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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, 16 Oct 2006 17:05:52 EDT
Well we didn't get the rain yet, that my crystal ball predicted,but heck, the day isn't over yet!  We still have this heavy overcast above us and virtually no winds.
Now I owe a big apology to Bob McKay of www.FreshMango.com.  It is HIS picture posted on September 24th of the fireball at Trellis Bay and from his website www.FreshMango.com.
He brought this to my attention, so I went on a hunt, to find out where I got the picture, as I take 1,000's of photos myself, or at least I did, before I mash up da fins and became hopelessly  stuck in my mermaid lair.
I couldn't find it in my photo files and  this puzzled me!  So I began checking my emails and there it was from "Purple Pirate in the Islands" who wrote among other things "attached is a photo of the fireball at Trellis Bay, you can use if you like". 
Well, that dang purple pirate forgot to tell me this was booty he/she lifted from www.FreshMango.com site!  So now, not only do I have egg on my ceiling (from the recent fire) but I have egg on my FACE!
Shame on ya Purple Pirate in the Islands, ya shudda TOLD me this was booty ya lifted so I wouldn't make a big old fool of myself.
The caption to the photo should correctly read:
This photo pirated from www.FreshMango.com but Bob says we can also say "provided by www.FreshMango.com or courtesy of www.FreshMango.com "
Thanks Bob, it's a fantastic picture of the fireball.

- Fun and Mayhem
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 11:40:36 EDT
Overcast, 86 degrees, and windless.  More rain is expected, according to my crystal ball, which is rarely ever wrong *giggle*.  However, I keep asking it when is my broken fin gonna be better, and all I see is a fuzzy fin. If that keeps up, then I guess I will have to go see a mermaid doctor and see if they can do magic for me.
Well, I haven't had anymore fires, matter of fact we are out of propane again and I am speechless. I think I got to make one stir fry and twice made eggs and once baked a pizza and a 40 pound tank is empty?  Something funny going on here.
I was reading with strange interest the fact that somebody tied a bucket to a competitor's boat keel during the interline regatta. Now that is funny, but also, just plain old bad sportsmanship and puts an unnecessary stain on the 25th annual interline regatta. Shame, shame, shame.
Such a silly stunt could have wrecked havoc, had the rope snapped and tangled up with the propeller. I have seen damages from ropes wrapped around props, and it's not pretty.   The Interline Regatta used to be a fun filled week, I even sailed and raced  with them a few times.  But I was also present at a certain watering hole one year recently, when participants were caught red handed ripping off inventory (whole cases, not just drinks!)  from a certain bar.
That same bar,  a very popular spot,  for interline regatta festivities, chose to close during the entire interline regatta this year. Coincidence?  Or is  that sending a message, loud and clear?
Years ago, this used to be a fun filled week of racing and partying. I don't recall any protests being filed the years I raced, or any piracy, but I could be wrong. Besides, the last time I raced with this crowd was back in the dark ages.  It seemed to me, folks were more interested in fun than out right competition, but times are a changing, I guess. This year brought 5 protests the very first day.
I say, bring back the FUN!
Read more on the regatta here.

- Pray for Dust
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 20:30:40 EDT
Today we had a rainy morning and the satellite showed lots of clouds coming at us, but the afternoon proved to be pretty sunny. Tonight the skies are clear and the tree frogs are singing.  Winds are brisk and fall is in the air, finally.
Holy Pirate  sent over an interesting article:  

African Dust Storms Stifle Hurricanes, Study Suggests

I think he is on to something!  We have had tons of Sahara dust this year and no hurricanes have come near us, so keep up the dust!  While it's a mess to clean it up, it sure beats cleaning up after a hurricane.

- Fire and Rain
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 07:52:53 EDT
Last night it poured down rain at sunset in a thick haze that nearly obscured all visibility.
This morning it has been raining off and on and skies are blue with big thick patches of gray.  Right now the rain is so hard and loud, that it's drowning out all other noises.
I can't find my fire extinguisher. Not sure where it could have run off to. Yesterday I managed to start a fire by accident.
I was rolling around in my office chair, trying to cook  fried eggs to go with some adzuki beans from the crockpot.  I had lit one gas burner, cracked 2 eggs into the frypan and whipped around in my chair to find some red pepper.  When I turned back around, a second gas burner was lit, the one under the foamy egg carton and the whole mess was on fire. I guess the back of my chair had bumped the stove knob, and the flame had jumped over to the leaking second burner.
I turned off the flame, picked up the egg carton, while it was still on fire and wheeled over to the sink and turned the water on.  Alas, we had no water. Boy that foamy stuff sure is stinky!   Meanwhile the fried eggs were getting crispy, so I wheeled back over to shut that flame down, then turned around to the fire in the sink, looking for a towel to smother it with. I spied my towel  way across the room, in the floor, where I had used it to mop of water I had knocked over earlier.  About that time,  one of the raw eggs got hot enough to explode, so now I had a fire and flying egg goo. 
I remembered I had made a nice fresh pitcher of cinnamon tea which was sitting in the fridge, so I wheeled over to the fridge, retrieved the tea and dumped that on the mess. Whew. Breakfast is ready!
I cheated death, once again.  I must have 19 lives, cause I have used up more than 9 already.
This morning, I was contemplating breakfast,when I settled on plain yogurt with Grape Nuts, Cinnamon and a sliced banana, all served raw.  No eggs were injured in the making of this breakfast.
P.S.  If anyone knows how to get gooey egg mess off the ceiling, let me know.

- Testing da generator cause the current done mash up again
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 19:47:45 EDT
Muggy all day as heavy clouds hung high above with no rain, but  erratic winds. We have had several power outages.
Da current done mash up again!
Da current mash up in da dark tonight and me here all alone wiff my broken fin, so I t'inks to meself, why should I sit in da dark when I got dat  Kipor Generator? 
I wheeled myself out to the balcony, dragged the Kipor generator over near me and gave it a yank. It coughed and scolded me like hey, if you pulled a tad harder, I will start and purr.  So I gave it a second yank, wiff my heart into it, and PURRRRRRRRR it does.
I wheeled around and plugged up the fan, the generator revved up a bit more, then I plugged in the light and it revved up to let me know it knew, and then my laptop computer and it didn't bother to rev, my computer drawing so little.
I felt so smitten, I filled out my generator log.  Yeah, I know.
But you see, I worked on fantastic yachts where we kept up with things like generator logs and maintenance schedules. I suppose now they have computers to do that for you too, but I dutifully logged in my generator time in the back of the generator manual. 
I know.
You are dying laughing, but I got the manual, and on the blank pages in back, I took a ruler and drew lots of nifty lines and started a generator log. I expect this baby to last me 20 years, cause I plan to take REAL GOOD CARE of this little jewel.
So here I am sitting with light, fan and computer, happy and spoiled. My fin may be mashed up badly, and I am wheeling around in an office chair, there being NO wheel chairs on Tortola and my other fin is in real bad shape, just not in a cast, but by golly, I am not in the dark!  I have light fan and puter.
Kipor Sinemaster 1000W Quiet Portable Inverter Generator only $429Click for info. ***Price went up slightly since I bought mine a few months ago.  Mine was shipped through the US Mail as this baby only weighs 27 pounds and puts out a surprising 1,000 watts of clean current, sensitive to electronics. The manual is straight forward on operation and maintenance. The engine revs up and down, based on load.  It starts easily, even for a mermaid!  It uses plain gas, no mixing with oil and praying you got that right. It does have a cute little oil dip stick and an air filter, that is cleanable.
OK, I felt silly, the current only mash up for 12 minutes.  But it was a good test run.  However, 20 minutes later, before I had emailed this., POOF out goes da current again.
So now, I have fired up the little Kipor again and plugged in the TV/VCR combo. I ran the VCR cleaner, then plugged in a tape and POOF, I got entertainment! Amazingly, you can hear the movie just fine, even with the generator close by.
If I had two fins, I would have relocated the generator, as I have a 100 foot heavy duty extension cord.  As for now, it is 15 feet from the TV and I can hear the movie fine. Cleaning the VCR did wonders as the taped movie (homemade) is coming through very clear.
I also discovered that my computer headset also fits the TV, so I can completely tune out the generator and watch with headphones.
I am accessing the internet with a Novatel Wireless Card through my cellular provider, CCT and it is working. WOW!
So if da BIG one comes, aka hurricane or himmacane, your Tortola correspondent may be able to keep right on reporting!

- First T'ing in the Morning!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 06:41:15 EDT
Lat night from about 10-11 we were treated to an incredible lightning display. Just silent lightning brilliantly flashing like God was taking flash pictures of us. Around 11pm we had some rumbling, mumbling, grumbling thunder like an unhappy dog defending his territory while half asleep.
    The rains picked up and I could hear heavy  rains, but  very little was  dumped on us.  This morning has brought overcast skies with patches of blues.
    We have a tropical wave south east of us that may move over us and bring more inclement weather.
A month ago I called a plumber to fix my shower. For weeks now the shower remains broken while I am treated to a host of excuses. Finally the plumber announces he might go off island for the weekend. Later he leaves me a message that he had an emergency and left the island for the weekend. Hmm.
Finally he returns and I call him and he says "You get that fixed yet?"
Only on Tortola... 
"DUH!  Would I be calling YOU if I already had the plumbing fixed?" 
What was he thinking?  What was he not thinking?
He finally agreed to show up "first thing in the morning."  So I was up at the crack of dawn, waiting on him. Around 1pm he shows up.
His first thing in the morning and my first thing in the morning are obviously very different times of day.
Life in the islands.

- One Leg at a Time
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 19:36:02 EDT
Well here it is dark thirty and I realize I forgot all about sending in a weather report. Must be those good pain pills.
Fall is settling in, days are a tad cooler as the trade winds pick up again. Nights are still balmy and we keep watching the horizon for the final storms. My generator continues to get a workout as power outages still plague us.
We did finally get propane and I keep forgetting I can actually cook on a real stove now. Apparently the propane guy went on vacation and didn't figure on a replacement and something was botched up in the propane order department and many folks expressed outrage to be out of propane, so I wasn't alone in moaning about it.
For a few months now, I have had a one legged chicken living here. I didn't adopt him. Just one day, he showed up, rather smallish, hopping around on one leg. I have no idea what happened to his other leg. I've watched my cats stare at him oddly, but I guess they can take pity too and they have left him alone.
Amazingly, he has grown up, though he is small for his age. He seems a tad lonely and often hangs around the steps greeting people. So many times people arrive at my door and ask "What is with the one legged chicken?"
I've made awful jokes about him, such as "He's a very unique chicken, he can play the piano really well! So with that much talent, we didn't want to eat him all at once!"
Now of course, as I flop around with my busted fin, I think "shame on me for making fun of the one legged chicken..."
I toss out leftover bread ends, unpopped popcorn, wimpy crackers and whatever other bird like treats I find myself scrounging up for him. He's a survivor. 

- Breathtaking
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 10:58:44 EDT
Terrific weather, had a rain squall that lasted nearly 45 seconds.  Tropical waves on the
Click for Today's Picture

- (no subject)
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 09:41:54 EDT
According to the tropical weather outlook, we have a tropical wave on top of us, but we are seeing minimal effects from it thus far other than waves on the north shore.

- Papaya Days
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 13:13:53 EDT
Weather is lovely, bright azure skies with puffy clouds wafting by and nice breezy winds, offering much needed natural cooling.  A simply marvelous day to be alive, even with this heavy cast on and me unable to walk, it's still nice to be alive in such a wonderful place.
We have a few tropical waves aiming at us,
Papaya is one of my favorite fruits. I love it juiced, plain or as soup. The soup should be made 3-4 or more hours before serving and I am going to share with you my top secret papaya soup recipe.  It's great as an appetizer before dinner or paired with a sandwich for a delightful treat.
Chilled Papaya Soup
Peel papaya and remove seeds
Chop into chunks
Toss papaya into blender with a juice of a lime and a  sprinkling of cinnamon & nutmeg
Whiz at high speed until completely liquefied
*If too thick, you may add  a splash of water or juice (such as orange or mango)
Chill Soup thoroughly.  If possible, chill soup bowls before serving such as a  few hours in fridge or 30 minutes in freezer.
When ready to serve soup, grab a small bunch of parsley and chop finely, ladle soup into bowls,  sprinkle with parsley, garnish with yogurt (or sour cream).
*I like to garnish my soup with a yogurt zig zag across the middle of the  soup bowl or  write someone's name with the yogurt or if serving a tropical party, write the "S" words such as "Swim, Surf, Sail, Snorkel, Ski, Sea, Sun, Sex, etc."
To make a fast pastry bag for writing with yogurt, take a zip lock baggy and snip off a teeny  tiny bit of the corner, place yogurt in baggy, zip up, and your yogurt pen is ready for writing. Practice on a  plate before writing in soup.
Ok, I am going to come clean about how I really broke my fin.  It wasn't from dancing, nor skydiving, nor kicking, nor donkey racing nor shroom hunting.
If the truth be known, and I am a tad embarrassed, I broke my fin because I was climbing a papaya tree in search of that luscious fruit. A long came a very strong wind, so I held on tightly, lest I get blown outta that tree. However,  the 60 foot tall coconut tree next to me starts swaying and suddenly *whoosh*  a coconut flies down and smashes into me fin, breaking it once, causing me to tumble to the ground from my perch up  high in my papaya tree and the fall didn't break my fin a second time, but rater the sudden stop, when I hit the ground, broke my fin again.
I was laying there seeing stars and realizing my prized papaya was still firmly attached, high up in the tree I had just tumbled out of.  Next thing I know, someone is hollering "Mermaid down!  Mermaid down! Call for help!" and a screaming ambulance comes out and shovels me up and into their wagon and off we go to the hospital. 
It took the hospital hours to set my cast, because nobody had seen a mermaid before, so they left me lying in the hallway, flopping around in pain, while a whole parade of folks came by to stare.  After about five hours, the parade had finished, so they finally wheeled me off for treatments.
I am darn lucky to be alive, but never did get my papaya...
To see a beautiful day, check out these local WebCams
If you are bored, check out What's New
If planning to party , check out 2006 Events
For Halloween with a Caribbean twist check out Costumes
For early Christmas Shopping Suggestions, see  Caribbean Calendars

- BOO!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 12:18:59 EDT
Warm and balmy with very nice tropical breezes going by, just another lovely day in paradise.  However we have some tropical waves headed our way and I think we might have another hurricane before the fat lady sings.
I am feverishly working on my Halloween Costume.  It's a SECRET what I am going to be. However, here are some great suggestions, such as a man eating shark, as shown in the costume below, you use your arms to wiggle the legs and make grunting, crunching noises.
Of course, as a mermaid, I could dump ketchup all over my clothes, draw some railroad tracks across my face and dress up like an accident victim with my cast. Or I could string a phone around my cast and go as Casting Call...
I could make myself look truly dead, paint my skin white and paint my cast jet black and in white letters write "KET" on the cast, then I could claim to be a Cast-Ket!
I could paint my cast to resemble a hunk of wood, dress as a Pirate and be Penny Peg Leg.
By the way, just found out that Eric Stone Band is playing at Myetts Tonight then he is off on his world tour, to reappear at Foxy's, New Years Eve aka Old Year's Night. .

- Fool Moon Parties
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 10:22:39 EDT
Bright and clear with blue skies. Three tropical waves rolling across the Atlantic, aimed right for us. I hope my fin heals soon, so I can get out of the way!
Tonight (Friday) at Bomba's the legendary  Eric Stone Band will be performing at Bomba's Fool Moon Shroom Party.  Eric Stone Band will next appear New Year's Eve at Foxys.
 Bomba Shack by Eric Stone

If you ever go down, down to the islands
You may never want to come back
Cause there's this place built on some pylons
Yeah, you can howl at the moon at Bomba's Surfside Shack

Bomba sells his Bomba punch for 3 dollars a cup
Or pretty girls can trade in their underwear
Bomba stirs a big black pot when the full moon comes up
The smell of magic mushroom tea is everywhere

Bomba had a crazy wife that ran off every nite
He never knew exactly where she go
But then he found out that she went to parties all the time
So Bomba built his shack so she could party right at home


If you ever find yourself down Tortola Way
Just find that little shack that's in the salty air
When the sun goes down and the moon is out over Capoon's Bay
Bomba makes his mushroom tea for all to share


© 2002 Boatsongs Music
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- Fool Moon Coming Up Tonight and Tomorrow
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 18:09:21 EDT
Blue overcast skies and some humidity.  We are ready for summer to be over and the oh so cool nights to arrive. They are just around the corner!
This year you can make both fool moon parties, as Bomba's is having his on Friday the 6th and Trellis Bay is having theirs on Saturday October 7th.  Guess the full moon hits the western end of the island before the eastern end.
Only on Tortola...
The Interline Regatta, October 10-19,  is the only event of its kind in the Caribbean, open exclusively to airline employees, their family and friends. This event takes place in October each year. Sponsored by The Moorings, the standard itinerary allows for two days of sailing prior to the first race, allowing crews a chance to get comfortable with their yachts. Racing and regattas are superb opportunities for top-flight corporate entertainment or team building, as well as being great fun for individuals and groups. 

- Gorgeous
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 09:46:28 EDT
Just another gorgeous day in paradise. Two waves are to the east of us that bare watching. The one near Africa looks like it could become ferocious, only time (and my crystal ball) will tell.
More Fun Stuff:

- Unhoppy
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 10:02:50 EDT
Gorgeous day in paradise!  Bright blue skies, we have waves all around us, but no where near us, and the winds are brisk and cooling.
More on the Broken Fin and Cast:
Living on the second floor is pretty rough, especially since the Doctor told me not to climb any stairs.  I sure will be glad when this cast is off cause  I'm tired of shimmying up and down that drain spout.
I feel like a frog with a broken leg...Unhoppy. 

- Gorgeous Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 10:21:51 EDT
Sky is overcast with breezy winds. Road Town is HOT.  They need to plant more trees there and ban the cars.  Today it is 86 degrees. Thismorning we had torrential rains for all of 20 seconds just before daybreak.
It reminded me of my live aboard days when you jumped up to close all the hatches on the boat, popped back in the bunk and right when you got cozy, the rains stopped.
Broken fin is going through painful growing pains. I am thinking of a transplant. This is my first and last break. Next time they are just going to have to shoot me and put me down!
I have seen everything on TV now and I am convinced there is no intelligent life in Hollywood.

- Polly's Last Slide Show
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2006 11:24:29 EDT
The morning started out windless, but by 930am, the winds had picked up some, so that our gentle trade winds are reminding us, that they still exist. Hurricane Isaac is 275 miles east northeast of Bermuda and headed for Newfoundland.  Warm and sunny today.  A great day for a Sunday.
The day after I made my Greek pizza with a pound of fresh spinach, the US recalled all fresh spinach due to E coli contamination which resulted in deaths and illnesses spread across America. I pretended not to notice and convinced myself I was in tip top health. A few days later, one of my all time favorite people, Willie Nelson, a senior citizen (age 73) and world famous singer and songwriter was busted for a pound and a half of marijuana and some magic  'shrooms. 
So I called up Willie and asked him what he be doing rolling down the highway and getting hisself busted like that. He says "Dear Miss Mermaid, I am SO lucky!  If I had been traveling with a pound and half of Spinach, I'd be DEAD by now!" 
That's my Willie!  Always looking on the bright side.

- Breezy!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2006 12:52:03 EDT
Warm and breezy today. YES!  The winds have made a cameo appearance and we are ever so grateful.   It is 88 degrees and cloudy with brilliant patches of blue skies. It feels WONDERFUL to have the trade winds back on schedule. It's our natural air conditioning and mon, it feels so good.
One of our readers, Andrew, has shared some of his awesome underwater photography with us and you can see more of his pictures at this link.  Enjoy!
Message in a Bottle Washed Up This Morning:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
    I hope your fin is on the mend, but you sure can tell some big fin fibs! Let's see, you claimed to have broken your fin kickin' a lawyer fella,  then you said you were really dancing  the mango tango when it broke, next you were skydiving to Foxys and now donkey racing on Merman!  So which is it?  How you mash up dat fin?  You only got two fins and four stories!
Counting Fibs and Wondering if Your Nose Getting Longer too...
OK, OK, I will come clean, this is how I really broke my fin....
Well, ya know the BVI is famous for its magic  'shrooms, which are made into tea and served at the Fool Moon Party at Bombas.  They are also just eaten raw and then you are treated to very colorful views of life. Every t'ing make you happy when you eat dem magic 'shrooms.
So up, I went, hiking to Sage Mountain after a good hard rain had drenched the area the day before. I was hunting down some magic 'shrooms for my afternoon entertainment.  Looking hither and yonder, I searched high and low for hours on end.
Now the best magic 'shrooms are those in or near cow paddies. So guess what, I spotted a few cows wandering around on the other side of a fence. I managed to slither under the fence and was sneaking up on some cow paddies where I was treated to some wonderful  magic 'shrooms.
Then I saw the mega 'shroom, the grandmother of them all, it was huge. I guess I was feeling pretty silly by then, I had been munching down 'shrooms as I found them, and I guess I didn't realize how close I came to the cow that was grazing near the grandmother 'shroom.
Just as I reached over to grab that gigantic 'shroom, the cow, sensing something was amiss, behind her, kicked out randomly, and broke me poor wittle fin. I guess the magic 'shrooms had me so happy, I didn't feel much pain at the time so I spent the rest of the afternoon laying in the field, studying very colorful cloud formations so I could learn better how they report that BVI weather.
I thought maybe that cow had just given me a nasty bruise and I managed somehow to leave the park and begin hitchhiking down the main road with my swollen fin which seemed to have grown quite huge, but then I thought maybe it's just those magic 'shrooms making it look humongous.
The good Samaritan that picked me up, suggested I had broken the fin but I just laughed him off. Later, at home, when the 'shrooms wore off and the pain hit me, I was forced to call that screaming ambulance to come fetch me and the rest is history.
Now my fin has a big old cast on it and my travels are cut short for a few months, so no more magic 'shroom hunting for  a loooooooooong time.
Now if ya truly feeling sorry for me, then buy some 2007 Caribbean Calendars. All net proceeds go to my fin rehab fund. I can tell you one thing, I miss swimming!  But this dang cast would sink me to the bottom, if I tried dat.

- Wave is Dry
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 10:15:06 EDT
We have a tropical wave sitting on top of the BVI. At 4am we had a lightning show with quiet distant rumblings but nary a drop a rain. The lightning was intense and lengthy,  brilliantly lighting up the night as if it was noon or a giant camera from space from was using flash camera. Speaking of pictures from space, this one of Hurricane Helene is rather awesome. 
Today's Picture of the Day, Hurricane Helene as seen from space Shuttle Atlantis, click here for full size view
Tropical storm Isaac is about 585 east southeast of Bermuda and no threat to the BVI at this time. We are very overcast from the wave sitting here, but no rain yet, just humidity.
Will wonders never cease!  The BVI is  considering introducing postal codes. If legislation passes we will be the 118th country to adopt such a unique system.  Let's see, the Universal Postal Union was established in 1863, and now 144 years LATER, the BVI is considering such a radical move. I tell you, mon, we are moving forward with progress here!  Hats off to our wonderful Legislators for being such forward thinkers.
All Clickable Links are Underlined
It looks like we may have more volcanic ash heading here from Montserrat over the next day or so.

- Still No Winds (but lots of hot air on these broken fin stories!)
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 07:39:48 EDT
Tropical Depression #9 has formed and is currently about 685 miles East-Southeast of Bermuda and no threat to the BVI.
Today it is mostly clear skies with scattered clouds and virtually no winds. We had rains for an entire minute.
Chronic power outages have plagued the BVI for the past few days, with a record braking 8 outages yesterday in 24 hours!  The BVI Electricity website still insists "there is no power outage notice at this time!"  I guess they REALLY want to keep us in the dark...
It is 84 degrees and still no winds. This is the longest windless season I recall, I hope one day SOON the trade winds come back to see us, I sure do miss their natural cooling ways.
Missing the BVI?
Check out:
Message in a bottle:
Dear MM
       Damn that was a good story and I know some people are stupid enough to let you kick them but Goats on Tortola are quite often available. I remember the 40 or so that used to start out from the area behind Nanny Cay each morning . We called them the LAWN MAINTAINANCE ASSOCIATION..And legend has it that if you happen to have an accident with free ranging goats the goat is yours.
    I suspect you could arrange a replacement with the rusty Jeep with the rope drive  Windshield wipers...I suspect the fin trouble was the result of donkey racing and your excessive competitive spirit.
    Please keep the stories coming. I start my day with your reports. I had the opportunity to visit the hospital at Road Town when I cracked a rib on the old airport roof stairs during a rain storm. They did an X-ray and no one could read it so they suggested I must have a cracked rib and I had no business on the airport roof during a rain storm....They were right.
Roof Jumper
Dear Roof Jumper,
    Usually, if you want to fly out of the airport, you just hop on a plane. Most folks do not attempt to fly off the airport roof, without at least help from  plane.  You are lucky you only broke your rib and not your funny head.
    The Lawn Maintenance Association is in full force, covering much of the island now.  Indeed, if you have an accident with a goat, it's best to take him home to the stew pot or BBQ before the owner or anyone notices. Being that goats aren't branded, I've never figured out how "owners" claim them unless they have them firmly fenced in somewhere (hahahaha!).
    And YES, you are absolutely right. It WAS my donkey racing that broke my leg.  It was supposed to be a secret!
    See, I was practicing for the donkey races  to be held next year at Carrot Bay in August. They have NEVER had a female jockey entrant nor a mermaid entrant, so I figured I could make BIG NEWS by being the first female jockey and the first mermaid jockey.
    So me and Merman (my donkey) were doing a test sprint over Zion Hill Road when suddenly as we were going down the steep hill, he slammed on his hoof brakes, tossed me head over tail down the road, and took off for some hot little donkey with bougainvillea tied on her head,  who was batting her eyelashes at him with a come hither look and let's make a baby donkey.  It was history for me.
    I flipped and flopped on the side of the road, in great pain, unable to get up.
    A long came a rasta mon, who whipped out his cell phone and called the ambulance and said "there be a mermaid here in the road with her fin all mash up" and that's how I made it to the hospital in under 12 minutes.
    I just hope they get this cast off in time for the donkey races.  If anyone has seen Merman lately, slap his big behind and send him home to me. He was last seen in a field off Zion Hill Road, cavorting with a female with a crown of bougainvillea on her head. Thanks.
Shop at the Treasure Chest, net earnings go towards the Mermaid's broken fin fund.

- Winds and Skydiving
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 09:52:08 EDT
We have three tropical waves east of us. One is 56West longitude,  South of 17North lattitude and drifting west, which is right towards us.
Surf is up on the North shore today and the Sir Francis Drake is pretty darn flat on the south shore.

It is 84 degrees and we actually have winds today, they are gentle but they are cooling and oh it feels so nice.
Ok so it wasn't really the mango tango dance that tangled and mangled my fin...
It was me practicing for the Cat Fight at Foxys on Jost Van Dyke in October. See, every year, a select few skydivers hire a plane and then skydive down to the beach at Foxys. This is also referred to as making a grand entrance.
So I decided since I sold my sailboat, and it was hard to get to Foxys without one, that I would take up skydiving and just fly by and drop into the party this year and make my grand entrance.
I read a  book  all about skydiving and hired a plane and up we went. As we approached Foxys, the instructor opens the door and shoves me out and I go skydiving down to the beach.
Only problem is, no one has seen a mermaid skydive before so this whole crowd of folks rush out from the bar to the beach including the paparazzi with their super long zoom camera.  The paparazzi are trampling everybody to get the best shot of the skydiving mermaid!  When I came in for a landing that dang paparazzi trips me up with his 9 foot long zoom camera lens, and my  fin breaks into two pieces.
So if you are eagerly waiting for the Daily Snoop to come out with the skydiving mermaid picture splattered on the front page, it ain't gonna happen, cause my fall broke the camera and the 9 foot long zoom lens.  Shame on that paparazzi! 
Buy a 2007 Caribbean Calendar, proceeds go to the "save the fin" expenses for Dear Miss Mermaid.

- Mini Hurricane Flew Past
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 21:39:26 EDT
Tuesday 8pm
    Still no internet. We had a lenghthy power outage today as well and still no propane to cook with. Ah, this must be island life!  Land of erratic utilities. We did (shhhhhh!)  still have water and phone (but no cable TV).  Making phone calls to the propane company, internet provider and electric company produced only endless ringing telephones with no answer on the other end.
    Fired p the Kipor Generator, who purred right to life then died within 3 minutes, apparently it runs better with gas in the tank, rather than air. Got it gassed up and of course, dat current come back on to mock us.
Tuesday 8am
Bright and sunny today, 84 degrees with slight light winds. Last night we had a little mini hurricane that blew in at 10pm.  For 20 minutes we were treated to howling winds and horizontal rains.  Then the winds subsided, and we got just loads of rain which abruptly stopped after 10 or so minutes.  A few  minutes later, the tree frogs were  happily singing and the winds were back to near zero with nary a drop of rain to be found.
My silly kitty that insists on showering in the rain, came dashing in, all wet. I brushed his fur backwards, which gives him this punked up look and enables his fur to air-dry quickly. He strutted around, took a snack from the dried food kitty bowl then wandered back out to contnue with his nightly forays.
I was watching him out the window, as he strutted slowly by the neighbor's chained up dog, who peaked at him from his sleep with one eye, then thoroughly ignored him. So kitty turns around and glares at him, like "Didn't you NOTICE me?  I am walking SLOWLY past you, where's all that big rough barking big fella?" 
Doggy ignores him.
Kitty glares:
"Hey! Aren't you going to at least  try to yank your chain to the very end and threaten to break it just so you can dream about chasing me up a tree?"
Doggy continued to ignore kitty, so kitty gave up, and  kinda shrugged his furry little shoulders, sauntering off into the night, letting sleeping dogs lay.
OK, ok, enough from the mailbag!  I didn't really break my fin kicking that lawyer fell'er... but heck, it sounded good didn't it?
What really happened to da foot*** is dat Miss Mermaid was out chasing her consuming passion, which is dancing. I had me what I thought was a right smart partner, and we were dancing  the Mango Tango on the beach to the sounds of band.
Somehow my partner tripped over me mermaid tail with his size 14 feet, knocked me down and landed on me fin and broke it. End of Mango Tango and start of Mangled Tangle...
***da foot is any t'ing between da toe and da hip, in d'is case, I mash up da part between da knee and da ankle

- Flat Calm
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 07:00:33 EDT
605am and thunder is rumblin'.  Very slight, light winds wafted by breifly.
620am more rumbling and grumling
622am light rains as the set rises under an overcast sky.
625am and the rains have stopped.
Still no winds.
629am slow long low rumblings emerge from the east
702am, still no rain, no wind, very still and 84 degrees. Guess it's a great day to go motoring!
Many folks have asked how I broke my fin and ended up with this huge cast. Well, it started like this, many of ya know I am not fond of American Lawyers, so if you are one, I apologize.
So one day this lawyer comes on my propertyand  is about to t'ief my goat!  I says to him "Dat my goat, now get your slimy paws off of him!"
"Oh, no" says the American lawyer, "I just bought this land, and this is MY goat."
I tell him in no uncertain terms, that it is my goat and he says it is his! So I say, "OK, we settle this island style."
"How's dat?" he asked.
"Well"  I explained, "First I get to kick you three times, then you get to kick me three times and so on, until someone concedes or passes out."
"Hmm, OK" says the lawyer.  I tell him I get to go first, since I am the accuser and he says "Well, OK."
So I whip out some of my mermaid karate and kick him in the stomach and watch as his lunch hurls past me and he turns green. Then I kick him in the groin and he falls back screaming and turns red.  Finally I kick him in the head, for my final Coup de Grâce and he let's out a huge moan and  turns yellow.
Somehow, he manages to stand up, all shaky legs, clutching his groin and holding his head,  and announces in a weak voice "OK, I guess it's my turn."
"Nope"  I say. " I give up. You can HAVE the goat."
I guess it was that final kick to his stubborn head that broke my poor wittle fin. But boy it sure was FUN! Tee hee hee.
Get all your BVI weather in one place.

- Great Fireballs
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 04:30:44 EDT
Somebody t'ief our wind!  We been looking and praying for its return and still, no wind at all, save for my man-made wind from dat elec-trick wind machine. 
Big wave coming at us, and I don't like the looks of him, but if he bring us some wind, and a little rain, we might not care. It's so hot without our beloved trade winds, that my chicken be laying soft boiled eggs d'is morning. It's a good t'ing, cause we out of d'at cooking gas again.
It is 83 degrees and of course wind-less.
Another Message in a Bottle, Tumbled up on the Seashore this morning:
Hi there Miss Mermaid
All of us in the Dominican Republic love reading your posts to Storm Carib, and fortunately we have all been spared bad weather so far this year.
I have been telling my friends about Bomba's beach parties and the fiery balls he hangs over the water, but so far have been unable to find pictures of the fireballs online, although there are plenty of Bomba's shack itself.
If you have a spare moment in your busy life, I would be delighted if you could send me a picture of the fires in those great iron balls at Bomba's at New Year I think it was.
Dear Carol,
    You be doing too much rum or too much  'shrooms and can't remember which Fool Moon beach party you were at!  The fireball Fool Moon parties are held at Trellis Bay, about 24 miles east of Bomba's.
    The Bomba Fool Moon 'Shroom Parties are held 24 miles west of dem fireballs, and although they don't have d'em fireballs over the water,  d'ey do got the 'Shroom Tea for your hallucinogenic drinking pleasure.
    If you are striving to make both parties (a very difficult feat, only performed by a select few die hard experienced partiers) ) we recommend you:
     (1) hire a taxi mon who doesn't drink rum or do 'shrooms (if you can even locate such a creature on this island!)
    (2) start at Trellis Bay and do the fireballs (lit up shortly after sunset at dark thirty)
    (3) then do da Bomba t'ing with 'Shroom Tea served at midnight and bands until the wee hours of the morning.
    I go tell Bomba you talk about his "Fire in those Great Iron Balls" and he  light right up hisself and  ask you to be his wife for life.  He ask how many 'shroom it take to get you to walk down dat aisle...
Trellis Bay Fireball

- Foggy Life
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2006 09:35:13 EDT
Not a breath of wind here. None. Nada. Null. Zero. Naught. Zilch. Zip.
No wind at all!  You can motorboat anywhere in the BVI and use about half the fuel as you aren't going to meet any resistance.
Not a cloud in the sky, just super blue.
Hurricane Helene has been downgraded to a tropical storm.  But to our east we have a big mess coming at us, could be the future Himmacane Isaac.
Did I mention we have no wind here today? Not a hint!  I am not one to complain about the heat, but I miss my trade winds, oh do I miss them so badly. It is 84 degrees and feels like a desert.  Even my potted plants are wilting left and right as if daily watering is no longer sufficient to keep them going.
Today is the first day of autumn (or spring for our friends below the equator).  Days and nights are exactly equal today, marked by the sun's entrance into the Scales of Libra, in perfect balance.
Chris from Nevis writes on the continued subject of broken windshield wiper motors:
May I suggest you and your friend from Jamaica try a product called 
RainX Glass Treatment   Don't need no stinkin' windshield wipers or
windshield wiper mechanix.

Of course you could also do what everyone else on Nevis tends towards -
if it looks like rain, just stay at home limin'


PS - I enjoy your posts - keep it up!
Chris, it does seem from my long ago and far away dark ages, when I lived in another land and wore spectacles, that I met the inventor of RainX at a trade show. At that time he was selling the stuff in little pots to put on your eye glasses and I think it was sold under a different name. I must admit, he was quite the showman, with his steamer and fog machine. He would fog up your glasses so you couldn't see a thing. Then he would polish the eyeglasses with his mystery ingredients from this little pot, and once again hold them over his fog machine and the glasses would remain perfectly clear.   I remember my father and I buying up several pots of the stuff, for ourselves and our other family and friends that relied on eyeglasses to get through their days.  It looked like it was a garage business, taking off. I guess at some point, it was discovered this stuff did magic on everything glass, including windshields, mirrors and so on.  I had forgotten about this wonderful stuff until you mentioned it.

- Big Bottle Washes Ashore
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 04:51:53 EDT
No winds on Tortola, Helene has just sucked them all out of the region .We have two waves east of us, that bare watching, as I don't like the looks of them one bit. We've had multiple showers and that served to cool t'ings down some, but I do wish the winds would come back.
What with me recuperating, getting to the store is impossible and I have been delving into my hurricane stash, and that is never good either, I don't want to be caught unprepared and everyone say dat mermaid cause the storm to come, cause she ate up her stash!
Well, by now I guess you know da mermaid done mash up  her fin and be languishing with a 100 pound statue stuck on dat fin, that really makes me grumpy.  Dat dang cast is bound to sink me to da bottom of the ocean if I don't watch out.
But, lo and behold, while I was flopping around the seashore, a BIG bottle washes up with a note inside with  some fiberglass and resin. Note says "Fiberglass is much lighter than 100 pound plaster of Paris, Respect from Jamaica, Good luck mon!"
I feel sooooooo  lucky!  Before I can leave the seashore, with my new found treasure, a small little bottle washes ashore. Inside is a note. "P.S. Forgot to enclose pain killa in last bottle, Respect from Jamaica, Enjoy mon" and out rolls a bit of green aromatic ganga.
Ah, the wonderful aroma of herbal therapy and soon I be feelin' NO pain at all!  So t'anks to you, Respect from Jamaica, I be jammin'!  Dat pain killa be da best in da world.  Now me off with dat big bottle to do talk some sense into dat spesh-list coming over to look at me busted fin.
So a friend of da mermaid's, bundles me up in his late model unrusty hunk of a jeep, to go see a traitor, A.K.A. a private practicing doctor who is not working at dat guv-ment hospital. Dat orthopedic spesh-list done be motor boating from St Trauma to here, once a month, and meets his patients at dat private Purple Palace for consultation.
If ya ever been to Road Town, Tortola, there on the hill, overlooking Road Harbor, is a  purple 16th century fort, surrounded by bougainvillea, hibiscus, oleander and flamboyant flowers and bushes. Inside dat Purple Palace is highfalutin doctors, an operating room upstairs  and patient rooms downstairs, in the dungeon. 
They have no elevator, so when surgery is over, the gardeners go out and stop traffic on the steep street that wraps around dat purple palace, then the nurses push the hapless patient, laying on a gurney,  out the top door, at the crest of the hill, and down the steep  road, to the bottom, where they pop open a secret passage and slide ya back inside again to your cell. (I kid you not!) 
I asked the nurses how many patients have ya lost on dat vertical hill and she tell me that is privileged info. I know, cause years ago, the doctors tell me something awful gotta come out of me, so they chop me open, remove the broken parts and send me down dat hill to the dungeon, for recuperation.
 Mind you I have called all over Tortola trying to beg, borrow, rent or t'ief a wheel chair and let me tell you, there must be some sort of problem at customs, cause Tortola has NO wheel chairs available anywhere on da island, save for dat leftover rusty relic from world war one, dat I borrowed briefly at the public hospital to fetch copies of my X rays. I knew I shudda t'iefed dat chair, but no, I return it to them and hopple off to my next stop, a visit to the Purple Palace.
So returning to the scene of the crime, I called ahead to dat Purple Palace, to inquire about having a nurse meet me at the entrance with a wheel chair, as this hoppling around on me good fin, while dragging the 100 pound plastered fin behind me, and carrying this huge bottle, is getting quite old and me quite weary.
"A wheel Chair!" she mocks me on the phone. "Either you are well enough to walk, or sick enough for  a gurney, or wealthy enough to bring your own wheel chair. We don't have a wheel chair HERE" she incredulously informs me as if I had asked what time is boarding for the next space rocket to Mars.
I wonder if she had heard about me losing control of my borrowed wheel chair at the other hospital and just doesn't trust me. A few hours later, I arrive, hopping on me good fin, draggin' my bad fin and collapse in a waiting room chair. When the doctor calls me , I hopple my way to the  examining room, while he leads me ahead.  Inside the examining  room  he spins around and  suggests "You really need a wheel chair..."  
I wanted to slap him silly with my BIG bottle and give him a dose of Tortola reality, but I was afraid he wouldn't remove my 100 pound cast, so  I just smile, bat my eye lashes and say "Ya think?"
He asks me what on earth is in dat big bottle I be hauling with me, and I show him da fiberglass and da note from Respect from Jamaica, while he looks it over with a "Hmmm..."
Next he wants me to hop up on the four foot high table and pushes a flimsy stool over. I managed to hop on the stool and then table, but my sudden actions sent the stool clattering  across the room and the doctor hollering "Careful!  You could break your neck!"  And me thinking, yeah and I could break yours too... silly purple palace, with no wheel chair...
He cuts off the 100 pound cast and I am so ecstatic, I am ready to dance, that is, until I see my red, blue and yellow swollen fin that resembles an alien body part, as if added on as an after thought.
After some negotiating and the exchange of green cash, and my precious big bottle,  he agrees to a lighter much nicer fiberglass cast. When all is said and done, I hobble out to the reception to get my next appointment lined up. I finish up and as I am hopping away from reception to go outside and wait on my ride, the receptionist says "Ya really need a wheel chair, ya know..." 
I tell ya if looks could kill, there would be one dead receptionist with a doctor to go with her...I can see it now in the local headlines,  "Mermaid Murders Two, Over Wheel Chair Remark".
So I sit outside in da sun, watching the flat calm harbor on one side and the busy steep street on the other, hoping my friend remembers to come fetch me. After awhile he drives up  and says "Mon, I be in dat bank line for an hour and a half trying to cash a check!"  and I says to him "Wow!  You got through that quickly?"
He is trying to help me hopple over to his car when he says "Ya know, we shudda t'iefed dat rusty world war one wheel chair from dat  guv-ment hospital..." 
And frankly, I wish we had. 

- Flat Enough to Skip
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 12:40:54 EDT
Un-himmacane Gordon is still meandering around with 50mph winds. Hurricane Helen is wandering the Atlantic with 80mph winds.
Apparently they have sucked all the winds out of the BVI, as it is dead calm here.   You can skip rocks off the flat water.  It's a great time for a motorboat, you can go to the Bigger Better Bitter End on Virgin Gorda without getting a drop of agua splashed  on you.
On the North shore, the surf is up and surfers are happy about that.
Went back to the hospital yesterday.  What a comedy. My friend showed up to pick me up and when I got in the car, my leg wouldn't fold up to fit inside. I was trying to move the seat back and couldn't get it to budge, so my friend is in the driveway, digging around between my legs, trying to move the seat. Of course is suddenly took off and leaped about a foot backwards and I was able to finally bring the errant leg insides.
At the hospital we pulled up to the front entrance and noticing the tall grand staircase at the entrance, only had one hand rail, I wasn't able to hop upwards, so we drove around back to the anonymous emergency room doors. I hopped inside on one swollen uncasted leg, and a nurse rushed over and I asked her for a wheel chair and she said, No, you need to hop over to a stretcher.
I explained I wanted to borrow a wheel chair to go get my X-ray pictures so I could go to the doctor. This resulted in a thorough grilling by the nurse, before she realized I was a traitor.
Yep, I was going to see a private doctor who wasn't practicing at the hospital, So I was a traitor.She came back with a wheel chair from world war one. It was dusty and rusty, missing parts, and had a ripped seat back. In further retaliation, she gave me the wrong directions to X-ray.
So my friend and I I took a wheeled tour of the old, new and under construction of the hospital before locating my errant X rays. These were finally handed to me in an envelope four times the size of the pictures.
I was leaving to go find the secret emergency room door, so I could exit. Somehow, I lost control of my wheel chair on a ramp and crashed into the window at reception.  Fortunately neither I nor window broke. The receptionist refused to talk to me, as if me being in a wheel chair made me deaf. Instead she spoke to my friend about my bad driving habits.
Ah, ya gotta love it here.
If you are as bored as I am:  check out What's New and WebCams of the Caribbean.

- Contagious Breaks
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 18:35:54 EDT
Rainy off and on today. No wind at all as of 6pm but bright blue skies since the rain cleared about 2 hours ago.
Our thoughts and prayers to those in the Azores, who are about to get walloped by Himmacane Gordon. The worst part is that Gordon will hit them at night, and that is double trouble. The only good thing about a night time hurricane, is that there is less chance of dumb accidents.
I say that because after Luis and Marilyn on St John, there were a lot of dumb accidents that happened during the daytime, as folks became bored and stepped outside. One lady opened the door to look outside at the hurricane and it slammed, breaking her foot and she couldn't get help until well after the storm. Another child went outside (where were his parents?) and was hit by a two by four, and miraculously survived but he too had to languish until after the storm for proper medical care.
So I hope and pray everyone stays inside and hunkers down safely and that they have comforts throughout the storm.  (Rum, whiskey, chocolate, cats, toilet paper, etc.)
Hellacious Hurricane Helene is strutting her stuff at 110mph winds, but no threats to land yet, just the poor sailors out there. Heaven help them!
The Azores are an archipelago of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km from Lisbon and about 3,900 km from the east coast of North America. The nine Azorean Islands extend for more than 600 km, and lie in a northwest-southeast direction. The westernmost point of this area is 3,380 km from the North American continent. All of the islands have volcanic origins, though Santa Maria also has some reef contribution. The Azores are actually the tops of some of the tallest mountains on the planet, as measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean.
Is it contagious?  My neighbor who has come down once a day to check on me, came home today, hobbling on crutches,  with a broken ankle and a 50 pound cast. I was so jealous, cause my cast is 100 pounds and goes to the knee. I wonder if we can tie our bad legs together, then walk on our good legs and become the two headed gimp with a limp...


- D'at Dang X-Rated Room
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 05:06:31 EDT
Hellacious Hurricane Helene is a huge hurricane, out at sea, but quite menacing.
Hurricane Gordon is aiming for the Azores as if wanting to strut his stuff and show off that he is powerful too.
We in the BVI are very fortunate that all these hurricanes seem to be avoiding us and we are very happy for that.
It is 5am and the sun is sleeping in late but not the roosters, they are up and crowing for the hens to come home. It's windless, but cool at 80 degrees.
Lawdy mercy, I done mash up da foot and took me a ride in d'at screaming ambulance to the new fangled hospital.  They used this ma-ching that can see inside da foot and dey say it done mash up badly.
Dey  let d'ese guys get out their 100 pounds of plaster of Paris and try to make a statue out of da foot all da way to my knee.  Sent me home  a day later, by screaming taxi all over again.
Lawdy mercy, used to take me a good half hour or more to drive to the hospital, not that I ever go there, but I have to drive by there to get to town. The ambulance driver they done send out to fetch me, drove like she had way too much Espresso,  we late for the Second Coming and we reach the hospital in under 13 minutes.  I t'anked her kindly, then asked if she could go back ten miles, and fetch my stomach...
Dat hospital is one big mess with new stuff here, old stuff t'ere and construction everywhere. The orderlies that be pushing me around in a bed on wheels had a lengthy discussion about which detour to take me down to reach the X Rated room for pictures.  I wonder why dey takin' me to some X Rated room and dey say d'ey got to see INSIDE my leg and I says NOT THAT WAY YOU CAN'T! 
Lawdy mercy, I don't want my pictures taken, I be a right mess here, with da foot all mashed up, my hair flying from the ride to da hospital and me stomach left 10 miles back, plus I arrived at d'at dang hospital with just one shoe on cause d'at ambulance lady say I ain't gonna be needing no two shoes for a very, very, long time.
So I gots a pile of right shoes for sale now, as I only need d'ah left ones.
Turns out  this X Rated room they had me in such a fit about is really named after Ray and called the  X-Ray room, and I don't know who Ray is, or why he got that X in front of his name, maybe he da one dat invent d'at ma-ching to look inside me leg and photograph me bones all mash up.
I was so scared, that I fold up my arms over my chest, close my eyes and lay perfectly still, pretending  I be possum dead.  As d'ey wheel me t'rough a waiting room crammed full of people, I hear a little voice say "Mommy!  Mommy!  D'ey be wheeling a dead person in here!"  This was followed by a loud SHHHHHHH and a collective groan.
I lay d'ere in my dead state and try not to burst out laughing. Me is an evil teaser, when I be feeling orn-ry. 
Next day, after I get home, my phone be a jangling and me answer with my weak voice. On the other end my friend be yammering, "You be alive!  I heard you died at the hospital and they wheeled your dead body t'rough the waiting room for all to see!"
I says, I be alive and nearly dead from this 100 pound statue stuck to da foot, and d'at dang coconut telegraph just be outdoing itself lately.

- A Grand Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 06:56:11 EDT
Nice and cool here during the night. Skies are overcast this morning with 82 degrees and no winds, but it feels much cooler. Surf is up on the north shore and surfers are happy about that.
Hurricane Helene is now a category 3 hurricane and still meandering closer to us than I prefer.  But doesn't look like she could hit us, of course one never knows, but still, we are getting her fallout in the form of waves.
Himmacane Gordon appears headed for the Azores.
Don't forget to bookmark or add to your favorites, the new:
X marks the spot we want Hurricane Helene to AVOID!
Back in the dark ages, when I crewed aboard charter yachts, I used to enter the annual Grand Marnier cooking contest. One year I was even  the winner!  So this time of year, I still dream of Grand Marnier cooking concoctions to present.  Judges most often preferred recipes with Caribbean  flavor and ingredients.
Now that the Mango Splitter, has made it super easy to remove the seed from the mango, I offer up a simple recipe for you mango enthusiasts.
Servings 1 cup
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 mangos, split and chopped
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. In food processor or blender, process sugar syrup, mangos and liqueur until smooth. Transfer to covered container and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Serve over ice cream, sorbet, warmed brownies, chocolate cake  or breakfast granola.  YUMMY!

- on edge
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 08:06:23 EDT
Zero winds here. Very quiet.  It's the go away season and most anyone that can afford to leave the islands, has. Some restaurants and bars are closed up until October.  Sun is out and birds are chirping away. It is 84 degrees. 
I don't like the looks of Hurricane Helene, she could wobble and give us her outer bands of bad weather.  However, the surfers are real happy.  Surf is up!

- Surf's Up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 13:51:08 EDT
Bright and sunny here with gentle trade winds. Another wave is rolling off Africa.  Surf is up and getting better.  If you have ever thought of surfing, check out these books.
Learn to Surf: Intermediate LevelLearn to Surf: Intermediate Level
by Academy of Surfing Instructors

Our Price: $24.95
Learn to Surf for BeginnersLearn to Surf for Beginners
by Academy of Surfing Instructors

Our Price: $19.95
Learn to SurfLearn to Surf
by James MacLaren

Our Price: $10.36

- Mini Hurricane
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 05:02:10 EDT
Rains are pouring, winds have whipped up and another mini hurricane is blustering through at 430am.  It feels good to cool off, wish we would have these in the middle of the day!
Still we have three tropical waves and of course Himmacane Gordon who is no threat to us, and Tropical Storm Helene who can't decide whether to come terrorize us to not. Probably not.
It was so hot earlier today, that the  bushes were whistling for the dogs. I heard one farmer complain that his cows were giving out evaporated milk!

- Voodoo Weather
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 08:08:45 EDT
Himmacane  Gordon is 550 miles southeast of Bermuda and packing winds of 120 mph. Yikes!  Anything under 100 you can generally survive if your building is built to basic storm codes, but getting over 100 mph, that's a whole different story. Coconuts become cannon balls, loose debris turns into deadly weapons, things rip off, fly by, fall down.
Tropical Storm Helene is about 695 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands with only 40 mph winds. High time to put some reefs in that sail!
And we have four more waves sloshing around. 
On Tortola we have gentle winds, bright sunshine, interrupted by overcast patches with 83 degrees.  It feels very summery.
From the Mailbag, a reader in Jamaica writes:
Oh God, I had to laugh at the windshield wiper stories.
The wipers on my jeep are currently unusable. Why, you ask. Well now - wipers stopped working, so took to mechanic to fix. Mechanic tells me that windshield wiper (windshield wiper) motor is not good and needs attention, so he dutifully removes it. Fortunately we are in the dry season when this occurs.
You know how easy it is to forget about things when you don't use them every day. Case in point with my windshield wiper - being in the dry season and all. HOWEVER, rainy season creeps up upon us, I am driving down the road and down comes the rain. Turn on trusty wipers and NOTHING - of course, now I remember that mechanic still has windshield wiper motor. SO, I zoom right over to him, to be told that he needs an impact wrench to open up the windshield wiper motor and he can't find his.
I jump up and down and do my dance, while he stands and watches the mad white woman getting soaked in the rain, and finally tells me he will get to work on the motor and I should stop tomorrow. SO, I wait for rain to stop, so I can see driving down the road and off I go, muttering some things under my breath and even out loud, which are totally unrepeatable.
Couldn't get back to him the next day, so went 2 days later, only to be told that he got the windshield wiper motor open BUT, now he can't find all the bits and I gotta buy another one. HAH !!!!!
this is Jamaica I live in !!!! Tings don't go so
Well, this saga happened almost a year ago now, I am STILL waiting for windshield wiper motor to arrive. I have to arrange my movements around the weather. If it looks like rain, I gotta get going right now. If it is raining, I gotta wait til it stops
Ya gotta love it, I laugh about it every day I need the blasted windshield wipers to work, that is of course after I finish cussing off the lot of them. Keeps the blood pressure down and de stresses the body. At least that's what I tell myself.
Makes me feel guilty, that my voodoo mechanic was able to finally fix mine. Knowing how hard it is to find mechanics in the islands, I can't really suggest you run out and find a Voodoo mechanic, but on the other hand, keep your eyes out for one, just in case!

- Sunny
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 12:54:05 EDT
Hurricane Gordon, TD # 8, it just keep rolling across.
Bright and sunny here in Tortola. Very light winds and very hot.

- Lightning Strikes
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 21:16:25 EDT
623pm, still daylight and we just had the most awesome thunder and lightning, a huge rumble that just mumbled on and on, it sure put the thunder in thunderous! 
We have power, internet, and phone, but no cooking gas. Go figure. Winds are whipping up and then slowing down.
626pm and another CRACK of lightning!  Skies are this eery peachy blue with nonstop rains. It smells like fire, but I went out and looked around and really can't see much at all. 
659pm and the storm has stopped, the tree frogs are singing and nothing is dripping!  I think the rains were so hard, that once they stopped, the trees and bushes and things that drip, were so burdened down by heavy drops, that they sprang skyward and shook themselves off. 
Whew.  For a moment there is felt like the mini hurricanes we talk about here. Well, it's nice and cool now and loads of Sahara dust is settled.
701pm thunder is burping intermittently. I can hear rains coming, I guess I wrote too soon!
708pm, light rains gone again, tree frogs singing again but thunder is still mumbling like "just you wait..."
Lightning makes me a tad nervous. I have survived three strikes.  The first one, I was all alone on a gorgeous 140 foot sailing ketch.  The owners had left for Antarctica (I kid you not!) and the captain had flown to Czechoslovakia.
    The rest of the crew had been discharged to France, Venezuela, South Africa and Antigua. I was left to look after this terrific yacht.  When the captain returned, we would be the only crew for awhile.
    A month earlier we had been sailing around Venezuela, now we were in Fort Lauderdale, tied up to a yacht club.  Only everyone was gone now, and it was just me, living on the boat alone and taking care of basic maintenance.
    The owners had left me a checkbook and a surveyors report. We were going to fix the few things on the yacht that were less than perfect, so it would sell for a handsome price.
    At the yacht club, I had hooked into a land line phone, just that day.  So here I was all  alone at sunset.    It was the end of the day and I was tired and stretched out on the crew settee in the galley, talking on the phone to a long distance friend.
    It was storming outside, but I was ensconced inside the locked yacht.  I could hear the rains outside. I felt very tired and awfully lucky.
    That is until thunder rumbled and lightning struck the mast of the boat, blowing out all the electronics and sending off ear piercing alarms, while at the same time, I was thrown down the length of the galley, where I crashed into the closed door to the abandoned crew quarters in the V of the forward hull. My ear felt like it was numb. My long hair was standing on end.  My toes hurt. I studied my bare feet and noticed that I was missing two toe nails, one on each foot, on each pinky toe, the tiniest one. 
    The phone was still at the opposite end of the galley and the alarms were deafening. I picked myself up off the sole, picked up the phone and heard my friend screaming for me. I told him I was alive and hung up.
    I ran below to the engine room, to the control panel and tried to shut down the alarms.  Lights were flashing that all our bilge pumps were working and thinking we might be sinking, I ran up the steps, to the galley then up more steps to the main salon, sprinted out the door, across the deck and leaped to the dock.
    The alarms continued  to shriek as I carefully studied the water line. The yacht didn't appear to be sinking. I thought this quite odd. By now a crowd had emerged from the dining room of the yacht club.
    The sirens from below continued to drown out the night.  Seeing that the yacht wasn't sinking, I went back onboard and down below. I still could not get the alarms to stop, so I searched the tool box, put on heavy rubber shoes, heavy rubber gloves and  took the face of the electrical panel off and began cutting wires with rubber coated snippers until the shrieks stopped.
    I ran back up to the galley, pulling up floor boards and checking for water and repeated this in my private quarters, the owner's aft suite, the guest suite, the library, the lavish heads, the engine room, the crew quarters   and so on.
    We weren't taking on any water!  My ear was now sore and I couldn't hear anything out of it. I looked in the mirror and it was bright red and swollen, like it was severely sunburned.
    I went up to the wheel house and it was clear that everything but the Ham radio was fried.  The Ham Radio had a separate electrical system and we kept it disconnected unless we were using it. This was to be our emergency radio, should this have happened at sea.
    It occurred to me later, that perhaps the reason we didn't just blow a hole in the boat with the mast, when we were stuck, is that the boat hull was also aluminum, so the lightning strike dissipated throughout the hull.  However, we were painted a royal Navy Blue with super shiny Awlgrip paint, so the yacht didn't look aluminum at all.
    My ear eventually healed, it peeled just like being sunburned and my hearing was severely decreased, but as years went by, it healed itself and I can hear more sounds in it, but it's very sensitive. Like  when I wear earphones at the computer, to use Skype.com to make overseas calls, I have to prop the headset on one side, away from my bad ear so the sounds are not to loud. Certain sounds in that ear, make me jump and holler, it still hurts sometimes. One toe grew back a new toenail and the other one inexplicably, grew back two toenails, side by side.
    But all in all, I am so very lucky to be alive and not get fired and not sink the owner's yacht.  The next day I called the owner's insurance company and was informed we had a $30,000 deductible. WOW.
    I called the surveyor to come back and assess the damage to the yacht he had just finished surveying only a week earlier.  I didn't mention the insurance to him. But I wanted the ball rolling on repairs when the owners or the captain, called or showed up.
    A few days later, the surveyor pronounced the damage at $30,000.  And how much did I have in the bank that the owners had left me to look after their baby in their absence?  Exactly $30,000.
    So, that was the first time I was hit by lightning.

- Pounding Rains Drench Tortola
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 18:17:44 EDT
Thunder, lightning, heavy rains are plaguing us at the moment. The sky went from bright blue to very overcast and then someone turned the faucet on full blast.
It has been pouring for an hour now, a LOUD rain, you can't hear anything but then rains, it is just pounding us.

- Surf's Up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 10:48:06 EDT
Tropical Depression number 7 (which could become Himmacane Gordon eventually) has been recognized and is about 495 miles  northeast of us and my crystal balls says he will miss us, but look at the other mess rolling across the Atlantic.
Tropical waves at 30west,  south of 18, moving at 10 knots, another at 43west, south of 15 moving near 10knots, and yet another at 56west, south of 16 north moving about 10 knots.
A wave a day!  Never boring.
Florence is over Bermuda and we pray that nothing terrible happens there. Surprised to read that some still have electricity there, and hats off to their electricity corporation for keeping t'ings running.
Tortola has bright sun and slight winds today. Yesterday the surf was up! I feel almost guilty posting these pictures.

- Hurricane Florence, Category One
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2006 08:40:32 EDT
It's official as of 2am, Florence reached hurricane strength.  Her outer bands are already touching Bermuda though the Bermuda Shorts WebCam looks pretty clear at the moment, however, I just noticed it is dated for Friday!  So I guess the owner had to take the webcam down for Florence.
On Tortola, it is 84 degrees with no winds and partly clouded skies. The Sir Francis Drake Channel is flat calm, I haven't been to the North shore yet to see if we have waves over there. Yesterday there was some surfing there, but the wind from the west was blowing out many of the good surf waves.
The winds with Florence are listed at 80mph with higher gusts. If it stays under 100mph, then Bermuda has a chance, but the pounding seas and torrential rainfall pose the most danger.  Florence may reach category two as it passes over Bermuda and my prayers go out to those good folks.

- Mini
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 9 Sep 2006 12:38:07 EDT
Bright and sunny here, no winds.  Yesterday we had a sudden wild squall and the winds clocked over to  the west.   Today, it's hard to look out at our sunshine yet look at this picture on the internet.

- Party Overcast and Partly Chocolatier
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 10:04:10 EDT
Just a wonderful day in the neighborhood. Winds are gone again, sun is shining through scattered clouds and a party overcast sky. Um, maybe that should be a partly overcast sky (however many folks are party overcast from the Fool Moon parties last night.)
 Surf is up and many local surfers will miss work today (as will some overindulged partiers.)
It looks like Florence is about 450 miles northeast of us so we may not feel a thing from her presence at all, even though she is huge. Her winds are around 50 and she isn't a hurricane yet, just a storm meandering around.
We have four tropical waves dancing around, and we will watch those closely to see if they come near us. One is  entrained upon Florence and that can't be good either. I just pray Bermuda survives this mess.
I went grocery shopping at the mystery store yesterday.  I call it that because the prices are a mystery. Nothing is marked and it's very frustrating. I had limited funds and a list, of course anytime you can get 50% of your list on Tortola, in one store, you consider yourself very lucky.
I carefully picked out my food items, having no idea what the cost was. I wanted to make a Greek Pizza and needed a few more ingredients. I already had the dough, 'shrooms, olives, parmesan and mozzarella but needed the spinach and feta cheese to complete my concoction plus a few other non pizza items. The wait at the cashier line was lengthy as *ahem* there were no employees in the store. Eventually someone located a cashier outside who was car washing. (...only on Tortola...)
Meanwhile, becoming bored in line,  I grabbed something that wasn't on my list, a chocolate candy bar. I've had a very rough week (don't ask until I've peeled myself off the ceiling!) and it seemed like a harmless treat. When it was my turn, my total cost overshot my money by a good bit. So I embarrassingly held up the entire line and started asking how much for this, how much for that, racing the cashier who was rapidly bagging my items as I quickly pulled them back out, one by one.
At first he wasn't aware what I was doing, as he had on stereo headphones and couldn't hear a word I said. (Island life is so comical at times!) Finally he noticed, all my items were dumped back on the counter, and not in the bags, he had just put them in, so he took his headphones off as I queried him about prices until  we got to the very last item, the chocolate bar. 
It was $9.29
I asked him to take THAT off my bill. He said it was special chocolate. (What?  Is it wrapped in 18 carat gold? Does it come with a free gallon of rum?)  I must admit I like my chocolate hit now and then, but for $9.29 for a candy bar, I will just have to go through psychotic withdrawal symptoms and simply do without. (Local magic 'shrooms are cheaper than that!)
I am not a chocolate aficionado, but I started looking on the internet and found this very interesting article "Hints of Wine? Chocolate Enters the Tasting Room" and got an education. Apparently, the mystery store carries some of the most expensive chocolate in the world and a righteous chocolatier would have immediately recognized this. So I guess I owe the cashier an apology for being so silly as to not recognize the special chocolate.(Why wasn't it under lock and key with a guard?)
However, my gaffe, I am afraid,  started a scene in the store, as a couple of tourists were in line behind me, watching me un bag my groceries as the puzzled cashier  kept bagging them up, until we settled the chocolate price. 
One said "Oh my God, honey, a candy bar is $9.29!  We better put back half these groceries" and they began emptying out their cart, fretting over which items to keep or discard,  and like me, having no idea what the cost was on anything anyhow.
Apparently, they weren't chocolate connoisseurs  either, so I guess I can take some comfort in that.
The Greek Pizza turned out  deliciously decadent, and for dessert I had water with, um, nothing.
*****all clickable inks are underlined***

- Fool Moon Tonight!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 18:02:02 EDT
Florence is northwest of us now. We hope she stays on that course and that the BVI will have no impact.
Today was nice and clear, despite last night's lightning storm.
Tonight is the Fool Moon Parties at Bomba's and Trellis Bay
View of Sir Francis Drake Channel from Tortola, St John in the Distance

- Rumble, Grumble, Mumble
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 02:21:57 EDT
2am and the storm has hit Rain is plentiful and horizontal with thunder and lightning rumbling. We are getting positively drenched!

- Another Great Day to Be Alive!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 12:00:42 EDT
We had stormy weather from late yesterday afternoon and intermittently throughout the night and early morning.  By 9am the sun was out and mud puddles were drying up. Birds are chirping, we have tourists around, but not many. Beaches are nearly bare except when a cruise ship calls. 
Today it is 86 degrees with gentle tradewinds, the Sir Francis Drake is almost flat calm, while a swell on the northerly side is producing some small surf waves.
Lordy, I feel like a long tailed putty tat in room full of rocking chairs with all these waves and storms swirling around us!
Worked up my nerve to try homemade yogurt again. I had previously made several wonderful batches then something went horribly wrong and the next two batches I made were dreadful and had to be scrapped. I think my starter yogurt had gone off, thanks to the intermittent electricity outages.
I read somewhere that once you have fresh yogurt starter (plain yogurt such as your own homemade or Dannon All Natural Plain, which has no nasty extras added)  that you could freeze it into ice cube trays. Then transfer to baggies, 4 to a baggy and then when you need yogurt starter, you just thaw 4 cubes at room temperature.  I found some fresh yogurt on island and I immediately froze some this way and my last batch of yogurt came out heavenly.
I spent weeks searching the island for PLAIN yogurt. I found yogurt in every flavor imaginable from guava to chocolate mousse,but no plain.  I love island life, but man, it can be funny trying to shop around here.
Seeing as ingredients here aren't cheap, I was  miffed at losing two batches.  I vowed I wouldn't make yogurt again until I found a proper chef's thermometer. I had been using my finger as a thermometer because I couldn't find one on Tortola.
I sure took a tour of every store in Tortola that carried anything remotely related to kitchen gadgets or equipment. Still no thermometer. I would ask helpful sales clerks for a chef's thermometer and  they would say "Just use your finger!"
    Then on round two, or three, or four or five,   a few week's later, I was in Port Purcell Grocery Store and they often carry a wall full of interesting objects behind the cash register and there was my Chef's thermometer. I was really impressed, because I had asked them (and many other stores) several times the past few months,  for one and they had none. I couldn't believe that someone had actually listened to my request and ordered some!  By now I had been told by about half a dozen sales clerks to just use my finger and forget about a thermometer.
This reminds me of when I once searched the island of St John for a potato masher and everyone there had told me, "Just use a fork" as at that time on St John, you could NOT buy a potato masher ANYWHERE.  You couldn't even buy a fork on St John!  So many of the hapless restaurants watched their forks and other flatware supply dwindle as people t'iefed them to take home. I actually wanted the potato  masher to make pumpkin soup to which I was told to use a blender. I had protested that I lived on a 12 volt solar powered boat and didn't have a blender.  Well use a fork then, I was admonished. I don't what St John had against potato mashers.
I bought the pricey thermometer at Port Purcell Grocery and carefully got it home in one piece. Now, I could try my thermometer and not have finger confusion.
I had at one point blamed my failed yogurt on improper finger usage. I had been using my right index finger to test the yogurt temperature, but on one batch that went bad, I had inadvertently used my left index finger, forgetting that the sensation in my left index finger is not accurate due to the transplant.
Well, not sure if you call it a transplant or not, but back in the dark ages, I had a little accident, on my birthday of all things,  not in the kitchen, but  in the bathroom and had severed part of my left index finger.  I rushed to an East Indian bush doctor, who reopened after hours to see me, he had reattached the finger and taught me chants to make it reattach and heal permanently.
Fortuitously, the next week while working on a charter yacht, we had a European hand therapist. She had noticed my bandaged hand and my chanting, and asked about it and I told her and she showed me special exercises and massaging to perform  on the errant finger. I am convinced these two wonderful folks are responsible for saving my finger. Eventually  some movement and feeling returned to part of the finger, but not all of it, but it's nice enough that no one ever notices.
When I see someone missing a finger or part of one, I am sad, thinking they weren't so lucky as me. So on the botched up batch of yogurt, I remember using my weird left finger, because I was holding the bowl handle in my right hand,  and I guess the left finger  doesn't measure temperature as accurately as the right one. Indeed, I  accidentally burnt my left finger a few times, after the accident, because I didn't feel the heat in time.
So now, a month, later, I have found the thermometer and a few days later I was in Bobby's and he had ONE carton of Dannon Plain Yogurt which I snapped up and drove straight home with, praying nothing terrible would happen. I didn't even stop for hitch hikers, I was so intent on getting that only batch of plain yogurt home safe and sound.
So, here I am trying to make yogurt now. My Caribbean Recipe is:
1 Liter of Long Life Shelf  Milk (the nifty thing is, long life milk has already been sterilized, something important for yogurt making)
1 cup of Nido Powder Milk  (the BEST powder milk ever made & I've tried them all!)
 4 ice cubes of yogurt starter (thaw at room temperature)
Rinse out a large glass mixing bowl in super hot water, pour in milk, add powder milk and mix thoroughly.  Add thawed yogurt starter  and stir thoroughly.  Microwave mixture two minutes and test temperature.  It should be 100 degrees.  If not microwave in 15 second intervals to raise to 100 degrees. Stir each time to make sure heat is evenly distributed.
Cover glass bowl tightly with glass pie plate or tight foil, place in gas oven with pilot light lit.  Leave undisturbed for 6-8 hours (overnight works too).
By the way, I actually transfer the yogurt before incubating, into two ceramic canisters with lids, that I refer to fondly as my yogurt pots. Before transferring, rinse out pots with hot water, then fill with hot water and let stand one minute before emptying out water and adding yogurt.
When yogurt is ready, stir thoroughly, then scoop out enough to fill and freeze an ice cube tray full of yogurt. This way your starter will stay fresh until you are ready to use it. Frozen yogurt starter lasts about 3 months. Place rest of yogurt in fridge, uncovered to cool quicker. Once cool, recover or transfer to covered containers.  Keep refrigerated and covered, and it will last a month or more.
I happen to use two pretty ceramic canisters (that I miraculously found on Tortola) with lids to incubate  my yogurt, each hold about 1/2 liter (2-ish  cups) of yogurt.
Note that if you are not using long life shelf milk, you will have to sterilize the milk first at 200 degrees for 2 minutes, then let  cool it to 100 degrees before inoculating with yogurt starter.
I've also read you can  place yogurt mixture in wide mouthed thermos jugs to incubate in the sun all day.  Rinse thermos out with super hot water, then fill with hot water and let stand about 1 minute, before emptying out water and adding yogurt. Place lid on tightly and set in bright sunshine for 5-6 hours.  Loosen or remove lid to let yogurt cool in fridge when done, once cooled, replace lid.
My recipe is non-sweetened but you can add a spoon of honey, sugar or a Sweet & Low packet to the yogurt  mixture before adding the starter, make sure it is mixed in thoroughly, then add starter.
I like mine plain and unsweetened because then it is ready to make wonderful dishes like Alfredo Sauce.  When cooking with yogurt, do not boil or heat to high or it will curdle. Adding a tablespoon of cornstarch per one cup of yogurt before cooking, can help prevent this problem. Any recipe that calls for heavy cream can be replaced with your own homemade yogurt and save you loads of calories.  Yogurt is good for you, especially the homemade kind, with no artificial anything.
Some people have trouble digesting lactose, a carbohydrate in milk and milk products, because of the deficiency of enzyme lactase in their body. Live yogurt cultures produce lactase and break down the lactose. Yogurt is a healthy way to get the calcium the body needs, for the people who can not otherwise tolerate milk products.
Yogurt encourages the right kind of bacteria to multiply in the gut. These bacteria help to digest food and prevent stomach infections.
Yogurt can be used instead of sour cream or mayonnaise.  Whip and freeze some as an ice cream alternative.
When I want to eat plain cold yogurt and desire it sweetened, I use Lori's Hilltop Farm Jam. She is a soon-to-be new resident of Tortola who has brought me these wonderful homemade jams of Blueberry, Triple Berry and Mango over the past few months.
This morning I stirred some of her Triple Berry Jam into my yogurt and YUMMY, it just started my day off right. I feel ready to tackle anything. Even making more yogurt!
Of course you can forget much of this fuss and  just buy  Yogurt Makers and follow the instructions. Not sure what to do with it?  Try these  Yogurt Recipes cookbooks.
For the mango lover, peel your mango, then stand on end and use this  nifty new mango splitter to remove that pesky seed,  then  blend in blender with equal parts of yogurt for  a delicious salad dressing or as a wonderful meat marinade. Can also use your potato masher or fork to make the dressing or marinade. I like to make Mango Tango Chicken Salad with cooked skinless chicken chunks, mango-yogurt, green grapes and sliced green onions for a heavenly salad or sandwich. As a salad, you can slice a pineapple in half, slice out fruit, cube, toss with chicken salad and restuff into the halved pineapple. Tossing pineapple too far in advance of serving will sometimes make the salad too watery.

- It's a Girl!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 11:44:23 EDT
Tropical Storm Florence was christened at 11am today. She is currently about 935 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, moving at 12 mph with winds past 40mph.   SLow strengthening is expected and forecasters have her going far north of the BVI, but my crystal ball still insists she is going to come closer and not move northward quite as quickly.
So if she gets any bigger, we can have some fun and call her Ferocious Florence, if she dies down we can call her Fleeting Florence, if she dumps all over us then it's Flooding Florence if she wobbles around then its Fickle Florence. 
At long last!  Someone has come up with a great mango splitter!  The splitter is a circular white plastic device with sharp stainless-steel blades in the center and OXO's signature black comfort handles on two sides. Holding both handles, the user pushes the blades down through the mango from the top, separating the seed from two halves of mango. The flesh can then be cubed or sliced off the skin on those two halves.
I've been watching this product, they've been advertising but had none in stock until now. For the mango lovers, this is a must have and mine is already on the way here!

All Links are underlined

- So Quiet you can hear ah ah ah ah choo!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 03:49:19 EDT
Tropical Depression # 6 is located at 17.3N 44.8W
Tonight it is airless and the harbor is a mirrored lake. Sounds travel much further, bouncing off the still water with no wind to dampen the noise. So whoever sneezed on their boat in the harbor, about 5 minutes ago, I HEARD YOU!
On another note,
HBO has an excellent film out, "When the Levees Broke:  A Requiem in Four Acts."   It is extremely well made,  plan to have a box of Kleenex nearby. And some chocolate.  You'll need both to make it through this superb documentary.
New Orleans was  a near and dear place to me.  I have such wonderful memories of letting the good times roll, New Orleans style.  A few years back, I was flying from Las Vegas and had to change planes in New Orleans.  I was supposed to be going home.  My flight  arrived too late for my connections.  The airline wanted me to hang out all night at the airport on standby for another flight, which would dump me in another airport in time to miss another connection. So I said, what's it matter if I fly standby now or tomorrow?  I am exhausted and need to rest. I won't humiliate myself sleeping in the airport or stumbling around like a Zombie. I am going to a hotel to rest  and you can fly me home tomorrow.
If the truth be known, I  loved New Orleans and the fact that I was going to spend fruitless hours upon hours on standby for a flight I may never get on anyhow, when all that wonderful music and food was there to be had, well the bug had me, and I had to have New Orleans one more time. I left the airport and took a taxi and went out partying all night.  Slept all day in a hotel and missed my flight again. So what's a mermaid to do, but party onwards! 
About day three, I turned up at the airport to catch my flights. The airline didn't want to fly me. Claimed I should have camped out at the airport all night and all day, waiting for standby. I explained, that I planned to camp out at the airport on standby until they got me home. What are they going to do?  Hold me hostage?  Who would pay my ransom?  It was fine with THEM when they dumped me in New Orleans too late to catch my connecting flights. Now it's not fine with them,  for me to ask to use the rest of my ticket?  Silly airlines!  I had to make a pest of myself and eventually they caved in and flew me home. That was the last time I was to enjoy New Orleans before Katrina and the floods.
Sometimes it pays to be impulsive. I can still hear the bands and see the enormous plate of fresh Gulf shrimp set out before me, I am a serious shrimp lover and New Orleans has the best shrimp in the world.

- TD # 6
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2006 09:50:19 EDT

- TD # 6
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2006 08:21:54 EDT

- Tropical Storm # 6, the future Miss Florence, makes her debut
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2006 08:16:43 EDT
It's official, we have Tropical Depression # 6 over the Atlantic. If it becomes a storm then it will be named Florence.
I am really surprised this name has never been retired, as Florence has a checkered history:
1953's Hurricane Florence - destroyed hundreds of homes in Florida, no deaths.
1954's Hurricane Florence - killed 5 and caused $1.5 million in damage in Mexico; hurricane status is uncertain.
1960's Tropical Storm Florence - poorly-defined storm that caused slight damage to Florida.
1964's Tropical Storm Florence - passed west over the Azores while forming, went north, died at sea.
1988's Hurricane Florence - formed in western Gulf of Mexico, passing over New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. About $3 million in damage was caused and one death reported.
1994's Hurricane Florence - started as a sub-tropical depression and developed into a hurricane, absorbed by a cold front without threatening land.
2000's Hurricane Florence - meandered near Bermuda but caused no damage.
The forecasters have her projected to miss us entirely and go northwards, but my crystal ball indicates she may come quite a bit closer.

- Mucho Machismo
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2006 11:09:44 EDT
Erensto is still meandering along, dumping torrential rains and light winds amongst his victims.
Audrey the catwoman from Pennsylvania, wrote on Saturday:
in your daily post you were talking about TS Ernesto just petering out in Pennsylvania - well alas it is continuing on to New York State for a bit and then continuing on to the Great White North (Canada).  It was a big system and just didn't want to fizzle out. We got a BUNCH of rain out of it starting last night and all day today as well. There have been flash flood warnings posted for most of Pennsylvania. 
Ernesto left the mid-Atlantic flooded, without power. What remains of Ernesto will bring steady rainfall to parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New England throughout Saturday.  Richmond Virginia and Washington DC both set records for daily rainfall total.
Wind gusts recorded Friday ranged from 81mph in Cape May NJ, to 44 mph in Pottstown Pa.
Ernesto just doesn't want to give up showing mucho machismo. He has drowned out many Labor Day weekend celebrations, punched out power grids, and generally continues to be just a bully.
Meanwhile in the BVI we have gorgeous weather.  Bright and sunny.
For some very interesting reading, check out these Hurricane Books

- Weather it will rain, Whether you drive with rope
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 11:30:09 EDT
Bright, sunny, blue skies, the Sir Francis Drake channel is flat but surfers are gearing up for surfing at Bomba's on the north shore. Check out BVIwaves.com for cool pics of the surfers and local surfing information.  The winds have picked up so that the summer heat feels great. I hope to go to the beach later on and chill out.
There is a tropical wave in the leeward islands, south of us and another one at about 39 west and 19.
The fool moon  party is this Thursday. Come and get your 'shroom tea!  If you are a pyromaniac, then Trellis Bay for the fireball on the full moon is for you.
Steve from www.anguilla-weather.com writes:
...so about 10 years ago, I'm driving to Washington, DC for a meeting when the sky opens up.  Turn on the windshield wipers - nothin'!  But I can't miss the meeting.  Brainstorm!  I pull under an overpass, get a piece of rope I had in the car, tie one end to the left wiper, thru my side window and thru the car, out the passenger window and tie to the right wiper.  Get in the car, crack the windows and start pulling the rope back and forth.  Voila - wipers.  Drove for 20 minutes in a downpour pulling the rope, but made the meeting on time.  So who needs a repair shop?  They'll just tell you you need a part from the states, and when it gets here 6 months from now, it will be the wrong part anyway.  So buy a piece of rope.
Now ain't that the truth. Islanders are always opportunistic and have that can-do, make-do attitude. And what's with these shops here that ask you to prepay so they can order a part for you, and then they  ship it by slow row boat to arrive here next year and YEAH it's usually the wrong part and then you can't get your money back.
Then there are the parts places that refuse to issue refunds. I bought brakes for my jeep and my mechanic says those are wrong ones. So I take them back and ask for a refund, as by now mechanic says that horrible noise wasn't my brakes after all. They tell me no refund!
I restated my case, that they had looked up the parts in THEIR book and told me they would fit my jeep and they don't, and I don't want to be stuck with their mistake. Still no refund. Finally after making a pest of myself, they exchanged the brakes for the ones that fit my jeep. I know cause I drove them back to the mechanic who says "Why did you get more brakes?  You don't need brakes!" 
So I got brake shoes and brake pads stored on the top of my closet shelf for that inevitable moment when I might need them. I got tried of tossing them around the car, but I do keep rope, tape, tools, string, water, oil, brake fluid, fix-a-flat, tire gage, tire repair kit, jumper cables, brake fluid, coolant, spare fuse, piece of wood, wire ties, and rubber gloves in the trusty rusty heap of a jeep. Just in case.
When I sold my last jeep, I had to sell it with  two pairs of vice grips. That is because no one could seem to find window crank knobs for me at an affordable price and I found this package of 3 pairs of vice grips for a cheap (probably mismarked) price.  So two of them were installed for window knobs.  Many times, on the side of the road, I had to fix something, and there were those two pairs of vice grips ready to help me. One time I had to use a pair to hold the battery terminal wires on until I could get that fixed. When I sold the jeep, I left them in there, cause I was sure the next owner would want to roll the windows up and down.
Sure, I drive with rope.  Doesn't everyone in the islands?  I remember my back door, the rear door, that has a fixed window, popped open one day over a speed bump.  That's when I discovered someone had mashed in the rear end the night before without telling me!  I was digging around the jeep looking for rope or string to fix the thing.  We were parked on the speed bump as there was no where to pull over. The door jamb was broken from the mysterious mash up from the night before.
Car #1 stops, "Need some help?  I got a piece of rope." 
"Nope, I got some, but THANKS for stopping!."
Car#2 stops, "You gettin' t'rough?  I got some string here..."
"Nope, I just found my rope, but thanks for asking!"
Car#3 stops, "You OK?  I got some duct tape in my car."
"Nope, just getting ready to tie my rope on, but thanks for offering."
Finally we get the rope and the door put  together. My friend riding with me, who had been on the island about 3 days, asked if I knew all those people.
I said "I didn't know a soul! But islanders are used to having to stop and make repairs on the road, on the fly, on the way to somewhere else. And for the most part, islanders are a very helpful lot."
"We also help ourselves. Such as the time I was on Jost Van Dyke and the borrowed van broke down.  We hitch hiked for help and came back with a truck and helpers. No one could get the van going, so we decided to tow it back to the owner. We toss the truck we are in and there is no rope. We look around and see a Public Works truck parked about a hundred feet away. So I hike over and there in the back of their truck is a nice thick rope.  I looked around and there wasn't a soul around but us. It would have been nice to offer to borrow the rope, but what the heck, it was broad daylight and it was the Public Works truck and they would probably say yes anyhow, so I commandeered their rope and off we went, towing the van back to the owner.
Well, I took my trusty rusty jeep to the voodoo mechanic.  He somehow, someway, repaired the 17 year old windshield wiper motor without doing major surgery or forcing me to take out a bank loan to pay him off. And of course, I had the oil changed. Every time that little hunk of rust goes anywhere near a mechanic, I make them change the oil and filter again. That is the secret to the rusty old buckets, keep that oil changed often, cause the engine sure gets a work out on these mountains and rough terrain.
So, I thank you Steve, for your rope suggestion, I am sure that someone reading this will someday soon, be thinking about you, as they fix their windshield wipers on a rainy day on the side (or the middle!) of the road.
Steve has a great weather page too, stop by and see it at:

- Crabbing Days
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 12:13:22 EDT
Bright and sunny here today. Roosters and birds are happy, they are all cackling, crowing, clucking and hooting like they are glad it's Friday.
Winds have picked up slightly, surfers have been happy this past week, at Bomba's and Josiah's Bay. Waves are forecast to be good all weekend and next week for all the  surfing enthusiasts. See BVIwaves.com for more info.
Ernesto is climbing up Virginia. He missed much of South Carolina, however the outerbands flooded Charleston, SC,  Thursday, then he drenched eastern North Carolina as he made landfall. As of 11am, the National Hurricane Center had downgraded Erensto to a depression and issued their final advisory. He is expected to peter out in Pennsylvania.
My first hurricane was spent in South Carolina. I was very young, and it was sometime in the 60's. My family was staying in a cottage built on tall stilts, named Mosquito Haven, on the  small pristine Hunting Island off the coast of South Carolina. Much of the island is a state park, and it is simply gorgeous.
The cabin we stayed in had no phone, no TV, no Radio, no stereo, no computer, no DSL, no air conditioning.  It was only  two bedrooms and we were a family of six, but there were beds on the screened porch and the couch made into a bed.  We had to bring our own sheets and towels for the week.  We also loaded up the family dog and cat and took them too! We showered underneath the house, under the stilts by the old well to keep all the sand out of the bathtub upstairs.
The dog loved the trip each year, the cat could care less, but went anyhow. The kitchen was outfitted with antique appliances and mismatched dishes plus big crab pots.  We saved our plate scrapings throughout the day on a special plate in the fridge. At sunset, we made sure our dog and cat were inside, then we placed the plate of leftover food and a bowl of water, out on the steps leading up to the screened porch. Then we would quietly sit in the dark on the screened porch waiting.
Eventually a small family of raccoons would show up and wash their little hands, then wash their food and eat while we watched. The cat would watch wide eyed and the dog had long ago been taught to hush and be quiet and just watch. The raccoon family would finish off the plate, then hang around to see if we were going to hand out anymore. After awhile they would wander off into the dark.
Mornings we jumped up, and ran for the beach with chicken necks, a ball of string, a bucket and a net on a handle. We would tie a string to the chicken neck, then toss it out in the water, and stand at the water's edge, holding the other end of the string. If we felt a lucky tug on the string, we began slowly inching the chicken neck back in while the crab followed it trying to eat. If the tugging stopped, we stopped and waited until it tugged again.  Once the crab or sometimes crabs plural, were in shallow water and close to us, we would scoop then  up with the net and toss them in the bucket. 
Once we filled up our bucket, we would take it back to the cabin and boil up the crabs for our lunch. Mom would spread the table with old newspapers and we would sit there making a huge mess, cleaning and eating crabs. If we didn't catch any crabs, then lunch was peanut butter and jam sandwiches. So we took our crabbing seriously.
The afternoons were spent frolicking at the beach, splashing in the waves and playing Frisbee with the dog. At first, the dog didn't like us swimming and would come after us and try to drag us back to shore!
One day the Park Ranger banged on our door and told us we had to pack up and leave because Hurricane Somebody was coming.  My father said he would give it some thought. The Ranger stopped by again later, and told us again we had to leave, it was mandatory. Back in those days, you could defy authority and not go to jail. So my father said, we had decided to STAY.
The Ranger was plenty mad at us and said once everyone got off the island, they were going to open the bridges and leave them up until the hurricane had passed. So if we didn't come NOW, we wouldn't be able to cross the bridge.  later, if we changed our minds. We were all so proud of our dad as he defied authority and insisted we stay.
The Ranger finally gave up and left. As kids, we were ecstatic at the thought that maybe the hurricane would destroy the bridges and we would be marooned, all by ourselves on this lovely island.
The hurricane turned out to be just a big storm that made the ocean roar while dumping copious amounts of rain and wind on us. The electricity went out and we lit aromatic citronella candles and I remember sitting in my favorite rocking chair, rocking away while the storm howled around us, praying the bridges would be knocked out.
But alas, the bridges survived and I remember being real unhappy about that.  However, we did practically get our dream of being marooned, as we had about 4 or 5 days of the entire island to ourselves, before any tourists came.  I used to silently cry when we packed up to leave for good, I was in love with that island and could have stayed there year round, living off crabs.

- Dribbling
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 10:16:06 EDT
    It's pouring down rain in the BVI.  Just a steady drizzle dribbling outside. But I see blue skies headed our way shortly.
    Erensto is about 170 miles south of Charleston SC with 55 mph winds and on a northward track.
    Elsewhere in the tropics, we are tracking tropical waves along 33 west, south of 17 north, and along 48 west, south of 22 north. Both waves are moving west at about 6 degrees longitude per day.
    The windshield wiper motor on the trusty rusty jeep has given up the ghost.  It used to be I could lean out the window and give the wipers a push and they would reluctantly begin working. Now they just ignore me.
    I drove to the mechanic and he said the whole dash board has to come out for them to fix it. Ugh. He too, gave it a little shove and miraculously the wipers began moving for him, but at a snail's pace, like if it rained one drop every three minutes, then the wipers would keep it cleared.
    So tomorrow the little red jeep goes to the jeep hospital for major surgery.

- No Wind, No Current, Dat Elect-Tricky Finish
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 09:49:02 EDT
Da Current done mash up again on a windless day. Now what's up with dat?  I wrote about this before, da elect-tricky corporation  mash up da current when dey be no wind.  Maybe their work is so delicate dey have to wait for a windless HOT day to mash it up so dey can do their work.  Have I got to start my new little generator just to put  dat little electric fan on me tail and cool off?
Good t'ing I quit buying meat, cause while my little generator does do wonderful magic, it doesn't do da big bad energy hogging hunk of antique rust sitting in my kitchen posing as a refrigerator. Dat's cause I bought the smallest Kipor available. (I ain't rich ya know) Sure I've painted dat fridge  t'ing.  I 've painted dat t'ing every year for seven years and dat fridge  just mocks me.
I put rust remover on it, I put rust prevention on it, I put special rust cover paint on it. It looks positively gorgeous for about a week. Then a little rust spot appears, then another and so on. My friend has painted it. Matter of fact, two different friends of mine have painted it two different years, as they were sure da crazy mermaid didn't know what she be doing. And dat fridge look magnificent for about ten days, then a little hunk of rust appears. To mock me. I am t'inking I am going to da paint store and ask dem for rust colored paint, so it blend in nicely!
I t'ought about asking me landlord for a new fridge.  But I might as well ask it to snow here and see which comes first.  (Probably da snow!)  Besides, da fridge still works. It's just ugly. I don't plug it out when da current mash up. I secretly wish when da current come back on dat fridge go KER-BANG and die gracefully. But no, it groans to life each time, cools t'ings down and pops out another rust zit. The rest of my kitchen is real nice, but dat ugly fridge mar t'ings up.
So here we are, not a bit of wind in sight, even the trees look unhappy, just standing there without a leaf moving. The sun is out and bearing down on us, shoving all clouds out of the way. It's going to be a bright hot day.
Also, when da current go off for more than 5 minutes, dat usually means it won't be back for at least two hours or more. It's already been off nearly two hours as I write this and now it's raining and still windless. Hey, a moment ago we had blue skies and no da rain?  Has my whole world mashed up?
Sometimes I t'ink somebody at the elect-tricky corporation just  bought a load of generators to sale. And they pull dat big plug out, so we sit around wishing for a generator.   Just recently, I noticed many stores on island, now have started displaying small and large generators, the NOISY kind, not the nice little ones that purr instead of roar. I am glad mine purrs. It's a Kipor and it's berry berry qwiet.
Last but not least, the new WeatherBVI.com has opened.
Well, let's see, I've used up all my sick days at work, so I am going to call in DEAD and go flop around dat beautiful blue Caribbean Sea and cool off.
All clickable links are underlined.

- Gotta Have Faith
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 06:29:09 EDT
 The day has dawned with overcast skies interrupted by patches of blue. At 630am, there isn't a bit of wind.  We have another tropical wave heading this way for the  weekend.
I ran in to my favorite Jamaican friend.  He was very happy and we celebrated that Jamaica and the BVI survived Ernesto's threats.
He said, "You know why Jamaica was spared? It was because all the Rasta Men went up to the cliffs with their drums. All night they are beating  their drums and chanting and pushing Ernesto away."
I said, "Well it worked too! 
"Yeah mon  You believe!!"  my friend lit up at the very idea that I would entertain the thought,  that what the Rasta Men did worked to move the storm.
"Of course I believe! Mind over matter. It can be done. You clear out your brain of all thoughts until it is empty. This is aided by the drums as you just concentrate on the drums and nothing else. Once you only hear the drums and there is nothing else on your mind at all, not a thing, then you focus on ONE thing.  One change. Channel all your energy.  Yeah, mon, I think those Rasta men knew exactly what they were doing."
He leaned over real close to me.  "Some folks I mention this to, they just laugh at me."
"Well, laugh back at  them!  It worked, didn't it?"
"Yeah mon!  It worked!  Those Rasta Men know what they be doing!'
After all, he was talking to a mermaid. And I believe in my crystal ball, and I believe in the ghost that flagged me down for a ride (then vanished).  Why wouldn't I believe that Rasta men could push away a storm?  Sometimes, ya just gotta have faith and all will be well.

- Never a Dull Moment
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 09:54:03 EDT
Bright and sunny today, with very light winds. We have yet another tropical wave rolling off Africa, into the Atlantic and looks like it has us in our sites. This could be #6 gearing up for an appearance in a few days.

- Pumpkins and Storms
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 19:43:34 EDT
I stand corrected from my previous post,  StormCarib.com now has  a Haiti correspondent.   Also, a big THANK YOU to Gert, who owns and manages this website. What a wonderful idea he had 10 or so years ago, to set this all up. Thanks to Gert's efforts, we have a long list of islands and correspondents reporting in.  You can read and hear what's really happening in the islands.  So if you have a drink in hand, feel free to  say a toast to Gert!
The day on Tortola has improved dramatically here, winds are still gentle, but blue skies made a peek-a-boo throughout the day. No rains yet, wish we would get a few more.  Love having some of the Sahara dust settled, wouldn't mind settling some more. But I pray for those that may be flooding out due to Ernesto, who thankfully, has been downgraded to a tropical storm.
From the mail bag:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
Can I buy pumpkins on the island? for Halloween?  If you know of a gardener or farmer who is growing them let me know.  We will be back down to Tortola for Halloween and I'll want to carve some pumpkins.
Dear Pumpkin Sculptor,
What we in the Caribbean, call  a pumpkin is not a Halloween pumpkin. It's green and we make soup from it.  Local farmers grow the soup pumpkins. I haven't yet seen any local Halloween pumpkins grown here. But plenty of soup pumpkins are on sale from local farmers. You can even buy part of the pumpkin, by the pound or by the quarter slice etc. Some stores custom cut pumpkin for you, others just randomly chop it up and sell the chunks.
However, Bobby's Supermarket has been importing Halloween Pumpkins for a few years now  and parking them at the entrance of his store. He often gets in a few JUMBO ones too, that arrive in their very own crate and can't fit through the door anyhow. Bobby's also does provisioning and deliveries, you might want to email Leon and inquire as to their supposed pumpkin arrival and ask him to reserve you some Halloween Pumpkins.  Specify you want ORANGE skinned Halloween pumpkins otherwise you will end up with our soup pumpkin, as pictured here.
Pumpkin Soup Reminds me of this Story on a Dark and Stormy Afternoon:
The day had started out beautiful, but as we lazily  sailed, tacking  up Soper's Hole in a 50' Ketch,  to pick up a mooring at the eastern end, the sky rapidly darkened, and a sudden squall erupted with 30-40 knot winds and blinding rains.  In a flash we started the engine and my boyfriend dropped all the sails, and lashed them down,  while I drove the boat past moorings already occupied. Finally we saw an empty one and he  sprinted towards the bow, pointing at  a mooring with one arm while holding the boat hook in the other.
We had learned and used hand signals early on in our relationship. Like the first time we ever sailed together, which happened to be on my smaller 30' boat.  I was to used to using hand signals on the 100+ foot sailboats I worked aboard, so the first time we sailed together, we discussed  hand signals and on our first try, we were able to silently anchor at Jost Van Dyke,  with nary a word being said. We could leave the harbor the same way, one at the bow, one at the cockpit and only hand signals to coordinate our efforts as we raised the anchor or cast off the mooring and slowly motored or sailed out of the harbor.
On this particular day, on his beloved self-insured ketch, I stood on tiptoe with my left leg, standing  at the wheel, steering with one hand, shielding rain out of my eyes with the other and maneuvering the engine throttle with my right foot, as it was located low to the cockpit.
He gave the signal for 40 feet, then 30 feet, then 20, then 10 feet away from the Mooring, I was slowing the engine down, and suddenly a big gust of wind slammed us and the boat started going sideways instead of forward. I shoved the throttle while frantically steering to starboard, following his signals.  A big puff of black smoke rose up from behind the boat as the engine seemed indignant at this sudden rush of diesel and power.
We were in a heavy Taiwanese boat, and it looked like we were going to wipe out a small fleet of lighter  French Beneteau Sailboats,  that were moored and rafted, two to a mooring, off to our port side. It seemed we were closing in rapidly and soon I would need fenders to soften the blow, but I didn't dare leave the wheel.
I goosed the engine some more, I had never run it at this high of RPM's before, then saw the signal to stop, as he leaned over with the boat hook to grab the mooring. I am not usually a throttle jockey, but this was dire circumstances, and I put the beast in reverse and shoved the throttle back until another poof of black smoke engulfed me, then when it seemed we had stopped, a second or two or three later, I slid it into neutral.
He tied off the mooring, came walking back from the deck, cool as a cucumber,  in the pouring rain, I can see him now, in his tiny bikini with a colorful bandanna tied on his head, smiling, at a job well done.  Having thoroughly showered in the squall, we both dived below to dry off and take refuge from the pounding rain.
I was ever so grateful, for those hand signals, it sure kept us from crashing into the other boats. I couldn't see the mooring, but he could, and on that day, we would have never heard each other, above the roar of the storm. That would have been a disastrous start to a relationship, "Oh, honey I am so sorry I crashed your boat..." doesn't bode well for a future together.
As we sat below, waiting for the rains to subside, we discussed dinner and the fact that few provisions were left aboard. Suddenly we heard all sorts of screaming, shouting and cursing. We peeked out the port, to see another couple arriving in the harbor, she was on the bow and he was in the cockpit and they exchanged  curses, yelling and screaming  back and fourth as they tried to pick up a mooring.  This went on for about 15 minutes or so, as they continually missed the mooring, then headed for another, or circled around back to the missed one.
The rains and winds subsided, and their screaming reached a crescendo as they chased yet another elusive mooring, which they eventually snagged, but then I thought the poor woman on the bow was going to lose her arm, as she held on to the boat hook as the boat overshot the mooring.  As they flew by the mooring, she ran down the boat carrying the boat hook and trying to grab the mooring line, finally she grabbed it and looped it around the jib winch as the boat slammed to a stop, tethered nearly, to the cockpit!
 He screamed at her and she cursed him, then eventually they walked the mooring line back up to the bow and tied it off. We were laughing so hard, and praying they couldn't hear us because after they moored, the rains and winds, abruptly stopped, as is so common around here.
While my boyfriend, tidied up the deck, I hopped in the dinghy, bailed it out with a cut off bleach bottle, then  drove up under the tiny bridge to Kelly's store. Back then Kelly's was the only store in West End. I tied up to their dinghy dock and went inside to peruse the shopping. It was pretty minimal, at the time and I wandered the few short aisles trying to conjure up a meal.
On the counter by the register, was a pumpkin with 1/4 of it missing. I said, "Oh, I wish I had that pumpkin for soup."  She explained that she would cut off whatever amount I needed. So I bought 1/4 of the pumpkin, a can of evaporated milk, a garlic clove, a bottle of wine and a loaf of unsliced bread.
I got back to the boat and my mate was ecstatic over the bottle  wine but looked dubious as I pulled out a huge dried hunk of green pumpkin. Apparently, he had never had pumpkin soup, and the thought of it, didn't particularly thrill him, but by now it was raining again, so not much to do but do something with this hunk of pumpkin.
I removed the seeds and peeling, then chopped up the pumpkin and boiled it until it was tender. I drained out most of the water, tossed in cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and the freshly peeled and minced garlic,  then mashed up the pumpkin concoction.,  with the potato masher until it was pulverized.  Next I stirred in the can of evaporated milk   and slowly heated the mixture up while stirring until it was thoroughly combined and heated. Searching through the cabinet, I found the Dragon Breath Hot Sauce, turned off the burner, and stirred in a goodly spoon of hot sauce.
The rain had stopped again, but it was overcast, so we sat on deck, with steaming bowls of  pumpkin soup, mugs of wine and hunks of bread watching the sunset amid the clouds in West End.  It was delicious and my boyfriend, though admitting this was a first for him, had second and third helpings until there was nothing left.

- Himmacane Ernesto
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 10:26:20 EDT
It's official, Ernesto is now a hurricane, but since he's male, I think of him as a himmacane.
His northerly turn is now pushing him towards Haiti and Cuba. Much of Haiti has been deforested for coal and cooking fuel, so catastrophic flooding may occur. Haiti is the least developed country  in the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world.
Indeed StormCarib.com doesn't currently seem to have any correspondents in Haiti either.  though there are correspondents from Haiti's neighbor, The Dominican Republic.
On Tortola, the sun is fighting to break through the clouds, winds are picking up ever so slightly, and it's warming up to our usual summer temperature of around 86.

- East Northeast
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 18:02:36 EDT
Poor Debby has been downgraded to a depression.  Ernesto has upstaged her!  Humidity rolled in here about an hour ago, chasing me into the shower to cool off. There is NO wind.  Nada.  None.
I feel very sorry for New Orleans and all those folks living in teeny little travel trailers on flood plains. Others are merely camping out. The thought of having to maybe leave again, must be terrifying.
Of course, we can't go anywhere here!  The airlines fly out all the tourists on a first come, first serve and there is no room for islanders to fly out. So we just hunker down in hurricane homes and pray a lot.
A friend on Jamaica has sent several emails from there, and reports the basics have emptied out of the stores yesterday and that many folks are doing nothing to get ready, figuring it ain't gonna hit and others are seriously getting ready.
AHA!  Just got the 5pm report and sure enough, the hurricane hunters admit that Ernesto is East Northeast of the previous advisory!  Sheesh.

- We Moved? Ernesto Moved? Who Moved?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 16:24:07 EDT
Who keeps moving our islands?  This satellite picture just came out at 315pm and it shows Ernesto has moved northward and indeed his outer bands are over the BVI.
At 2pm the forecasters said Ernesto was moving west northwestward (isn't that a mouthful to say!)  Indeed, try to say west-northwestward three times rapidly and see if you don't feel dwunk!
My plotting indicates the storm moved north northwestward!

- Ernesto Wobbling?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 15:42:14 EDT
I read the current 2pm weather advisory from the National Hurricane Center and they stated:
Now they have ME worried, that they have this all wrong!  We already HAD the outer bands and the loads of rains. Now they are predicting we will get more?  I just don't see that happening, IF the current satellites are correct.
We are totally overcast, you can't see the sky one bit!  Three drops of rain hit me as I took this picture. That is how I killed my camera last year, the very last picture on it showed a drop of rain on the lens, and it never worked again. I had to buy a new one. The picture below is how we have looked since sunrise until 330pm as I sent this to you.
Even though the storm is trying to miss us,  I have my hurricane stuff stashed away, except SOMEBODY ate all the chocolate stash.  Today has been extremely quiet with very little traffic on the roads or the harbor. I think folks are staying home, staying dry.  We have zero winds. Ernesto has sucked them all away!
OOOPS! As I write this, I see the satellite pictures just updated, and by golly that storm appears to have wobbled north and we now have the outer bands over us again!  Maybe I should run stock up on chocolate, after all.  If it's going to be as cold as last night, then I better start doing a serious hunt for my mermaid tail wool sock and some long sleeves. Brrrrrrrr was it ever cold last night!

- Daybreak
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 05:56:39 EDT
The rains have stopped.
The roosters have started.

- Still Raining...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 02:58:21 EDT
Somebody pulled the plug on that big drain in the sky and we have rain, rain, rain and more rain. Not the usual 3 minute showers, but a steady drizzle that goes up and down in intensity.

- Piling On the Furs
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 00:20:54 EDT
Growling thunder, howling rains, it comes and goes. Temperatures have plummeted  10 degrees, and BRRRRRRRRRR it's cold!
The eye of Ernesto is missing us, but not his foul weather. Our biggest concern, is of course flooding, but it's dark thirty right now, so hard to tell what's going on flood wise. .
When my neighbor's driveway turns into a river, then we'll be in the thick. From the looks of this picture, we have a ways to go.

- Can't See the Island for the Trees...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 18:41:35 EDT
Thunder is rumbling, grumbling, mumbling like a hungry giant with a very big tummy.
Rains got so thick that visibility was reduced to less than 500 feet.
This is a view of Tortola, taken from Frenchmans Cay.  Notice, you can't see Tortola
It looks blurry because at the time the rain was causing an almost  white out.  The trees in the foreground show up, but nothing in the background does, but a few minutes earlier, I could see West End Tortola in all her greenery finest in the background, about 2000 feet away. My crystal ball said  visibility was reduced to 500 feet at the time.

- It's A Boy!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 18:03:07 EDT
If his winds get up to hurricane strength, then he will be called Himmacane Ernesto.  Tropical force winds extend 90 miles from center, or about 180 miles across. From the looks of satellite images, we are getting the outerbands already.
At 545pm the sky darkened over, dark clouds emerged, and it began raining.
At 550pm, the rain stopped.
At 553pm, the rains restarted with more gusto, as if the first go round was just a warming up period.
At 558 the rains have slowed down to dripples, (that's somewhere between a drip,a drop and a piddle or a dribble.)
At 602pm rains are coming down in great gusto.
At 604pm, the rains are dribbling.
The harbor is looking a tad bare, as many boats have decided to take refuge, while there are still nifty spots to be had.  Others, have shrugged their shoulders and stayed.

- TD# 5 could be Ernesto if his winds speed up 4mph
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 13:57:16 EDT
125pm and it's bright, sunny and hot with gentle trade winds rustling the palm trees.
Ernesto (who is rightfully still TD#5) is 340 miles south of Puerto Rico, but he is HUGE!  If he goes due west, we are fine, but if he goes northwest as is predicted, then we will get the outer bands of rains and winds.
Some mariners locally are already taking precautions, others are sitting on their laurels, saying "it ain't coming here."  I guess it depends on if your insurance is any good or not. I never had insurance on my little sailboat, so I was always quick to take precautions while my heavily insured friends laughed at me, that is until whatever was coming actually came at us, then they would scramble like mad to secure their yachts.
Since many bareboat companies aren't very busy, they are filling up Paraquita Bay, just in case. The hardest problem when a storm is headed our way, is to find enough licensed captains to help move a fleet of boats. Many captains and crew are in New England or the Mediterranean this time of year.
Dear Miss Mermaid,
    What do you do when there is a fresh water shortage?
Signed, Curious
Dear Curious,
    We drink Red Stripe or Carib Beer instead.
Dear Miss Mermaid,
    I just moved to the BVI and got sick. I heard there is this bush tea I should drink.  What do you suggest I do to get back on my feet?
Signed, Sickly
Dear Sickly,
    Drink the bush tea and if you want to get back on your feet, just miss a few car payments.
Dear Miss Mermaid,
    I like to hike while on vacation. There is no way to tell if I am hiking on public or private land, it doesn't seem to be marked much there.   Do you think there will be a problem if I am accidentally hiking on private land if I am not stealing fruit or harassing their cows and goats?
Signed, Busy Feet
Dear Busy Feet,
    Private property owners will let you hike across their land for free, but be aware, that the bulls often charge.

- Tropical Depression Number 5
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 07:51:27 EDT
4:30am and it poured down rain for a solid three minutes.
Tropical depression number Five is on the charts now. Looks like TD#5 will go west of us while Dubious Debby goes east of us. Check out the links (underlined) and look at the pretty graphics.
So if we are lucky, the BVI is still safe and sound from the big bad storms, but time will tell.
Surf is predicted to be up and running, ready for the surfer crowd this coming Tuesday.
If you are bored, check out Latest BVI News and BVI Webcams

- Clothing Optional
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 09:54:44 EDT
Bright, sunny and windless today in the BVI. Humidity is up and summer is here.  I am ready to move to a clothing optional island.  Everything I put on just sticks like glue to me.
Humidity is the experience of looking for air and finding water.

The wind is like the air, only pushier.

There is a strong tropical wave approaching the windward islands with heavy squalls. It's likely to become tropical depression or storm later today. It will be named Ernesto.

God made rainy days, so gardeners could get the housework done.

A Big Thank you to Mike P. & his family, for submitting this photo.
Now for the funny stuff:
These, are actual answers given to test questions. While some students may have received 100 for creativity, most got a resounding F.
"The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight."
"Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."
"I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing."
"Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime."
"While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating."
"In making rain water, it takes everything from H to O."
"Rain is saved up in cloud banks."
"Thunder is a rich source of loudness."
"Isotherms and isobars are even more important than their names sound."
"We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on."
"Clouds are highflying fogs."
Clouds just keep circling the earth around and around. And around. There is not much else to do.
Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.
Probably the last completely accurate forecast was when God told Noah there was a 100 percent chance of precipitation.

- Debby Does Storm
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 09:31:56 EDT
At 11pm Tuesday, Tropical depression #4 strengthened into Tropical Storm Debby.
Today local weather in the BVI is hot. Summer is here.  I am not one to complain about the heat, I love being warm and anything below 70 degrees makes my teeth chatter. However, Summer is here and we  be feeling the heat at 86 degrees with gentle trade winds.
Life is slower this week, folks move slower, take more time to cool off, to linger over a bottle of water, to loiter inside air conditioned places.
I remember when the only air conditioned places on Tortola were the banks and fancy trust company buildings. Now everyone seems to be adding it on, and frankly, I prefer the fresh air, and the natural breezes.  I don't like to be in A/C for very long, I am of the proven belief that dirty air filters, commonly found in most A/C units cause illnesses and allergies.
Give me a strong fan any day, over air conditioning.
Maybe it's the sailor in me, the wind in my face, while slowly going nowhere at great expense, ah the life of a sailor. The 15 or so years I spent sailing were the best waste of time in my life.
I was a real nut too, used to maintain my little 30 foot sailboat like she was some sort of yacht. Her stainless was polished, her teak was gleaming, her comforts were many, a place for everything and everything in its place.
Everyday, I made sure my little boat was ready to sail on a ten minute notice or less. Not that I sailed everyday, but if the urge struck me (as it often did!) I could be ready to hoist the sails,  in under ten minutes.
One hot summer day  in Cruz Bay, St John,  I woke up to a glorious day and the noisy prospect of rumbling ferries passing by every 20-30 minutes. I had just come home from weeks of chartering on large yachts, working 16 hour days, for 7 days a week for 6 weeks in a row as a charter chef and mate. I had slept for two days aboard my 30 foot floating home, and now felt totally refreshed (as did my piggy bank). I had two whole weeks off work to do whatever I wanted to and it was a great feeling of freedom, that life was grand and I was lucky to be alive.
I had a friend in West End, Tortola, I wanted to see, and this was before cell phones and she rarely as in never, monitored radio VHF 16. So the only way to reach her, was to sail over, hop in the dinghy and go bang on her hull and talk to her.
I checked my provisions which consisted of coffee and milk and decided I needed more than that to sustain life for a few days. I went ashore, bought two bags of groceries and was headed down the street to the dinghy dock when I ran into the guy who painted my boat with awl grip a few months back.
"What cha up to?" he asked.
"Well, I thought I would sail over to West End to see my friend."
"Really?  Can I go?  There is a friend of mine over there I need to talk to."
"Well, um, yes, but I am leaving like NOW."
"Give me 5 minutes, let me get my friend Tom.  Tom can go too can't he?"
"Um, well yes, but I'm not coming back for a few days, but I have spare bunks on board, or you can take the ferry back. "
While fetching Tom, we discovered he had made a new friend with a bloke from Australia, who was dressed in a suit and cowboy boots. Tom wanted to bring him along too.
So that is how, ten minutes later, I found myself tossing off the mooring, and hoisting sails with 3 men on board. 
We found a T shirt for the suit dressed Aussie and implored him to remove his cowboy boots. Turns out he had flown from Australia to London on business and they told him he was transferred to Miami, he went to Miami and something went wrong and he told them to take this job and shove it.
While waiting for his flight back to London, he heard that the flight to St Thomas, was delayed. St Thomas sounded a helluva lot nicer than London, and he had quit his job anyhow, so he had impulsively  cashed in his London ticket and bought a ticket to St Thomas. (this was back in the days when airlines let you do such things!)
Arriving in St Thomas, he spent one night, and didn't like the crowds so the next morning he hopped a ferry to St John. He met Tom in the bar at breakfast, who was the painter's friend who was my friend and now we were all sailing on my little boat to West End.
The Aussie asked to borrow some scissors and neatly turned his long pants into shorts. We made fun of his pasty white legs and handed him some sunscreen.  This was his first time ever on a sailboat.
Upon reaching West End, I told the guys to put their shirts and shoes back on, we were clearing customs and immigration. The only shoes the Aussie had were the cowboy boots. He couldn't fit into any of my size 6 1/2 flip flops, and none of the guys had any spares with them.
He was quite the sight, arriving at immigration in his cut off shorts, in a borrowed T Shirt, with his heavy leather custom cowboy boots. The immigration officer was taken aback, when I , the sole female aboard, stepped forward to offer up the clearance papers. I had to answer him three times, "Yes, I am the captain, yes it is my boat, yes these are my guests, no it's not a charter."
Back in those days, female captains and or female owners were a rare breed and this immigration officer was incredulous and took no effort to hide it.
Three dollars and 22 cents later, we had cleared in for 3 nights and 4 days and had an elaborate certificate, suitable for framing that we had indeed paid to sail these lovely waters.
My friends never bothered to take the ferry back. Instead while searching for my female friend and her boat, we met up with a lone sailor named Ken, who knew the painter and Tom.   Ken lived on a large decrepit yacht, complete with a non-functioning jacuzzi in the aft cabin, of hand carved teak. He invited us over for this mountain of spaghetti laced with copious amounts of garlic and served up with a half case of  French wine.  His dining table was not available, as his broken diesel engine was sitting on it. So we sat in the cockpit holding steaming bowls of spaghetti as the sun set.
The next morning, I announced, over breakfast,  I wanted to sail to Jost Van Dyke and see Foxy.  Ken was visiting with us, having coffee from my little espresso pot (which he coveted and asked me repeatedly to buy him one just like it if I ever ran into one again) and he asked if he could go along too, as there was someone in Jost he wanted to see.
So that is how Miss Mermaid now had 4 men on board as we set sail for Jost and spent a day and night with Foxy and the crowd at Jost Van Dyke.
After a night of revelry there, the next morning, amid hangovers and protests, I suggested we all go to Sandy Spit for a swim then onwards to Cane Garden Bay for dinner.
Ashore, we went to buy some of Christine's famous homemade wheat bread and we ran into a friend of mine who lived on Jost and wanted a ride to West End. I told him we were going to Cane Garden Bay by way of Sandy Spit  and he said "That will do!"  I guess you could say hitch hikers ain't very picky!
So now, Miss Mermaid and FIVE men are sailing to Sandy Spit and Cane Garden Bay. (My boat slept 6 below and 2 in the cockpit, so we hadn't run out of bunks yet!)
By now, the guys had promoted me to Admiral, and all I did was laze about in my bikini top and sarong tied into a mini skirt, and issue orders such as "trim the job, pass me a drink, and hand over the chart" (which was a laminated placemat that clearly read "Not for Navigational Purposes".  But I had hundreds of charters under my sarong knots, so I knew the BVI in my head, I just used the placemat, to explain to the Aussie where we were, where we were going and why we were tacking back and fourth between Tortola and Little Jost as we made our way towards Sandy Spit.
Sandy Spit was a rolly anchorage, but we headed for shore in my dinghy, with a ziplock full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (made on Christine's homemade wheat bread from Jost)  and a few jugs of icy water. We  hiked the entire island trail, had our picnic, went swimming and then sailed for Cane Garden Bay.
We were able to anchor in front of Quito's, about where the dinghy dock now is, my boat didn't draw much water, so anchoring close to shore was something I could get away with. Ashore, I sent the guys to dump the garbage and scrounge up more provisions, as we were now back to just coffee and milk. I lounged around the bar, having a conversation with Quito while my new crew did the dirty work *tee hee hee*.  Now I felt like a guest, instead of crew!  It was such a great feeling and I remember feeling very lucky and very spoiled.
After awhile, the guys came  back with a frozen whole chicken, a bag of rice,a can of beans,  two coconuts, one papaya, a bunch of bananas, five limes,  three and half  six-packs, and a bag of ice. I found out later that the store was meager but my opportunistic friends had chatted up a local and managed to scavenge their  garden for the coconuts, papaya, bananas and limes. They had started out with 5 six-packs of drinks, but had traded off one six-pack to the farmer and drank 1/2 a six-pack, so their cargo had now been reduced somewhat.
We deposited all that back on board, tossed the chicken in a bucket of water to thaw, put the drinks on ice to cool,  found some empty water bottles and went back ashore and hiked down to the Arundel Rum Distillery where for $1 we were allowed to fill the  water bottles with dark rum aged in oak barrels. It seemed our party was now complete.
That evening, back on board after an afternoon at the beach and bars, I started for the galley and announced I was going to cook. My painter friend said "You shouldn't have to cook, it is your boat, and we are along for the ride, you take it easy."  Then he barked "Tom!  You go down there and make us dinner!"
Tom looked a bit startled, but then shrugged his shoulders and headed for the galley.
So I sat back down and sipped my rum drink as I watched the sunset. Life just couldn't get any better.  About the time dinner was served, Quito began playing and singing, and we could hear him clearly, as we dined in the cockpit, elbow to elbow, chomping down chicken with beans and rice, with a side fruit salad and tossing the chicken bones overboard, as fish bats dive bombed them for morsels.
Those were the days my friend...

- The Color of Blue
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 08:39:03 EDT
TD# 4 is forecast to become a tropical storm within the next 24 hours. She's still a long ways from us, so not to worry... yet.  TD# 4 is packing 35 mph winds and prepared to offer the Cape Verde Islands 2-4 inches of rain.  If she is named, she will be called Debby.
Summer has arrived in the BVI.  It's hot. Drinking lots of cold water or lemon iced tea, goes a long ways to keep one cool. Icy cold beer is delicious too, but don't forget to chase with water, as alcohol can be very dehydrating, esepcially this time of year.  I find it impossible to drive anywhere without taking water along, but then again I don't have air conditioning in the old trusty rusty jeep either. So I need all that water to wash the bugs and dust out of my teeth...
Cleaning out the old beast, I discovered I have 17 bottles of water, each about 1/4 to 1/2 full. I left them in the heap, sometimes I am driving around, and get thirsty, and finish off a bottle or two. If the car needs water for the radiator or windshield wipers, I've got a ready stash.
The little red jeep resembles a beast of burden  who doesn't see civilization much. Not only is there Fix-A-Flat in several assorted cans, but also a tool repair kit plus the proverbial jack and spare tire. Jumper cables, extra oil, brake fluid, spare fuses,  flashlight, pen, paper, matches, straw hat, rubber gloves, WD-40, 2 lengths of rope, paper towels, surfboard wax, large cooler, duct tape, 3 screwdrivers, 1 knife, scissors,  vice grips, a bungee cord, beach towel, flippers, a BVI Welcome Magazine, 2 maps,  and 5 liters of long life milk,  round out the accoutrements.  
So I guess you could say, I am prepared for anything.
The Colors Of Caribbean Blues
This is a true untouched photograph taken August 19, 2006 from the North Shore of Tortola.

- TD# 4 gave birth at 5pm
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 19:11:12 EDT
It's official as of 5pm. Tropical Depression 4 has formed in the eastern Atlantic 250 miles southeast of the southernmost  Cape Verde Islands. It's HUGE
I expect this will be named Debby eventually. Winds are already at 35 miles per hour.

- It Purrs!!!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 09:10:18 EDT
Gorgeous day here in paradise. We have a tropical wave a few hundred miles east southeast of the Cape Verde Islands that is well worth watching, as it looks like it might develop into something we don't want. Otherwise today we have gentle winds and bright blue skies with puffy clouds wafting by.
Well, for days now, the new little Kipor generator has sat on the coffee table, looking impressive.  It is painted bright screaming yellow, maybe that is supposed to make it easier to see in the dark?
I've been real busy, and though I have read the manual a few times, I hadn't got around to starting the generator. I figured it was a project I would do next time da current done mash up.
So it sat there untouched for over a week as either da current didn't mash up or I wasn't home when it did.
FINALLY, da current done mash up and it was daylight. A great time to get the little generator purring. I reread the manual, put some oil in it, checked the air filter, which surprisingly was already a tad dirty, then carried the generator to the balcony with one hand. Yeah, it's that lightweight, just one hand!  Then I used my new gas can to pour some into the top of its tiny little tank. I had only splurged on $2 of gas, about 1/2 gallon.  I didn't want to spend too much, in case we never had another power outage ever again.
Well, the new gas can, though I paid a fortune for it, came with a cheap shoddily designed fuel pour tube. It looked flexible, but was quite rigid, as I found out. So I stuck it in the top of the generator and began carefully pouring gas and the rigid tube which wasn't flexible at all, popped right out, to straighten itself,  and gas spilled all over the generator and the balcony. A 1/4 cup of spilt gas smells like 1,000 gallons and looks like 10 gallons on the floor.
So I put out my cigarette and cursed at nothing in particular, as I went to fetch a rag.
OK, just kidding about the cigarette!  I was testing to see if you were really awake...
I cleaned up the spilled gas, washed everything with Joy soap, washed me with Joy soap and waited awhile to let all the fumes abate.
I reread the manual for the 9th time, then slid the choke on, turned the ma-ching on, and pulled the little rip cord, like that found on outboards and lawn mowers.
It coughed.
I pulled again.
It coughed.
I pulled again.
It coughed.
I rechecked all the settings, consulted the manual and pulled again.
It coughed, then sneezed.
I felt empowered.
I gave that cord my best yank and VAROOM!
It fired to life. 
I rechecked all the settings, reread the manual then dragged my fan out to the balcony and plugged it in. The fan quietly spun to life and cooled me and the generator. Great!
So let's see, I can drag out the 100' bright orange electrical cord out, plug in the 3 way splitter, and began hooking things up.
Da current may be mashed up, but by golly, Miss Mermaid had her own generator purring out current.
My friend was painting the kitchen (yeah I know, we are STILL finishing that up) and he remarked how quiet the generator was. I thought it was louder than a Honda, but he didn't seem to think so. He works with loud noisy obnoxious portable generators to do work and he said this little Kipor was definitely very quiet.
I eagerly got out the manual, discovered some blank pages in the back, got out my ruler and pen and drew lots of grid lines, so I could set up a little log book for the generator. I posted the first entry, then checked the maintenance schedule. Let's see, after ten hours, I would have some work to do, like change the oil.  After that, it claims 100 hours or 6 months between oil changes is fine.
Then da current come back on. I hadn't even got any further than plugging the fan in. So I shut down the little generator. I logged in the time run.
Exactly 5 minutes.
I think the power outage had lasted about an hour, but it took me about 55 minutes to get the generator organized, reread the manual etc., and start it up.
Well now I know, IT WORKS!  Yippee!!!

- Bad Boyz
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2006 10:12:51 EDT
Sunny and blue clouds with very little winds today. A small area of disturbed weather associated with a westward moving tropical wave is about 450 miles north east of the Leeward Islands. Upper level winds remain unfavorable for additional development at this time.
Looks like weather will be gorgeous for the Anything that Floats But a Boat Race tomorrow at the Pub, as well as for the bicycle race.  More details here.
It's a great day to go SCUBA diving , the seas are calm.
If you are thinking of coming to the BVI, now is the time to start planning!
I went out dancing last night and I was alone. I ran into the worst pickup lines ever. I tried to remember most of them to share with you. (And I ended up, coming home alone, so guys come up with something better!)
1-Can I borrow a Quarter?
    What for?
    I want to call my mama and tell her I just met the mermaid of my dreams.
2-Don't you believe in helping the homeless?
    You do?
    Then take me home with you!
3-Do you know the difference between sex and conversation?
    You don't?
    Then let's go out back and talk...
4-Hi!  Are you here to meet a nice guy... or will I do?
5-If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together...
6-The word of the day is "legs". 
    So let's go back to my place, and spread the word...
7- You're the only reason I came here alone.
8-You see my friend over there? (Points to guy who sheepishly waves.)
    Well, he wants to know if you think I am cute...
I must admit, these guys had me laughing.  A male friend of mine told me he had a foolproof way of picking up a late date.  He said he waits until it's late and hazy, the bar is trying to close down, and he looks around for a drunken lass, then puts his arm around her and says "Come on, honey, we're leaving!"

- Marvelous
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006 09:48:42 EDT
Marvelous day with bright blue skies. 86 degrees, gentle trade winds, average seas. Just another wonderful day to wake up!
If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months  waiting at red traffic lights.   If you are an average non-belonger living in the BVI, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at various government offices to get your papers renewed.
The cruise liner QE2, moves only 6 inches for each gallon diesel burned. The local bank lines move only 6 inches every minute.
Whoever said there are more live chickens than people in the world, wasn't here during carnival!  A chicken in every pot and people everywhere!
Weather Trivia
February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.  Bomba (host of the legendary fool moon parties each month) is grateful for that!             

- Correction to email link (listed wrong on Take A Hike Report)
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 09:22:19 EDT

- Take a Hike
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 09:12:37 EDT
Another gorgeous day in paradise. Mid 80's gentle trade winds, beautiful greenery everywhere.  Nothing remarkable to report, just a great day for hiking Sage Mountain Rain Forest.  Take plenty of water and look for the walking sticks by the entrance.
NOTE***This page gets pretty long after a year of writing, so I now post small thumbnails with the larger picture hosted elsewhere by a generous sponsor.
Have a BVI picture to share?  Email DearMissMermaid

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

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