity was on.  You just can't have it all, every day, otherwise we would become spoiled!
Tropical waves:
45W/46W S OF 19N MOVING W 10 KT
58W/59W S OF 12N MOVING 10 KT
You can plot these on the satellite picture here.
Lots of folks still complaining in the BVI that their computers have slowed down. Here are some FREE helps to speed your computer back up again.
See more local events on the calendar here.

- Six Six Six
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2006 15:12:34 EDT
Today is the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year of 2000.
Another great day in paradise, nice and summery. A little hazy, this time from the Sahara Dust.  The Montserrat volcano has settled down for now and we don't mind that a bit. We still have 3 tropical waves out there, but nothing much to worry about...yet...
Electricity went off at 10:30am in the West, drove to town, where it was still on.  Had to make one stop along the way, at a store, that was very dark, and the cashier was sitting there, looking rather depressed.

- 3 tropical waves already!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2006 19:11:35 EDT
Wonderful weather, though amazingly we have three tropical waves!  WOW!  So soon? 
35W S OF 14N MOVING W 15-20 KT.
56W S OF 15N MOVING W 15-20 KT.
72W/73W S OF 13N MOVING W 15-20 KT
I ran into an old friend. She, like I, used to crew professionally on large yachts. Not your garden variety bareboat yachts, but big beautiful, gorgeous yachts.  The kind with exotic owners and  international crew.  Yachts that traveled with an assortment of luxurious accoutrements.  Things that must be kept up nicely, a place for everything and everything in it's place.  New toys   for the rich and famous might mean custom storage accommodations being custom made, and post haste, before the next sail.
Yachts I worked aboard were kept well organized 24 hours a day, with only temporary disruptions for maintenance and upgrades. Many required that a project be cleaned up before the workers were allowed to quit for the day, even though the next day, they had to restage for  their repairs, all over again.
This was because the yacht must be kept ready to go at all times, not only for the entertainment whims of the owner and/or his entourage, but for safety and security reasons. One might be in a foreign port where something is brewing, and it's best to move along and find calmer harbors.
So a true yacht, has a place for everything and everything in its place.  When I bought my tiny little sailboat, a mere 30' , it was like having private crew quarters, but I still kept everything ship shape.  This enabled me to have great fun, as I could sail on my own whims.  It only took me 5-10 minutes to leave the harbor, once a decision had been made and I took to making these decisions  quite often, since my work schedule enabled me to have lengthy amounts of time off.
I kept myself busy keeping my own little yacht in pristine shape and enjoyed many wonderful sails aboard her. I lived aboard her for  10 years and enjoyed just about every precious moment spent on the sea. I was young and healthy, it was a grand life.
So my friend and I were discussing how we missed the travel, the big yachts, and how different our lives were ashore now. She lamented that her new husband (of 4+ years) thought her a bit mad, because at home she continued to have a place for everything, and everything in it's place.
I knew the feeling. When I first moved in my home ashore, I went to great pains to put everything away neatly. Then I kept as much of it put away as I could or organized into certain spots where specific things lived.
We laughed about it, and I said as of late, I had sort of let myself go, let things get into a disarray on the home front, because I had discovered the apartment didn't tack upwind, matter of fact, it didn't tack at all!
For the land lubber, tacking on a yacht is to go from heeling over on one side, to bringing the sail across the deck and suddenly heeling to the other side. It was at that point, that if you had not put the yachtie things away with care, cabinets or drawers might fly open and spew their contents, leading to much embarrassment. If aboard the owners boat, they would glare, and say, well THAT needs fixing!  Or act totally disgusted or confused, WHAT is wrong with my yacht?  We don't have things rolling around on the sole,  not now, not ever!
My friend and I both mutually understood the need to have a place ofor everything and everything in its place, even if we did live on shore. Though, my friend volunteered that now she didn't line things up ever so neatly inside the cabinets anymore, afraid that things would get jostled, as her home too, seemed to stay firmly grounded now, and one could actually relax and even entertaion the notion of a junk drawer or a hideous closet behind closed doors.
Her living with her husband who had never lived aboard a yachts and there fore didn't undertsnad the need to have all this tidiness and organizatioin, who  often thought her nuts or even worse, anal retentive for wanting everything so tidy and me with my past roommate, who thought me a bit mad, wanting things nice and tidy, put away, ready to sail.  I guess we both just like driving others nuts...
I have to go now, I have things to put away, and places for them to be...

- Rub a Dub dub
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2006 16:26:30 EDT
Weather is gorgeous today, though we had about 6 minutes of hard rain and it darkened up around noonish, but then it was quickly gone and the sun came out and within an hour, you couldn't even tell it had rained at all!
From the mailbag:
Hello Miss Mermaid,
   I know that there are several fool moon parties in the BVI's, but what about 4th of July events or parties?  We will be sailing in the BVI over the 4th of July this year and I was wondering if there is anything going on there or if I will need to go through Customs to go over the USVI.  Your thoughts?
   Also, if I wanted to get a massage while in the BVI's, where would you recommend that I go?
Thanks for your help,
Rub a dub dub
Dear Rub a Dub Dub,
    The BVI doesn't celebrate the American July 4th Holiday. However, there will be plenty of parties and events all over the place because July 3rd is a Public holiday in the BVI, it is Territory Day.
    There will be parties and events all over the BVI, just not the traditional American ones, but plenty to do!  Many Puerto Ricans will be visiting, as it's a big boater's week for them, and they are of course, very patriotic and American (for those of you who flunked geography or American History...)
    Yes, you need to go through customs to get back over to the USA side, I can't tell you to sneak over by boat (even though lots of folks do!)
    Finally, there are so many massuses and spas in the BVI, I hardly know which one to recommend first! 
    See you SOON!  Look for the mermaid at the beach.
all clickable links are underlined

- Grateful for Clothes that fit...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2006 13:12:26 EDT
When the weather is gorgeous, day after day, it can be hard to come up with anything exciting or sensational to say. Perhaps, the weather is downright boring, except it's a great conversation starter.
So today is just another glorious day in paradise to be thankful for!
A tourist in a bar once remarked to me how wonderful it was to escape the snow and be here in the warm sunshine.
I let my eyes grow wide and said with awe "You live where it SNOWS?"  I have seen that stuff on TV, but never in person. Is it really as cold as they say?  I mean does it ever get below 70 and make your teeth chatter, like it does here, when it gets that cold?
Now that's how you start a conversation about the weather...
Now for the Fashion Report;
I must be getting old, I find some of the fashions worn by the young, to be quite comical. At the Music Fest at Cane Garden Bay, it was interesting to see how folks from different cultures were dressed.  It was as if we all had different weather to dress for.   Some were dressed for a hot tropical day, others for a cool summer's evening and incredibly, some dressed for a blizzard.
I saw a group of interesting West Indian young men, ambling down the lengthy beach,  wearing huge shirts, with long sleeve jackets over them, with long, very baggy pants, sliding off their hips.  The  excess leg length was  bunched up around their ankles.  It looked like the store sold them pants with waists 10 inches too big and  the length, a foot extra long.  Peeking out from under the bunched up jeans around their ankles, were sneakers, (that cost more than my old jeep, I might add...) 
Atop most of their heads were exotic braids or dreads, covered up by huge thick woolen caps.  The favored color was black from head to toe, except for the athletic shoes, which were white (black athletic shoes don't seem to be sold much around here).  Some of the young men had their shirts on inside out, or front to back with the inside label sticking out in front. 
I kept my giggles to myself, for surely I did not wish to insult fashion, but I giggled because these young men looked like overgrown boys, whose mother's had bought them big sized clothes (like you do for small growing boys) "to grow into".
You might expect a 3 year old, dressing himself, not to care whether his shirt is on right or not, he's just happy he figured out how to get it on at all. Size doesn't matter, because it's easier, as a toddler, to dress himself in larger clothes than in fitted clothes. Besides, mom says you'll grow in to them, so not to worry. Not that 3 years olds worry much about fashion at all, most are just proud to be potty trained and out of diapers.
So perhaps, these young men were never taught how to shop for clothes by sizes, once grown,  or how to dress. So they continued to buy huge clothes, and dress like a 3 year old. This made me giggle some more, and the folks around me to look at me strangely. I so much wanted to ask these guys to let me take their picture, but alas, I can be terribly shy at times.
I wanted their picture, because while they were dressed for a day out in a blizzard, they were strolling down the beach, in the powdery sand, with a backdrop of palm trees, along the surf line, doing a funny little dance to try to keep their shoes dry as the gentle surf slapped the sand. Around them were folks from numerous countries dressed for the summery 82 degrees we were enjoying.  It would have made a funny picture.
I grew up in an area with all four seasons,  and with the old adage, "if your 're mother is cold, and you are not, you still  have to put on more clothes..." 
Again I studied the men wandering down the beach, their eyes darting left and right, sizing up potential dates for later in the night. I thought from the way their were bundled up, their mother's were cold...
The stage was being assembled and I stopped to study that, having stared at the curious young men and their choice of a fashion statement, quite long enough. One of the stage hands was dressed quite similarly. As he bent over, his pants slid half way down his bottom, and we were treated to seeing his plaid boxer shorts.  His jeans were bunched all around his ankles, and draping over the back of his shoes.
He went to help another roadie move some equipment without wheels. As they heaved it up to walk it across the stage, the young man stepped on the edge of his too long, too loose, pants, and they immediately dropped to his knees, bringing the boxer shorts down with them.  This revealed that he had on a tiny pair of skin tight bikini undies in screaming red.  His pal on the other end of the heavy equipment wasn't aware why his coworker, was trying to set the equipment back down, as he couldn't see around the equipment, that his buddy was flashing us his bikini undies, and waddling across the stage with his pants down around his knees.  I think they would have fallen to his ankles, except they were so bunched up from the extra leg length. I stared as this scene unfolded, trying not to burst out loud laughing. It was HILARIOUS and my sides were splitting.
As others noticed and began to giggle, snicker and point, the two men  finally set the equipment down, while the skinny kid with the big clothes, hastily pulled his pants up, bunching up the boxers along the way.  Next  he reaches in, with both hands,  to dig around his roomy pants, rearrange the boxers, and sling the oversized drawers back on his hip. His pants had so much room to spare, you could have smuggled a week's worth of groceries in there!    He re-adjusted the bunched up  legs of the pants, around his ankles, then  continued moving equipment, as if this undressing and redressing on stage, while moving heavy equipment around was par for the norm.
I wondered how many times he had to redress himself in public, this way, on a typical day.
But I was too shy to ask.

- yee haw!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2006 14:42:57 EDT
Well it's the first day of Hurricane Season and so far we haven't had one. There is a tropical wave, but nothing to worry about yet...  However it is located along 32W S of 10 N moving 10-15 knots per hour.  This is a fairly weak wave but it has kept a reasonable amount of convection for the past couple of days.
The fool moon party is only 10 days away, on Sunday June 11th.  By the way, Monday June 5th, is a holiday in the BVI (Whit Monday)

- wet tail
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 12:43:11 EDT
Another gorgeous day. A new tropical wave at 43W/44W S of 14N moving W 10 knots with a well defined mid level cyclonic rotation on satellite imagery. Montserrat has ongoing emission of gasses and ash, but the fallout should avoid us today. 
Yesterday some of the ash fallout made for a spectacular sunset at Cane Garden Bay. I had drinks at Stanley's (very good happy hour prices!) and pizza at Big Banana's (great pizza but happy hour drinks are a whopping $4.50 EACH so beware!)  The Tuesday night music at Big Bananas started early (like around 6ish) and was terrific, so that made up for the big happy hour prices.
Around 730 it poured down rain really hard, right as I headed home, and I could hardly see to drive, plus it was raining all over my feet, guess I gotta fix that big rust hole in the jeep, but then suddenly at about Windy Hill, it was dry as can be and dry the rest of the way to Bomba's.

- gorgeous day and young women who look...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 13:35:38 EDT
Another gorgeous day in paradise with scattered clouds. The tropical wave is inland over South America, a strange place for it to be, and it seems to be dying out.
It looks like we may get some ash cloud from Montserrat later on today, so we may be thick as pea soup by then, maybe the forecast is wrong and it will miss us. But it should make for colorful sunsets, nonetheless. It's moving northwest at 15mph, on target for us to see later today.
At the Wooden Boat Regatta at Foxy's last weekend, I had a blast. I ran into several
*ahem, clears throat* 
old lovers. Well, not all of them are old, some are younger than me!  It was great fun to run into them and find out who never married, who is divorcing, who remarried for the WHAT (insert number between 2 and 9)nth time and so on.
I learned about one remarriage, by way of meeting the teenaged step-daughter first.  This was after all, a family event, with raucous sailors, some with various aged offspring as well as many landlubbers who came for the party, even if they didn't race.
Later on, I inadvertently found out about her own exploits, (the teenaged daughter)  as she was the center of an unfolding story, that once told, set us off giggling on end, and retelling the story.
She speaks only English. The Wooden Boat regatta drew many Puerto Ricans who brought their boats to enter.  One nice man, in his early 20's, only spoke Spanish and crewed on a boat owned by a captain friend of mine who spoke both English and Spanish fluently.
The captain rain into his young crew man, on the beach, at the afternoon party, who told him in Spanish, "Hey, I met this real cool chick, and even though she doesn't speak Spanish, we have hit it off and I have invited her out to the boat for the night, if you don't mind. "
The Captain, thought  wow, his crew is certainly busy in nailing down an overnight date, but remembering what life was like when he was in his young 20's, he  agreed that the young lady could stay overnight on the boat. With great glee, the Spanish speaking crew man began excitedly introducing the girl to the captain and telling her that she would be most welcome to stay overnight on the boat.
Now, obviously, you can see WHERE this is leading. Or so you think...
The girl, who looked every bit of 18 or 19 or maybe even 20, turns to the captain and asks him if he speaks Spanish and he says yes.  Remember now his young crew man who is smitten with this young woman doesn't seem to understand much English.
So the young woman says, to the captain, "Please then, tell me how to say in Spanish, MY MOTHER SAID NO!"
The captain (while relating this story to me) was roaring with laughter, saying you could have knocked him over with a feather as he translated for the young woman. He subsequently found out she is only 14 years old.  She had innocently asked her mom if it was OK for her to go out and see this young man's boat, and her mom, had answered emphatically, NO!
The young girl is allowed to visit on boats, but these are usually owned by mutual friends, the grand parent types who are cruising around in their golden years, the type who already know her parents and such, not the boat of some young crew man, who obviously wanted to show the young lady more than just how long his bowsprit is...
Looks can be deceiving!  I remember being 14 years old, back in the dark ages, and the things young men from 12-30 would ask  me, thinking I was much older too. It's amazing, I didn't get into more trouble than I did.  I always thought that one day, I would tell my own mother, the exploits I did as a teenager, and shock her for fun, to let her know, I turned out OK it seems, but I never got the opportunity.
What's the use of having a fling, if you can't relive it a 1,000 times in your thoughts and dreams...

- remember where you leave your car, it makes life easier the next day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 10:42:00 EDT
Today is Monday and it's breezy with bright sunshine with  very few clouds. Volcano ash is not headed our way.  The tropical wave is going through western Venezuela and Eastern Colombia, so no apparent threat to us.
I skipped writing a few days because Thursday night I lost my car, Friday I went to the Big Music Fest in Cane Garden Bay, Saturday I was exhausted from the effort, Sunday I went to Foxys Wooden Boat Regatta, and Monday I finally made it home again.
It pays to bring the car home...
Imagine my horror when I woke up Friday morning, not at all feeling like going to work. So I dawdled until the last possible moment, then threw on some town clothes and dashed out the door and down the steep hill to the parking lot.
It was empty.
No little red rusty jeep.
I scratched my head, thinking, didn't I bring the car home? I mean I am HERE aren't I?  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I didn't bring the car home!
I went to the Genikers (formerly Plaza Cafe) at Nanny Cay for Happy Hour  the night before, then continued onwards to give the manager a ride home and she lives near Rita's Finish Line Cafe in Sea Cow's Bay, so we detoured  for some sumptuous Italian food. I decided to   take mine home with me. I knew all of the crowd there as well, and stayed for a drink or two.  Can't remember if it was one or two, I think just one, because I was tired and hungry and anxious to get home.
I drove merrily towards West End and on the darkest part of the Waterfront Highway, the little red rusty jeep let out one cough, then a sigh, then it went totally silent and coasted to a complete stop without the aid of brakes.
I willed it off to the side of the road  but one rear tire refused to leave the pavement. I thought about trying to push it all alone, but feared I might push it right into the ocean, so I prayed that no one would hit it, even if I left one little rear wheel on the pavement.
I assumed it ran out of gas. It occurred to me that I couldn't remember exactly when I had bought gas last, seemed like only a week ago, but could have been two. Now I know most folks rely on a tank instrument, but my tank floater doesn't float and my gas gauge gives me wild readings, between Enough and Finished...at least that is what I think that E and F mean on the dial...depending on whether I am going uphill, downhill or sideways. The mechanics say they can't fix the gauge, so I just try to remember to buy gas.
It used to be I could rely on the trip meter, which told me that at 444 kilometers, I would run out of gas again. But one day, that too died, and the mechanics say they can't seem to locate the right cable I need to fix THAT, so I have no odometer and no trip meter. Incredibly, my odometer is broken at 99,976 kilometers, as if it just refused to roll over and start back at zero one day.
Even when all that worked it was confusing, as the car has left hand drive, we drive on the left, and the jeep measures distance with kilometers, and the tank holds 50 liters. Now the speed limit here is posted in miles, not in kilometers and gas is sold by the gallon and not liters. The mechanics complain that my jeep isn't US spec but South American spec and getting parts for it are sometimes hard.
So I try to remember to buy gas once a week, as then I only need like a half tank (I think, I get dizzy trying to covert 4.8 gallons into how many liters to figure out if I used 20 liters or drover 500 kilometers or 238 miles or what!
Life is supposed to be simpler than this...
Some folks suggest I should buy a newer car. WHAT?  My little trusty rusty red jeep is only 16 years old and it runs fine and WHY should I buy anything newer?
So I locked up the car, packed up my dinner and stood at the rear bumper, looking rather foolish. A few cars passed me by, probably wondering why a mermaid was standing in the road at that dark hour.  Finally two very nice and polite men stopped and inquired if they could help and agreed to take me home. That was incredibly kind of them, as it was about 4  miles out of their way, from where they were going, but they didn't think it prudent that a mermaid should be flopping around after dark alone, and I quite agreed.
Good Samaritans, the BVI is famous for them!
However, my memory, just never registered this small fact, ooops, I didn't bring the car home, until the next day when I couldn't find it in the parking lot.
After calling work and explaining I had lost my mind, but not to worry, it wouldn't get far in the shape it was in, that I would come to work, but be a bit late, as I had to locate brain and car, put fuel in both and restart my day.
I tore my home apart looking for a suitable gas container and found nothing except an empty 6 ounce juice container.  I gave up trying to convert ounces to liters and instead  walked to the neighborhood garbage bin and there right on top, wailing for me, was an empty one gallon water jug, complete with lid.
Then I walked down the street, to where my favorite taxi driver, Dave usually hangs out. He was parked nice and neat under a shade tree in his new shiny van. The passenger seat was fully reclined and Dave was napping.
I tiptoed up, debating the best way to break the news to him, when he opened one eye. looked at me, and  saw the empty gallon jug I was holding up while trying to smile very broadly, as if I always started my day this way...
He mumbled "This can't be good..."
I tried to be cheery and he said he didn't put gas in his taxi. I said, "Oh so it's a diesel? Wow, didn't know they made these things in diesel. "
"No, he says, it's gas, but I don't haul gas cans in my shiny new van."
So I promised to hold it out the window.  He sighed, I promised to only buy a half gallon and perhaps the gas attendant would refrain from slopping it all over the place, when he filled it, (as they often do, and no one knows why).
Dave sat up and let out another big sigh. "If it were anyone but you...and I won't get this nice shady spot again today, I bet... and...oh... never mind, get in,  let's go, you KNOW I can't turn YOU down. "
So we get to the gas station and seeing that gas was now $3.95 a gallon, I asked for only $2 for the water jug.
Amazingly, the attendant was extremely careful and didn't slop one drop on the outside of the container. I set it very carefully,  on a piece of cardboard in the floor board of the new shiny van and then clamped down tightly with my mermaid tail to hold it firmly in place.
Dave asked "Where is your jeep?"
"Well, um, I don't know, somewhere between here and Sea Cow's Bay..."
      ***Note:  that represents about a 7 mile stretch of road.
Dave sighed and said "I supposed you don't remember where you left it then?"
"Um, no, it was dark."
Dave sighed and then he laughed.  "You are a piece of work, some days, you know that don't you?"
I smiled and said nothing.
We headed east and lo and behold, we barely covered a mile and there was the trusty rusty red jeep sitting at a cockeyed angle on the side of the road, headed straight for the ocean. I was ever so grateful that no one had come along and hit it and knocked it in the water (that might have made me truly late, late, late for work!)
Dave, being the true gentleman, insisted on pouring in the gas himself, then waited around  for the car to cough and sputter an protest and finally roar to life meekly. He insisted I head back to the gas station and he would follow me, which he did and I topped off the little red rust bucket.
I asked Dave what I owed him and he rolled his eyes, said you don't owe me nothing and mumbled something about going back to find that shades tree again. 
I pressed a ten dollar bill in his hand and jumped back in my car before he could protest and roared off to work. Incredibly, I was only and hour and 25 minutes late...
They asked what happened, and I said, "Well, life is easier if you bring the car home with you..."
Tortola needs a BUS system for fools like me!

- gorgeous weather for the weekend!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 13:23:30 EDT
A tropical wave is along 52W/53W South of 7N moving west 10 knots. Not much of a threat to us, as this thing is down in the northern part of South America. An odd place for a tropical wave. The volcano at Soufriere Hills, Montserrat has ongoing ash emissions, but they are forecasted to go east and not bother the Virgin Islands.

- excuses not to work
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 12:15:34 EDT
Another glorious day in paradise.84 degrees, light winds between 9-15 mph. 
A tropical wave is along 48W/49W south of 7N, moving West at 10 knots with a weak cyclonic flow. The waters are warming up  (86 degrees  today!) and more islanders are taking to the beaches.
No volcano ash today, but I still have plenty of dusting to do. I have tried to dust with the cats, they don't like being used as a duster much and tend to hide from work. I would too, if I was pampered as much as they are.
This weekend brings on the 2006 BV MusicFest at Cane Garden Bay and the Wooden Boat Regatta at Foxys on Jost Van Dyke. Furthermore, it is Memorial Day Monday on the US side, while it's not a BVI holiday, many folks will party and miss work anyhow, Monday seems to be a popular day to take off.
Give an islander a fish, and you feed his family for a day. Teach them to use the Internet, and they won't bother you for weeks!
If you are looking for a good excuse not to go to work today, perhaps you want to go to the beach instead, then try this one. It worked for me!
"Hello, I can't come to work today. My dog ate the car keys. So now we are both hitchhiking to the vet..."

- waves and wild life
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 11:43:16 EDT
Warm and sunny, crystal clear waters, no volcano haze, but we do have a tropical wave along 44W S of 9N moving W at 10 knots.  Incredibly this is along the north east coast of Brazil, a strange place for a tropical wave to start.
In writing about driving conditions on Tortola, a few days back, I forgot to mention one of the major hazards, though it's not as bad now, as it used to be in years past, and that is the wild life.  While driving be mindful of cows, bulls, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, horses and chickens. They used to roam freely all over creation and seemed to prefer grazing along the roadsides.
Indeed, years ago, we had meandering cows down the grassy median of the four lane carriage way in town, and that was a funny site to see. For some strange reason cows like to sit in the shade on the road. I have encountered many sitting cows in the road around the mountains.
These same town cows often grazed in the unpaved parking lot at the local grocery store, prompting folks to ask for fresh beef!
At one point, the cows were intent on destroying a beautiful garden at my friend's town condo. He happens to be a house painter.  Around 2am, he caught these cows munching away at his garden so he ran out with what was close at hand: a can of purple paint!
He flung that paint and managed to coat one cow while the rest got away. A few days later, when he saw the cow's owner, herding them along, he approached the owner of the purple cow for damages to his garden. I don't think he ever collected a dime, but the site of that purple cow roaming around town, was hilarious. 
At some point, these cows were deemed a public nuisance, and agriculture tracked down the owner, bought his cows and relocated them or butchered them. No one is sure which.

- a step back in time, long ago and far away...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 10:18:41 EDT
Warm and sunnyagain today with gentle winds and low humidity. . Clearing up some, no rain yesterday, it was just thick as soup from the volcano ash. Today is much clearer, and according to the Volcano Ash Advisory, we will be spared for a few days.  Although the volcano in Montserrat has continuous ash emissions, the winds take them different places.  Montserrat is about 200 or so miles south of here, so most days we don't have a thing to worry about. Mostly the ash causes more dust and more cleaning.
A step back in time:
I wrote this in 1995, when I was living in St John in the US Virgin Islands. Ironically, my boat, which I lived aboard was spared while my business and livelihood was destroyed. For the 2nd hurricane, Marilyn, I took refuse in Tortola.  When I returned to St John, I saw I had nothing to come home to. I stayed a few days then returned to Tortola, where I eventually built a new life.
In the fall of 1995, Hurricane Luis slammed into the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The damage was not devastating for most, though a few people lost their roofs or their boats.  Losing a vessel is especially a hardship for those that live aboard full time, without a land home anywhere.  Residents picked up the scattered  pieces, beginning to  put their lives back together.  Lo and behold, a mere ten days later, about the time all were breathing a sigh a relief, along came hurricane Marilyn with devastating consequences. 

 A few people were killed, quite a few were missing, most staying aboard their sailboats rather than ashore, a foolish choice that cost some their lives.  A great deal of property was lost.  Roofs had blown completely away and sometimes the walls as well.  Furniture destroyed, personal belongings strewn from leafless trees and pathetic brown shrubbery.    Tourism ground to an abrupt halt.  The few remaining tourists camped out at the airport, waiting for the first flight to take them away from this nightmare.

 Utility poles had toppled across the roads, the lines lifeless.  Because the police are unable to control crime in a non-hurricane situation, a ridiculous curfew was imposed at sunset, making already miserable lives more miserable.  Many folks went home to nothing. 
I will explain what  that nothing meant for many hurricane victims.

 No roof.
 No electricity.
 No running water.
 No telephone.
 No cable TV.
 No refrigeration.
 No cooking.
 No food.
 No furniture.
 No walls.
 No job.
 No money.
 No car.
 No fans.
 No breeze.
 The stress was at an all time high, the islands in a crisis.  The curfew was especially a hardship to spend so many dark hot nights in ill comfort.  The odor of sewer permeated apartments and houses  as people waited till they had some previously used water to spare, for flushing the commodes.  The air was made hotter, by the candle light and torches people used to light their homes.  Quite a few residents  stank from lack of proper bathing, the electric water pumps no longer quietly humming.  Mosquitoes hovered around in the airless night.  The  acrid smell of burning mosquito coils and Ode d'Off wafted in the stillness.

 A few of the elite were lucky enough to go home to generators.  Some even had homes completely intact to enjoy.  Their lives made a bit easier with everyday modern conveniences, still at their disposal.

 Others were still reeling from the shock of sudden loss of home and job.  A few scrambled off the islands to other parts of the globe, but many clung to the rock, so to say, looking for a better day.  This too shall pass.

 Homeless folks now found themselves crowded in with relatives, friends or heaven forbid, the public shelters.  Some folks looked each day before curfew for a secret place to stay that night.

 The National Guard was incredibly hostile towards the residents, compounding the stressful situation.  Often at curfew, there were traffic jams as people hastened to get home, while the National Guard or police of both stopped  traffic while threatening people with arrest.  It was a world turned upside down.

 For the marine community, life was slightly different. Many folks had lost their boats.  It was their only home, for some a lifetime of savings, blown away.  Poof.  Just like that.  A large percentage of people ashore and afloat were uninsured.  The cost of living is very high in the Virgins.  Insurance was an unaffordable luxury for many boat and homeowners.

 Much of the live-aboard-floating community,  had power and water, some had refrigeration.  Many were tied up in hurricane holes, anxious to anchor in a more comfortable place, but afraid of another hurricane.  Two in ten days is pretty heady.  Each day boats could be seen limping along the seas to the nearest operational boat yard for immediate repairs.  Dinghies or professional salvagers were towing some.  Quite a few had the looks of hasty repairs, slapped on the hull,  to make them seaworthy long enough to make the yard.

 For many this meant traveling through foreign customs and immigration such as the British Virgin Islands.  They too had damages, but most of their homes were built to withstand hurricanes, unlike the U.S. neighbors.  While utility poles toppled all over St Thomas and St John, Tortola on the British side only had a few to deal with.  Power and phones were operational over much of their island.  A curfew was unheard of, crime is fairly low year round.  Residents knew that no government agency would rescue them.  They hastened to clean up their island, put roofs back on, erect poles and lines, getting on with business.  Their boat yards were doing a record business.  Some occupants competed to have a spot in the yard under the bright security night-lights, so they could work in the night, repairing away.

 For the live-aboards in both places, life went on much as usual.  Many boaters are a self sufficient lot with solar panels and wind generators to power their life with lights, fans, music, movie players, computers and  refrigerators.  Rain catchers or water makers, those that covert seawater to fresh, enabled them to live a normal life.  Propane powered most cooking and some refrigerators.

 The curfew meant they too had to go home at night, but could roam the harbor in search of social interaction.  It was common to see a small sailboat with a bevy of dinghies tied up alongside.  Often the dinghies had occupants sitting in them, a beer in hand, swapping lies or promoting the coconut telegraph to people sitting in their own cockpit with their own drink in hand.

 Kind of a roving party became common at night as old friendships were savored and new ones forged. Ashore and afloat,  gossip had become the number one pastime for an island in crisis with much of their communications and power down. 

 Some folks previously living ashore were now homeless but staying with friends afloat.  Many were beginning the like the self-sufficient lifestyle.  A new breed of boat owners is born after every hurricane while others swear to never-again-in-my-lifetime.

 On St John, normally a tranquil island,   I polled hurricane victims, asking them;
 "How did you cope with the stress  after hurricane Luis and Marilyn hurled into your life?"

 Here are the replies. Some sad, others comical.  A peak at how folks make do when they must.  Many entrusted me with some of their most personal thoughts, so I have protected their identity.

 I got drunk every night, especially after curfew.  Home alone in the dark, drinking  rum  & rain.  That's room temperature rum with room temperature water.  If I'm lucky, a squeeze of lime.  Funny, I got used to it, sort of.  There was nothing else to do.  My endless drinks alone, in the dark, a can of beans digesting in my belly, diluted me, until I could pass out in the heat of the night.
 I spent a lot of time helping people worse off than me.  It made my problems look so insignificant.
 Self-hypnosis.  Very relaxing.  It relieves my stress.
 I got drunk every night and every day. The hurricane could have been yesterday or last month, it is all a blur to me now.  I lost everything in the world.  Except my thirst.
 We smoked a ton of pot.  It calmed us down, made us think creatively.  We laughed a lot, we felt lucky to be so high and alive!
 Well, we did some serious work on our family planning, what with no power  or cable TV and the curfew, you know.  Well now we're  expecting our next child.  If she's a girl she will be Marilyn and if a boy he will be Luis.  Certainly gives us something bright and hopeful to look forward to!
 I clung to my family & friends.  I couldn't get enough hugs, shed enough tears, but they were there for me, though a little worse for the wear. 
My cats and  I became inseparable, I sat in the dark on the floor, night after night, with no furniture, petting them, listening to them purr and let them rub themselves all over me.  I had not a stick of furniture left.  On the floor I made a palette of such with blankets to sleep on.  We all slept in a heap, none of us wanting to be out of touch with the other. 
 Drugs.  Lots of cocaine.  I liked to pick up homeless or lonely women & take them home  with me before curfew, keeping them all night.  I still had power & water to offer, so it was easy.  I got laid a lot.
 We're leaving, maybe we'll be back when things are back together, maybe not.  This is just not the place to be.  I think it is going to get a lot worse before it gets a lot better.  I don't want to go, but I don't want to watch the island crumble.  Maybe when they get their act together, we will be back.  I mean we just bought land here and were starting to build.  But that's later.  Maybe we'll be back when it calms down.
 Cope with the stress?  Well, I really didn't have much stress.  My boat made it OK.  My cat made it OK.  I'm OK.  I drink as much now as I did before.
 Massages.  We took up massaging.  At night we'd take turns doing each other.  We're thinking of getting married.  Our house didn't have much damage.  Living by candlelight is kind of romantic.  Usually we both work nights, so with this curfew, well it's sort of like an impromptu honeymoon.  We've learned a lot more about each other.  We have a portable radio but nothing else to really distract us, except our neighbors upstairs.  They fight a lot.  Perhaps they should take up massaging.
 I took up smoking again, after being quit for years.  Matter of fact, I took of drinking again.  If I had a joint, I'd take up pot again.
I don't have time to deal wit the stress.  I get up at four a.m. each day and start working on my house.  I am chasing suppliers and workmen down all the time.  I've got to get my house back together.  When I can't work on the house, I work on the garden.  I work all day until I drop into bed exhausted.  the curfew doesn't really bother me.  I'm at home sleeping early anyhow.  We have a generator so we can watch movies.  I like to cook, so we eat well. I don't have time to think about the stress.
 Before the storm, I harvested all my pot, it was a bit too early, but at least now I have something to smoke the night away. 
 The beach.  We went swimming a lot.  We had no jobs and no money.  The beaches and  swimming are free.  It was like pretending to be a  tourist.  This is a great time to go to the beaches, since there are no tourists anyhow. 
 Wrote.  I just couldn't write enough.  I was an insomniac, I wrote half the night and most of the days.  Absorbed in my works, it distracted me from my losses.   I began carrying paper with me everywhere, some times scribbling on paper bags or bar tabs.  My mind was exploding with stories.  Or maybe my mind just wanted to escape the reality and delve into my fictional works.
 Played the piano.  I don't have a piano but my friends do.  So I stayed at their house so I could play.  They suffered through me learning new pieces.  It made me feel good, even though I don't play really well, but to learn a new song or play a new tune, like a new future, it gave me hope.  Things would get better.
 Cried.  I just cried a lot, I don't deal well with stress at all.  This is killing me.  I don't know how I am going to go on. 
 Cope with stress!  I don't know how to cope with the stress, I'm out-a-here soon as the planes start leaving!  I've seen enough of this rock!  Two hurricanes are more than any lifetime should have to endure!
  Well, we all partied the night away in the harbor.  See we live on a boat and there was no curfew in the harbor, so we would dinghy over to each other's boats and trade rum for coke or food for ice.  We had some really good parties in the harbor and lots of hangovers in the morning.  It really wasn't that stressful, just a change in my usual evening plans.  It's better to live on a boat after a hurricane than ashore.  I'd have gone nuts if I had to live the way they do ashore with that curfew and all.
 I play guitar every night.  I don't care if the neighbors like it or not.  With nothing much else to do at night, I just play and sing.  I'm writing a song about the hurricane blues.  I'll play it for you.  NOTE: WAPA is the electricity company and VITELCO the phone company.
 Hurricane Luis & Marilyn
 You blew away my life
 You stole my wife
 You left me devastated
 Come blow away my hurricane blues 
 Send WAPA out to rekindle my light
 Don't leave me in the dark alone 
 Have VITELCO restore my phone
 Don't leave me  incommunicado
 Come blow away my hurricane blues
 Send FEMA out with a tarp for me
 Don't leave me out in the rain
 Send Red Cross to clothe & feed me
 Don't leave me starving naked
 Come blow away my hurricane blues
 Send the water truck to fill my cistern
 Don't leave me thirsty and dirty
 Send the cable man to entertain my life
 Don't leave me  without diversion
 Come blow away my hurricane blues
 Send my loved ones back to me
 Don't leave me alone with no one to love
 Send me a job to fill my pockets
 Don't leave me with my idle hands
 Come blow away my hurricane blues
 Send my life back to me
 Have my wife running to me
 Bring me some good fortune
 Something I can weather
 Come blow away my hurricane blues   
WELL, suffice it to say, we have been incredibly LUCKY since 1995. I play that this year, we will be spared as well.

- Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 11:58:58 EDT
Bright and sunny with patches of very dark clouds. Yesterday I had a blast at Smugglers Cove Beach attending a birthday party.  Kids, adults, babies, dogs, and people from 14 plus countries attended.  It was a wild time.
Montserrat is still putting out quite an ash cloud and it is expected to head over to the BVI today.  So we will all have lots of dusting to do soon! Check out the webcams, you can see the thick soup we have here today.
From the Bible, Genesis iii 19 'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.'

- great weather for driving!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 20 May 2006 15:41:00 EDT
76 degrees and breezy.  Just a great day all around! 
Recently I met a delightful couple who had moved here after being granted work permits. They bought an old jeep and asked me for driving tips. They claimed I had enlightened them considerably after our lengthy conversation.  The next day, however, they told me they had thought it over, and  decided to sell their car and just hitch hike...I know it's a bit rough driving here, but with these tips, you just might survive.
This is basically most of the info, I offered up to them for  driving tips and insider knowledge for  the BVI roads:
Brits drive on the left, Americans on the right and islanders down the middle of the road.
The law is to drive on the LEFT.  THINK LEFT!
The people honking behind you are not mad, they want to pass you, so maintain course and speed and let them pass!  Nobody cares here if you wish to drive very slowly, and you sure won't get a ticket for going slow, so go slow, if you feel like it or are new to driving on the roads.
Those women standing in the shade near the road are hitch hiking and hoping you offer a ride. They make no motion they are hitchhiking, this way if you are truly scary looking ,  they can say they are waiting on a ride from their boyfriend.  Some are hitchhiking with small children or babies or packages and bags.
The men often shout out the part of the island they are going to, or point with their index finger down at the road or down the road towards the direction they are going.  No one uses a thumb to hitch hike here.
Senior citizens that are hitchhiking will often stand in the middle of the road and flag you down. Sometimes they have a heavy box in the bushes they want you to lift and load for them. You are expected to drive them to their exact destination and unload the heavy box for them.
Many folks hitchhike near speed bumps and at the bottom of steep hills.
Pickup trucks often pickup everybody. Many folks are wearing their work uniforms and do their daily commute by hitchhiking.
Be a sport and offer a ride now and then. Traffic is pretty bad in some areas, particularly Road Town. Most hitch hikers are friendly and gracious. Some only speak Spanish (I've learned a lot of Spanish this way...)
Taxis often slam on brakes in the middle of the road to pickup or discharge passengers. They try to block parking lot entrances and driveways whenever possible. Other cars often slam on brakes in the middle of the road to talk to someone, either in another car or on the side of the road. It would never occur to either to pull off to the side.
Watch out for unmarked road hazards. We have plenty of them!  Big potholes that could brake your axle are common. The phone company is notorious for digging up huge rectangular holes and leaving them uncovered and unmarked for days at a time before their project is complete. Other utility companies and Public works are equally bad about working in the middle of the road with no flagman to direct you and no markers to warn you. Many drivers ignore the flagman, it's best not to though. Sometimes the flagmen don't look and flag you onwards when you can clearly see three huge trucks bearing down on you. Use your common sense, don't assume the flagmen know what they are doing. Sometimes they are just a bored pedestrian who stepped in to help.
If the cops are directing traffic, expect lengthy delays, they are new at this.
During heavy rains, rocks and mud often tumble down cliffs, mountains and unpaved driveways. Be a good Samaritan and move large rocks off the road (if you can lift them!).  Many will rip out your oil pan if you try to run over them.
Speed bumps; we have plenty of them in the strangest places and some in the middle of nowhere. They come in all different shapes and sizes with no thought to engineering. Very few are painted or marked. When your head hits the roof of your car and spare parts fly off, and the car sounds like you were just in an awful wreck,  assume you just hit a big speed bump, while driving more than 3 miles an hour.
Some speed bumps you can speed right over and not feel much at all, if you are going super fast, others are so big and sneaky, they can send your car into outer space or worse, into the drink (ocean!)
Always wear your seatbelts and make your passengers buckle up. Recently they made it a law to wear seatbelts and it's one ticket you can't talk them out of, if they catch you. Child and infant seats are now required. If you re renting a car for a temporary visit, ask the car agency well in advance to reserve baby car seats for you.
Driver's here are nuts!  Beware!
I first thought we had the world's shortest driver's here, as I often encountered cars where I could see fingers on a steering wheel and no head or just the very top of someone's head barely peaking over the steering wheel. I discovered that many islanders like to drive while their seat is fully reclined, with the steering wheel barely within their reach.
Some cars have left hand drive others have right hand drive. Some have a lone driver sitting in the he middle of the car driving. This is because his seat doesn't recline, so he slouches sideways and drives with one hand stretched over to barely reach the wheel and the other hanging out the opposite window. Sometimes, the car door doesn't shut, so they sit in the middle to hold the doors shut and drive at the same time. (Don't ask, but it's common!)
If you hear very loud rumbling, it might be an earthquake, but more often, it is a car with a stadium sized stereo approaching you. They are often low to the ground, because of the weight of all the extra batteries, woofers, speakers, amplifiers etc. They are louder than any fire tuck or ambulance or police car. So once you are in earshot of these mega-stereos, plan on your ears ringing for the next hour. They often drive very slow, so that everyone can enjoy their music. Many add drum machines to their elaborate stereos and add extras drums to all their music. This is loudly set to a different beat than the song playing.
HONK on all sharp turns in the mountains, if you hear honking, near a sharp turn, it usually means someone is about to come into YOUR lane, so beware.
All that honking by folks coming at you?  They know you or think they know you and it's a friendly HOWDY TOOT!  Wave and smile, at everyone that honks, even if you don't know them!
Large truck drivers here often have had minimal training, (if they even have a license to drive!) stay clear, as many practice very unsafe habits, hog the road, have annoying strobe lights to distract you with and often don't have brake lights.  Dump trucks may randomly dump debris off the back, so don't follow closely. Some forget to lock their tail gate, and I have twice, yes twice, had a load of rocks dumped right in front of me, on the highway,  from a truck that forgot to lock his tailgate. Once I had a load of sand dumped in the road in front of me from another truck that forgot to lock his tailgate firmly, so beware.  Trucks are dangerous!  Always give the trucks the right of way, they might not even see you!  If a large truck is honking, it often means he no longer has brakes, so get out of the way and fast!
If someone is following you too closely (a very common practice!)  turn on your emergency lights and slow down, to encourage them to pass. Many folks don't know what those emergency lights even mean, so they often think you are pumping your brakes and will pass you. Let them pass, never race someone that wants to pass you. They very often cut back in front too close and then you have a real mash up. By the time the police arrive, they say they didn't see it, don't know who did what and often refuse to determine fault or write tickets.
If you encounter a police road block or one pulls you over (very rare indeed!) be very friendly and polite and pretend like you KNOW them and ask how they are doing. Assume you have done nothing wrong, and if accused, (even wrongfully accused) begin apologizing repeatedly and barely let them get a word in edgewise. This wills exasperate them into letting you go with an admonishment to drive more carefully or bring your driver's license next time. It's hard to get a ticket here. If you get one, shame on you, try to be nicer next time.
If you are accused of parking on the sidewalk, claim your car ran out of gas  or broke down, and you didn't want to leave it in the middle of the road, ask for directions or ask for a ride  to the nearest gas station.  This often confuses the issue and if your car is old and disreputable looking, will often work.
Ambulances often sneak up on you, then turn on this strange siren that sounds like a cat being stepped on, amplified 100 times.  If you have a heart attack, at least the ambulance is close by.
Fire engines have a huge grunting snorting sound that sounds like 100 angry bulls coming at you.
Police cars have a huge variety of sounds and sirens, some European, some British and some American.  Sometimes the cops are seen driving  with their lights flashing, for no apparent reason.
If you are lost, stop and ask for directions. We have signs at many intersections but some signs are not placed where you can readily see them. So look around at the next intersection and see if there is a sign listing several choices. Road maps are free and mostly accurate. Those dotted line roads on the maps,  are donkey trails converted to dirt roads. Those spidery paved roads going through the mountains are donkey trails, converted to paved roads.
If a road is freshly paved, it means Public Works and all the utility companies, plan to dig a zillion holes in it, the next week.
If a road is in terrible shape, with a mish mash of gravel, cement and asphalt patches, interspersed by copious potholes, then it's slated to be re-surfaced  the week  before the water company begins to dig a huge valley down  the middle of it to run new water pipes.
Sometimes a patch of road is so bad, that car axles and car parts litter up the potholes. In this case, they dig out all the car parts, rebury them, and then pave that section of road, exactly 4 inches higher than the rest of the road it joins.
When the telephone company installs new or improved rectangular access holes in the road, these will be covered by metal plates exactly 3 inches lower or 3 inches higher than the prevailing road. No one is sure why this is done, but many say it's traditional.
If you break down, nearly everyone will stop and lend you a hand, offer a ride, or plenty of advice. If you see someone broke down, stop and try to help.
We do have many good Samaritans living here, just that many aren't very good drivers...
If after all this, you are ready to drive, you will feel very confident, knowing all our secrets. If you are ready to rent a car, click here.
Keep those emails coming! 
DearMissMermaid loves to hear from her gentle readers.

- Pisces, Pirates, and Perfect Weather...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 10:13:50 EDT
Warm, sunny gorgeous and breezy. Once again, I wish to thank Omar and Pisces Restaurant  for their wonderful food and use of the WiFi System so I can transmit my reports to you. If you eat at Pisces, their wifi service is free!  Pisces clearly has the BEST breakfast on the Western half of the island, perhaps  the best of the entire BVI!
We hear the terms "steer clear of," "hit the deck," "don't rock the boat," and to "harbor a grudge" and give little thought to their origin. Left together on ships for months, and often for years, pirate crews developed expressions that made their way into common usage. Terms for things related to life at sea became idioms used by land lubbers, a term derived from the holes in the platforms surrounding the mast that allowed sailors to avoid climbing the rigging around the platforms. A lubber was someone who was very clumsy, so a land lubber is someone who knows nothing about sailing and rigging.

Centuries ago, men wore wigs of length denoting their wealth and importance. Soon, many naval captains, including Sir Henry Morgan and Captain Chaloner Ogle, who killed Black Bart Roberts, began to adopt the style. A law was passed in England declaring that only nobility, judges, and bishops could wear full-length wigs and so was born the term bigwig.

WOW!  Learn more about pirates and the terminology they added to our everyday language with the Pirate Dictionary.

Pirate Flag "The Time Flies When You're Having Rum" 3 feet x 5 feet

- sitting under the palm tree again
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 12:38:53 EDT
Very thick haze today. I speculate that much of it is from Montserrat Volcano which continues to be active.  A drive along Waterfront Highway mid morning showed that visibility had decreased significantly. The airport reports 6 miles of visibility, considering some days we can see St Croix, 30 miles away, that is significantly decreased. Winds are 13-20 from the south, which also explains why the ash mess may be blowing here. Scattered clouds abound,  but rain seems unlikely.
Our mango tree occasionally turns up a ripe mango, but most are tiny and still green.  I was hoping for another bumper crop this year, but have to wait and see if it is going to happen or not.
A lot of islanders do not have computers or Internet access here.  Communications have always been notoriously expensive and way overpriced. The government has no idea how this hampers business and knowledge on the island. Perhaps they don't care.
So suffice it to say that many islanders are totally clueless about computers, Internet and using Skype  to call long distance with computer headsets, etc.
So, I was sitting at Pisces Restaurant and Bar, under the palm tree in the garden, with my laptop, utilizing his wifi, which is free with the purchase of any meal. I had just polished off a wonderful Caesars Salad with Shrimp and was calling my ancient father, long distance.
I guess if you didn't know a thing about the computer or wireless, you might think I am sitting there having quite a conversation with myself!  So as I chatted over my headphones to my father, an islander, who knows me, but knows nothing about the Internet or computers, came up and started chatting to me too!
I was trying to explain to him that I was on the phone and to my father, that an islander was chatting rapidly in my other ear.  My friend kept yacking away so finally I told my dad I would call him back later.
My friend, asks me what am I doing sitting here under the tree talking to myself for?  I try to explain about being on the phone and he rolls his eyes and laughs at me.  He says "You been smoking something good if you think you can sit under da palm tree and make long distance calls, har har, tee hee..."

- lover-ly weather
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 13:26:59 EDT
New England is deluged by severe flooding, we have a tropical wave far south of us. Hurricane season hasn't even started.
Amazing that America has had so many severe floods in the past year, and most homeowners' insurance don't even cover flooding, so beware!
Thanks to Pisces, I am able to still go online at their wonderful restaurant,  while the phone company takes forever to fix my DSL. It's been out for five weeks now. Nothing happens in a hurry here. Which by the way, Reggie Georges plays live music  at Pisces from 6pm on Thursday and Sundays, so plan to come on out and here this very talented musician.
Pisces, a green building with seating indoors or under the palm trees, is located across from Shepherd Marina in Sopers Hole, across the road from the Marina Market.
Recently they hosted a wedding dinner party and the relatives said it was fantastic! 

- da current done mash up all night
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 12:20:16 EDT
Winds are 10-15 knots, clouds are scattered and there is a chance of lights rains, but nothing squally.
My reports the past few days are out of order and erratic, we had a server problem, it was regurgitating my reports, but Gert the head webmaster, got it fixed and running again.  So I forwarded some of the reports that had bounced back to me.
Electricity went out  Saturday night at 8pm with a big BANG.  I was dining at Pisces and had just told everyone who asked, that I was not going to the full moon party, but that changed fast enough when da current mash up again!  Naturally, the big BANG sent everyone scurrying, as we have already had two explosions in West End recently, so we are still jumpy about these things.
It was the 13th and the full moon, so rather than curse alone in the dark, I went out to the Fool Moon party  at Bombas, and danced in the new and improved swamp fill to a great band, who never once announced their name, but they were great, whoever they were!
I wore my worst pair of flip flops and its a good thing, as part of the swamp fill is still swampy, and you never know WHERE, just all of sudden squish-squish and the stuff is oozing between your toes.
I finally went home, I don't know what time it was, maybe 2am? praying for electricity but there was none. I called BVI Electricity corporation and they said it was too dark for the men to work.  Well what's that big full moon for?  Howling at?  Can we take up a collection for these poor guys and buy them some flashlights and batteries? They hung up on me!  Gee, some folks have no sense of humor...
I was sweaty from head to toe, as it was totally windless, and I did dance ALOT. So in the dark, I felt my way around the shower and turned on the knobs and there is NO water.  The street water, as it is called here was OFF.  In the dark I tried to call the water company, but they don't answer their phone. Our backup water runs off an electrical pump and of course no electricity.
So I sat on the deck awhile, sweating, found a bottle of water and dumped that over me, but still it was hot and it was windless. Finally I dozed off to sleep and woke up at sunrise and promptly called the electricity corporation who now informed me the bushes were in the way, but the poor guys were going to try to work around them. Those must be some real tall bushes as our power lines are not underground but overhead! 
Life in da islands is so exciting!

- Fwd: mango weather
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 18:57:42 -0400
-----Original Message-----
From: DearMissMermaid
Sent: Mon, 15 May 2006 12:47:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Subject: mango weather

Rainy all morning, then it cleared by 11, skies are blue, but more rain on the way.
The island is looking green again, and that we like, this will good for the mango season!
DearMissMermaid cooks again!  Here's a fun summer salad utilizing fresh mango
Mango Chicken Salad:
Poach chicken breasts in tarragon, cool, slice into bite size pieces
toss with sliced green onions, pineapple chunks, green seedless grapes & Mango Mayo
Serve over a bed of assorted Salad Greens, garnish with fresh chopped parsley and/or cilantro
    Mango Mayo
        Mix equal parts of fresh mango and mayo in a blender until thoroughly combined

- Fwd: Dinghy
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 18:51:20 -0400
-----Original Message-----
From: DearMissMermaid
Sent: Sun, 14 May 2006 5:19:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Subject: Re: Dinghy

Today's weather is drop dead gorgeous. Gone are the rains and floods, and green things (besides green kitties) are popping up everywhere.
It's a big day at the beach, and the water is warm and crystal clear. Sky is mucky, but still weather is incredibly nice.
From the mailbag:
We will be arriving in Tortola in October aboard our Catalina 320. We understand that dinghy theft is a problem now in the BVI. As we will have a new dinghy and motor, wonder if you have any suggestions?
Don't wanna row da boat ashore
Dear Don't wanna be Michael...
Dinghy theft is a worldwide problem, Just that the BVI was the last to catch on to this bizarre phenomenon.
Yes, I definitely have suggestions. Do a custom paint job, both on the dinghy and the motor. Name your dinghy and paint the name in the biggest letters  possible on both sides of your dinghy. Also, put in smaller letters the tender to and "NAME of big boat".  Consider having an engraved stainless steel plate made, (about 2 by 4 inches or so,  listing the Tender to "name of the big boat" and registration numbers and screw that firmly with lots of 5200 to the transom and bow (in addition to the custom paint job!)
Also, give your new outboard a custom paint job. You can do this yourself.  Stencil the name of your boat or dinghy on it as well. A friend of mine happily kept her PURPLE engine motor without thieve intervention!  You can co-ordinate your dinghy colors with your boat colors or you can be wild and let your artistic side show through.
Theives are notoriously lazy, and the thought of having to repaint everything to go for a joy ride, is just too much trouble. Only a stupid thief will steal your custom painted dinghy and outboard, and then everyone will alert you anyhow and that thief will be swimming with concrete blocks in short order...
Lock the outboard to the dinghy so that it cannot be easily removed. Outboards have the holes for the lock built into the bracket anyhow.
Invest in a long vinyl coated cable with loops at both ends. Invest in 3 matching locks (same keys or same combo).  Get the good brass stuff that can put up with the ocean atmosphere for a few years. Use one to lock the motor to the dinghy itself with the brackets, Use the 2nd lock to lock the cable to a dinghy dock or to your boat.
Use the 3rd lock as a spare when one of the other fails (or to lock your companionway). This way you won't have a two pound key ring for everything, but just one simple key to unlock it all.
The vinyl coated cable should have loops swaged in at both ends. One loop you will use to attach the motor lock to the transom as well as the loop.  The other loop, at the other end will be the one you tie around a piling or sturdy piece of dock and then place your lock.
You will still need to use your painter to tie up your dingy neatly, but then lock it, and the lock doesn't have to be dead tight to the dock, loose is better. But make sure you don't hamper anyone's line or locks.
To give your dinghy a truly "you don't want to steal me turn-off"  tie a garbage bag around the outboard motor and pull it up out of the water.  This makes the engine look very pathetic, and what thief wants a sputtering project? 
I say all this, because I used these techniques the ten years I sailed around in my 30 foot Catalina.Yeah, you read that RIGHT!   My boat was SEA ROSE and my dinghy was SEA WEED.  At one point, I  acquired a disreputable jeep, that was red, and I referred to her as Rose Royce... I never got around to painting her name on her as NOBODY wanted to steal her, she looked so rough...
Good luck and see ya SOON!  By the way, I am the mermaid with the big tail...


- rain rain rain and more rain
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 13:22:35 EDT
It rained in the wee hours of the morning with some thunder and lightning. Enough rain to prompt the government to close all schools. So whereever you go today, many kids went to work with their parents.  We have had about 3 inches in the last 24 hours. I believe we need 4 inches to qualify for flash floods.
Road Town was a flooded mess yesterday.  Today the roads are a muddy mess.
The green kitties have cleaned themselves up some, they have mostly returned to their normal colors. I continue to find catnip in every nook and corner of my home. The kitties are trying their best to look very innocent and pretend it wasn't them who made the monumental catnip mess.  They have also been especially loving as if to say, well if you still think we did it, we are sort of sorry, with a little smirk on their furry faces.
Lots of new events have been added to the 2006 Events Calendar and of course there is always the What's New page to check out if you are bored. Find Music listings on this page.

- thunder-lightning-crash-bang-boom!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 11:49:19 EDT
I am a real wimp when it comes to lightning. For some strange reason I have been hit by lightning 3 times in my life, and it was scary indeed. So when it starts to do that, I think of Carole King and the rich grand piano bass tones in her music  to the song "I Feel the Earth Move".
One day, Miss Mermaid will have a piano again, and that will be a happy day indeed. But pianos just don't wash up on shore much..
For hours it poured down rain, then began clearing up a little around 11:30am, at least in the West End, but phone calls to town indicate it is a flooded mess there and still raining. So if I go anywhere today, I will swim there and not bother with land travel.   We have lakes and puddles all over the islands.  It was almost to flash floods proportions.
The green kitties have cleaned themselves up and are tiptoeing very lightly around me, not saying a word, just sitting and staring off into the distance, waiting for me to offer up food, as if they are either too hung over from their catnip to ask for it, or too scared. I think they KNOW just how naughty they were the other night...

- green kitties
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 12:48:49 EDT
Another gorgeous day, with scattered clouds and a chance of rains. Some forecasters are saying thunder storms, but I think that is overkill, I seriously doubt we will have any thunder.  Today we had electricity, water, cellular, telephone, cable TV, Internet in some areas, but no Internet from the cell company.  Oh well. Some days, as in most days, you just can't have it all!
Sunset is at 643pm, in another month we will have our longest day!  Yahoo!  Sunrise was at 547am and it was bright as usual.  It woke me up, so I rolled over, switched the TV on, was pleasantly surprised to see 2 of the 6 movie channels I pay for were working, so I laid in bed and watched a very strange movie. It was so engrossing, I stayed wide awake, which is most unusual for me. Actually, I was trying to avoid the nightmare in my kitchen. At least I was praying that it was a nightmare dream and certainly not true.
See what happened is, a dear reader came to visit the BVI and brought me catnip seeds.  My 3 kitties love the stuff and no one sells catnip on the island.   So I planted them in healthy potting soil on the porch, and hope they grow.  I have a pretty green thumb most days, so keep your fingers crossed.
Amazingly, a few days later, another reader mailed me a pound of dried catnip for the kitties. It was packaged in two big gallon zip locked bags.  When I brought it home yesterday, the three kitties were chasing me up the walk way, tripping me up with their 12 furry feet and meowing to get my attention (in case I hadn't noticed them...)
Once inside, to appease them, I gave them each a spoonful of catnip to play with in 3 different corners.  They had a blast, and ate the stuff, rubbed it on them, rolled in it and looked down right silly. I sealed up the baggy and sat down for my dinner.  I was exhausted.  Half way through dinner they begged for more catnip, so I gave them more.  They began their silly antics again. At once point, all three were laying on their backs with their feet in the air, and I went to catch a picture of them, but of course by then they had moved.
I was pretty tired, and laid down to rest my tired tail, I meant to get back up and clean the kitchen and hide the catnip, but since the kitties aren't allowed on the kitchen counters and it was sealed up, I figured it was safe. I was so wrong.
Very wrong.  I woke up at 4am, and went to the kitchen to fetch some juice.  To my horror, the huge bag of catnip lay in the floor, firmly zipped up, but it sported three jagged holes,  ripped open by crafty teeth and paws.
There was 100 square feet of  catnip, it was EVERYWHERE. And in the corner were three green kitties, curled up sleeping. They were green from head to claw, from ear to tail.  I was sure this was a bad dream, so I promptly went back to bed. This woke up the green kitties, who then joined me in the bed. So now there is catnip all over the bed and three green kitties in it. I shut my eyes tightly and prayed this was a bad dream and went back to sleep.
Unfortunately, it was not a bad dream, but a real life nightmare! So after my move this morning,  I scooped up what I could of the catnip, put it in a heavy canister and put that on the back shelf of a high cabinet above the stove. There is still catnip everywhere, but I had places to be and things to do, so it will have to wait until tonight. By the way...

- bright and sunny
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 9 May 2006 13:29:55 EDT
Yesterday was terribly overcast but with little rains.  Today we have blue sky, the kind you only see in the Caribbean.
I went to get my ear pierced. I wanted a gold sword, a pirate sword in my ear.  So I asked the clerk, how much for a pirate to pierce her ear?  She said...
a buck an ear...har har...
Baby Chicks Eating a Mango
Stuffed Chickens
To make a simple mango sauce, peel mangos over a blender container. Discard peel and carve off fruit, careful not to get any of the stringy pit into the blender. Blend thoroughly at high speed until liquefied.  If too thick, add orange juice to desired consistency. Great over salads, can be heated and served over chicken breasts or pork or turkey.

- paradise is heavenly
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 7 May 2006 13:26:27 EDT
Another glorious day in paradise. The sea swells are down, but you might be able to get a little surfing done today, but the rest of the week doesn't look good for surfing. However, it's a great day to go to the beach or go sailing. The water is getting warmer as spring rolls in. 
If you aren't in the islands, but  dreaming of the islands, make yourself a Painkiller (Rum, orange juice, Rum, pineapple juice, Rum, coconut cream, Rum, nutmeg and  Rum).  Next,  put on your toe rings and some instant tan, grab your laptop and go sit in the yard and watch the BVI  webcams.  It's the next best thing to being here!
Cable TV is out again. Cell phones aren't working either. *sigh*  Life on an island is such fun!  Guess I just HAVE to go frolic at the beach today.

- the crystal ball was right again!
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 06 May 2006 09:48:05 -0400
I dusted off my crystal ball and checked it this morning. No hurricanes, no snow, no volcano eruptions and no earthquakes.   That just leaves, sunshine and perhaps a teeny tiny scattered shower here and there.
Winds are light at 5-10 mph. Seas are choppy but nothing remarkable. Mangos are coming back in season and showing up slowly around the island.
I received another frantic call from a friend of mine yesterday, about yet   another crashed computer.  Tortola seems to be hit by a plague lately of massive junk emails full of harmful stuff. I asked my friend if he had backed up his computer lately.  "Backed up?" he shrieked.  "I don't even know how to put it in reverse!"  I referred him to my free web page full of free useful programs to get rid of the junk, spy ware, bad cookies and viruses and whatever other hidden junk lays on his computer. I was thrilled when he called me back a few hours later  and said, although he still couldn't find the gear shift on his computer, he had run through all the free programs and it sped up his computer and fixed all the boo-boos. Man, I felt like a very tall Mermaid...
This morning, I found a can of tuna and a thank you note from him on my doorstep. (I work for real cheap!) The kitties are asking me if I am SURE that can of tuna is for me...as they stand guard by it. HOW do kitties know what's in a can?  Is their smell that superior?
Just like if I come home, empty handed, no one races out to greet me. But let me drive up with two bags of groceries and I am tripping all over kitties as I make my way to the door among a flood of meows and  persist ant leg rubbings. Sometimes I think cats are the smartest creatures on earth.
Next to mermaids, of course...
Bomba's website has added 62 new pictures to the slide show as of yesterday. Enjoy!

- no snow, just a little rain predicted, I know cause I asked my crystal ball
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 05 May 2006 10:07:37 -0400
Well, I looked at my crystal ball today.  No storms, no snow, just sunshine and a little rain later on today. 81 degrees with very light winds.  Only 8 days til the Fool Moon Party and 9 days until Mother's Day!
While money can't buy happiness, it feels more comfortable to cry in a Porche...
BVI Music festival 2006 ,Where the sound of music meets the sounds of nature. Enjoy world renowned artists at this beach front venue at Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. 26 May 2006 - 28 May 2006   Musicians include Roberta Flack ,The Stylistics, Buju Banton,Five Star Iris plus many more!  Check out the music links or check out the new MusicFest Website

A real regatta means wooden boats and Foxy and the West End Yacht Club has been doing this for twenty-nine years.
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why on earth did Noah save those two mosquitoes?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes?
Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

- more scattered showers on the way (and more rainbows!)
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 04 May 2006 07:32:55 -0400
We are in the first quarter of the moon. Winds are light and seas swells are small.  Temperature is 80, humidity is mild. Yesterday we did indeed have scattered showers with more expected today.  The waterfront highway was strewn with thick patches of mud from unpaved roads and driveways, washing down hills, as well as a scattering of rocks, some blocking the roads until Public Works got around to pushing them off to the side.
A gentle reader told me the  Bomba link (listed below,in an earlier post)  didn't work, OOOPS, so try this and it should work.
Bomba fool moon schedule etc.
And don't forget Mother's Day is only 10 days away!  If you don't have a living mother, pick out a special woman and surprise her.

- where has all the wind gone?
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 03 May 2006 08:19:53 -0400
da current done mash up again, so I be writing by bat-tree on da mah-ching and I be sending to you by dat air t'ing...
Translation:  The electricity is off again, so I am writing to you on my battery laptop and emailing by cellular wireless.
It is 76 degrees and windless, as in no wind at all.  Birds are chirping, roosters are crowing and the parrots are mimicing cat lovers. Or it could be a cat fight they are imitating. With cats, it's hard to tell. Even harder when the parrots are doing it.   Somebody nearby has a battery alarm and it is chirping along every 5 seconds ( a sure way to drain the battery even faster!)
We don't know where the wind has gone.  Or why. However, we expect it to pick up to 6-12 mph, with scattered showers and possibly isolated thunder storms.  I love rain, and it sure would cool things off.
I went to look at the stellite, but the first one I checked was for January 6th, so I am going to look around for something more current. Ah, here we go! Atlantic Satellite

- jet skis, Puerto Ricans and the mysteries of government...
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 02 May 2006 07:42:42 -0400
How are things coming with the new  updated Cane Garden Bay dock area?  I couldn't get over what they were doing down there.  At the time we were down at Cane Garden Bay in early April, I couldn't believe all the San Juan fishing boats moored up there.  Is that something new or have I been lucky to miss all those folks coming down to Tortola?  We just could not get over how many large cruising boats were buzzing around like bee's.  I would much rather have the serenity of sailboats.  Thank goodness the BVI doesn't allow jet-skis.
The dock area used to be just a landing dock, it was the original dock in Cane Garden Bay. It fell into disrepair from lack of maintenance and years of pounding northerly swells and the odd storm and hurricane. Out of the clear blue, the BVI government decided to rebuild it and some lucky entrepreneur is setting up fuel and water to sell there.  See pictures of it here.
Back in the dark ages, before the BVI was discovered by the government and the masses, the main boating tourists came from Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are very family oriented and take their holidays seriously.  Over certain holidays such as Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day etc., they would load up their boats with all their relatives and friends and head over to the BVI in droves.  They are known for their gregariousness, frequent transom barbeque', rollicking music and overfull boats.  If their boats sleeps ten, then they know it must party thirty!
For safety reasons, they often travel in a large flotilla, so they can help each other out, if anyone breaks down.  On the horizon, it often looks like an invasion, as 30-50 boats, all going the exact same speed and spaced equally apart in a long neat line come zooming towards the BVI, hence the nickname "The Puerto Rican Navy". 
They often raft up together or share moorings or squeeze 2-3-4 boats into one marina slip.  While Spanish is their native tongue, they all speak English and Puerto Rico is part of the United States, so they are all American citizens.
Back when I had my old sailboat, I often anchored in front of Quito's at Cane Garden Bay, so he could sing me to sleep.  One weekend, I arrived in Cane Garden Bay a few days before the P.R. Navy and my outboard broke down, so I was rowing a little inflatable dinghy to and from shore. Not so, after the Puerto Ricans arrived.  Quite a few had anchored and rafted a large flotilla near me. As I set out one morning in my row boat, in search of breakfast, my new neighbors raced over in their own dinghy and insisted on towing me ashore.
Later as I returned and began rowing out, once again, they sent their dinghy to fetch and tow me, only this time they towed me to their flotilla and served me drinks and dinner. I remember asking for rum, and I was told I was on the gin boat, but not to worry, a Latino hopped over 4 boats down and came back with a 1/2 gallon of rum.  Amongst the babble of Spanish, English and what seemed like 58 little kids underfoot, hopping form boat to boat, they asked me many questions about being a woman alone sailing around and what it was like to be a mermaid. Eventually, someone fired up the barbeque and the women ducked below and came back up topside with huge dishes of plantanos frios, black beans and rice,  assorted salads and veggies while the barbeque was overflowing with assorted meats and fish.
Plates were passed from boat to boat and back again and eventually everyone had a huge pile of food, served up with a generous spoonful from each boat's specialty.
They were warm and generous, and the next few days, insisted I dine with them often, drink for free on their boats or ashore, and never once let me row more than a few feet.  After that, I spent many holidays anchored near the Puerto Ricans, and I would wave and say "Hola!" and party with them. If I saw anyone rowing, I would run over and offer a tow. 
About the jet skis, there has been much controversy over them in the BVI, as they seem to be the favored "polluting for pleasure" toy.  For many years they were indeed illegal in the BVI.  The smart reasoning behind this is due to the popularity of snorkeling and diving. jet skis moved at a rapid rate, and a hapless snorkeler could easily get run over before they knew what hit them.
At some point someone was allowed to bring jet skis into the Cane Garden Bay area and there was a big hew and cry over this.  Quite honestly I don't know what the final outcome was.  The cruise ship passengers are pushing for the BVI to make them legal again and we all pray they do not. The BVI has become busy, VERY busy over the last few short years and Jet skis just don't seem to have a place here (yet!)  For the divers, swimmers and snorkeler's, let's hope the government keeps their head about this one and doesn't allow anymore jet skis into the area.
Now for the weather, it is 78 degrees and winds are gusting by at 3-5 miles per hour...  Scattered clouds threaten scattered rains and we could sue some more rains.  It did rain a good 5 minutes yesterday in Road Town, then it was bright and sunny again.
Surf was good in Cane Garden Bay yesterday and expected to be better today.
Bomba's was great for beginners but experienced surfers reported a great time as well.

- Re: TD ONE Forecast/Advisory 1 just a hoax???
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 03:30:45 -0400
 A gentle reader emailed me that TD#1 was just a test!  That the email from the National Hurricane Center, was sent in error.  I am quite puzzled.  In the past, the NHC would send out a correction if they made a mistake.  Last season, I received loads of corrections.  This TD#1 was shown on the satellite picture, so what happened here?  I went to look at my email form the NHC again, and I notice that it is dated June 8, 2006 and it was emailed to me on April 28, 2006.  So, does the NHC has a much better crystal ball than me? They are predicting 6 weeks in advance!
You just don't know who to trust anymore. I am still waiting for further word from the NHC. I have contacted them about this, and so far silence. Hmm.
Well, never mind, I am still dusting off my crystal ball and gearing up for hurricane season and to heck with the NHC if they are playing games with me!  I have reprinted part of the message, to show you, it came to me as quite legitimate. 
-----Original Message-----
From: NHC Mail (Atlantic Full) <mail-storm-atlan-full at seahorse.nhc.noaa.gov>
Sent: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 21:20:01 +0000
Subject: TD ONE Forecast/Advisory 1

2100 UTC WED JUN 08 2006






- fun with nail polish
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 14:39:38 -0400
84 degrees, moderate winds 8-13 mph, mostly blue skies, but we could get
20 seconds of rain somewhere today.  I have been checking the various
weather links for the BVI and it seems every forecaster has their own
opinion of the weather here.  So if you don't like one report, just look for
another one, and pick the one you like...
As for me, I rely on my crystal ball to predict the weather.  I gazed at it
today and guess what?  No snow is expected!  So if you thought you would
ski the slopes here today, forget it.
Last week, I caught a lovely tuna and had some friends over for dinner. 
Amazingly my cell phone vanished when the guests left.  Needless to say, it
gives one the creeps that one could have someone over for tuna and they
could devour my phone too...
Having torn my lair completely apart, looking for it, I am convinced, that it
just doesn't exist in my range anymore. Seeing as it was only a few months
old, a Christmas gift, I am feeling quite bereft.  Gifts are to be treasured not
carelessly lost. I consulted my crystal ball, and can't tell you what I saw, as
it made me very, very sad.
Finally, I bought a cheap replacement, but still, I am irritated.  A friend of
mine says her husband mistakes her phone for his and walks off with hers
and they are forever confused, trying to call each other on the wrong
phones. So she finally painted a pink dot on hers with nail polish.
Well, guess what.  My fridge, besides being full of tuna and seaweed, has a
box full of assorted nail polish.  If you live in the Caribbean, then you are
familiar with keeping nail polish, lipsticks, medicines, lotions etc in the
fridge, unless you live hermetically sealed in air conditioning. If you aren't
familiar with this practice, just wait til you pick up a tube of your expensive
hand cream and discover it has liquified in the heat...
So, this morning, to entertain myself, I thawed out my nail polish, and have
painted my cell phone in hot pink stripes with glitter gold highlights on the
back. On the front,  big silver stars grace one side of the phone as orange
glitter races down the sides.  When these colors dry, I plan to add some
more. When I am done, my cell phone will be a work of art.  Then I am going
to photograph it at all angles. Just for fun!
I guess I could have painted DearMissMermaid on it, but that is a lot of
writing for such a tiny phone, so I have put my initials in glitter instead.  Or I
can paint my name on top of all the other stripes, dots, stars and really doll
this thing up. Either way, I feel confident that nobody will want to devour
my phone or t'ief it, as dey say in de islands, mon. And if they do, they are
going to have one helluva time cleaning up the mess I have made of it...
So, if I see you around town, with your cell phone all decorated with nail polish, I
will know you read this!  *giggle*
It reminds me of when I owned an outboard engine, I used to paint it all up, quite uniquely, to discourage thieves.  Then I often went one step further and tied an old garbage bag around it, to make it look really pathetic. Thieves are notoriously lazy and won't steal the fancy painted stuff.  So if you are worried about your cell phone or outboard or what have you getting accidentally stolen, just give it a one-off custom paint job and ENJOY!

- Tropical Depression Number ONE!!!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 14:25:35 EDT
We have our first tropical depression, and it's still April!  TD#1 is located at 17.2N  84.0W = which is east northeast of the Virgin Islands. TD#1 is headed due north at 360 degrees, lumbering at 6 knots, which is not good, as the slower they move the more chance they can build in intensity.
 However, Cuba has issued a tropical storm watch, but it seems to me that Bermuda should be concerned.  Maybe those Cubans know something we don't...Maybe they got a better crystal ball than I do!
Now for today's trivia...

Alberto Beryl Chris Debby Ernesto Florence Gordon Helene Isaac Joyce Kirk Leslie Michael Nadine Oscar Patty Rafael Sandy Tony Valerie William

(there will be on test on this later on...)

Tropical storms have been named since 1953.  Since then, names have been retired once there is loss of life and/or substantial  property damages. 2005 has broken the record by retiring 5 names in one year.  The previous record was four names in one year for the years 1955, 1995 and 2004.

Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma have gone to that infamous hall of fame, and those named will never be used again.

In local news , the BVI Music Fest is Memorial Day Weekend in Cane Garden Bay.   Musicians include Roberta Flack ,The Stylistics, Buju Banton,Five Star Iris plus many more!  Check out the music (links above) or check out the new MusicFest Website

For more info on upcoming events in the BVI, check out this site.

I am gonna take my Mermaid Cotton Beach Towel and go to the MusicFest!  See you there!


- free weather for all
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 09:55:16 EDT
Seas are moderate, winds are light, sun is out, though scattered thunderstorms are forecasted, I think somebody got it wrong today (tee hee!) as I sure don't see any indication of scattered storms on the horizon.  Besides my bones feel fine, and sometimes they hurt mightily, when storms approach.
Lately, many folks in the BVI have found their computer under attack by malicious spyware, trojans, hijackers and viruses. We used to pay a small fortune to buy programs to protect us from all these invisible threats that invade our computers without our knowledge. 
I have had to fix quite a few computers on Tortola, and no I am not a wiz at this either, just that I am accidentally geeky in some areas.
To help you overcome these malicious threats that often slow down your computer, I have put together a list of 100% free programs to detect and destroy much of the malicious spyware etc., out there.

- loverly
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 10:03:03 EDT
Another gorgeous day in paradise. Days are slowly getting longer with sunset today at 638pm.  We have a new moon and don't expect any rains today.  No storms on the horizon and best of all NO SNOW!

- warming up
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 09:10:59 EDT
Well, it  must be warming up around here, I only slept under one afghan last night with only one kitty to warm my feet.  On cold nights, all three kitties cuddle up to stay warm.
Easterly winds 9-14 knots, seas 3-5 feet with north swells, temperature at 81 degrees. Surf might be up for beginners and those with loads of patience, otherwise wait until early next week to go surfing.
The next fool moon party is May 13th.  This weekend we have a toga party and windsurf race (two different events) so you don't have to windsurf in your toga...
My weather site is getting a facelift, so that should we develop weird weather, you will have lots of resources to look at!
We are planning to send our hurricanes north again this year and there by have them avoid the islands. But I will continue to report through out the season. 

- yummy!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 08:25:41 EDT
East winds 13-18 knots, seas 3-5 feet in north swells, isolated showers, partly clouded skies.  Surf should be up Tuesday and Wednesday.
If you are in the BVI or coming to the BVI, get your free drink coupon here.
The drivers around here continue to be comical. Scooters are now quite popular as they sneak their way through traffic, creating a 3rd lane in the middle of the road, zipping through traffic snarls with a half smirk, half terrified grin on their face.
However, driving through Sea Cows Bay, one scooter rider was weaving down the road, with his helmet on, but the strap off, blowing in the wind.  I thought to myself, if he wrecks that helmet will bounce right off his head and be no good to him at all. (I've become just like my mother...)  She knew headless children that hung their heads out moving cars, she knew children with no arms because they hung an arm out the window, she knew children flat as a pancake who crossed the street without looking...I digress, sorry...but my mom knew the saddest children and warned me often about pending tragedy, if I wasn't careful.
Then I noticed WHY the scooter was weaving so erratically. The driver  had a MANGO in one hand and was trying to eat it, while driving the scooter with the other hand.  Mango juice was running down his chin, bits of the peel hung off the fruit as he sucked it clean.  Everyone knows, the best way to eat a fresh mango, is in the bathtub... not on a scooter!
It seems to be island culture to drive and eat, you see this often.  Folks walk with food too, rare to see someone walking without a take-away container in their hand. Many times, stuck in traffic, I notice the drivers around me are chewing on a chicken leg, devouring an egg roll or savoring a johnny cake.
I used to work  in another business with about a dozen employees.  The employees arrived with breakfast and would sit down to eat that, (on company time!)  then two hours later they take a break and eat again then they would break for lunch (taking an hour and a half to complete a one hour lunch). Mid afternoon, they are seen eating yet again. Snacking must be an unofficial favorite pastime here.
Often when I ride the ferry, and the engine fires up, aromas abound, as folks begin unwrapping their fried chicken, salt fish patties, chicken rotis,  cheese and johnny cakes and what have you, as they picnic on the ferry.
Some offices have banned food from the desks, so many employees simply dump out a drawer and hide their food in there, and sneak bites while no one is looking. (I have seen this many times, while pretending not to be looking...)
Recently I saw a woman drive into a busy parking lot in an old battered pickup truck. She parked right in the middle, blocking about 12 cars.  Then she went to the back of her truck and threw off a blanket. Underneath the blanket was every pot and pan she owned.
Ripping open a stack of plastic plates, and Styrofoam coffee cups, she began serving up fish head stew, goat water, fried chicken, fried fish, boiled fish, salt fish, beef patties, chicken patties, peas and rice, fried plantains, boiled breadfruit, coleslaw, mixed veggies and so on. Then she would wrap the plate in foil, hand out a plastic fork and napkin, charge money and start on the next customer.
Some customers wandered off back to work, carrying their food, others unlocked their parked cars, sat down and began eating.
I was amazed that within minutes, word had spread and soon she had a crowd around her ordering up food. This was at 10am in the morning!
Just writing this, makes me hungry, maybe I will make some food and go eat it in my car...

- breezy Sunday
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 12:23:12 EDT
Well, it's just another gorgeous day in paradise. The Atlantic Satellite looks pretty clear today.
Here are pictures of what's going on with the new dock in Cane Garden bay.
And a big generous thanks to Pisces Restaurant for letting Dear Miss Mermaid use their WIFI (internet)  to get my reports out to you!  Of course the aromas from the kitchen are so tempting that I've been eating a lot there too. The Chefs are excellent, be sure to arrive VERY hungry.

- warm and sunny regards
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2006 12:23:16 EDT
Today is a lovely day to be alive. The winds are gentle, the sun it out, the temperature is moderate. Just another typical day in the beautiful British Virgin Islands.
NEW LINK for Local Reports from Tortola, Update your Bookmarks
Weather & Local Island Tales from the British Virgin Islands

- rainy morning
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 10:11:55 EDT
A bit rainy today, but we like green t'ings, so not to worry.  Some mud is super slippery and Dear Miss Mermaid almost landed on her tail again, but recovered nicely...and swished around like I was dancing, much to the amusement of those around at the time...
It has been flat and windlass the last few days, prompting us a light scare, as usually it is never windless around here unless some storm has sucked away our wind!  So it brought us reminders of the calm before the storm, but looking at the Caribbean  satellite, we can't find anything to worry about.
So I looked at the Atlantic Satellite, to see what I could worry about there, and nothing nearby of any consequence.
As usual, the pros are predicting a busy hurricane season, and yes, that seems to happen every year, just a matter of WHERE they will go...
Surf is down today, but supposed to be up next Monday-Wednesday, so plan accordingly.
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- still on slow modem
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 09:00:49 -0400
Another gorgeous day in paradise.
Winds are light, sun is bright, I'm a poet don't cha know it...
Well until our infamous Cable & Wireless shows up to repair the dsl, I am on super slow outdated wireless modem.  It creeps along at somewhere between 19200 and 38400 or there abouts, if anyone knows what these numbers mean. (Suffice it to say, they mean my internet is super duper slow!)  But heck I paid over $300 for this technology years ago, and amazingly, it still works, just incredibly slow. Hopefully, if we get a storm, it will work,  if DSL is down again, hopefully you will get hour by hour reports from me, of the storm coming and going.
Recently I updated to a new wireless card, that is super fast, but only if I walk 100 feet form home to hook in.  Maybe I should just move my office to my jeep, and park 100 feet away...Maybe I should just buy a van and move into it, and just rent a parking space within wireless range...
Now, you computer gurus will understand this, but I sure don't, but my two wireless thingy's fight with each other and won't let the other one work, like if I am on the super slow one and want to walk 100 feet and switch to the super fast one, it says something that interprets to something like  "NO CAN DO! Ha Ha Ha!". 
So yesterday I had to sit down, grit my teeth and learn all about hardware profiles. Well, certainly not all about, but enough to cure my insomnia...
When I woke up, read some more and ran some tests,  it seems that now,  when I want to switch from the super slow to the super fast, I shut down the computer, unplug one card, plug in the other, restart the computer, choose a hardware profile, then POOF I am on which ever wireless I have chosen, based on my hardware profile choice. Cross your fingers, this seems to be working, just that is it cumbersome but IT WORKS, and that is all that counts. Confused?  Don't worry, I am massively confused!
Why does the slow thingy work at home and not the fast thingy?  Why does the fast thingy work when I walk 100 feet with computer in hand?  Fortunately, I have always favored laptops and never owned a desktop computer.
All myfriends say this is foolish, but I am just so much happier with my little laptop, and days like these, can you imagine me lugging a desktop downstairs, out in the yard and over 100 feet, just to pick up wireless?
I also just learned about jump drives and bought a 2 gig one for the princely sum of $180. I know, you are rolling in the floor laughing cause where you live they probbly sell for $9.95 but this is Tortola and if it's something nifty and useful, you can bet you pay a bloody fortune for it.
The jump drive gives me complete peace of mind, as I have mamanged to backup all my stuff!  And it's pretty fast to keep backing it up each day (ideally) or more like every few days (when I remember).
Now, if after reading this, you have learned anything at all about new technology, IT WASN'T MY FAULT!  I honestly don't know what I am doing! 
This link below is  supposed to be a Shop for Mother's Day link and have gifts delivered to her home....it MIGHT work, might not, I am on the slow thingy and it might upload by tomorrow, if we are LUCKY!

- weather is here, wish you were gorgeous
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 16:15:20 EDT
It's Easter Monday here and a BIG holiday with loads of partying everywhere!
The sun is out, and neighborhoods are quiet but the beaches and bars are busy.  A great day for sailing.

- here come da bunny wabbit hidding dem wittle colored eggs
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2006 14:19:16 EDT
Bright and sun shiny today. Waves are down, winds are gentle. ANother gorgeous day in paradise!  I am headed for the beach!
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- Lover-ly
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 11:31:13 EDT
Just another gorgeous day in paradise!  Rains are gone, sun is out and it's a great time for the beach.!  See what's new in the BVI!
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- Rainy day
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 08:47:19 -0400
Well, yesterday it was severely overcast with intermittent down pours
Today it has poured down rain since about 4am, just a steady drizzle and its very grey.  I guess that low pressure has made a mess of things, though I happen to like the rain. We have a flood advisory in effect and I am not surprised. 
The islands are old volcanic islands, built of hard lava rock with dirt clinging to them. To dig a hole here to plant something, means to use a pick ax and dig up an equal amount of rocks and dirt.  You can't dig very deep it seems, you just hit rock and more rock. So the summary is, it doesn't take a whole lot to flood this place.  The islands quickly become saturated and the water begins to look for new places to go to.
Many of our ghuts, have been used for building and other purposes.  Many structures have gone up with not much (if any!) engineering involved. Rain waters have found new paths to take and surprise!  surprise! where they turn up.
Deep thunder is grumbling, rumbling closer and closer, as the rains seem to pick up pace.
I am still on slow wireless, I bought a faster wireless, but I have to hike down the street to make the fast one work, why the slow one works at home and not the fast one, is one of those computer mysteries to me, if any computer gurus can shed any light on this, I sure want to know. Trotting my computer around in the rain, doesn't seem like a good idea today, though I did buy some of those new jumbo ziplox for future reference. Like during a storm, it's best to seal everything up water tight, in case we get horizontal rain (yeah, it happens!)
I remember once, I was in an anchorage during severe storms. A ghut from the top of the mountain was snaking it's way down the slopes and pouring furiously into the harbor.  Much to my surprise, the oddest things floated by, such as a dead goat, a refrigerator with no door, seemingly tons of styrofoam take-away garbage, a bald tire, part of a bicycle, a kid's wading pool, beer bottles from 5 countries, a muffler, a bleach bottle, a boat fender (what's that doing in the mountains?) and just piles and piles of assorted garbage.
I imagine much of this stuff went out to sea and then came back again on a different shore. I shudder to think what the bottoms of our oceans look like.  Rumor is fiberglass and plastics may have a life of 400+ years.  Maybe we will one day be referred to as the Plastic Age or the Garbage Age.
Today might be a fun day to watch the Webcams. Scroll down for a web cam link, this email won't let me post a link, but here again, maybe I need a computer guru.

  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2006 13:19:54 EDT
Dark and stormy here today, visibility is greatly reduced.  Not a pretty day for sailing or the beach.  Of course today is the 13th, and it's a full moon and we have two fool moon parties tonight, one at Bomba's and one at Trellis Bay.
Bomba's will feature magic  s'hroom tea and Trellis will feature a fireball! 
Tomorrow is Good Friday, so no drinking until sunset!  Going to be some mighty cranky folks around here tomorrow...
Happy Easter! 
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- p.s.
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 08:50:52 EDT
Gert, the wonderful webmaster,  has updated the weather pages, for BVI reports before April 3, 2006 CLICK HERE.
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- drive down the middle!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 08:43:21 EDT
Warm and sunny with great surfing with swells of 4.5-5 feet today, 10 seconds apart, but tomorrow looks even better with bigger swells and 11 seconds apart. Otherwise it is 80 degrees with 15 knot winds from the ESE, partly cloudy today and for the next few days we might get a few isolated scattered short showers. My kitty needs his rain bath, so I hope he gets lucky!
Regretfully, New York Tom of the Steak and Chop House in Capoons Bay, a block from the best surfing, has closed down. Not sure where he will pop up next, but he sure was a good friend to the surfers who hung out there and he often stored boards for free for them, between surfing days. We shall miss him and his great Italian food and icy cold brews.
Today is my birthday!  I am 4, 746 years old now, and still holding strong (mermaids live forever!)  If you want to send a gift, click here for tuna and seaweed suggestions!
I have a weather question for you.  In your hurricane report you talked about a dust storm.  Can you tell ahead of time (like the day before) if and when a dust storm will occur?  Do you know where the dust came from, a volcano, or fire, or from the desert?  The other question I have: is this dry spell a normal occurrence at this time of year?
Dry spells are not normal, but they do happen.  We can't tell when a dust storm will hit and I don't remember seeing one here before, just the one that day was really eerie (a few weeks back).
I think all the dust was just from the dry islands and all the concrete construction breeds loads of dust. The last fire/explosion we had in West End, last week, certainly spread black icky dust every where.  One charter boat company had trouble with their canvas awnings and biminis, as hot bits of fire landed on them, they weren't able to move all the boats, though they managed to get a few out of the way. 
How do you move 100 boats on a 1 minute notice and where do you put them?  Three to a mooring ball? 
After the fire, I guess my kitty went to check on it too, he came home smelling of soot and looking a bit blacker than normal.  As he walked around, a cloud of dust seamed to follow him, reminded me of Pigpen in the old Snoopy Cartoons.
Another one from the mailbag:
    I know this is dumb, but do you drive on the left or right in the BVI?
Wanna Drive
Dear Wanna,
    Drive at your own risk!  The Brits drive down the left side, the Americans drive down the right side and the islanders drive down the middle.
    Here, I took a picture for you, as I drove down the highway, to give you an idea, of what to expect!
It's a great day to be alive and to celebrate yet another year of great fortune!
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- snug as a cat...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 08:43:24 EDT
Partly cloudy, 27 Celsius or 80-81 Fahrenheit. Winds are moderate, about 12-18 mph from the  east southeast. Sunset at 634pm tonight, days are slowly getting longer and I sure do like that!
Waves are moderate and small craft should exercise caution (as in don't go? or wear your jacket if you do go?)
Surf is up and gaining, rest of week should be a high time for the surfers. See surf conditions at BVIwaves.com
Scattered short showers may appear randomly (now that tells you a lot!)
It can flood 2 inches, and I will still stay dry (...if I don't float away first!)
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- Cane Garden Bay mystery!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 10:08:48 EDT
At 10am it is lightly raining.  Skies are slightly overcast. The rain just stopped, I guess that was our 90 second shower. Temperature is 81 degrees, still very cool at tonight. Ah, the rain just started back, 2 minutes later and can't decide, it just stopped 20 seconds later.
Intermittent rains seem to be the feel of the day. But since I am a mermaid, I just love rain!
Does anybody know what's going on at Cane Garden Bay?  I have been asking around without much success.  See this link about Save the Waves
And if you want to know what's new in the BVI, check here.
This picture of Cane Garden Bay was taken yesterday.
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- rains appreciated
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 10:19:14 EDT
What a beautiful calm day with gentle winds, yet a nice swell for moderate surfing, especially at Bomba's.
Just a week away until the Fool Moon Party!
I am busy dusting and cleaning.  I had spent the weekend cleaning out all the dust bunnies form my place, which sent the kitties scurrying up the mountain.  They think I am too boisterous when I clean so they run and hide outdoors until they think it's safe to return and I have settled down again.
I was enjoying my nice clean place, but then Monday's  explosion, which resulted in fire and black dust and you guessed it, I have black dust everywhere and the smell of fire.  However, last night it rained a good bit, and I notice this morning, I can no longer smell the fire.  We needed that rain dearly, as it was getting pretty dry around here.
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- nice day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 10:03:17 EDT
It was quite chilly last night, but daybreak brought warmer temperatures and moderate winds with bright blue skies and no bombs in sight (just kidding!)
See a first hand account of Monday's explosion here.
See 100+ pictures in a fast loading slide show there.
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- skies are clear, no smoke in sight
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2006 08:47:08 EDT
Gorgeous weather.  We pray there are no more explosions.  Two in six weeks less than 100 feet apart has sort of given the surrounding  neighbors and employees,  the jitters.
Sky is just a beautiful blue, just like being in the Caribbean!  Winds are light and surf is UP and the surfers are happy about that.
However, they better surf in a hurry, before the government destroys this pristine bay! 
If the government has their way with a sneaky plan to destroy Cane Garden Bay, nobody is going to be very happy at all!
Also, see 100+ pictures of the explosion, fire and aftermath in Sopers Hole Wharf yesterday at
Gosh, this sleepy little island, is waking up to some harsh realities!
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- pictures from EXPLOSION
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 14:16:45 EDT
See pictures of the fire and smoke form the explosion when a full fuel truck ignited at Soper's Hole Wharf Marina.
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- EXPLOSION rocks West End as fuel truck explodes fully loaded
  • From: dearmissmermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 12:51:34 -0400
At 11am we had a tremendous explosion that rocked West End and Frenchmans Cay.  A truck, delivering diesel, to the Soper's Hole Wharf Marina, had just begun to pump when someone told the driver to run for his life, there were flames underneath the truck.  A nanoscond later, the explosion shot flames and black billowing smoke heavenward.
An ambulance came to fetch the driver, who was in very poor conidtion, with very little skin left.
The fire trucks finally arrived after about 15 minutes, but it took them another 20 minutes to get any water going and finally some chemicals arrived. The bulk of the fire was brought under control in about an hour and a half.
Electricity has been off at Frenchmans Cay since 11am.  When it comes back on, I will post the link with  fire pictures.
Pray for the injured.
This is the seond explosion in about a month at Sopers Hole. The last one being the Pussers gas stove and subsequent fire.  (Scroll down for links to that one.)
The insuracne companies must be scratching their heads over this one now. 
More later, I am sending this by battery and super slow wireless.

- BVIwaves.com
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 10:18:59 EDT
Light winds from the east barely pushing 10 knots.
78 degrees and wonderful.
Sky was overcast this morning but clearing up now.
Sunrise was at 6:10am and Sunset will be at 6:32pm
Surf continues to be good on the North Shore through Thursday.
Tnew surf site on Tortola is getting a major overhaul, you can sneak a peek and enjoy some great pictures at:
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