- Updates from the Islands -

- - Tortola & Virgin Gorda (BVI) - -

| home | tools | pleas for help | QHWRN | guide | climatology | archive

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

- - - 2006 Hurricane Season - - -

- Fool Moon, um Full Moon tonight
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 11:46:23 EST
Glorious day on Tortola, a sprinkle of rain this morning. Could use another sprinkle this afternoon and clouds look willing.  Stiff breezes, gentle swells but hopeful surfers lined up.
Fool Moon parties tonight at both ends of the island!
New restaurant, Oscar's opened at Frenchmans Cay Resort (the eastern end of Frenchmans Cay in West End). Fabulous dinners can be had there Tuesday-Saturday along with a large selection of wines by the glass or bottle.
Still looking for that dang groundhog!  Rumor is six more weeks of winter.
Check out last night's sunset!

- Think Left
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 08:48:54 EST
Another glorious day in paradise with stiff breezes and small swells, temperatures in the high 70's, scattered clouds, but loads of sunshine.
T'ings be strange around here, we are missing a man at sea, after two boats collided off St John, Tortola had their first murder of the year before January was over and we had another traffic accident at our only traffic light involving an ambulance. See the news here.
On St John, two tourists driving bright yellow  rental jeeps managed to have a head on collision because one was driving on the wrong side of the road and all this is broad daylight. Reminders to all we drive on the left in the US and the British Virgin Islands. So THINK LEFT. 

- Flat Tuesday
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 11:42:41 EST
Today is bright and sunny, temperature in the low 80's.  The swells have flattened out again. No snow is predicted but I am hearing from Lori in Minnesota about it being minus one degree and Mike in the Rocky Mountains  who says they have too much snow and 23 degrees. I can just see this mermaid shriveling up and dying of chattering teeth and frostbit tail.
But we got no snow here!  I bet you feel downright sorry for us poor barefoot island souls...
We can't build snowmen, so we are forced to go surfing instead or perhaps sailing or swimming or just plain old limin' at the beach.  We never get to wear our fancy winter t'ings like mittens and muffins.  My snow chains rusted out a long time ago, from lack of use.
Speaking of tails, many of you have emailed asking about my fin. I swear one day it is going to be fine, this is the longest recovery and quite honestly I am over it!  But da fin have different ideas.  I quit using the canes and cranes and walking apparatus, so I am bit unsteady on my fin as I teeter totter up and down steps and wobble around. Actually going up steps, is easier than down. I don't understand how da fin can still hurt after all this time. But I don't like taking the pain pills, cause then I just get nothing done, except give the ceiling a good studying. I have been in physical therapy so long now, that my therapist has given birth to another child. 
Rehabilitation has been slow going because I had an old boating injury on the left fin, and hopping around on it just made it ten times worse while my right fin was busted up in two places.  So now I have to learn to walk with two recuperating fins.  I can walk all right, I just look ridiculous.  The cane makes it easier,  but I am tired of looking decrepid.
The fin  was swollen up ridiculously (about triple it's normal size) and the doctor hemmed and hawed and said "Yeah, that might happen for a few months, maybe even six months!"  Lordy mercy, dat man trying to give me a heart attack. 
Then I read about Apple Cider Vinegar and how wonderful it is for you. I read it could reduce swelling as well as provide a long list of amazing health benefits. So everyday, a capful of apple cider vinegar went into every glass of water or green tea that I drank. I got used to the taste right away. My fin remained defiantly huge. Then a few days into this apple cider vinegar routine, I woke up, flopped out of bed and walked across the room and I just KNEW something was very different.
I glanced down and there was my fin, looking pretty normal. I was in a state of shock!  It still swells now and then, but not the huge mess like it was. I ran out of apple cider vinegar and it got really big, so back on the apple cider vinegar I went and the fin swelling went away.  I can wear normal flippers now, no duct taped souls on my fin now!  I can wear pretty flip flops with sequins sewn on, I don't have to wear my chopped up mangled shoes anymore.  Yippee!
Just sitting here in the balmy 23 degree weather of the rocky mountains
reading your forecast and reliving my October trip to Tortola.
I especially have enjoyed the recent photos from the north shore. I can
almost feel the sand between my toes and hear the tree frogs.

Keep up the good work.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Aw, Thank you! 
This picture is dedicated to you!

- Moody Monday
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 10:49:57 EST
OOOPS!  Our internet was down Monday, so here I am, a day late!
Just another fantastic day in the islands. Temps are low 80's, winds are gentle, surf has laid down some, but yesterday it was incredibly awesome with really big waves at Bomba's.
Anchorage at Cane Garden Bay Beach

- Incredible colors!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 11:04:20 EST
We are having the most beautiful sunsets lately. We can thank Montserrat's volcano ash  for that! *cough cough!*
It's 81 degrees at high noon with gentle trade winds and fantastic surfing. Sun is out and clouds are high, posing little threat of any rain. Matter of fact, we haven't even had much rain the last few days, as in none.
Ah, I've been busy setting up my new mermaid lair.  I have forgotten how much fun it is to hang t'ings up everywhere.  As in I have hung nothing up, the new place didn't come with a hook or nail or anything anywhere.  Just beautiful peachy walls. Everything I plan to hang up is now stacked up artfully on the tops of the upper kitchen cabinets. Last night, I went for a stroll, looking to see if any bottles or barrels had washed up for me lately. None had but look at the picture I caught though!
This is simply amazing to catch these colorful sunsets in January. Usually we need the Sahara dust to make these gorgeous sunsets for us, but Montserrat still spews up some ash and stuff now and then, and literally coughed up a beautiful sunset for us.
Sunset from the North Shore of Tortola last night

- Ahhhhhh
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 07:58:48 EST
Warm and sunny with a few wafty clouds. Low 70's nice and breezy.  Sunsets have been spectacular lately.

- Re: Cost of living
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 07:23:31 EST
The last few days have been very cloudy, but the sun is breaking through today and we are expecting lovely weather in the high 70's with moderate winds.
Dear Miss Mermaid,
Can you possibly provide any information pertaining to the cost of living in your current situation?  Most of us dream of being in your position but have no idea of the costs involved per year.  Just want to plan for the future.

South Carolina Land Locked
Ah, yes, I remember back in the dark ages being landlocked myself!  Cost of living, well let's see:
Housing:  $500-$5000 per month, if you get a place for under $1000 per month, it will more than likely be about 80% complete, so count on doing your own plumbing, electrical, painting and carpentry.  This won't be a new place, just that landlords rarely make repairs on your behalf. If it broke 20 years ago, there is a good chance it is still broke, unless the last tenant fixed it, but on the other hand, their duct tape may have wore out by now.
    Heating:  Zero
    Electricity:  $100-$1000 per month, depends on how big your place is and whether or not you have Air Conditioning, Fans are a must in many places, A/C is optional but lovely to have in August, most places will have natural cooling trade winds.  Most places don't have A/C and most residents go on vacation the month of August.
    Water:  Can be free if from your cistern, but ration carefully between rains, or could be street water, from $20-$100 per month
    Propane for Cooking etc:  About $60 per 100 pound tank, propane is a popular cooking choice because the power goes out often
    Telephone:  $50 per month for basic local service, add long distance and you could run up a $500 bill in a few hours.
    Internet:  from free (at a handful of cafes) to $100 per month (DSL from only Phone Company or Air Card from Cell Company)
    Cellular:  from 50 cents a minute to monthly plans that boast 100 minutes for only $60 (not much of a bargain there either!)
    Cable TV:  from $30-$75 per month (depends if you want the good channels and  movies or not)
    Obtaining ANY of the above utilities at your new place can take from one week to one year
Food:  Beans and Rice from scratch, about $1 per meal, Steak and potato with veggie and salad, about $15 if home cooked, about $30+ dining out.  Hamburger plate at home, about $3 to make, hamburger plate at restaurants $9 and up. Veggie Pizza made at home, about $7, dining out about $20-$25.
    Busses:  None, only the tourists get to ride the fancy new busses
    Taxis:  Pretty darn expensive, ask before you ride, they have up front pricing
    Hitchhiking:  Free, but some areas, can be difficult to get rides (like going up or down very steep hills, plan on walking then catching a ride at the top or bottom)
    Rental Cars: about $60+ per day
    Buying a Rusty Heap that you would pay someone in the U.S. to haul off for $75, will sell here for $1500 and it won't be pretty. New cars are $12,000 and up plus 20% duty.  Used cars from $2500-$12,000 or more (some come with 42 speakers or at least sound like they do)
    Private Auto Insurance:  From $180-$600 per year
    Movies:  Rent your own from $2-$5
    Movie Houses:  None (one is under construction since about 1999 and should be finished in under 20 years)
    Plays:  Sometimes available at the College and CADA from $15 and up
    Beaches:  Free  (but not the beach chairs)
    Live Music:  Cost of a few drinks ($3 and up each)
    Hiking:  Free
    Biking:  Cost of a mountain bicycle and good accident insurance
    Watersports:  Varies greatly depending on activity, helps if you own a boat ($10,000-millions)
    Government:  Cheap (but plan to get sick on certain days, as you may be told that what you have is only seen on Tuesdays...)  If you are pregnant or having a baby, you are seen on Wednesdays, broken bones on Fridays and so on.
    Private Care:  Expensive, generally available 5-7 days a week, by appointment, generally you are seen within 4 hours of your appointment
    Bush Tea:  Donated by locals if you are sick
    Salt Water Remedy:  Free and heavily encouraged by locals
    Medicine:  Generally cheaper than U.S., name brands are generally not U.S.
Government and Taxes:
    No sales tax, hidden duty built in on all goods from 5-20% (electrical items, cars and seafood are some of the  20%)  The only duty free items are chicken, rice and computers.
    Income Tax, $7500 tax free annually plus 8% there after, no deductions, self employed pay nearly double, Social Security 4%, 8.5% for self employed.
    Work Permits, Trade Licenses, Residencies, Land Holders License from $500-$3000 per year
    Expensive except for Cigarettes and Rum. Wine is $4 and up per bottle.  Toiletries are pricey, many household goods are not top quality and often seconds but not marked as same.  Clothing is plentiful, if you like old styles, seamstresses are plentiful and affordable but extremely busy.
Hope this helps!

- Drive Carefully
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 08:48:33 EST
Marvelous day in paradise with gorgeous weather, scattered showers and a cool 79 degrees with gentle winds.
And you thought our roads were just for cars...We have a pedestrian, cows and a car all competing for our road. We just need to add chickens, goats, a bicyclist and a jogger to make it a true Island passage.

- Blowing in the Wind
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 09:13:05 EST
It's a glorious Monday on Tortola. The ocean is out, the waves are crashing, sun is up and winds are light, temperature is 77 (25 Celsius). Tuesday should be an outstanding day for surfing. The next fool moon party is February 2nd.
Picture Submitted by Nani Bananny
See if you can find the rainbow.
We were in the beach shack bar. It was built eco friendly from recycled materials, such as old roofs, posts, warped boards and such. Nothing was 90 degree angles, posts and boards leaned and listed.  The roof was corrugated leaky metal.  Decor included leftover paints splashed on liberally, topped with copious amounts of graffiti and poetry.
As debris washed up on shore, it was duly picked up, and nailed to a post or wall.  Makeshift flag poles had been erected and curious flags and other interesting things flapped in the breeze.
The bar was ramshackle, but sported the best of the used roofing material. A deep freezer was packed full of icy cold beers. Uneven shelving held assorted liquors.  An insulated cooler held ice.
The view of course was of the glorious Caribbean and on certain days, the surfers were out in mass, catching waves, providing entertainment for the daytime drinkers.  It was in this setting one lazy afternoon when a rental car pulled up. A family consisting of a very  large, jumbo sized father, a short plump mother and two very skinny lanky teenagers ambled into the bar and ordered drinks.
The man spoke of how this was his favorite bar and how last year, he went surfing with his sons,  then changed into dry shorts and left his favorite pair of shorts behind at the bar. The  next morning they had to fly home, so there wasn't time to retrieve them.  We looked at this great girth of a man and wandered just how big that surf board was...
He mentioned the lost  shorts a few more times, while his family said nothing but watched the surfers out on the breaks. Suddenly with great glee, he yelled "There's my shorts!" and pointed heavenward.
Up above, flapping in the breeze were faded red shorts, now a pretty Caribbean pink,  perched on a cattywampus flag pole, slapping around, with the tradewinds. The whole family lit up and became excited.
The rest of us thought this man, strange indeed, but perhaps his family had grown tired over the last year, of  hearing about the favorite lost shorts.  Before you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, one skinny son, stood tall while the other climbed aboard his shoulders, then scrambled up the flag pole, ripped the errant shorts free and tossed them down to the waiting arms of their father.
The family encircled dad with great excitement, while the rest of us thought, for sure the entire family was going around the bend. The happy man ran his fingers over the shorts, checking the pockets and finally we heard the familiar rip of Velcro.  With a great whoop befitting of someone who might have just won the lottery, he pulled out, one at a time, eight one-hundred dollar bills.
He immediately bought the bar a round a drinks, which set him back about $48.  His family, who had arrived as if coming home from a funeral of a loved one, were now quite delighted and smiled broadly at each other. 
This year's vacation was now supplemented with the addition of $752, a true windfall, that made everyone happy in this  curious family, as they congratulated dad and he in turn the sons and mom nodded her head knowingly with a huge smile.
And to think the rest of us, in the bar, who lived on the island, and had watched those shorts and flags flapping fading, ripping,  in the wind for all of  past year, were staring at the ugly duckling, a swan in disguise.
The owner of the bar sat there with bulging eyes and pretended to be quite happy for the man and his family. He too lamented the fact, that a large tip had been billowing in the wind, through sun and rain, storms and sunshine at the top of his tottering flag pole.

- Relocating
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 10:24:59 EST
Weather is drop dead gorgeous today. Surfers were out yesterday, having a blast and catching good waves.  Temperatures are cool at night and days are perfect, not too hot, not too cold.  Scattered rains are expected, and will last less than 5 minutes.
Message in Bottle:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
Your last post was January 17 - are you ok?
Aw, that is so sweet for you to notice!  I must apologize for not writing each day.  I decided to relocate my lair and move off island.   I had no idea that a mermaid could accumulate so much stuff!  So I have spent days swimming back and forth, with my mermaid accoutrements. 
WHAT? Move off island?
Yes, tee hee hee!  I am moving from Frenchmans Cay to Tortola!  On Frenchmans Cay I lived right at the harbors edge. On Tortola, I will be on the North Shore at the ocean's edge. I shall miss frolicking with all the sailors at Sopers Hole.  And Frenchie, I hope you don't take personal offense, that I am moving off of Frenchmans Cay.
I've also had that nasty flu bug that just won't go away!  So it's been an exhausting few days of moving and coughing and limping along with my fin on the mend.
I am so very lucky, that some of my very best friends turned out to help move me and I shall forever be indebted to them for their selfless generosity during my time in need.
Because I use broadband  interment access from CCT Boatphone, my internet connection moves to where ever I am, as long as there is a cellular tower to send me a signal. My land line phone is scheduled to be moved by Cable and Wireless, sometime within the next 6 months but they have declined to tell me which month.
At my new lair, my cell phone can often receive incoming calls, but every time I try to call out on it, I get a Spanish operator who babbles I need an account. I can use Skype on the broadband connection and make calls both locally and long distance. The long distance calls are about 2 cents a minute, but the local calls are 13 cents per minute. Go figure...it has something to do with a naughty greedy local phone company.
Dear Fish Lady

Thanks for starting my day with a smile!!!!!, my heart goes to (Mary), for I had a similar experience with a DOBERMAN PINSHER.!!!
Tell her I would trade cow poop for Doberman's teeth any day!
Love, A. Read

- Cow Pooped Out
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 08:57:29 EST
Just a gorgeous day. Stormy weather last night and a bit more on the way. Surf's up and tradewinds are blowing. It must be winter in the Caribbean!  We have a waning crescent moon and 81 degrees. Surfing should be awesome this Saturday according to my crystal ball.
Only on Tortola...
My friend, we shall call Mary, (to protect the innocent) came home after a hot tired day at work, with bags of groceries and her two young children in tow. She has a porch that wraps around 3 sides of her home. Imagine her shock to find Miss Cow, belonging to an unnamed absentee owner, who of course would never dream of fencing his cows in, after all this is Tortola, where the cows roam free.   
Anyhow, Miss Cow, had wandered up on her porch, followed it around  the 3 sides of the house and now was stuck. Miss Cow  couldn't turn around and didn't know how to reverse, so there Miss Cow  just stood, looking bewildered and mooing plaintively. Mary's two children were hysterical with laughter.
Mary shooed the children inside and tried to convince Miss Cow to leave. Miss Cow stayed and grunted.  So Mary goes inside and climbs out a window in front of Miss Cow, armed with her trusty broom. With much hollering and poking and prodding with her broom, she finally convinces Miss Cow  to begin backing up.  This of course was met with bellows, mooing, grunts and snorts, all accompanied by laughter from the children inside, who thought this was marvelous entertainment, as they raced from window to window, watching this drama unfold.
Miss Cow  didn't like backing up.  In her nervousness, she developed instant odoriferous diarrhea. As Mary shooed  Miss Cow  in reverse, the other end of Miss Cow  is liberally decorating the porch, railings, house walls, windows  and shutters with copious amounts of brownish blackish cow poop. This of course has the children inside rolling in the floor, with contagious giggles, homework abandoned and the TV silent.
Mary does not find this funny.  She continues to shoo Miss Cow around the corner and down the porch, meanwhile cow poop is still flying everywhere and Mary is slipping and sliding on the  smelly cow poop and well, you can just imagine how this is turning out and oh the stench of fresh cow poop is not appetizing at all, for one who still must cook dinner for 3.
Finally Miss Cow is off the porch and happy to be away from the broom wielding shooing lady and ambles down the muddy drive. Mary goes back to hose down the gooey steamy cow poop off the sides of her house, the windows, the porch, the porch railings and the shudders. Not a pretty task at all, after a hard day's work. Finally Mary goes inside and informs the children that she will be first in the bath tonight, thank you very much and they can make their own peanut butter sandwiches for dinner as mommy no longer feels like cooking. She wraps her ruined shoes in triple plastic bags and deposits them in the garbage and heads for the bath.
Soaking in her tub, on rinse number three, Mary is informed by her ever alert children that the cow has run down the driveway.  Next she is told Miss Cow has  slipped in her hasty departure,  on mud from recent rains.  It appears she has  winded herself  and is now laying on her side, with four hoofs in the air, blocking the entire driveway entrance.
Mary tells her children, she really doesn't wish to know this and not to say another word. Ha!  Trying to keep young excited children quiet is like asking water to run uphill.
Coming out of her bath after rinse number five, and utilizing  two and a half bars of  soap, Mary's children  insist she look out the window at Miss Cow laying on her side, blocking the driveway.  Mary hastily closes the curtains, without looking.
But every few minutes, a child's voice, from behind the curtains would say "Mommy!  Miss Cow is still laying in the driveway!" 
Mary  sends them off to  bed. She refuses to look out the window. She thinks about backhoes and trucks and cranes. She thinks about being late for work and the children late for school and the hysterical laughter and derision she is sure to be met with at work. A WHAT was stuck in your driveway?
A few minutes later, a child's voice from the bedroom intones "Mommy!  Miss Cow is still laying across the driveway blocking it!"
Mary rolls her eyes and tries to study a spot on the ceiling. After shushing the children repeatedly, who apparently kept a close vigil on Miss Cow, Mary climbs into bed, wondering about that dang cow. 
While she is still wide awake, trying not to think about the bellowing cow flopped out in her driveway, things go silent and she tries her best to doze off. Cow's permeate her every thought. The silence is suddenly broken by the yell of a child  "Mommy!  Mommy! Miss Cow is gone!  She's gone! I can't see her anywhere!"
The next morning, cow hoof tracks of caked cow poop and mud,  line her driveway, a gentle decorative reminder that it wasn't a bad dream after all, but pure Caribbean  reality.
Life in the islands, is such an adventure. And you wonder why so many move away...

- Warm and Sunny
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 11:18:56 EST
Beautiful gorgeous day here in the islands. A lovely day to enjoy Smugglers Cove Beach before it is completely destroyed by the proposed development. It's the last great beach on Tortola, a crescent shaped beach surrounded by palm trees. The western end sports an exotic coral reef. 
Now that cruise ship hoards have over run Cane Garden Bay Beach, many locals battle the difficult and treacherous roads to Smugglers Cove.
Many in the community are gearing up to battle against the destruction of Smuggler Cove Beach.  One reader sent thoughts on it, you can read here.   The government and powers to be, seem to be steam rolling this project through at any costs.

- Surf is up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2007 14:11:28 EST
Sun is out, winds are moderate  and surf is UP!  I was listing to port again, when I took this picture, it's my dang fin that makes me walk funny...

- Lovely in Paradise
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 08:40:51 EST
Gorgeous day in paradise, though we may have some stormy weather, come the weekend. The surfers are very hopeful that this will bring big fun waves!
I've got the bug that is going around, that I just can't seem to shake and seems everyone I talk to either has it or just over it or like me, wonders how to get rid of it!

- Marvelous Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 13:04:59 EST
Gorgeous weather here.  It's been a tad hazy, guess that volcano ash is lurking about.  We have scattered clouds and moderate temps and breezy trade winds.
We have a new webcam in the BVI from the north shore. See it live here.
However, over in the west end, this Friday, the new restaurant Oscars, is opening at Frenchmans Cay Resort with drinks and tapas.  The new owners have remodeled and of course the place has a fantastic view of the Sir Francis Drake channel and out islands. The following week, on the 19th, they will open for full dinners.
If arriving by car, drive to Frenchmans Cay, turn left when you cross the bridge and drive about 1/4 mile and the road dead ends at the resort.  If arriving by boat, in Sopers Hole, head east and under the bridge (only dinghies will fit under the bridge) and tie up at Kellys.  Then go out to the road, turn left and hike 1/8 mile.

- Achoo! Montserrat Blew!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 06:37:42 EST
Well, we may be in for some colorful sunsets and sunrises, as Montserrat blew her volcano ash 5 miles (8 kilometers)  into the air!  Whew, that is one big sneeze. Achoo!
See a whole bunch of incredible pictures at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory of this incredible event.
Today our skies are overcast, we expect scattered ash and maybe one very brief rain squall.

- Lovely day for a dive
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 08:42:46 EST
Cool nights, followed by warm days and gorgeous weather.  No rain or blizzards are predicted. I know, because I checked my crystal ball.

- Shiver Me Whiskers
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 10:06:16 EST
Cool nights make for comfy sleeping, wrapped up in a soft fluffy afghan. Bright and sunny today, a great day for the beach!  No snow expected, just sunshine raining down on us all day.
Sunday at 2am we had a little 4.4 earthquake. I heard the rumble but didn't feel it. It was 63 miles NNW of Little Harbor, Jost Van Dyke.
Went to Jolly Roger Saturday and danced to the tunes of Kacey Cubero, outstanding music!
DearMissMermaid.Com  more fun blog stuff added

- Get Cha Goin...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 08:49:22 EST
Gorgeous weather. Bright and sunny.  We expect very little rain and no snow for the next few days. Seas are moderate and surf is small, but that hasn't discouraged the surfers, who have been out catching small waves.
Da current done mash up again, went off last night  and didn't come back on for nine hours.  I was a bit miffed, as I had just bought groceries!
I had my little generator running for a little while and a neighbor came over asking me to shut it down. Says his wife sent him over.  Mind you, my other neighbor has a huge diesel out back, larger than my trusty rust red jeep,  that was roaring along, my little Kipor was merely purring, no where near the loud rumble emanating from the other side.
So I said, why don't you call up dat big bad  BVI Elec-tricky Corporation and tell them to turn my current back on?  Tell dems you don't like my little generator purring along.  That is IF they can hear you above the rumble from that big old diesel next door.
Ah, the neighbor conceded, I might have a point here...
Then he got real curious about my little generator and starts asking me all sorts of questions about how and where I got it, (mail order from Amazon) he picked it up to see how light it was (30 pounds) and next thing you know, he thinks he is going to mail order one for hisself.
I called the big bad BVI Elec-tricky Corporation myself a few  times, but they weren't answering their phone until this morning. Finally a very weak voice, as if he was on is dying bed, gasping with one lung, answers the phone with a teeny tiny "hello".  So I ask him if this is the BVI Elec-tricky  corporation and he gives me this pathetic weak voice "yes".  And I tell him our current done mash up again and he says "the guys dem, dey didn't want to work last night, dey gonna work in da morning and get cha goin."  Then he hung up (or died).
So now, da current come back and I decide to go do my dishes and make some breakfast.  *Sigh* There is no water. *Sigh* Me t'inks, I am just gonna go back to bed.

- peek a boo sunshine
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 07:05:21 EST
 A cool night and light winds have greeted the dawn. It's partly cloudy and we get a few scattered showers. Small surf is up and hopeful surfers are out and about, testing their luck.
Well, my Pacific mermaid finally made it to the BVI and she arrived early and me late, but we met up and have been having a blast terrorizing the islands with two mermaids, making folks think they are seeing double.
She got quite a giggle that on our way to lunch yesterday we had to navigate a herd of goats, then on the way back, we had to stop several times because a flock of cows were taking up the entire road. I had previously warned her of the various driving hazards around here.
We noted that in some areas on the North side, new guard rails have been installed, but some were really bangled and mangled as apparently several have been put through  some heavy duty  testing.  Of course the Fool Moon party had been two nights before, and that always leads to some raodside mayem.
We headed for Bananakeet at Heritage Inn for lunch  and discovered they only do weekend brunches and no weekday lunches, so we took our chances and headed to Cane Garden Bay and lo and behold, no cruise ships in port, so the beach was gorgeous and not overrun with day trippers.
Nanny Cay Canal with condo pilings
Cleared of Mangroves, ready for condos.

- Squally Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 10:08:51 EST
Fantastic  day with scattered showers. I am running errands today, so you can bet it will rain every time I step out of the trusty red heap, um, jeep.
Later today, I have a long lost relative hailing from Hawaii arriving in  our beautiful Virgin Islands. Her journey started over two decades ago, so you can imagine my excitement that the Pacific mermaid meets the Caribbean mermaid, finally!
You try swimming from there to here and tell me if you can do it in under two decades...
I cleaned out my closet recently and found my old foul weather gear lurking in the back. It's hood was brightly glowing in the dark, which startled me a bit at first. I bought it 20 years ago, for a small fortune, and surprisingly, it is still in excellent shape.  Just looking at it, brought back a flood of memories of all the off shore trips I wore that in during squalls, gales, storms and rough seas. 
During quite a few hurricanes, which I luckily spent on shore, I wore that foul weather gear to go check on my uninsured sailboat or to foolishly venture out during the hurricane to get live weather reports.   I sent  the foul weather gear through the wash with a bit of bleach and cleaned it up like new again. You just never know when I might need it again, this being the Caribbean, and me being a mermaid who sails, I don't dare get rid of it. Just surprised that I still own something that has been with me 20 years (and is in better shape than I am !)

- Scattered Matter
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 12:28:59 EST
A gorgeous day, but storms are on the horizon, matter of fact it began raining before I emailed this out!  According to my crystal ball, we are expecting scattered stormy weather for a few days, nothing significant, just enough to make you drag out your umbrellas and hats and foul weather gear and get your feet muddy.  My cats are bulking up as if "the big one" is on its way.  They are staying close to home too, of course that could be because they have been thoroughly spoiled over the holidays and foolishly think this will continue.  Of course the brothers celebrate their birthdays on Valentine's Day, so they haven't long to wait to be spoiled again.
I went down to the beach to check t'ings out and exercise my swollen fin.  This snow covered rum barrel washes up on shore addressed to Dear Miss Mermaid from  Drew, Andrew and Alex of Minnesota.  I dusted off the snow, which quickly melted in this moderate heat, and opened up to find a huge treasure trove of assorted gifts for the cats and Miss Mermaid including truffles and chocolates, fish stuffed with catnip for the kitties, wild rice, exotic coffees, unique jams, and the list gets longer!  Oh there was so much food stuffs that I could have had  a huge party right there on the beach, but luckily I was alone, so I was forced to bring it all home to my lair. *tee hee hee* I feel like one lucky mermaid! 
Previously in my September 30, 2006 report, I mentioned that Andrew had taken these fantastic underwater pictures.  Click this link to see the large versions.  He definitely has a talent for catching these creatures. He tried to photograph a Mermaid, but we all know, they are too elusive for the camera...

- 50 grogeous islands
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2007 08:23:34 EST
A gorgeous day of 80ish degrees with light winds. We might get a spit or two of rain, but not much.
Bliss Mountain writes:
How many BVI's are there?  I know  Sir Richard Branson owns one....
There are about  50 or so islands and cays:
Sir Richard Branson owns Necker Island where Lady Di used to sneak off to. Dr Henry Jareki owns Guana and Norman Island.  Then there is Peter, Salt, Cooper, Ginger, Virgin Gorda,  Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, Marina Cay, Frenchmans Cay, Nanny Cay, Peg Leg Cay, the Indians, Green Cay, Sandy Cay, Sandy Spit, Little Jost, Saba Rock, Flannigan Island, Little Thatch, Big Thatch, Carrot Rock, Pelican Island, Little Camanoe, Great Camanoe, Scrub Island, Mosquito Island, Great Tobago, Bellamy Cay,  Little Tobago, Beef Island,  Prickly Pear, Eustatia, Buck Island, Tortola, Fallen Jeruselum, Round Rock, Caravel Rock, Road Reef, West Dog, George Dog, Seals Dog, Great Dog, Little dog, Big Dog, Bad Dog,hmm...
That's all I can think of for now!
Nanny Cay has widened the canal and removed most all the mangroves, between Nanny Cay and Peg Leg Cay to make way for new condos being built. See web cam here.
Santa forget something you wanted for Christmas?  Check out ThisOldPirate.com and get some nautical or pirate gear.

- 2007 Rang in with a Blast
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 07:28:49 EST
Well, sorry I didn't get a report out yesterday, I was having internet trouble, every time I got ready to email something, POOF, the dang internet connection would vanish.  I finally gave up and started celebrating New Year's Eve!
Today's weather will be much the same as yesterday, with scattered storms and partly overcast skies. Last night around 1am we had quite the storm, enough to send folks scurrying home and to drier places.  I haven't heard how many car wrecks we had last night yet. Last year there were  28 or something ridiculous, hopefully this year was much safer. Many of last year's collisions were with those pesky boulders on the side of the waterfront road.
During Carnival this year, we had quite a few wrecks, one I came upon was a utility pole that had been hit head on twice, both east and west. Both cars were still parked at it and it makes you wonder how two people from two different directions managed to hit the same pole and not each other.
I noticed at 5am this morning on Foxys web cam, partiers were still drinking at the bar and mostly upright!
I woke up early and watched a funny movie called Sugar & Spice about some cheerleaders who rob a bank and get away with it.  At then end, there was a sort of epilogue, of what happened to each cheerleader and what they did with their money. I was surprised to see they listed one girl as "now owns Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands..."  It gave me quite  a chuckle.
First Dawn of 2007 in the BVI

- Ya just can't get there from here once ya miss dat turn
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 09:14:06 EST
Today's weather brings brisk tradewinds and scattered sunshine. No snow is forecast but you can expect a little fast moving  rain here and there.  Nights are chilly, plummeting down to the low 70's and folks like me are piling on the blankets and comforters and cats, to stay warm.
Well the scattered rains I predicted yesterday turned out to be more like scattered storms. I forced myself into town, a chore I am not fond of, but the seamstress had  dresses ready for me (it's so hard for a Mermaid to find clothing) and that propelled me into town.  Every time I would park the car to get out, the sky would darken and the rains would pour fourth. Once I did my errand, and got back in the car, nice and wet, dripping from head to tail,  the rains would cease. 
After this phenomenon repeated itself for the third time, I  just gave up, tossed my lengthy list in the garbage and headed home. After all, I had picked up the dresses and a few scant groceries (that included half price Christmas chocolates) so I felt blessed that I got so little done and felt so great about it.
Running errands and shopping in Road Town is so chaotic, that usually if I complete half my list, I consider it a good day and head home if I am tired of the trauma. Who ever laid out the traffic patterns in Road Town, obviously, has never driven a day in their life.
One of my favorite stores (the one with a great value on shrimp) is on a one way street and if you miss the turn, well you have to drive 4 miles, make an illegal U-turn, and pass through two roundabouts, just  to get back to it.
Once when a male friend was driving me to the Purple Palace to get the cast replaced on my broken  fin, we missed THE TURN.  Realizing this, we simultaneously both said "UT OH!" and groaned.   Lawdy mercy, it took us 15 minutes of battling one way streets and don't turn here signs (cause it's way to convenient) and don't turn there signs (cause it's a shortcut and lawdy mercy, we don't want folks to use shortcuts) until we finally made it back to the orthopedic clinic. We were laughing the whole time, I mean who laid these wrong way streets out?  It's a tiny town, it shouldn't be so hard to navigate but it's like a maze, and if you make a wrong turn or miss a turn, heaven help you, it will cost you several miles and 20 or so minutes to straighten out your gaffe.
The first time I shipped my original trust rusty jeep over here from St John, I drove to town to register it. I was informed I needed insurance so I asked the clerk where was a cheap place to buy insurance and he said he wasn't allowed to recommend any. I leaned over the desk and whispered "I am new here, can you please just give me directions to an insurance company?"  and I gave him my best mermaid smile. He leaned back over and whispered directions by foot, two blocks away, he  then tried to give me driving directions which were lengthy and complicated, what with all the one way streets to nowhere to navigate. I nodded knowingly, left my jeep parked at licensing and walked against traffic , the two blocks to the insurance company.
Now  I am in the insurance agents' office and they wanted to know where I bought the jeep, and I said St Thomas, three years ago and they said, oh so you just brought it over from there, no I explained, I brought it over from St John. (That particularly jeep toured 7 islands in the years I owned it).  They asked who insured it and were incredulous I had never had it insured, as ironically, everywhere I had lived, until Tortola, didn't require insurance.  (Those days are largely gone now.)  Next the clerk wanted to see the jeep and asked where I was parked. I explained I had left it at the registration place because I couldn't figure out how to drive over to the insurance company without going to Cane Garden Bay to turn around, due to all the confusing wrong way streets and don't turn here signs.   She smiled at me.  (By the way,  Cane Garden Bay is on the other side of the mountains, from town and if you make a wrong turn, you may end up going there just to turn around!)
Incredulously, the agent, stood up, walked over to the window, peeked through the mini blinds, mumbled "uh huh" and came back and sat down. There is no way she could have seen my jeep from that window unless she can see around corners and through buildings. She ticked off "visually inspected vehicle" and continued with her questions while I did my best not to burst out laughing.
I think she did this for the sake of her supervisor who had perked up and was listening in, about me never having insurance on the jeep before. They were probably expecting a banged up hunk of rust (yep that's me!) and I was not one to disappoint them, had she really seen my jeep. When I left the insurance office, I noticed a shiny red jeep sitting beneath the window the agent had peeked out of, so maybe she thought that was mine.
The next year, when I went to renew my insurance and tags, I made the fatal error of missing the left  turn to the licensing division. Oh my goodness. I had to drive to the round about, do a loopy loop, drive back through town, and when I got to the turn off for the licensing division a big sign says "No right turn".  Lawdy Mercy, I had to drive all the way to the hospital, make a turn there, then head down Main Street then I turned right and realized I was one block too far from the licensing division and guess what. No right turn allowed to get back the one block where I wanted to be.
I would have just parked and walked to licensing, but they insist you present the car for a visual inspection, while they check to see if you really do  have 4 tires and an engine underneath all that rust.
So now I had to go down a one way street, turn at the banyan tree, go past the ho house, drive to the fire station, turn again, head for the roundabout, do a loopy loop, drive back through town, passed the licensing division, where you aren't allowed to turn right, then drive to the hospital, cause there is no where closer you are allowed to turn around, pull in there, make an illegal U turn, then head back up through town and FINALLY make the correct left into the licensing division. I was so exhausted, I was ready for lunch.
So I asked the inspection guy, how do you get to the licensing place if you are coming from East end and the sign says no right turn, at the only turn that brings you to the licensing place? He let out a long sigh, and gave me one of those I-wish-you-had-never-asked looks and said "Well, it's complicated.  Basically,  you drive to West End,  turn around and come back."  **For those of you not familiar with the island layout, West End is nine miles away. 
The inspector looked over my hunk of rust and remarked "You are going to need tires soon."  So I answered him with "Well, they were almost new, when I left East End.. to find this place..."  He rolled his eyes and slapped the sticker on my jeep, but OOPS, he got it upside down. So I said, "Um, hmm, is that going to be a problem?" 
He began explaining how hard it would be to void that sticker and issue a new one. He had to get permission from his supervisor, who left for lunch 2 hours ago and won't be back for 3 more, and furthermore, I would have to pay again for another sticker and so on. In other words, just shut up and drive with the upside down sticker.
So, for the next year, I endured, many questions from friends and strangers such as "Hey!  Did you know your licensing sticker is upside down?"  A year later, when I went back to renew again, the old fellow was real nice to me and says "I remember you!  I put your sticker on upside down last year!" 
One friend, after pointing it out to me, said, "Well, it figures, if anyone deserves an upside down sticker on their car for a whole year, it's gotta be you.  You're always different from the crowd and the inspector probably did that to you on purpose anyhow..."
Now, I am convinced, that 80% of the traffic congestion in Road Town is due to the wrong way streets and the don't turn here signs and folks like me who miss one little turn and end up driving for 20 more minutes, down 8 different roads, to get back to square one.
I also, now understand why all those cars that pass me to and from West End, are going 90 miles per hour. It's because they have to go to West End, turn around and start over, if they missed a teensy little turn back in town...

- Lover-ly Days
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 10:10:07 EST
Scattered showers are the norm for today.  Lots of wind and great sunshine, still no snow!
Beautiful Magenta Oleander, look but don't eat, it's an infamous poison.
Need a Ferry Schedule?

- Early morning roars and snores
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 05:44:56 EST
606am and the sun won't be up for 40 more minutes.  Nice and cool. I woke up about an hour or so ago because I heard this strange howling.
It would howl and roar, then stop, then start again. The noise kept getting louder and closer.  Even the neighborhood dogs woke up and took notice. I wandered about tsunamis and ill winds and why this noise had woke me up. I heard the howl getting louder then suddenly  all would be silent. Then a moment or so later, the strange howl would come closer then go silent.  Finally, it came right down the street, and it was the garbage truck doing his 430am pickup.  Something is wrong with the truck, it howls louder as he speeds up and howls lower as he slows down. He came howling down my street and then there was a loud clang. I thought maybe he crashed into the garbage cans, but I think it was just truck parts falling off.
He emptied out the garbage cans with as much noise as possible. I think he wanted to make sure every last bottle was thoroughly smashed to smithereens. Then he got in his truck and howled down the street. I heard him stop again and that awful clanging noise.
Speaking of being smashed, I went for a long walk today and ended up stopping at a neighborhood bar for a cool drink. I saw some folks I knew, and went to say hello.  An employee was restocking and dropped a keg of beer which literally exploded and doused a dozen people at the bar as well as the bar top, the stools, the menus, the floor  and folks sitting ten feet away.  Now that is one way to empty out a bar in a hurry.  I came home reeking of beer suds. Even the cat turned his nose up and reversed as I approached. I took a shower and there were beer suds in the drain. I am going to wash my clothes in vinegar to get rid of the odor. Vinegar in the wash load will also prevent lint from sticking to your clothes as well as remove odors and brighten colors.
Argh!  Learn all about pirates and piracy.  (No this isn't a site about our government...)

- Purrrrrrfect
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 13:34:53 EST
Wonderful holiday weather, makes it hard to get any work done with perfect tradewinds, nearly clear skies and bright sunshine.  It gets pretty cool at night and in the early mornings.  I had to bundle up in a heavy hotel robe this morning to keep from shivering, it was down to 76 degrees!  Brrr!
Make your dreams come true, book a vacation at one of these beautiful villas.
If ya feeling silly, see Mermaid Jokes.

- Who gives a hoot
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 15:50:52 EST
Today is a Public holiday in the BVI. It's Boxing Day. Weather is drop dead gorgeous with lively breezes and bright sunshine. It's not hot and it's not cold and it's not snowing.  No hurricanes, and besides hurricane season is over.
Now we are looking forward to New Years Eve and all the wonderful parties we will have all over the islands. The most famous, being at Foxy's.  Everyone should go to Foxy's Olde years Night (as he calls it) at least once. I have been several times and will tell you more about that soon.
I was looking at various airlines that utilize the Atlanta airport and stumbled across one named  Hooters Air.  I asked my guest if he had heard of that, and he hadn't.  I thought it was late, and I should go to bed, I was seeing things. But I decided to do a quick search, and yep there is, or rather was a Hooters Air.  I laughed myself silly.  I guess there's a market for everything even if short lived.
I can hear it now in the terminal, the announcer says "Hooters Air is departing for  Virgins  with  48D's, um, ooops, um,  scuse me!  (*clears throat*)  at  gate 48D, to the Virgin Islands...
Before you get too excited, the website reads "Hooters Air has discontinued all flight on all routes...All refunds have been completed..."

- Merry Christmas!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 10:10:39 EST
Today is glorious and breezy with perfect weather for a gracious holiday.  Tourists are everywhere making merry and celebrating Christmas, Caribbean style.  Santa sailed around the islands last night and left many a child wonderful treats. Surf is moderately up at Bombas and they had a helluva party there last night, all night, with a few wayward rum soaked sots, left sleeping on the beach. So look around, if you are missing any drunk loved ones, check the beach!  We may get  a teeny tiny shower today, but nothing untoward.
My kitties were thrilled to have a short visit from Santa Claws, who stopped in to bring them treats,  fill his belly up and take a short rest, before taking off to leave more treats for other good boy and girl kitties.  Just like Santa Claus, this Santa Claws sports a hefty belly!
A Cruzan RUm Bottle washed up on my shore today, with a letter inside covered in cake crumbs:
Dear Miss Mermaid,

Your tried and true Rum Cake recipe sounded so good, I just had to try
it. I made it today, figuring if it didn't work out, I'd have time to
make something else for Christmas dinner; but if it did work, it would
have a couple days to age.

Yum yum yum. Love that Cruzan Dark rum flavor, and that rich, moist
cake. It should be wonderfully aged by Monday. I don't think I'll have
to freeze any. I'm going to add this recipe to my repertoire. Thank you
for posting the recipe.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.

Holly in New Jersey
Dear Holly,
    What a festive name you have for the season!  Thanks for writing and so glad you love that Rum *hiccup* Cake! 
    (see December 5th post for recipe)
I have my electronic yule tide log burning on the computer. I was visiting in the great white north years back, built a fire in my friend's fireplace and filmed it. Now when I need a fire glowing, I play it on my computer screen.
If you want a copy of it for your computer, you can have it for free here. Just set your player to full screen and repeat (or loop).  Enjoy your yule tide log as a gift from Dear Miss Mermaid!

- Christmas Eve in the Caribbean
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 15:51:28 EST
Merry Christmas!  It's almost here, I hope you've been nice and not naughty.  The weather is absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Sailboats are everywhere, moderate winds are pushing them along.  A small swell on the north shore is entertaining surfers. Sorry, but no snow this year for Christmas. Guess we will have to settle for dark tans!
The good fairy writes again:
Dear Miss Mermaid,   
    Merry Christmas to you as well.  My Mother in law is from Jamaica and she refers to speed bumps as sleeping policemen.  Perhaps it's just Jamaican, but I have always liked the term...... Take care of your fin.
Yep, I've heard that before, but WHERE they put the sleeping policemen,  in the BVI, rarely makes sense at all. There is one in front of my place where it is always shady. At night, there is no lighting nor paint or sign to indicate that a huge speed bump is about to shatter your life. It  blends right in with the shade by day and vanishes into the darkness  at night. AND, all this  on a dead end road.   Why do we need a speed bump?  All day long and half the night,  I hear crunches and crashes and cursing as unsuspecting tourists and forgetful locals,  hit that bump.
I  saw a pickup truck full of people in back hit it so hard (they must have been going  25 miles per hour)  that the people flew up, arms and legs everywhere and landed back down in the truck with a crash accompanied by screams of terror and screams of laughter.  
I saw  a bicyclist go head over hills hitting it, landing in my yard, where he lay motionless. I ran down with my cell phone in hand to check on him and he came to about then, and as I inquired about his health, he ran off in apparent embarrassment. 
I had company visiting and at night, she was walking to the bar, and therefore still sober and she fell down over the speed bump and tore her leg up something awful.  She  was incredulous that there is no paint, no sign, no warning, just BOOM you found it!  She limped around for the rest of her stay, cursing our dumb speed bumps.
I must admit, eons ago, right after that dang speed bump was installed,  I was walking at night with a pizza box in hand and a friendly doggy was following me because he apparently liked people who carried pizza around.  I had eaten part  of the pizza and the rest  was going home to my boat for tomorrow's lunch and dinner.  I had already explained this to the doggy and was holding  my pizza up higher, to fend him off.
I tripped over that dang speed bump and the pizza flew out of my hands and landed about ten feet away, incredibly, bottom side down.  I was trying to struggle  up, wondering what in the world had I tripped over and I wanted to scramble over to grab my pizza before the oncoming car ran it or me down.
Suddenly, right before my eyes, the  top of the pizza  box flew open, as if spring loaded, and the friendly doggy raced over and began chowing down. By the time I picked myself up and got over to the pizza, doggy was gleefully wolfing down the last bit of crust and looking very smitten. Not one to be a litter bug, I picked up the now spotless pizza box  while the dog stood there licking his chops and wagging  his tail rapidly with pleasure, looking at me to see if I had any more surprises for him.  He wasn't even my dog, but I could see he was ready to adopt me as he loved pizza.
I turned to limp towards the dumpster to toss  in the now empty box. The oncoming car, which had slowed down to avoid hitting me, the box and the dog,  drove past me, and the rude driver yelled out the window,  "That's a real dumb place to feed your dog, lady!"
But, alas, Lady Karma stepped in and as the nice driver was looking at me, and not the road, he  hit that speed bump with a loud thud and his senseless head hit the top of the roof of his car. I swear, I didn't laugh, but my sides were about to split open with giggles.
So, I must admit, I learned my lesson about the speed bump and I bet that driver thought twice before yelling at injured people on the street again.  However,  at lunch the next day as I ate my peanut butter crackers, I thought about how happy that dog looked.  When I went ashore later in the day, there was the same friendly doggy, hanging out at the speed bump.  Apparently, the dog was smart too, and hoping for another pedestrian pizza box disaster.
Another time I saw a  truck pulling a trailer with construction equipment on it,  hit it hard and his trailer came lose from the truck and crashed into a tree and the equipment bounced right off the trailer.  Now that was a lot of hollering and cursing as he stopped to try to right his rig again, which took about an hour.
Late one night as the bar closed, a quiet car hit the bump with a loud crash and bang.  Next thing we hear this LOUD roar, because his muffler was knocked off.  He stops with car idling LOUDLY to pick up the muffler and we hear him cursing above all the noise, cause the muffler is already HOT to the touch. I guess maybe he worked at the bar as the next few nights, at the same late hour,  we  hear this loud roaring car approach the speed bump, slow down to a crawl, then roar away rapidly again.
Another night a car hits the bump and crashes into a boulder in the yard. Then we hear this cursing as people got out to push the car off the boulder. It was the most horrific sound of metal ripping across rock. Then we hear this lively discussion because apparently the whole front bumper came off in the removal and they are giggling themselves silly, trying to fit the bumper into the trunk (it didn't) and then the back seat and finally depart with the bumper hanging out the back window.
I think this  speed bump is  more of a menace than a help, but it sure provides a lot of entertainment and feeds one lucky dog.   I have no idea why it was placed there.  Just one day, a few years back,  it appeared and many like me have been praying that one day it will just vanish again.
Oh, and as for the fin, it's swollen and cranky, but I am trying this new vinegar remedy to see if I can reduce the swelling.
DearMissMermaid.Com  (updated most days with weird stuff!)

- No Snow in Sight Yet, We Might Not Have a Whie Christmas...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 13:16:33 EST
Another glorious day in paradise, with occasional quick rain showers, breezy trade winds and  mostly clear blue skies. Ah, the stuff dreams are made of.  There is no snow on the horizon, no storms yet, just a jolly good Christmas in the Caribbean.
Fresh & Festive Holiday Wreath - Harry and David
For those of you coming down here and planning to drive, more words of wisdom to follow. Beware of the potholes, some are big enough and deep enough to break your axle. Officially we drive on the left side of the road with left hand cars. Some cars are right hand drive, this  is to keeps everyone confused.
Watch out for the suicidal taxi drivers. They tend to wait until hairpin curves going up or down hills, to pass a fleet of cars, preferably with oncoming traffic aimed their way.
Many roads do not have guard rails, though amazingly, in the last few years, a few have started sporting some. The views are fantastic, so take your time and look. Also look below that you aren't accidentally driving off the cliff.
Never back up in a hurry, and be prepared to stop suddenly if you hear a loud crunch.   Parking is chaotic and often the spaces are not marked. Please park close to the next car, and don't leave huge gaps that are just a few inches too small for a small car. If you can't find parking, you can do like the taxis and park in the middle of the road but ONLY if you are blocking a driveway, parking lot entrance or a busy road. 
We don't have road rage, but if you must indulge,  then lay down on the horn for a LONG time. Don't make any hand signals, it's a SMALL island, and you might be insulting the brother of the cousin of the immigration gal, who may very well, hunt you down and put you off the island.  Otherwise all that tooting you are bound to hear all day is folks tooting at their friends, or tooting on sharp curves or tooting cause they think you are cute. Sometimes they toot to let you in traffic.
You can easily get  into traffic and most everyone will stop to let you in, even if you are reversing across two lanes of traffic to get in.  Some will give you a little toot or flash their lights to let you know they are going to wait on you. The NO U TURN signs are conveniently located at all the best places to make U turns, so make yours in a hurry and pray no one saw ya.
Parking lots fill up quickly and you may have to park like the locals, and block in at least 3 cars. Of course, often you can park on the sidewalk, or part of it.
Buy gas when you get below a half tank. The power plant is erratic and the gas stations don't have generators. Many of them close by sunset anyhow, so you just want to always keep a half tank or more in your car.
Driving at night is a bit tricky, many folks insist on driving with their bright lights on only and refuse to dim them. Others drive with no lights and are impossible to see as many roads do not have street lights. The STOP signs mean you are supposed to come to a full stop, but if you drive like the locals, then just plow through them at 90  miles per hour.
We have ONE traffic light on the island. It cost five million dollars, so we haven't built another one. Four million  was spent on consultants (bribes) and the rest on electricians and equipment, plus the huge party we had to inaugerate it, and the rest on bribes, oops, I mean consultants. .You will be able to spot it, as there is a huge traffic jam at least a half mile long, as you approach it.
You can get a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt but you won't get a ticket for an open beverage of choice in the car. Speed limits are posted and are incongruous with the road conditions. Hence the 20mph limits are found on 4 lane highways with no turn offs and the 90mph speed limit signs are found on steep curvy switchbacks with numerous side roads, driveways and unguarded vertical cliffs.
Speeding tickets are handed out twice a year, (if the equipment is working.) You can talk your way out of most tickets with a cheery good afternoon or good night or good morning and apologizing profusely and acting very remorseful including breaking down into loud sobs and apologies.  You usually cannot talk your way out of seatbelt tickets, even if you are stuck in traffic, in town, that is only creeping by at 4 miles per hour for the next 5 miles. If that all fails, claim you left your driver  license at the laundry in your pants pocket and act real panicky, like you were on your way there to retrieve it,  then give the cop,  the name of someone you don't like much.
Most roads are paved over goat trails. Did you know that goats have tripod hooves on each foot and can scale vertical cliffs?  THAT explains why our roads are built the way  they are.  Watch our for falling boulders when driving next to a vertical cliff, espeically in pouring rains.
Be sure to wear protective padding on top of your head until you get used to all the hidden, unmarked, treacherous speed bumps. Many are located in the middle of nowhere in a natural shade spot.
We are running a contest to see if you can name the locations and number of all speed bumps on Tortola. Winner gets a free head X-ray and a helmet. Send entries to DearMissMermaid at aol.com.
Public Works rarely uses cones or flag men or signs. Be prepared to slam on brakes often, as you go around a curve and find public works has dug a 10 by 8 foot hole, 4 feet deep,  in the middle of the  road with absolutely no markers.
The Men Working signs are for decoration. Most are placed on far flung roads where there isn't a soul for miles. The clunking and chunking noise you will often hear while driving are the car parts falling off your car. It's not unusual to find bumpers, radiators, hub caps, fenders, a mattress, hats, a shoe, a shirt  and such in the middle of the road.
Remember that the roads are not for cars only, the trucks use them to drive at dangerous speeds right down the middle with annoying strobe lights designed to blind you completely.  Cows, goats, chickens and sometimes pigs, freely roam the roads as well as horses, bicycles, pedestrians, children and drunks. My jeep hood, was once attacked by a wild horse, who also made me back up about 80 feet and turn down another road. I have the dent on my hood, that matches his hoof prints.
But that is not near as bad as the two lucky women  in a VW bug convertible,  that caught the attention of a wandering amorous bull, who um, began making love to the back of the VW, much to their horror, while they were stopped in a traffic jam. It was quite entertaining and further compounded the traffic snarl. If the VW bug and bull  had successfully produced offspring, it would be known as a boodle.
Cows laying in the shade of the street will rarely move, try not to hit them as they often total your car. Chickens like to make you think you are going to hit them, but honestly, they are hard to hit. So if you are expecting free road kill, it's hard to come by.  The locals will often play chicken with you, especially if you have rental car tags.
Those ladies standing in the shady spots by the roadside are waiting for you to offer them a ride to work. Men often scream out their destination as you approach, in hopes you will pick them up. No one but the tourists use a thumb to hitchhike with. Sometimes folks point with their finger, as they are walking to indicate they would like a ride. Taxis will sometimes stop if you hold your hand really high or jump out in front of them.
It's OK to slam on brakes and terrify the folks behind you, because you want to stop and chat up a pedestrian. Conversely, you can also, honk, wave and stop a car going in the  opposite direction and proceed with a 20 minute conversation while traffic backs up for 8 miles behind you.
If you need to fix your car, stop in the middle of the road in the  most inconvenient place and fix it there. If you don't know how to fix it, then open the hood, stand by looking goofy and Good Samaritans will stop and help you.
If you plan to junk your car, just park it on someone else's property or in a prime parking space, such as those close to shops or ferries or restaurants. Then sell the tires and anything else off  it you can, so it's very hard for anyone else to move it.
And lastly, if you have a boat and don't wish to pay boat yard storage fees, then get a trailer or build one and park the boat on the side of the road, or in a public parking lot, preferably in a prime space close to open businesses. If you don't wish to spend money on a trailer, then get some old 50 gallon drums and have a crane drop your boat off on the drums on the side of the road. It's OK to use batteries to stack under your boat and trailer too as this is very dangerous and encouraged. Using rotten wood is preferred too. The more dangerous you can park your boat, the less chance of anyone messing with it.
Of course, if you use your boat for storing your cargo container...
See what's new at DearMissMermaid.Com   (Updated daily too!)

- Ho Ho Ho!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 15:38:31 EST
Scattered rains have played peek a boo throughout the day. Grocery stores are scurrying to keep shelves stocked as numerous tourists and chefs pour in for the holidays and cart out all they can. Fair weather is expected through Monday, Christmas Day, with the occasional shower.
Plush Santa Hat
Ho Ho Ho!
Merry Christmas!
The 12 Days of Christmas,  Caribbean Style
On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a coconut in a palm tree.
On the second  day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the third  day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the fourth  day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, seven fish a swimming, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, eight goats a-milking, seven fish a swimming, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, nine Rastas dancing, eight goats a-milking, seven fish a swimming, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, ten frogs a-leaping, nine Rastas dancing, eight goats a-milking, seven fish a swimming, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, eleven dolphins swimming, ten frogs a-leaping, nine Rastas dancing, eight goats a-milking, seven fish a swimming, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree.
On the twelfth  day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, twelve divers diving, eleven dolphins swimming, ten frogs a-leaping, nine Rastas dancing, eight goats a-milking, seven fish a swimming, six hens a-laying, five golden tans, four hitchhikers, three wilds cows, two turtle eggs, and a coconut in a palm tree

- Wonderful Wet Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 15:03:42 EST
Scattered rains and overcast skies have dotted the day.
Some awful cold or virus is going around, and it caught me.  The back of my eyeballs hurt, my head weighs 100 pounds.

- All I Want for Christmas Is A Real Good Tan
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 12:31:51 EST
What a great day in paradise, though parts of the sky are a bit overcast, the sea swells have laid down some.  We're expecting some short little bursts of showers to keep things green and cool.
All I Want for Christmas Is A Real Good Tan
Kenny Chesney, who fell in love with the Virgin Islands, has written many songs about the area. Now he has a Christmas CD out with 11 Christmas tunes.  The title of the album is the same as the first song on the album:
More Kenny Chesney can be found here.
But, he doesn't have THESE tunes on there, written by Dear Miss Mermaid:
(Sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Dashing through the waves
In a one week Sailboat charter
O'er the seas we go
Tacking all the way
Pails of water we fling
Making bilges light
What fun it is to laugh and drink
Our Cruzan Rum tonight
Oh, Trim that Main, Tack That jib
Sailing all the way
Oh what fun it is to steer
In a Sailboat with our beer
Trim that Main, Tack That jib
Sailing all the way
Oh what fun it is to steer
When this ain't our boat here
A day or two ago
We  thought we'd take a sail
And  soon we're feeling bright
With Cruzan by our side
The waves were rough and wet
Misfortune seemed our lot
We got stuck on a coral reef
And then we got seasick
Oh, kedge that anchor, heave it ho
Winching all the way
Oh what fun it is to crunch
Across that coral head
Kedge that anchor, heave it ho
Winching all the way
Oh what fun it is to crunch
Across that coral head
Trim that Main, Tack That jib
Sailing all the way
Oh what fun it is to steer
While we've been  drinking beer
Trim that Main, Tack That jib
Sailing all the way
Oh what fun it is to steer
When this ain't our boat here
Warm Christmas
(Sung to the tune of White Christmas)
I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas
Down in the Caribbean where I belong
Where my sun tan glistens
And I'm not missing
All that snow I left up north
I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas
With every traveler check I write
May your holidays be merry and bright
And may  all your beaches be white
I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas
With every traveler check I write
May your holidays be merry and bright
And may  all your beaches be white

- A Whale of a Christmas Tale
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 10:31:01 EST
Gorgeous day in paradise. No rains last night, none expected today. Surf is up this week and the surfers are really happy about that. For more details see BVIwaves.com.
Many of you have inquired about my fin, and I am proud to report, it's not going to be amputated after all!  I am still working with the physical therapist and going for weekly torture, um, therapy!  Saw the doc who claims he sees improvement (I don't see much myself, but I am getting around a tad faster!) so he told me to keep up the therapy two more months and then come back again and let him hem and haw over it.
I wrote this Whale of a Christmas Tale, back in 1998, after consuming a bit too much eggnog!  I hope you enjoy it, or at least forgive me, if you have read this before...
A Whale of a Christmas Tale

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Caribbean
Not a creature was stirring, but many fans were purring
I was asleep on my boat, when suddenly I awoke, I heard a bang, and then a clang!
I sprang out of my bunk, colliding with a great big hunk
Rudolf!  The Red Nose Reindeer!  How are you, my dear?
Need some sunscreen?  Or would you like ice cream?
Oh, dear, he sighed, listen here, he cried!
Santa was sloshing in eggnog, his mind was off and in a fog
Since it still  wasn't day, he leaned over the sleigh
To take a quick leak, since his bladder was weak
His eyes were a little blurry, but he spotted something furry
With a wink in his eye, he exclaimed in the sky,
What do I see? Is that mermaid in distress? 
Or does she always wear seaweed, for her dress? 
But, oh dear me, Santa jumped, into the sea!  But that's not all, this is why I call
Santa  was swallowed by a great big fish, who thought he was a Christmas dish
We need him back at the North Pole, not in a fish, swallowed whole!
Rudolf, I said,  don't despair, at least it wasn't a big black bear
Let me take you fishing, I know you been wishing,
For a Caribbean holiday, to come your way!
We went out in my boat, where on the sea we did float,
We baited our hook, we wanted that crook
That  nasty old fish, who thought Santa was a dish
 We caught him with our biggest bait, with Santa inside, he was a great weight!
We made that hideous fish, grant us our wish,
And with a great heave, out popped Santa's sleeve
He came out of that great fish body, only just a little wobbly,
He had this awful smell, it turned the reindeer almost pale!
We dried off old St Nick, and we did it quick
We didn't want him to say  Achoo! As if he may of caught the flue
We got back into port, cooking up the fish for sport,
That big old fish, made a fine Christmas dish
Off the reindeer, they did fly, with Santa Claus way up high
Back in my bunk where I was laying, I could still hear Santa saying
Merry Christmas to all, I'm having a ball, that big old fish, made one fine dish
But listen here, when I come next year, I wanna get laid, by that Caribbean Mermaid!
Giggle yourself silly with The Dog Dialed 911The most hilarious and outrageous true stories collected in 10 years  of the world's funniest investigative reporting. Proof that truth really is stranger than fiction! This wildly entertaining book features excerpts from a wide array of public documents--court transcripts, FBI files, contract riders, morgue and police reports, etc.--that hilariously illuminate some of the most important, scandalous, or bizarre news stories to make headlines in recent years. Tee hee hee...
Pre wedding pictures at the beach. And the bride wore black...

- Jingle Bell!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 07:01:22 EST
Surf's up!  See  bViWaVes.Com for more info.  This morning it is a cool 77 degrees and chilly. Time to bring out the afghans, comforters and blankets. If all else fails then the warm socks and flannel nighties.  Brrr!
Throughout the evening and night we had mini little rain storms, these are expected to continue through today. For a more detailed report see the Tropical Weather Discussion at WeatherBVI.com.
All this wet weather is good for the plants.
And Now for some Holiday Cheer!
For the Sailors and Racers, I offer up these wonderful tunes I have rewritten for Christmas:
# 1.  ( Sing to the tune , "Jingle Bells" )

Hard a- lee hard a-lee ,
Tacking all the way .
Oh what fun it is to ride -
a  High  Performance  sleigh - eeee
Spectra here , Carbon there,
what fun to spend the buck.
Dollars make us win today.
Hey ! nothings left to luck
Hard a-lee, hard a-lee
winning is the way,
Dig really deep my sailor friend,
If you want to play-eeee
Melges here , J boat there
See how fast they go,
If you want to get a first
spend money , don't cha know.

# 2.  ( Sing to the tune of  " O Christmas tree  "  also know as " O Tannenbaum"

O, wooden boat! my wooden boat!
It is my hope you stay afloat ,
O, worms and rot, I want you not,
There's bottom paint on , coat by coat.
I varnished here
I varnished there
I used brushes of -  the finest hair.
O,  Wooden boat!  my wooden boat!
All this up-keep gets my goat.
# 3.  ( Sing to the tune " O little town of Bethlehem " )
Oh little boat of  fiber-glass,
How still I see thee lie.
With blisters on your bottom side,
the size of an apple pie.
But in the dark wet brewing,
de lamination grows .
Neglected years, the owner's tears,
West System Epox-y-ose !
# 4.  (Sing to the tune of  "The 12 Days of  Christmas" )  (for you non racers, a big fast DNS is a racing term for "did not start")

On the first day of racing , my  new crew brought to me
A big fat D-eeee N S.
On the second day  of racing , my new crew brought to me
Two tangled sheets and a big fat D-eee N S
On the third day of racing , my new crew brought to me
Three bad tacks , two tangled sheets and a big fat D-eee N S.
On the fourth day of racing my ,   new crew brought to me ...
four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks , two tangled sheets and a big fat D-eee N S
On the fifth day of racing , my new crew brought to me ,...
Five accidental  jibes .... four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S..
On the sixth day of racing , my new crew brought to me.
Six winches back wound, Five accidental  jibes ,four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S..
On the seventh day of racing,  my new crew brought to me..
Seven sea-sick throw ups, Six winches back wound, Five accidental  jibes ,four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S..
On the eighth day of racing, my new crew brought to me..
Eight beers a -drinking, Seven sea-sick throw ups, Six winches back wound Five accidental  jibes ,four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S..
On the Ninth day of racing , my new crew brought to me ..
Nine winch handles swimming, Eight beers a -drinking, Seven sea-sick throw ups, Six winches back wound, Five accidental  jibes ,four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S.
on the tenth day of racing , my new crew brought to me ....
Ten  halyards let loose, Nine winch handles swimming, Eight beers a -drinking, Seven sea-sick throw ups, Six winches back wound, Five accidental  jibes ,four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S.

On the Eleventh day of racing , my new crew brought to me ..
Eleven  Chute poles broken,  Ten  halyards let loose, Nine winch handles swimming, Eight beers a -drinking, Seven sea-sick throw ups, Six winches back wound, Five accidental  jibes ,four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S.
On the Twelfth day of racing , my new crew brought to me ....
Twelve headsails overboard, Eleven  Chute poles broken,  Ten  halyards let loose, Nine winch handles swimming, Eight beers a -drinking, Seven sea-sick throw ups, Six winches back wound, Five accidental  jibes, four spinnaker wraps , three bad tacks, two tangled sheets and a big Fat D-eee N S.
For More Christmas Mayhem, See:

- Nauti or Nice?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 08:52:07 EST
Another balmy beautiful day in paradise. Skies are blue and lovely. Winds are gentle and seas are moderate.  No snow is forecast for the weekend. So enjoy a great day at the beach!
If you aren't here, you should be and if you wanna be, then visit here.
     My mother loved to make lists, then carefully carry them out.  She was pretty well organized, had to be, out of  self-defense with a house full of kids and a husband too.  We lived about three quarters of a mile from several stores located in a strip-mall shopping center. I loved to walk or ride my bike,  fetching things for mama.  I felt so grown up, to have her list, to carry her money, shopping for the things she desired.
     Early December, one year, she scrawled out a list, handing it to me, accompanied by a twenty dollar bill.  Not looking at the list, I shoved it into the back pocket of my blue jeans.  Mama said everything I needed would be at the TGY store.  So off I went, riding my ten-speed bike, stopping twice to untangle my bell-bottom blue jeans from the chain.
     Arriving at the shopping center, I parked my bike next to a poll and locked it.  This was the old south in a small community, normally you could leave your houses unlocked, but it made me feel important to own such a nice bike, as to have to lock it up, for safety's sake.  I had worked long and hard to save up the money to buy that ten-speed and  was enormously proud of it.  Once in the store, I strolled over to flip through the book of sewing patterns.  Mama was teaching me how to make my own clothes.   I was  looking at the patterns, with the pastel drawings of tall skinny models and doing wishful thinking.  After about ten minutes of thumbing through the pattern books, I pulled out mama's list and began collecting the items up.  It was early December and Mama was making Christmas things, getting the house ready for the  festive holidays.
     I found the green felt she wanted and the red yarn.  A bottle of glass cleaner, a roll of paper towels, a large bag of M & M's, (picking out the Christmas ones that came in only red and green.)  Oh, yes, the blue thread, mama had to sew up my blue shawl for the play.  I was cast as the Virgin Mary and got to wear a blue silky shawl, mama had already bought the material for, but she had ran out of blue thread to finish hemming it.  Come, to think of it, I believe that was the last year I was a virgin.
 As I neared the list's end, I felt self-satisfied, able to check off, all the items I had found that mama wanted.   I came to the last thing on the list.  I read and reread it, scratching my head, mouthing the pronunciation, using all my phonetic skills.  Mama wanted what?  I am sure they must have some, but what on earth are they?  Hmm, I better go ask a store clerk, like mama had taught me to do, when I could not find things on her list.
     "Excuse, me, ma'am, but do you have any ick-ick-els?"
     "Any what?"  she replied with a puzzled look.  I glanced nervously at my list and repeated the word.
     "Is that some kind of candy?"
     "Um, I don't know, my mother put it on her list."
     "Well, try the candy, aisle three"  and she dashed away to hide in house wares, aisle seven.
     I strolled up and down aisle three and did not find any candy  ick-ick-els.  Oh, well, mama would not be mad if I failed to fulfill the entire list, after all, I had everything else on it.  She would have to go pick out her own ick-ick-els, I hadn't a clue.
     At the check-out line, I perused a trashy tabloid that spoke of the sex lives of the rich and famous.  I wondered what a transvestite was and tried to impose the word in my memory so I could look it up in the hall dictionary, mama was so proud of.  It was massive, so immense, that she had the neighbor build her a dictionary stand in his basement.  Proudly, it stood at the end of the hallway, where I spent many hours pouring over it, looking up exotic words.
     At the Private Day School, I had been taught phonics, which really works on most every language except English.  Maybe I would  look up mama's ick-ick-els too, though somehow, I doubted the word would be in the big dictionary.
     At the check out counter, I leaned over and asked the cashier "Do you know what ick-ick-els are?"
 She gave me a puzzled look, then shook her head no and asked for twelve dollars and fifty-eight cents.  I gave her mama's twenty, and wondered if ick-ick-els could have cost so much, as to have seven dollars and forty-two cents in change.  I had to make sure I gave mama the exact change, she always perched her glasses on her nose, and carefully read the receipt and figured the change, then counted what I handed her.  It would have been unthinkable for me to have been paid for going to the store. As mamma's children, we were expected to do her shopping whenever she bade us and this was just a chore for children, not something to be rewarded over. Our reward was getting fed 3 times a day, as mama reminded us that children in India were starving as we ate. 
     Outside, I marveled at the cool crisp air, just right for bike riding.  Placing my shopping in the wicker  basket on the handle bars,  I unlocked my bike, glancing around to see if everyone was staring at my gorgeous bike and the lucky owner.  I crossed  Lee Road, always so busy and very dangerous, at least according to mama.   Echoing in my mind I can hear her now "and watch out for Lee Road, it's dangerous, look both ways before you cross..."
     I was also thinking of all those awful people that mama knew too.  I hung my head out the window of her car one day and she told me about the kid who did that and was beheaded.  At a train stop one day, when we could neither hear nor see a train, she patiently waited, and explained to me about the entire family that was wiped out because they didn't stop for the train.
     My dad knew a man who was out walking and hard of hearing.  He stopped for a freight train and when it finished crossing, he stepped forward, not seeing or hearing a train coming from the opposite direction and was killed instantly.
     Mama knew a kid who made such a bad frown that his face froze up like that one day.  And then there was the kid who didn't look both ways at the dangerous Lee Road crossing and became one big greasy spot in the road.  I thought of all these dreadful people mama knew, as I carefully crossed Lee Road.
     Once I got home, the first thing mama asked was, "Did you get everything?"
     "Well, all but one.  They didn't have any ick-ick-els."
     "Any what?"
     "Ick-ick-els, you had them at the bottom of your list, but I couldn't find any and the sales lady didn't know what they were either, she thought it might be candy or something.  I even asked the cashier, and she said they didn't have any."
     "Ick-ick-els?"  my mother implored "What are ick-ick-els?"
     "Well, I don't know, you wrote the list"  and I giggled at the bewildered look on mama's face.
     "I don't remember  putting anything like ick-ick-els on the list."
     "Sure, it's right here" and I dug into my jeans, producing the crumpled paper.  Unfolding it, I pointed at the bottom and said, "See?  Right here, you got ick-ick-els."
     Mama shoved her glasses up her nose and took the paper from me and scanned the bottom.  A big grin spread across her pink face and then she roared with laughter.  I stood there, nervously chuckling and turned a deep shade of crimson.
     "Icicles!  I wanted a package of silver icicles to hang from the Christmas tree!"
     "Icicles?" and I grabbed the list from her, staring at it astonishingly.  "Gee, I thought it was ick-ick-els, look at the way it is spelled."
     "I got to call Nancy......"  mama said as she whooped with laughter, rapidly dialing out the five digits.  Nancy was mama's best friend, she only lived up the street a ways, but they must have called each other ten times a day by phone, sharing tidbits, jokes and humor.  Either one could have written for Erma Bombeck.
     "Nancy!"  mama giggled into the mouthpiece, her high pitched voice almost an octave higher than normal.  "You got any ick-ick-els?"
     Her laughter wafted down the hallway as I stood before the dictionary stand, looking up transvestite.  Some actor had been caught as one, the thought of it puzzled me. After reading the description, I let out an audible "ick!"
     I doubt  if mama ever forgot about the ick-ick-els, I heard her tell the story over and over, much to my embarrassment, but mama said it was just my phonetic training at the private school.  Years later, we would find out I was dyslexic and mama said it was a miracle I learned anything at all.  To this day, I  think of ick-ick-els, whenever Christmas rolls around.  I think of Mama too, her crazy laughter each Christmas, when she reshared the story of my searching in vain for her ick-ick-els.
Shop Online

- Wet and Wild
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 10:45:03 EST
OOOPS!  Sorry I missed reporting yesterday. I had to go to the Mermaid doctor at the Purple Palace about my mashed up fin. Today the winds are pretty brisk and waves are sloppy. Intermittant rain squalls with dot the day.
FOr those of you budget minded, I went to the Port Purcel Food store. It's a funny little place with great prices. Parking is always available close to the door.  I got about 10 bags of groceries for $50, which is a miracle on Tortola. Of course this store doesn't waste money on air-conditioning or fancy floors or shelves. But the prices are terrific, espcially if you hunt down all the specials. Sometimes just cases and cases are stacked up with a price hand written on a piece of paper,  taped to the side, you rip open the case, pull out what you need and carry on. Pet food, for you pet lovers is usually HALF of what the other stores charge and my kitties don't mind a bit if I save them money here and there, as long as it goes into their Catnip fund, they are a happy lot.
The cashiers are very friendly, have worked there forever. My cahiser noticed my friend and realized she had never been to the store before (she hadn't) and gave her a big welcome. Talk about good customer service!
 These two qwack me up!

- Can't Waste Film on Good Pictures!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 11:00:36 EST
 Beautiful day in paradise, if you aren't here, you should make arrangements to be here!   Clear blue skies, calm seas, no rain in  sight. Life just can't get any better!
But life be funny some days. When I go to town to the physical therapy and to run errands, I am always imploring my friend to park illegally, as we rarely can find anywhere legal to park. She thinks me nuts!
I said, well, I haven't got a ticket yet for parking on the sidewalk. I just tell them my jeep broke down and I wanted to get it out of the road. They look over my 16 year old hunk of rust, and fold up their ticket book and look for more serious violators, like those reckless folks creeping through town at 8 miles an hour with no seat belt on.
Back in my early days, I kept going to town for a BVI Driver License, the 3 year type, not the pink piece of paper good for 90 days.  Always there was a problem such as "We aren't doing licenses today" or "The lady who take da picture gone off island"  or "We outta film"  or "Our laminating machine broke"  or "Come back with more paper, like your passport, 4 pieces of ID, your last 10 licenses off island, 14 copies of your work permit, 3 letters of reference..."
Of course I didn't know I was supposed to be buying my license out the back door, and they didn't like it if you bought one in the front door. All those people got busted, eventually, for selling the  backdoor licenses, and finally  they resumed selling the front door licenses, but by then I had totally given up and forgotten about getting one. I just kept driving.
So one day when I was stopped during a police road block, (I think somebody had escaped prison again and they were searching for him) I hastily handed over my pink piece of paper and the lady cop got real angry with me and said "This expired 2 years ago!"  I explained all the above excuses to her and she told me "Turn dat t'ing around and go back to town and you tell dems I sent you to get your driver license TODAY."
So I made an illegal U-turn and went to do as I was told, since I was so grateful not to get a ticket. In town, the lady said "We don't do driver licenses after 2pm and it was 2:15pm, so I told her what Officer SoAndSo had said, and she said "Oh, well, OK, come on back then!"
She took the ugliest picture possible, at an angle that makes my chin look 5 times larger and the top of my head almost pointy, it's so bad, that it looks like I am pasty white and lying in a casket dead. I asked her if we could redo the picture and she said "We can't waste film on good pictures!"
That night, I was going out dancing after dark and the party had lots of cops hanging about when one flagged me down. I was so proud I wanted to show him my ugly license but he refused to look at it claiming my headlight was blown and I should flick on my bright's. I did and he nodded his head and walked around to me and said "You gots to drive with your bright's on all night and get dat t'ing  fixed tomorrow."
The next day, I dutifully replaced my head lamp. Still no one would look at my ugly license.
One day my boyfriend wanted to go to town with me and I asked him to drive, since I really don't care much for driving around here. He said fine and we took off. Well lo and behold, I don't know who they are looking for, but there is another road block and my boyfriend takes this time to inform me he lost his US license and doesn't have a BVI license.
I sighed and suggested he jump out of the car and search his pants, then say "Oh my gosh!  I left it in my dirty shorts back on the boat!" and start apologizing profusely.
Well, that is exactly what he did and the cop rolled her eyes, yelled at him to "Walk with your license next time"  (walk-with is an _expression_ to "bring with you")
In town, there was no parking, so we parked on the sidewalk. As we returned to the car, there was a cop with ticket book in hand.  I said, "Oh thank goodness!"  I was  just looking for another strong man to help this guy push my jeep to get it started and off the sidewalk!"  My  bewildered boyfriend got in back of the jeep and the cop put his ticket book away and the two of them pushed my jeep until it started.  I stopped, hung my head out the window with a big smile "Can I give either of you a lift somewhere?" and my boyfriend said "Sure!" hopped into the passenger side and we left.
A few days later, I bought an inflatable dinghy, but my boat was 10 miles away, with my dinghy motor, so I decided to tie the dinghy  to the top of my jeep. It was only about 6 feet longer than the jeep, so it hung off fore and aft a mere 3 feet, creating fabulous shade in my un-air-conditioned heap.   I did get it securely tied down. Well, sort of. If I drove too fast, the dinghy bow, which was upside down, would scoop up the air and try to lift off from the jeep, so I had to drive at a very sedate speed.
My rear window is fixed and the oars were too long for the jeep, so I opened the side window and stuck the oars in, so they were half in and half out of the car.
Lo and behold, I come up on a traffic stop, and the cops are busy writing tickets for the cars in front of me. I am creeping along to keep my dinghy from flying off and the cars behind me are too scared to pass, as they see the cops too. The cops are motioning furiously for me to speed it up, so I gassed the engine and sped up, with the dinghy taking off from the roof, like it was going to tear away from the ropes. It must have been quite the sight for them, as I slowed to a stop and the dinghy landed back on my roof with a loud thud.
The lady that walked up, is the one that had yelled at me to go get a license a few weeks earlier. I smile at her and say "LOOK!  I got my new license!" and she is steaming at the ears, looking at this huge dinghy tied on my little jeep, looking at the oars sticking out the window, and she looks at the skies and mutters "Why me Lord, WHY?"
She glares at me and I smile and try to offer up my driver's license again and she leans on the window and says "You is givin me a headache!"
I said "Well, I got some pain pills here!" and I dug around my purse and produce the typical small zip locked baggy from the pharmacist (many don't use bottles) and handed them to her.  I happened to be driving with an icy cold water bottle, and I passed that over too and smiled at her.  She looks bewildered, standing there with water in one hand and a baggy of pills in the other. I said "You can keep the water and pills, I can always go get more!"
She lets out a long breath, and just stares at me.  Then she says, "I want you and that boat to get where you going and I want you to stay OFF the roads until my shift is up in 4 and a half hours! If I see you back out today, I am going to give you a whole book of tickets!"
I am still grinning like an idiot with my license in hand, and she waves me onwards, refusing to look at my ugly picture.  I tell you, no matter how hard I try, they just refuse to give me a ticket around here.
I drove with that ugly license for 3 years and no one ever would look at it. Finally one day when I was registering my car, but first it had to go through the inspection lane and the guy was ticking things off his clipboard.  He asked to look at my license and I said "FINALLY!  Somebody wants to see my license!"  He looked at me strangely and peered at the license and announced "Lady, this t'ing expired 4 months ago!"
Mortified, I said "Well, tick that off too, and I will get a new one upstairs."
Upstairs, I waited in line, for my renewal and the lady at the counter behind the bullet proof glass looks at my old license and makes a face. Then she looks at me and says "You SURE dis is you?"
How do I answer that?  "Of course dat be me!"
She stared at the horrific picture some more and asked "Was you sick when dey take dis picture?"  I replied "So sick, dey wanted me to hurry up and go home before I dropped dead, right here in your office!"
With a straight face, she lead me back to the picture mah-ching and this time the picture came out half way decent.
No one asks to see it though, but by golly, I am legal again for 3 more years!
A Bad Day at Sea, Twin Star now the Lone Stars?
Three West Indians were  talking bout if dey in dey casket and friends and family are mourning over them, what dey would like to hear dem say 'bout them?

          The first fella say, "I would like to hear dem say that I was a great doctor, and a great family man."

          The second fella say, "I would like to hear dat I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who mek a huge difference in the children of tomorrow."

          The third fella say, "I would like to hear dem say......LOOK A HERE, HE MOVING!!!!!"


Get Delivery In Time for Christmas or Ship Directly to Loved Ones

- Caribbean Grapes
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 14:09:10 EST
Today brought on scattered heavy rains until 1pm-ish then the suns shone and all was well again.
I am late with the weather report. I had to get up early and go scour the bushes for some work. Not that I lack anything to do, just getting well is hard enough... but everyone is hollering for me to pay up, after all it's Christmas time and everyone needs their moneys.  I am a useful sort, so I have been out much of the day hawking my mermaid attributes in hopes of gainful employment.
I was out and about all day with camera, but unfortunately the battery died, and mine is rechargeable and the spare one, well it took a walk-about a while back and hasn't been seen in awhile, such is life, so I am sorry, no fresh funny pics today except:
I caught these a few days ago, a progression of Caribbean grapes...

- Yo Ho Ho!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 13:31:25 EST
Moderate winds, great sunshine. No snow is predicted.
I caught this odd picture at daybreak.
Moody Daybreak in the Virgin Islands
Clifton Stoutt, 34, who escaped from Her Majesty's Prison at Balsam Ghut on Nov. 23, was recaptured Friday morning, during a raid on his home in Baugher's Bay.
Now this is VERY interesting. First of all, it took them  15 days to figure out this guy went home, on Tortola, just a few miles away from the prison?  Guess after 15 days, he was feeling pretty cozy, like maybe nobody was missing him at the prison after all.
Being that he is serving a 15 year sentence for multiple robberies, seems like he would have just left the island, I don't think they bother to look for you, once you leave the island. In 15 days he couldn't get organized enough to catch a ride out of here?  West End is only a few minutes from St John, just steal a dinghy or kayak and paddle on over, take a ferry to St Thomas, show up at a construction site and blend in with the other 100,000+ people there.
This just goes to prove, what I said before, that we need a better class of criminals here, ones that have to good sense to leave our islands, given the chance...
Happy Holidays!  Be grateful you aren't a dumb crook, back in prison again. Life is tough all over...

- Seas Have Settled Down
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 10:11:30 EST
What a marvelous day has dawned. Seas are nearly flat, winds are moderate, temperatures are perfect. Life just can't get any better.
This morning, I am limping around, quite injured and in pain.  There is going to be a party at the beach today. I hope I can figure out how to get there and soak my fin in sea water, now that the northerly swells have laid down.
I went to a party last night. It was the grand opening of an old restaurant under new ownership. I tried to arrive early, so I wouldn't have far to walk. Ha. There was some man about a quarter mile from the place, claming there was no parking left and we were supposed to take a bus.  A bus on Tortola?  Was this guy from Mars?
I groaned.  I had just ruined an expensive  pair of shoes, by permanently modifying one to accommodate my deformed fin. I had donned a long dress, hoping no one would notice my modified shoe.  I have been to every shoe store on Tortola and there is not a shoe in stock to fit me in my current condition. Foolishly, I had left my walker and canes at home, thinking I would show off and walk around unaided. I wasn't planning on walking 1/2 mile to the party.
The parking attendant wanted me to reverse another 1/4 mile down the road  and then wait for a bus 1/2 mile away. I laughed. I found a little spot that only a tiny rusty jeep could fit in.  I am an expert at finding parking when no one else can. I got out and began limping towards the party. No bus came along.
Quite a few folks passed me, as they were walking normally, while I struggled to make it up the hill and back down another hill,  to the restaurant. The lane I walked along had electric lights everywhere, only no one had thought to turn them on, so I wandered in the dark. As I crested the hill, I realized the parking attendant had told me a bold faced lie. There below, on the other side of the hill, was tons of parking in the lot next to the seaside restaurant.  I groaned. I could see my fin was now overflowing the shoe and threatening to split right out of it.
I finally made it to the restaurant and paused at the bottom of the stairs, wondering why on earth I had bothered to come at all and using my good  fin to kick myself for not bringing a cane. I grabbed the wall, and used it to steady myself as I slowly climbed the steps.  I heard a rumble behind me. It was the taxi bus.  It had arrived out of nowhere and was discharging a load of party goers. *sigh*
There were 4 bar stools, 2 couches, a coffee table, and 400 people but  no dining tables or chairs. Well everything is late on Tortola and I guess the furniture hadn't arrived in time for the party. The bar had been remade into an octagon and had shiny stainless steel beer fridges and  fancy wine coolers with little cradles for each wine and precise temperature settings. The kitchen was gleaming new stainless steel with all manner of cooking apparatus. The chef looked extremely proud and happy as he made up dainty snacks. 
Winds blew through the open aired restaurant about 30 knots, swirling my long hair all around me. Then there was a big WHOOSH followed by bright lights and I saw they had lit  these new gas lights in the garden below.  They looked more like flame throwers, as the winds blew the flames horizontally, sending out  4 foot flames towards the coconut trees. I remarked the owner must be a pyromaniac, and I must have said it a tad too loud as a crowd of folks laughed and watched the flames. Gee, the invitations  should've told us to each bring a fire extinguisher...
Waitresses carried trays around offering up sumptuous hors d'oeuvres.  I gave the bartender a big mermaid hug and congratulated him, as he was one of the best dressed at the party.  Ah, that hug, was worth a $50 tip, he kept my glass topped up all evening.
I noticed people had mostly done their best to bring out their evening finery. That meant they were wearing clean clothes that had no holes, no rips, no stains, no sun fading, no bleach boo boos and few wrinkles. I never realized my neighbors could actually dress so smartly.  However, one boater showed up wearing a ripped baseball cap, a faded shirt, torn shorts with salt stained shoes with a long piece of string wrapped around his neck and  keys dangling from it. Talk about a fashion statement...
The islands are rough on clothes, and sometimes, you fail to notice that what you are wearing is faded, ripped, torn, perhaps with a rust stain on it somewhere weird, and your outfit is only 3 months old.
Incredibly, everyone seemed to comment on my lack of canes, cranes and walkers as well as joke about  my  modified shoe. I sighed. I guess I am going to look tacky, no matter what I do to try to accommodate my  deformed fin.
At some point, I wobbled back down the stairs to the restroom, only to be told by a frantic worker, there was a problem. Up another hill, they had opened up a hotel room, to allow folks to use the restroom there. I didn't feel like trekking up the long flight of stairs, so  I found an accommodating bush, then returned to the party.
One man came back in, very embarrassed, he had misunderstood the directions and walked up the hill,  into an unlocked room, then found the bathroom door,  opened it up, and there in the bathtub was a young naked couple,  um, apparently celebrating their honeymoon and  working on future family planning.  They screamed, he screamed, apologized and left.  Ooops!  That will be some funny story to tell their kids one day...  Bet they kept their doors locked after THAT!
About this time, the owner made an appearance in the middle of the party and announced loudly, that the sewer and septic system had packed it up and we were all welcome to fertilize the garden. This was turning out to be quite the typical Caribbean party..
These were hearty folks, as long as the food and drinks kept coming, no one was likely to leave over a little bathroom problem. I decided my fin had been tortured enough and made my way outside to a parked bus and asked for a ride. He didn't feel like taking me.  I sighed.
I started up the long steep hill, thinking maybe I should wander back to the pool and sleep in a lounge chair for the night. I paused for a moment, contemplating this over, when  lo and behold out of nowhere, angels appeared in a new shiny jeep, scooped me up and took me over the hill and back down again,  to my trusty rusty jeep. I thanked them profusely as I hopped out and I swear the shiny new jeep just vanished.  I looked up and down the road and I was all alone. Must be another miracle, like the hospital ramp.
When I finally got home, I got  the crowbar out of the back of my jeep and struggled up the final  hill to my home and collapsed on the couch. I fiddled with the crowbar and my shoe for what seemed like an hour and finally freed my fin. It was 8 times bigger than normal and felt like a truck had run over it. Repeatedly.
I have been trying to recuperate sans drugs, but my fin was hurting something awful. I thought about the full bottle of pain pills I had. I thought about the chocolate I had bought at the store earlier.  Pain pill or chocolate?  Not a tough choice at all, I went for the chocolate, wrapped my fin in ice and went to bed. 

- A bit of Patchouli
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 10:46:38 EST
Bright and sunny, pale blue sky with the typical white puffy clouds wafting by. Winds are moderate, a great day for a sail. Matter of fact, you could have much of the Sir Francis Drake Channel all to yourself today!
I went diving today, looking for tuna,  and look WHO I ran into!  Good thing I had my camera strapped to my fin!
I went back onshore, and no one believed me, I told them to go diving and see for themselves!   Santa is coming to the island!  You better watch out, you better be nice!
Next, I sat down in the sand, to build a sandcastle and next thing I know, a crate washes up  on shore, addressed to Dear Miss Mermaid With the Mashed up Fin, from One Love in Jamaica.  The scents were heavenly and I tore it open to discover  a bunch of  that Mountain Grown Jamaican  Specialty! 
OK, we know what you are thinking, but this particular crate had tape wrapped around it that was stamped "Inspected by Customs" and they STILL let it through, am I ever lucky or what?  I guess those bribes, really work...
All right, I will come clean, the mountain grown specialty, I am speaking of is that world famous Jamaican Crop that folks around the world crave every day...  
(insert a loud drum roll.................) 
Ha, ha!  Gotcha!
Also enclosed was a star shaped fin scrubber (perfect for a mermaid), a One Love Bandanna with green herb leafs printed on it, Juicy Fruity Soap (for a  fruitycake like me!), straw for my Donkey, Merman (Still, looking for him,  if you see him, slap his rump and send him home!)  a Rasta Candle and a little square tin from Bob Marley. 
When I opened the tin, it contained a patchouli candle and ohhhhhhhh, that whiff took me back to the dark ages, back when I was just a mere teenager, testing my fins and strutting my tail. 
Patchouli oil was my obsession as a young teen.   I wore it constantly, along with bell bottomed jeans, a wide stamped leather  belt across my hips, tie dyed shirts, platform blue suede clogs that made me 5 inches taller, a dozen assorted bangles on both fins, big hoop earrings and  a bandana holding my long hair in place, with a huge peace symbol strung on a necklace around my neck.  I guess it was my  hippie-gypsy-groupie look, topped with Patchouli oil, liberally dabbed here and there.
I never realized that perhaps I overdid it with the Patchouli oil until my schoolmates took turns telling me the same funny story. One day I was very ill and missed Fish-Nishing  school for  a whole week. 
On Monday, my first day out sick,  the students filed into the classroom, as the teacher had her back to the class, writing on the chalk board. The final bell rang and all the students became quiet. With the teacher's back still turned away, writing on the chalkboard,  they heard her take a loud deep breath and then say in her very high pitched operatic voice,  "Well!  I can tell without looking that Miss Mermaid must be absent  today or else her endless supply of Patchouli oil has finally dried up!" 
Naturally the class erupted into laughter, and it was the joke of the week.  As I missed each day, students would pass each other in the hallways, loudly sniff the air and say in their best imitation of the teacher's dramatic soprano voice  say "Oh, I can tell, Miss Mermaid isn't in school today!"
Of course, I knew none of this, until the following Monday when I went back to class.  The teacher had her back to us, as she scribbled on the chalk board (she often did this as we wandered into class). I was the last one in, as I was running a tad late, and I  tip toed softly  in my clunky clogs to my seat, just as the bell rang loudly. The teacher, with her back turned away from us, loudly sniffs the air then says "Oh, I can tell Miss Mermaid is back in school today!" 
Everyone burst into giggles and I kind of slumped down in my seat, wondering what was so funny, my face beet red. Of course throughout the day, I listened to about 100 people tell me the story and imitate the teacher over and over.  
So to One Love in Jamaica, I send you sandy and wet Mermaid hugs and kisses and a huge thank you!  You brought back many fond memories with your thoughtfulness.

- Ho ho ho!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 11:26:42 EST
Another gorgeous day.  Scattered showers will dot the day, just short bursts of rain, nothing major.
Almost Sunset
Tis the season!  Ho ho ho!  Santa Claus is coming to town, he' s riding his sleigh and slithering down the coconut tree!
As of late, he is resting up for the big day with one of his tiny elves.
I used to be self-employed, then I went to work in Santa's workshop, so I guess now you could say I am elf-employed!

- It's a Miracle!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 09:09:09 EST
We had the usual quickie this morning.  Um, that is, the usual quick rain downpour!  Had another one around 830 and 915am.  We will have rains off and on much of the day. Winds are very light.
Well it's a miracle!  I went to the hospital and there was a ramp with railing at the secret entrance in back!  I couldn't believe it!  It's the door all the physical therapy patients use. I have no idea where it came from and neither did the staff, well at least the two I talked to.  My usual therapist was out sick, so I got to skip this week's torture, um, therapy. No one called me, so I showed up anyhow, ready to grin and bear it.
But Santa Claus came early and plopped a ramp down!  I've no idea if the government scrambled fast and put one up or if someone donated it. It was a real charm not to have to crawl up that HUGE step.  The ramp was lovely!  I am sorry I didn't get a pic of it, will try next week, but if you close your eyes, you can probably imagine a nice ramp with rails.
Which by the way, I walked all over town without a cane or walker or anything and I didn't fall on my silly face. I was so excited. Now I just have to work on speed and gait. I still stumble around like I am drunk, even when sober, so this is not good for my otherwise pristine reputation.
OK, I see you falling in the floor laughing, try not to get hurt...
Went to Village Cay Marina for lunch and noticed they had reprinted their menus and upped the lunch prices $2-$2.50 on most items and others $1.50. OUCH!  Guess they want to make their profits in a hurry!  Hardly anything left on the menu under $10 for lunch except for the appetizers.
Gas and food going up out of sight here and employees grumbling everywhere that they can't get any raises.
I had a part time job the past two years, the owner sang my praises and often told me how I helped him tremendously. So after two years of watching food and gas and rent and phone and utilities escalate,   I asked him for a raise. The kindly soul fired me, which coincidentally was the day I broke my leg. Talk about a slap in the face!  He claims he didn't fire me cause I broke my leg, but because I asked for a raise.  Bah Humbug!  So now that I am able to walk, stumble and drive, I don't have a job to go back to. Just in time for Christmas. Ugh!
However, I owe a bunch of you lovely readers,  a huge THANK YOU for buying my Jumbo 2007  BVI Calendar. (ships worldwide!)
Bobby's Grocery Store put up decorations.
Christmas Trees for sale at Bobby's.
Notice the Santa on a Scooter!Notice the Santa on a Scooter!
Notice Santa is on his Scooter!

- A Wild Ride, YEE HAW!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 08:29:54 EST
Today is starting out beautiful enough, but scattered showers are on the horizon. The incredible northerly swells have made for terrific board surfing at some spots and body surf bashing at others.  It's 82 degrees with moderate winds.
It's a time when real sailors and boast-a-be's are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Sailing these days of late,  is not for the faint at heart.
This wild weather reminds me of a curious time, when I was Chef/Mate accompanied by an Owner/Captain aboard a 50 foot luxury charter yacht.
There was a time when I had a most unusual charter.  These two couples showed up and we wondered how they ended up here. They knew nothing about sailing or boats  or the islands, couldn't have pointed on a world map anywhere near where they were.  Indeed, 4 days into the charter, they thought we were somewhere off the North Carolina coast near Bermuda yet we had remained in the Virgin Islands, the whole time.
None seemed to have much education, and even less, dental work.  Later in the week, we found out they were all high school drop outs.  The first day when we savagely beat our way up seasick alley, after offering them an extra day in port at Yacht Haven in St Thomas, they all opted for their adventure to begin. While they all got seasick, they laughed at each other and blamed it on the beer, which they drank in copious amounts, from sunup to midnight.
We were accustomed to offering up gourmet fare and they often dined on deck, tossing everything overboard except the meat.  They kept asking me if I had things like deep fried chicken fingers, corn dogs, french fries and  one and a half pound steaks. Forget the chateau briand with twiced baked stuffed potatoes,  bring on the cheese burgers and French fried onion rings.
I kept wanting to adjust the fare more to their fried liking with copious amounts of meats and deep fried sides, but the captain kept insisting I stick to the gourmet fare.  I sadly watched as they gleefully tossed it overboard at each meal, minus the meat, which they ate with great relish in under 30 seconds. They rarely touched desserts, opting for cold brews instead.
On day two, the weather was positively ghastly, dark, gloomy with huge waves and wicked seas.  Everyone stayed in port. That is, everyone but us. We suggested they wear swim suits, but instead they produced pocket knives to savagely cut off their jeans. I could have loaned  them a top of line, pair of cloth scissors we had on board, if only they had asked, before doing their instant custom alterations. They topped their sloppy cut-offs with weird T-shirts boasting  tasteful expressions such as "I figured out why my eyes water during sex...it's the mace" or "Ossifer, I swear to drunk, I am not God".  We wondered where they did their shopping for this trip.  
We set sail with a teeny tiny main sail and a handkerchief for a jib. The waves crashed over the 50 foot mono hull all the way back to the cockpit drenching the occupants.  This was followed by great yelps of  "yee haws and yah hoos".  We were the lone sailboat beating our way up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. We let one of the guys take over the helm, while his buddies took numerous  pictures while dodging waves.  "Now THIS is boating!" he announced and they were all excited about our wild ride, as the boat thrashed and crashed through the pounding seas.
When we finally anchored for lunch and suggested they might like a swim, they all plunged into the ocean, fully dressed, right down to their sneakers. Lunch was served, which they consumed with a case of beer.  They dined on the burgers, while tossing the potato salad and coleslaw,  in blobs, to the frenzy of fish, circling our boat.
After lunch, they all disappeared together into the forward captain and shut the door. We could hear the lock click into place. It became very quiet, then we heard a CD player come on with music. The captain and I tidied up the boat and deck and pondered if they were having an orgy up front, or a group nap or what.  After awhile, we sat in the cockpit resting, our chores completed. Naturally, at anchor, the wind blew right off the bow, straight back at us.  We were hit full in the face with the enticing aroma of marijuana.
I thought the captain was going to have a heart attack as he dashed below, banging on the cabin door.  He admonished his hapless guests that they could not do that on  board. It was illegal and he lectured them through the locked door. They apologized between giggles and said "we swear to  joint, it is our  only God", and laughed uproariously at their self made joke.
Not sure if the captain enjoyed their drunken humor, but that afternoon, due to their insistence, we went on another wild ride at sea, again drenching everyone. At anchor, late in the day, they changed into dry clothes and hung all their wet clothes and sneakers out on the lifelines. We looked like a Chinese laundry afloat. They weren't bashful and lacy bras accompanied Fruit-of-the-loom tidy whities.
The captain, totally mortified, slipped over the side and used duct tape to neatly cover up our boat name, "Symphony".  At some point, one of the guests used a marker and  wrote over the duct tape "Siffolis". 
Day thee dawned and we were out of beer.  The guests became extremely grumpy at breakfast over this discovery. The captain had to go ashore and provision for two more days with six more cases. The case of assorted wines he had carefully chosen while studying my exotic menu plan, lay untouched.  I prevailed upon him to buy a gallon of corn oil, some chicken nuggets and frozen fries and breading for onion rings.  He looked at me like I had lost my mind.
Again, most all boats stayed safely tucked away in harbors and ports, while we set sail against a backdrop of dark skies and intermittent squalls. We learned that somehow, our guests had built some sort of race car, which they entered into a race and walked away with a huge purse. They bought new trailers to live in and dumped the rest  into franchised  sun-tanning booth businesses, at a time when such things were practically unheard of in the mid West. Amazingly, they made giant profits off that investment.  Hence the trip here, as they had dumped a goodly sum on  a travel agent, asking in return, an adventurous trip, somewhere exotic.
As we pounded our way to Bitter End, Virgin Gorda, they screamed with glee as each wave crashed over the bow.  Burt Kilbride still had his Saba Rock but had as of late, had turned it into a bar.  Ashore, they ordered up dozens of rum laced drinks with burgers and fries while peppering old Burt with a thousand and one questions. Then they threw each other drunkenly off the docks, once again soaking their clothes and sneakers. They insisted I not cook dinner, as they weren't hungry. The captain implored me to make dinner, anyhow. What a waste of effort.  That evening they had a food fight in the cockpit, covering each other and the boat with vast quantities of food
The captain got pretty darn irritated with them. Normally a non-drinker, he himself had a few stiff drinks that night. They sheepishly and drunkenly assisted in the clean up.  I reminded the captain,  once again, that he should have let me divert the menu more to their liking, so they would eat rather than play with their food.
The next day, the seas had subsided and we had a calm broad reach to Anegada.  That is, after we bribed Burt, to sell us six more cases of beer at a handsome profit, at that time, there being no where to provision at Bitter End. 
As we set sail, the boat was decorated with their food covered soaked clothes from the day before and again, our once pristine yacht,  looked quite ghastly. The guests  complained bitterly about the lack of adventure and how this kind of boring weather and seas, was just no fun at all.
I think it was the only time in my years of chartering, that I ever had guests that complained about good weather.
Waves and Surf rolling in at the normally tranquil Smugglers Cove
Incredible Swells

- Weather and Rum
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 10:48:27 EST
82 degrees and surf is still up on the North Shore of Tortola. We have moderate winds and clear skies, but later in week, we are expecting more rain.
Several readers have begged me to repeat my Rum Cake recipe, so here it is!  Note:  I stayed SOBER long enough to actually type this out correctly.
Caribbean  Rum Cake

A Tried and True Recipe
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts or both
1 18-1/2 ounce yellow cake mix
1 1-3/4 ounce instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Caribbean dark rum
1 stick butter (1/4 pound)
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Caribbean dark rum
Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top with fork. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Use brush or spoon to put extra dripping back on cake.
Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Note: The rum will cause steam. Be careful not to burn yourself.
The longer this cakes sits, the better the taste, the Rum preserves it well. *hiccup*
If you want to print this out, click here for the plain page version.
Don't want to bake? Buy your Rum Cake online here.
I couldn't resist,had to grab the camera, the wittle kitty looked so cute in the box, I planned to throw out with the garbage.
THEN...I made the mistake of waking him up and suggesting he move along so I could throw the box out.
WELL, he told me in no uncertain terms, that this was HIS box now! So I decided to go do laundry instead...

- Dumb Crooks
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 11:36:38 EST
High Noon, sun is shining brightly and the heavens opened up and poured down heavily for a good two minutes.  In the picture below, you can see the eastern end of Tortola wiped out by heavy rain.  It is 82 degrees and winds are moderate.  It will be stormy off and on today.  Hurricane season ended with a bang!
OK Frenchie, I got the horizon straight, sort of!  (Frenchie emails me wondering why my pictures list so often...)  It couldn't be the *hiccup* rum.
I am worried what Tortola is coming too!  The Cable and Wireless theft of $88,000 in cash and checks just keeps growing bigger with another man charged with attempted murder.  It seems so far about 8 people are fingered as being involved in this nightmare that has taken the lives of one and severely injured three more, with one in a coma waiting to die.
Court cases are backing up, as more charges are filed. An innocent lady was murdered because she had the misfortune of being the roommate to someone that planned to testify against the theives. So much for witness protection.
We don't know how much was cash out of the $88,000 if most folks pay by check, it looks like these crooks have tossed out their future freedom for perhaps as little as a few thousand dollars each, if they even got that much.
See more at What's New.
I know criminals are dumb, but this is full of murder and violence over at the most $10,000 a piece and I don't think they got  anywhere near that much, what with part of the loot being checks. Gosh, most folks would want a few million or billion to be on the lamb the rest of their life with the threat of a hefty prison sentence staring them down. What's even crazier, is that after the theft, the dumb criminals stayed on island when none were even from here.  DUH!
We need a better class of criminals that have the good sense to leave the island! 
Meanwhile we have an escapee on the run from prison, doesn't speak well for the security there.  I think we need new cops, ready for action. Police used to think getting a post in the BVI meant a carefree life of yelling at folks for driving on the wrong side of the road or as of late, ticketing them for not wearing a seat belt and not much else.  I think the BVI needs some real sleuths now, to solve some of this mess and chase the criminals to prison or chase them off the island.
I prefer the old days, when criminals  accidentally drowned all the time, keeping the prison population low.

- Earthquake
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 15:24:20 EST
351pm  and we just had several  tiny earthquakes!  The floor was vibrating and all the dogs started barking. It stopped then a few minutes later, it started again.  It may be a day or so before the reports are updated.

- Rough Seas
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 12:23:29 EST
Today we have moderate winds, choppy seas and a cool  82 degrees.  I went for the beach, after all, first our internet died, so I decided to clean up and our street water went off, right when I was going to wash dishes.  I plugged in the pump to get water out of the cistern, walked back inside to the sink and KER-BANG da current done mash up again. So it was off to the beach for me.  Tortola isn't ready to be part of the techno world. Running water, internet and power, it's all too elusive for us *giggle*.  TV cable did finally get fixed up after a few days. Lots of folks ran down to pay their bills, thinking they had been cut off for non payment. Turns out something blew up out West, one of the main brains that pumps cable around.  Well at least the cable company had a cash surge from the outage.
Great body surfing at the beach.  I was frolicking in the waves when my friend took this picture, but the wave just swallowed me whole!

- 30 Days to Complete Last Year's Resolutions...
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2006 12:42:43 EST
Well the storms have abated, the power outages have not. Just had another one today  *sigh*.  I wish BVI Electricity would hurry up and give those guys raises and not make them wait on their 3 year study plan. I could do a study in under 30 days, hand out the raises and get on with life. We're only talking a few hundred non-union people.  But t'ings be slow here, mon, very slow.
Today the seas are really rough.  A day for wet sailing with reefs in the main and jib.  Sun is out though and while we had a chilly night, temperatures have soared to 84 degrees by noon today.
Hurricane Season has ended with a big BANG what with all the squally weather we have had. Christmas Winds have arrived right on time, give or take. The name is from the early charterers to the islands, way back when before bareboats even existed, before fiberglass yachts were the norm.
Anyhow most folks had their first charter guests at Christmas, as it was a dream come true to spend Christmas in the Caribbean. The tradewinds would kick up sometime in December and often make for brisk wet sailing during the Christmas charters.   Seasick Alley was also named in the 60's when chartering first got started.
Most folks would depart from Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas and sail to Christmas Cove against the wind and seas, often chunking their lunch overboard in route, so it was nicknamed Sea Sick Alley.
If you are dreaming of beaches, here ya go! 
Frenchie will be delighted that I got the horizon straight. Of course I took this before I went to the beach bar. *Hiccup*
Check out the all new:
Where did the Mermaid and the Fisherman meet?
On line!

- Stormy Seas, Missing Boater
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 05:58:55 EST
We have had intermittent rains and strong winds all night.  The surf was up yesterday and many north shore beaches had a strong undertow.  We are still plagued by daily power outages lasting an hour or more. Very frustrating.
Temperatures plunged to the mid 70's last night, sending many scurrying for socks and blankets and comforters. Brrrrrrr.
I went by Nanny Cay and they have torn out all the mangroves that used to line the canal between Nanny Cay and Peg Legs Cay.  Apparently 32 condos are going up, alongside the canal.   From the looks of things, there won't be any room left for landscaping or parking.  I could be way wrong, maybe the condos are just going to be tiny.
As of 630am, the winds are howling and rains are spitting. 638am and the skies are dark again with heavy rains and squally winds.
A certain employee who works on Jost Van Dyke and lives part time there and part time on Tortola, decided to set out for Tortola,  night before last, in a small dinghy,  while the sea swells  were up and running and rough. No idea, what he was thinking, guess it was a macho male t'ing. However, 25 hours later, he still had not made it to Tortola!
A search party including a low flying helicopter, found him clinging to Great Thatch Island.  I don't have the whole story,  but he survived in one piece, not sure his dinghy did or not.
A word to the wise, especially the macho inclined,  it's OK, to stay in port when the seas are rough!  Search parties ain't cheap and we're all lucky he was found alive and not just another missing, we-don't know-what-happened-to-ya story.
You can see the rains and dark clouds at 620am in West End.
Some new gift ideas:

- Stormy Night
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 07:40:09 EST
Stormy off and on, all night. A bit stormy this morning as well.  Today is supposed to be the last day of Hurricane Season.  The Christmas Winds have arrived today, it's gusty and blowy.  Temperatures have cooled right down.
Check out Dear Miss Mermaid's NEW Treasure Chest for unique Island  Gifts and 1,000's of new items
BVI Customs Boat on Patrol, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, what a way to get overtime pay!

- Sprinkles of Windy Rain
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 07:42:18 EST
Very cool and overcast. 81 degrees with bluish gray skies.  The winds are brisk. Rain is in the air with little sprinkles here and there.   Christmas Winds are on the way!  Sailors get ready to learn all about reefing the main in the coming weeks.
Cable TV has been dead for over  day now. Actually, we are on day 2. Their phone is off the hook, as it was busy for 8 hours yesterday, either they are talking to customers or ignoring them by engaging the phone.
BVI Electricity workers were interviewed over their recent strike. I quote one man who summed it up nicely:
"You just can't work, if you're not happy!"
Apparently the powers to be have already taken a year to review potential raises with none fourth coming. They pointed out the main government recently took 3 years to review potential raises and they should be entitled to at least as much time.
Nuttin' happens in a hurry here except  that cart t'iefin lady...
After leaving the hospital the other day, we decided to hit the wholesale place and stock up on all the weird things I was out of such as laundry soap, paper goods, cat food by the case, bags of dried beans and such. I am pinching pennies these days to get by, and I could save substantially by planning ahead. 
In the parking lot, we purposely parked next to a shopping cart. That way I could use it as sort of a rolling walker, to get into the store and around and back out again. I was quite smitten with this arrangement because the dreaded walker or quad cane could stay in the car and I could stumble around like a regular person rather than an injured mermaid.  My friend, decided since I was "set up" to go to another store about a block away and we would meet up at the trusty rusty jeep again.
So I began my journey through the store and some items are sold in two's and three's.  Someone that works for the store has a tape fetish and firmly tapes up the items together rather than write a sign " X price, minimum 3 bottles" or "X price per 2 boxes".  Of course this is yet another maddening grocery store that drives the customers crazy by only randomly displaying prices for select items, the rest are "mystery" prices, you have no idea what they cost until you get to the cashier and ask.  
I had already added over a  dozen  items to my cart when, down a skinny aisle I could see a selection of cracker boxes firmly taped together, some were in packages of 3's some in 6's and some in 2's, depending on which crackers you selected. Let's see, the cheap crackers would pair well with my dried bean dishes, oh I hate being on such a tiny budget, but there are medical bills to be paid, and things to go without, and that's just life some times.
The buggy was too big, the aisle too small, so I abandoned my cart, briefly, to stumble about five feet and claim some cracker boxes. I noted that the tape fetish employee, had wrapped tape around my two jumbo cracker boxes, three times across the middle and twice around the top.  Crackers aren't that heavy. 
I wonder how many miles of tape this employee used in a day's time! I heard a noise behind me and I turned back around and WHOOSH, there goes my cart, being pushed by a lady who was actually jogging rapidly away from me, cart, food  and all, while I stood lamely by, with my jaw dropping to my knees.
"Excuse me! Miss, um, that's my groceries in that cart!"  She ignores me and I know she heard me as speeds up and parks about 100 yards away in the liquor aisle, I could see her rapidly removing my stuff and parking it on the half empty Vodka shelf, then she began stocking up on various liquors, filling my buggy in a haphazard way as she hastily moved along faster than I could limp after her.
I stopped.
I sighed.
I groaned.
I was flabbergasted!
A cart t'ief!  On Tortola! Who'd a thunk it?
So I began hobbling and wobbling back towards the entrance looking for a new cart and trying not to fall down, I still have trouble walking upright without aids and I left my apparatus in the car, since I had a cart to hold onto. There were no carts left at the entrance of the store, I could see a vast array of them outside in the parking lot, across the road, all 500+ feet away.  I felt like such an idiot, walking another 500 feet without aid, would never work, I was bound to fall on my silly face.
T'ings were not working out to my liking.
So I stumbled over to a shelf to hold on, while I contemplated my next move and announced to all in the cashiers' lines that somebody had t'iefed my cart with my groceries in it!  This brought on shock and displeasure and comments from sympathetic shoppers.  Several noticed the ugly brace on my swollen fin and a very kind lady rapidly  emptied out her cart in front of the cashier and said "Here you go!"  I thanked her profusely and pointed to my injured fin, and said "You have no idea what this means to me!" 
Meanwhile the conversation in the line had become quite lively as folks discussed the cart t'ief and the state of t'ings on the island, and what's it coming to if someone t'iefs your cart in broad daylight right under your eyes in the store and so on.
I made my way around the store, picking up my list of esoteric t'ings, for the second time.  I tried to smile and be grateful to be alive and forget about the cart t'ief.  I tossed in a  real cheap case of tuna for me and the kitties to share, the jumbo pack of six month's worth of toilet paper, a gallon of dish detergent and so on, carefully contemplating the potential savings while mentally adding up the final costs.
I noted that some sort of rare and exotic caviar was on sale, 2 small jars for $175, firmly taped together with  18 feet of tape.  I put that in my cart, at the front, next to my purse.
After all, I could change my mind and put the $175 caviar back later.  I know, you are wondering, if I am on such a tight budget, why am I contemplating $175 caviar?  Will it pair well with my cheap jumbo boxes of Soda Crackers or what?
I was almost finished shopping, my fin was protesting and swelling rapidly, when I noticed, at checkout, lo and behold, who should be there unloading, but my cart t'ief! 
I rapidly limped ahead and pushed my cart to get in line behind her, whatever else I needed could just wait another week.   Some days Miss Mermaid has an evil streak and today, it was surfacing. My fin ached something awful, I was miffed at the cart t'ief for making me shop twice, it was hot and this store had no air conditioning.
The cart t'ief  had emptied out a vast array of economy foods and cheap liquors for the cashier to ring up. She now  began digging around her purse looking for something.  I opened my purse and threw a crumbled one dollar bill on the floor, just behind the cart t'ief.
I smiled and said  "Excuse me, Miss! I think you dropped some money!"  As she bent over to retrieve MY crumpled dollar bill, I put the $175 caviar in front of the cashier, who seemed quite bored, as she blindly passed things over the beep-beep scanner.  She nonchalantly rang up the caviar with the remaining  stuff and tossed it into a bag.
The cart t'iefin' lady,  never thanked me, for pointing out the errant dollar, instead she was fussing at  the cashier to hurry up, she had to catch the ferry to Virgin Gorda with all her groceries.
When the cashier announced the total due, she gasped and complained about  the high cost of t'ings, but she dutifully counted out a large stack of cash, including my crumbled dollar bill, which she had smoothed out neatly, paid her bill and left with her huge order, overflowing the cart.
Meanwhile my friend had showed up and was helping me escort my groceries and buggy back out to the trusty rusty jeep. I burst out laughing and couldn't stop the giggles as we unloaded the cart and filled the jeep.  My friend noted I was in a jolly mood and wanted to know what was all the sudden glee, had the hospital given me happy pills or what? 
I told her about how my semi-loaded cart had been t'iefed and how I had to shop twice and how later I donated a $1 to the t'iefin cart lady and finally got to the caviar part, which sent my friend into roars of laughter.
So, somewhere in Virgin Gorda, that afternoon, I surely wish I could have been a bug on a kitchen wall, when the cart t'iefin lady  unpacked her groceries.  I bet she  let out a scream when she noticed she had bought 2 tiny jars of  caviar for only $175 with 18 feet of tape wrapped around them.
It was on sale of course. And, I had contributed $1 towards it purchase, so she really only paid $174 for this tidbit of luxury.
Bon appétit, to you cart t'iefin'  so and so!    Enjoy your caviar and vodka.  I will think of you often, while I dine on my soda crackers and beans...
Tis the season!

- Surfing Blues
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 16:25:07 EST
Gorgeous days, slight winds, a little rain, just a well rounded day, weatherwise!
No Cable TV today, only 2 power outages yesterday.
Nobody moves to the BVI  because the utilities are so great!
I went to the beach yesterday and watched the surfers do their magic.

- Birthday Suits
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 12:35:50 EST
1030am and the current done mash up. I am on battery and CCT cell phone connection.  I may fire up the generator, if I get too hot and cool myself under the fans, but for now, I am content to do without. Maybe I just have to go to the beach and cool off.
It is 84 degrees and winds are moderate, no storms on the horizon, only low surf.
Message in a Rum Bottle:
Ok, I see that you say that there is a secret nude beach in the BVI, either Tortola or Virgin Gorda with the initials SB.  My wife and I enjoy nude beaching.  Would it be ok to tell me which beach it is?  We are traveling there in January.  Thanks.
Tannin' In Our  Birthday Suits
Dear Wanna-Tan-All-Over,
If I tell you where the secret beach is, it won't be a secret!  However, there is one on the North Shore of Tortola, that requires parking and hiking a good bit to get there, so pack lots of icy cold drinks in a backpack and work up a sweat.
While it's fashionable to produce many out-of-wedlock children in the BVI, as well as acquire numerous lovers, going nude or topless (for women) at the beaches in the BVI is sadly, frowned upon and heavily discouraged and probably illegal, though currently we have no beach patrols. I say this because, it's FUN to swim naked and it's FUN to tan all over and not get swimming suit zits on your unmentionables, but then again, I am a real nut.  I used to live on a sailboat for years, back before the area was massively discovered, and the boats were few, and we simply sailed naked, once we left the harbors and usually just donned a teeny bikini upon entering the next harbor, so as not to offend the islanders who frown upon nudity.
The SB, actually refers to Salomon Bay Beach on St John (which is often misspelled  Solomon). Back in the dark ages, I used to anchor on my mooring, in Cruz Bay , St John, US Virgin Islands, aboard my boat. I had some business on St John and had to traverse there often.  The closest beach was Salomon, which can only be reached by dinghy or hiking trail, the trail being about 30-40 minutes walking from Cruz Bay. So me and my other anchored neighbors often traversed by dinghy to Salomon and swam and tanned au naturale.
I do not know if this beach is still nude or not, I haven't been there in awhile. I do know the US Park Service periodically harassed folks there and at one point was issuing tickets, which largely went unpaid, as folks don't seem to carry ID and such to go swim at a nude beach.  I used to just hop in my dinghy with nothing on but a sarong and a straw hat and the requisite gold jewelry, zip over, swim, use the sarong to dry off and redress then zip back. It was a glorious time, I was younger, thinner, lived the carefree life of a sailing mermaid, my hair was sun streaked and I sported no tan lines. (Ah, to have those wonderful days again...)
It was at times, a funny feeling, to see all your neighbors naked and vice versa. We were like a secret club and in bars or restaurants, during a boring lull,  we might say loudly, "Oh, I didn't recognize you, with your clothes on!"  which certainly livened things up and for the non-nude-beach goers, sure made them curious what we had been up to, especially if this comment was directed towards another couple.  Often the intended might respond, likewise, such as "Gee, you actually look pretty good, even with your clothes on."
I remember one hot muggy August day, my neighbors and I were having an it's-too-hot-to-work party at the nude beach. Many businesses were closed for vacations, many like me were self employed and construction companies shut down early, due to the heat, so we had a great party going on, as word spread and more arrived at the beach.
Dinghies were anchored out with  coolers of cold drinks and snacks, as word had spread, early that morning, around town,  that a bring-your-own party was being formed at the nude beach. Many of us were naked, save for our straw hats and gold jewelry. While we were mostly adults, a few naked children ran around or built sandcastles, a tiny baby slept in the shade, in a sandpit, hollowed out by mom and lined with a sarong.  A few topless women were wearing teeny tiny G-strings. It was definitely in vogue, then, to wear tons of gold jewelry  and a big straw hat, at the nude beach. Some of these people had body piercing's, in the um, strangest places...um, that I shall leave up to your imagination, so as not to offend any of my gentle readers...
Cameras were a definite no-no and not to be used at all. The bushes resembled a yard sale in progress, as we often draped our clothes, sarongs, towels, and backpacks on them, to save them from getting too sandy. I used to show folks how to play a game called Ouri (Ew-rah-wee) which has numerous spellings depending on where the ancient game originated. It's a pits and pebbles game consisting of  48-60 pebbles and 12 pits dug in the sand, clockwise and markers for each player, such as unique twigs or shells. 2-4 players can play.
It became a popular shade game, at the nude beach, because you could gather the game pieces from nature and make your own board right in the sand. It's an ancient game under numerous spellings with roots from Africa or the Caribbean or Europe or Asia, apparently pits and pebble games were some of the earliest games ever.
At this time, maybe half the folks were in the ocean and half were on the sand, sunning, or limin' or playing games or munching on snacks and drinking. It was a friendly crowd, most all were boat owners, maybe a handful had hiked through the forest to arrive at the beach.
Occasionally, some tourists would hike the trail to the beach, apparently not informed of the clothing-optional status, and they would seemingly slam on brakes and then have a little private discussion, whether to stay or go, while taking side long glances and peeks and often they retreated back up the trail. One day, this couple arrived and had a long conversation and suddenly the lady starts stripping off her shorts and shirt and then peeled off her bathing suit, heading for the water naked. Her husband stood on shore in his shoes and socks and shorts and T-shirt and backpack and baseball cap, and sunglasses,  screaming at her to put her clothes back on and come back while she merrily swam towards the opposite end of the beach leaving him there to yell at no one. He sat down on a big rock and tapped his foot nervously while watching his wife swim back and fourth and giving the rest of us terrified glances.
The beach itself is splendid with no commercial activity, lots of palm trees and sea grapes for shade.  We were proud to keep the beach spotless from garbage and when we left, our dinghies and backpacks,  often sported garbage we had retrieved from the bushes, but in time, it became the cleanest beach on St John and we regulars, were proud of that as many of us had worked tirelessly, hauling off anonymous garbage that just appeared out of nowhere. It was a battle we fought often, and often triumphed over.
All of a sudden, on this particular day, out of the bushes sprung 2 Park Rangers in uniforms, toting guns and ticket books. They began yelling at us to get dressed.  Instead, we all fled for the ocean, up to our necks, and stood there with our straw hats on, holding aloft a cold drink, in  one hand and rapidly discussed and decided to have a united front against the Park Rangers. It was just too dang hot and we were having a lazy peaceful day at the beach, amongst friends. Now the party poopers had arrived.
No one would budge out of the water and we assembled in closer, to show what a large group we had that day.  The beach was now empty save for the hapless pregnant lady, cowering in the bushes and fortuitously, the rangers had not noticed her.
Each day, of late, in the early afternoon, she and her husband would dinghy over to the beach and spend the rest of the day waiting on baby. He would string up a hammock between two shade trees. She would often nap there, or lounge with a book, while hubby swam laps in the ocean. We used to joke about how their baby was likely to be born at the beach one day. She was a tiny woman, hopelessly big with belly, in the final stages and baby was due any day now.
She was sound asleep in her hammock, with this mammoth baby belly, draped by a book, she was previously reading, when this raid happened upon us so suddenly. Her hubby, already being in the water, had stayed.  By the time she woke up and rolled out of her hammock, she was the lone person left on the beach and she was naked. She crab-crawled in the bushes and hid. I remember pointing and motioning for her to move, she was so huge, we could see her belly peaking out, and she was trying to retreat further back into the bush and go undetected. 
For about 20 minutes, the Park Rangers  paced the beach, screaming at us to get out and get dressed and come get our tickets. On this particular day, there was close to 80-100 of us at the beach,  when usually 20 would have been considered a goodly crowd, as most days sported a dozen or less beach goers. Many folks didn't like to hike the long trail, so mostly it was the boat owners and dinghy owners that frequented the beach. Most only came for an hour or two. I made it a point to go nearly everyday for an hour of swimming, between work, whenever possible.
We had a  large raft of dinghies anchored out and tethered together, so as not to take up precious beach space.  We held our protest while the Park Rangers continued to yell and gesture at us to get out of the water.
We volleyed comments at them, such as "We're not bothering anybody.  There is no Federal  law against nude swimming"  (there wasn't) and so on.  Then we pretended to be deaf and would yell "What?  What was that?"
The Rangers came down to the water's edge and screamed at us some more, waving their guns and ticket books at us. We discussed amongst ourselves, whether or not they would really shoot anyone and decided they wouldn't take a chance. That would sure be really bad publicity, naked unarmed swimmers shot  by Park Rangers.   But the mere appearance of their waving guns, was enough to terrify any of us from leaving our group which was now pretty tightly packed as we stood neck deep in the ocean.  No one was swimming, a few small children were held aloft on their parent's shoulders, puzzled by the Rangers. To small children, nudity means nothing and most prefer their birthday suit anyhow, so running around naked on a beach full of other naked folks, just seemed like a normal day in the life of a Caribbean boat child.
Someone yelled "Leave us alone!  Go chase some donkeys!" as at that time, in the news,  the Rangers were complaining the park had too many donkeys and were contemplating shooting them, which was another uproar in the newspapers at the time, no one wanted to be hiking the National Park while crazed Rangers were out shooting donkeys. It was the 90's and St John was experiencing nutty times.
One Ranger stepped forward to the water's edge, looked at the guy who had yelled at him and said "What's your name?" and opened up his ticket book and pulled a pen out of his pocket.  I could see he had a pocket protector and pens in assorted colors. Let me tell you, when you see a bureaucrat with assorted colored pens in his pocket, and especially if he wears a pocket protector, you are in for some deep doo-doo should you cross his ire.
We murmured amongst ourselves to hold our front. Someone started yelling "Let us be!  Let us be!"  and that became the chant. So now we have 80+ naked sailors in straw hats in the water chanting "Let us be!" over and over.  In the background was the loud rumbling noise of a speeding ferry, no doubt, late again, zipping behind us, a bit too close for comfort, probably skimming over to take a look and see why 80+ people were huddled in the water against the backdrop of an empty beach, save for the 2 Rangers.
Meanwhile, the pregnant lady had taken this opportunity, to scurry out of the bushes, grab her sarong, dangling from a sea grape tree,  and scramble back in the bushes to dress.  Have you ever seen a 9 month, pregnant naked woman try to do anything fast?  It was comedy at its strangest and a few of us giggled and felt bad for her, being the lone person left ashore.
The man at the water's edge was screaming and shaking his penned hand at us "I want you out of the water NOW and I want your names!"  His partner had now joined him at the water's edge and about that time, a huge wake from the passing ferry slapped us in the water, drenching some of our straw hats, knocking others off  and slapping salt water, into some of the drink cups held aloft by many. 
Then, the wake slammed  the beach, splattering the Rangers with salt water up to their thighs. They ran from the water's edge as if seriously  injured and began studying their shoes and pants.  They might have been cursing, we couldn't hear them cause we were roaring with laughter and retrieving hats that had been knocked off by this sudden wake and bemoaning ruined drinks.
A few moments go by and finally the Rangers retreated and headed back up the trail, no doubt back to headquarters in search of dry clothes and reinforcements.
We cheered and yelled, you could probably hear us all the way to Cruz Bay. The party continued without further harassment and it was close to sunset before we finally broke up and headed home. Everyone wanted to keep a large crowd around, we felt like we had finally won against the Rangers.
It is one of my most memorable days I ever had  at that particular beach.  Usually it was underpopulated and peaceful and the Rangers were too lazy to hike out and harass us. This was years ago, in the 90's. 
The following week, a sign appeared on the beach, a huge ugly sign, marring up the natural beauty of the place. It read "NO NUDE BATHING".  You can well imagine, that sailors are often a handy lot and within days, the sign had been shortened to "NUDE BATHING". 
There after began the battle of the signs, but that is another story for another day.
I have no idea what the beach status is these days now for Salomon. I have heard rumors that the Park Rangers won over, in recent years, by building  a permanent post close to the beach, so they could write tickets and chase off people and that the place sported huge ugly signs.  But this is just rumors I have heard, and not to be set out as truth.  
In the BVI there are no nude beaches and that is the official word (but if you find that secret trail on the North Shore of Tortola, you might just get lucky!)

- Sun Shiny
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 15:41:17 EST
Gorgeous day in the BVI.  83 degrees and sun shiny.
Internet has been off and on throughout the day. Electricity has been on for almost 3 days straight!  Yahoo!
I have a terrible fever, so not much to say today, sorry.

- Breezy Days
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2006 11:31:09 EST
Sunny and breezy today.  Bright blue sky with a few wafty clouds. Hurricane season is almost over and we only made it Alberto (June 10th)  through Isaac (September 27th).  Nothing sensational happened thus far this year and we are so lucky and very grateful.
Tourists are pouring into the islands talking about escaping the cold and that funny white stuff they call snow. Tickets are still reasonable for a few more weeks (if you can find one with open seats!)
The funniest thing happened, when I woke up, there was a freshly made Pumpkin Pie on the counter and an empty bottle of Jack Daniels. Funny, I don't remember making a pie...  My head hurt something awful and I sure didn't want to go back to the hospital, but I dragged my fin out the door and went anyhow.
I tried to call for my ride on the cell phone and those  #$%^&*(*&^%'s had cut me off and all calls reverted back to the cell phone office. Seeing as I have paid my bill TWICE this month, I was pretty irate and had a long conversation with the hapless operator that answered the phone.  They never once apologized, just kept telling me they had this new system that posted the bills but not the payments. I gave them my credit card number again and I have now paid my dang phone bill three times this month and still can't make a call out. Very frustrating to deal with this modern technology.  How did their accounting problems become my nightmare? 
This is as funny as a conversation I had with a well-meaning  islander recently, a very proud man, that told me Tortola was very modern now and not at all behind the rest of the world. I asked him just WHERE he had traveled to lately to compare notes.   Turns out in his entire life he has left Tortola only once, and that was to go to Virgin Gorda for an aunt's funeral. He has never been to Jost Van Dyke or St Thomas or  flown in a plane to anywhere,  but he was quick to tell me we had a modern airport in case he did fly somewhere.  He shook his head and said we are a very modern society here now and he doesn't understand why folks say we are backwards. Gee, I wonder too.
Thursday morning I went back to physical therapy. I felt so sorry for the older man who arrived minutes before me.  The secret entrance still doesn't have a ramp or railings, just this HUGE step and very heavy doors. We arrived and I was trying to crawl up that huge step, when I noticed blood drops here and there.  I checked, and it wasn't me.
My friend helped me drag the huge heavy door open and we followed a dotted trail of blood down the hallway, past the interior door, propped open with a wad of cardboard,  where the waiting room for physical therapy is and there is an older man, sitting there with his cane, looking very unhappy and bleeding on the chair arm.
We asked about helping him out and he said he took a fall trying to get up that gigantic step (where the ramp is supposed to be but isn't) and he was flailing around for the arm rail (that should be there but isn't) and he took a tumble, hurting his shoulder and breaking the skin.
A couple of hospital workers were scurrying around promising him a band aid, and about 10 minutes later they finally located one. Then they made a big issue over getting the blood off the chair, as if that was more important that the injured man. That is so rough, to get injured trying to get into the hospital for help!  We need a construction company on Tortola to donate a ramp post haste and a machine shop to donate a sturdy metal handrail for the physical therapy entrance at the hospital.  
The hospital is government run and it could take them years to approve such necessary things. I saw that Social Security had donated a stationary bike for physical therapy along with a huge plaque on it, proclaiming same, so we need a construction company with a huge plaque and a ramp to do likewise for the entrance. 
Ironically, there was several huge boxes full of Christmas ornaments and decor sitting in the parking lot. I am glad they think decorating for Christmas is so important, but how about some funds for that dang ramp.
Eventually a lady came and got the man and began with his therapy and he kept complaining about his new  injuries and finally they rounded up an old wheel chair and moved him to X-ray.  One therapist was asking about the whereabouts of their NEW wheelchair and no one seemed to know where it ran off too.  I didn't see him again, and we pray that nothing was broken, but he was clearly in a lot of pain and disgruntled about being injured while trying to enter the hospital.  I know this sounds so comical!  But it's true!
I became the focus of attention next, as their noted the small trail of sand on top of the trail of blood,  leading up to where I sat. It was my quad cane, with a few grains of sand still clinging to it that had their attention. I pointed out the sand traction would keep folks from slipping on the blood trail... I know it sounds complicated, but my cane was covered in sand from the beach trip I took the other day, and when I came home I had to use the walker to get up the steep hill and leave the cane at the bottom of the hill. I didn't realize it was covered in sand and that stuff seems to come with glue. I was in a hurry to get into therapy, cause if you are late (and I was) they often have to reschedule you.  I was late because my dang phone was cut off and I thought I could make it in the hospital with just the quad cane and not the noisy clanky walker. I tried to knock some sand off in the parking lot, but it firmly stuck to the cane and base. When I started clomping down the hallway, I guess that knocked the sand off, leaving the trail of sand on top of the trail of blood.
The therapist rolled her eyes and looked at her partner and they shook their heads and consulted their watches to see if they could just go home. One patient shows up dripping blood and the other one shows up in a trail of sand...
This week they let me play with lots of new toys, then they hooked me up to some sort of electro therapy to see if they can blast the swelling out of my fin.  They stuck electrodes to my fin in four places, covered it in ice then cut on the electricity. I was a nervous wreck, very worried about this combination. My bill was triple this week, I guess I had to help pay the electrical bill at the hospital or maybe they charge extra for the new toys I got to play with.  They still let me use the tacking machine where you tack to port and starboard repeatedly.  It has an electronic counter, but that broke, but it's OK, I can count on my own. I will be a sailor yet again!
Afterwards, I inquired if the hospital had a public restroom. I found one with their directions, it had a piece of paper taped to the door with a picture of a girl in a dress drawn on it. I went inside. There was another sign, typed up very neatly on a Memo paper that read:
Please don't put no paper towels in the toilet and please don't put no foreign objects in the toilet neither.
I guess knowledge of English is not a requirement for typing hospital memos. I sat there re-reading the sign and thinking gee wiz, if I found a UFO crashed in the parking lot, I sure would never think to rush inside and flush the foreign bits down the toilet. Maybe they don't want folks like me trying to flush their Chinese made quad cane down the toilet or my Taiwanese awful tortuous shoes.
I went to wash my hands and guess what. No paper towels!  A nice shiny holder, but not a one inside. I guess the folks before me, flushed all those down the toilet, hence the sign. A key chain with one key and a well used beer opener lay on the counter. I wondered if the hospital had a lost and found. Then I decided to leave them there.  I guess whenever the owner decided to open a beer again, she would return to the restroom and retrieve same. Or maybe they were there as a thoughtful gesture, since you can't dry your hands,  you can at least open you beer as a consolation. Maybe somebody opened up a whole six pack and then wrapped them all in paper towels to keep them cool.
I looked in the garbage can, it was empty save for a lone empty beer bottle. Makes ya wonder!  Was it a patient drinking beer in the ladies room or a worker?  I thought about scribbling on the memo "and don't put no beer bottles in the toilet neither!"
Afterwards, I went shopping for shoes, and that was so depressing. I couldn't find a pair that fit both fins and I was shopping in the men's department at 3 different stores.  I don't know how I am going to find a job if all I can wear is a duct taped sole to my fin. It looks real tacky. I had found a plastic pair of Velcro shoes a few weeks back, but they have bumps built into the sole and after walking for about three minutes, the bumps really hurt the fins. I think it was some sort of attempt at foot massage that failed miserably. Worst pair of shoes I have ever worn. It's my grandmother's fault. She was a teeny tiny Oriental woman with teeny tiny feet. I seemed to have inherited the tiny feet but the rest of me is not so tiny. Now that one foot is four times larger than the other, it's just impossible to find shoes that are as short  as a size six and as wide as a size sixteen.
I guess I may have to go to Zora's in St Thomas and get a custom pair made for me. My friend who also had a severe injury, ended up getting his shoes made there.  I am just hoping that one day, my fin becomes normal again. Everyone points to it and asks me why is it so BIG and ugly?  I have no idea!  Doctors and therapists peer at it every week, shrug their shoulders and murmur "sometimes this happens..."  When I ask "WHEN will the swelling go away?"  I am told, maybe in a few months...  UGH!
Check out my new  2007 BVI Calendar, on sale 20% off through Dec 3rd.

- Secret Pie Recipe
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2006 00:17:59 EST
Another wonderful night in paradise!  A good night to go dancing on the beach. My neighbor went out earlier and as of 1am, is still not home, so the dancing at the shack must be good!  I can't wait to get my fin on the mend so I can dance again. I am going to dance every day!
A big HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all the Americans.  I am going to share my top secret Pumpkin Pie Recipe with you. Enjoy!
I am making one tonight, to take to a party tomorrow.  I was just assembling my ingredients, when a friend dropped by. So I asked her to type this up while I make the pie and and  carefully dictate the secret recipe and  instructions, so that we get it down right for you. Everyone loves this pie and it's so easy to make.  Her typing will take over now while I go bake!
Jack Daniels Whiskey Pumpkin Pie
First, assemble your ingredients:
Pastry to line a 10-inch pie plate
2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin or one can pumpkin puree (do not use pie filling)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated (but not divorced)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon & cloves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Bottle Jack Daniels Whiskey
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Whole Nutmeg (grate over finished pie as garnish)
Pour a shot of whiskey.
Sample for clarity.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour another  shot of Whiskey.
Taste test  for quality.
Line a ten-inch pie plate with the pastry and put pie plate on a baking sheet.
Have a nutter shot of whiskey.
Thample for clarity.
Peat together Bumpkin, sugar, legg oaks,  thinnamon & cwoves in a large bowl.
Carefully measure out one cup of whiskey.
Dwink exactly half *hiccup*.
Stir in belted mutter, udder  1/2 cup of whiskey  and twhipping cweam.
Dwink a shot of whiskey to make sure dis is genuine Dack Janiels
Peep egg whites until shiff, then prinkle wiff scorn tarch.
Have a nutter hot of whisp-p-p-pea *hiccup*
Stirrup one quarter of legg whites into fumpkin fixture to lighten it.
Fold in  *hiccup* remaining whites until no *hiccup* white tweaks remain.
Have a plop of whiskers.
Pour fixture *hiccup* into a free pared frie pan.
Dwain da bottle of whisk *hiccup*  key and discard.
Bake for one hour, until center is term to the futch.
Allow pie to cool while eating thurkey.
Although most of the al *hiccup* cohol crooks out, the fwavor of whiskey remains to bwend with the wich fumpkin flavor in this easy-to-make high *hiccup* pie.
Slice pie into 8 wedges, face on dessert plates with pork *hiccup* fork!
Grate fresh nutmeg over sly slices,  *hiccup* pie plices for garnish.
Pass out.
Enjoy your pukin *hiccup* pie, dang, did I say pukin pie?
I meant  fumkin *hiccup* mumpkin my.
Scuse me.
At this point, Miss Mermaid seems to have laid down in the floor for a nap...
Folks, there you have it, how to make your pie, as dictated to me, by Dear Miss Mermaid! I guess she wants me to email this off, so POOF, here ya go! 
P.S.  The pie is delicious! 

- Breezy and Balmy
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 10:35:32 EST
Marvelous day with 83 degrees and moderate winds. Big white puffy clouds are wafting by, but only a teeny bit of rain is expected, maybe 3-4 minutes, with a bit more rain expected tomorrow. Get your surfboard and head over to the North Shore tomorrow, waves should be up and running for a few days.
Soper's Hole, West End, Tortola
Well as many of you know, I am recuperating from my mashed up fin. I go back for more  mermaid therapy tomorrow, one day soon I am going to be good as new!
Better late than never...
My 2007 BVI Wall Calendar is Finally Available!  The good news is, we ship worldwide!  This calendar features exquisite flowers from the BVI, a colorful edition to your home. Makes a great gift too!
Ho Ho Ho!
all links are underlined

- MooMaids
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 08:59:54 EST
84 degrees with light winds of 5-15mph. We might get a tiny scatter of rain. Surf is up some, no storms on the horizon.
We have a new moon today. The current (elec-tricky) is working as is water, cable, phone, internet and cellular. This is most unusual and rare. Needless to say, I am immensely happy and scurrying around to get things done while I can.
I went to the beach yesterday and let the waves toss me around.  Along came a barrel floating up from Kelly The Good Fairy at The Gas Lite General Store in Copper Harbor, Michigan, addressed to Dear Miss Mermaid, BVI.
I eagerly opened up the barrel and found all manner of treats inside including a special cap, that has a flap in back to keep your neck from burning, some postcards, a change purse and some Udderly Smooth Udder Cream.
I was udderly delighted!  Not having udders of my own, I smoothed some Udderly Smooth Udder cream on my udder body parts such as my mashed up fin and my good fin.  It felt wonderful. I was utterless at this great gift! Apparently this stuff was developed by a vet, but  humans have discovered it  works really well on mermaids!  It is greaseless and stainless and feels heavenly. It is doing wonders on my chafed fin, which took a beating while inside that dang cast for so long.
I have the Good Fairy Kelly, to thank for my new and improved smooth fins. Later on, after I went home, a friend stopped by and was admiring my Udderly Smooth Cream so I got him to massage my fin with it and oh man, that was heaven on earth and I was udderly pleased!
A big thank you to the Good Fairy Kelly!  And thanks to all my readers who have made my recuperation go speedily with their gifts, and help and well wishes. One day I will be a new and improved mermaid, ready to tackle a new life.  (Now WHY is that bull following me around?  Do I smell udderly delicious?)
Let's see, if a bull and a mermaid mate, do you end up with MooMaids?

- Wind and Waves
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 12:51:59 EST
Nice and windy today. Seas and surf are up. I went to Smugglers Cove Beach yesterday and it was rough surf with waves knocking me down, sending my hat flying off.  I know,  a mermaid in the surf with a hat...
It is 83 degrees and winds are gusting to 20mph, sun is out brightly and we don't expect any rains.
A gentle reader from Belmont, Tortola sent me a mermaid joke.
Why do Mermaid wear Sea Shells?
Because B-Shells are too small and D-Shells are too big...
Har har har!

- Donde es Panama?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 07:17:28 EST
Beautiful day, 82 degrees, no rains yet, but some clouds in the sky and we are expecting some short showers.
Dat current done mash up again!
Power outage again last night, only for an hour and a half. I felt sorry for  the restaurants that don't have generators. Makes you wonder about their food in their fridges and stuff, what with all these outages. Also, hard on staff and guests, to make, serve and eat dinner,  with no generators, and the power went out right at dinner time. Small wonder most everyone has candles on the tables now!  The BVI Electricity Corporation keeps promising us it will get better (the power or the outages?)
I am not in favor of their recent strike, if we had excellent power and they wanted raises, fine. But to hand out raises when we are plagued by chronic outages?  Boggles the brain! Does this mean our rates will go up?
I had a strange thing happen yesterday. I was coming out of the shower, had a towel around me, and contemplating when or whether to don clothes, when suddenly my front door opened  and a strange man walked in, speaking in Spanish asking the where abouts of  Panama. I have NO idea what that was about, as I shoved him out the door with a "No sé!!!" and firmly locked it behind him.   Sorry, but I just don't care to converse with uninvited strangers that wander into my home without knocking, asking for directions.
How did he get past 7 dogs without a single one barking?  I looked through my peaky hole and he wanders into my neighbor's door and the neighbor jumps up and yells at the guy and shoved him out the door and locks it.
Later, we met in the hallway about this, and we still don't know WHAT that was about. All I could think of was "No sé!" which I think means "I don't know" in Spanish. I mean I know where Panama is, but to give directions from here?
I often have my door wide open, to partake of better winds. The kitties love that cause they can make a full circle, in the front door, pester me, wander by the cat dish, out to the balcony, step through the railings, head down the elevated skinny cat walk that wraps around the building, hop over the retaining wall, walk out to the yard,  then come back around to the front door and repeat.
It was mid-afternoon when I decided to shower, so I closed the doors and didn't think to lock them.  It was daylight, I was awake and home. Never think about these things. Everyone I knows knocks and waits for me to holler an invitation or answer the door. This unannounced intruder rattled me some.
I did decide to get fully dressed and I must have checked the doors ten times before I went to bed.
At 4am I woke up leaping out of my bed to a loud blood curdling scream.  A very guilty looking cat was playing with the TV remote and the TV was now on, showing some sort of horror flick. I  snapped off the TV and took the remote away from kitty  and HID IT, then  went back to bed. My heart was racing. I should rename him techno-cat.
Yes, this one  cat has discovered if you push enough buttons on a remote, something will happen, in this case a LOUD horror movie appeared on the screen. This is the same cat that discovered my "touch lamp" you touch it and it comes on. So guess what, he has to walk by and touch the lamp several times a day to see if it still works. If I leave the TV  remote where he can find it, he will play with it and see what happens.  
He is also fascinated with the printer, and will guard it while it prints,  retrieve pages that print out and trot off with them, if I am not paying attention. 
I just hope he never discovers my car horn...
Note to Self: 
(1) Securely  lock doors when closed, even in daylight and especially before showering, napping and sleeping.   (2) Hide TV remote before retiring for the night.

- Strike That
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 15:45:10 EST
Temperature is 82 degrees with light winds of 4-8 knots.  Bright blue skies. We have a tropical wave 55 west, south of 16 north, moving at 10 knots per hour.  Not very well organized.
On Friday the BVI Elec-tricky Corporation workers (government) went on strike!  Can you believe it?  They claimed they were due raises and back pay. I don't know how our government can get behind in pay!  But at 1145am, they decided to end the strike and go to lunch.  Go figure.
Seems a bit unfair to to on strike when we having all these awful outages!
From the mailbag:
Could you please look at that magic crystal ball of yours and give me some idea of what to expect from the surf side of things on tortola for this week starting Nov 18th to Nov 28th.
Thanks and kep up the good work

Kind Regards
Dear Aussie,
    You are more than half way around the world from us!  Here is what my crystal ball predicts, based on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being raucous and 1 being boogie board fun, and assuming you are going to Bomba's to surf:
    18th 3
    19th-23rd 2
    24th-28th 3+

- C-c-c-cold Last Night!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 11:53:35 EST
Last night temperatures plunged to  78 degrees.  Shiver me timbers!  Brrrr!  I had to huddle under my afghan and it I hadn't have been so cold, I would have got up and fetched some socks for my frigid mermaid fins. Where's a trained cat when you need one?
Today it is a comfy 82 degrees with lights winds around 5-7 knots. Autumn is racing by and winter is upon us, but no Christmas Winds yet. I checked my crystal ball and they aren't due in for another week or so and when they come, watch out and be prepared to reef down, lest you blow down  completely at sea.
We just had a tropical wave pass over us, and we have a new one on the horizon. Surf's up!
Message in a Wine  Bottle from France:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
Glad to know you are hobbling around quite successfully, and even catching little frogs from time to time. Probably swam over from France (frog land) I should imagine.
However, let's get really serious. In the good ole' days before your accident, the horizon on your pictures sloped from right to left - now it would appear they slope from left to right. Example is the image on your 05/NOV./06 post.
So it would seem the imbalance caused by your distressed legs has shifted. I'm wondering what you will ever have to do to get the bloody horizon STRAIGHT!
Have a nice day - as my US friends used to say - it was the parting 'missing you already' which really killed me.
Much luv,
Dear Frenchie, you old Skallywag!
    How ya doing?  How come that wine bottle was empty with just a note?  Where's the good stuff, the wine?
    You think my pictures are crooked?  They look straight *hiccup* to me!
     Maybe it's from all those years of sailing with my rum swizzling crew and heeling over from those tradewinds that incidentally, push the boat forward (as well as tilted to port or starboard) all made possible without a newfangled engine polltin' up paradise.
    I s'pose if I could ever sober up, maybe I could walk straight and take better pictures to your liking. But I'm a rum soaked wench, where's the fun in being sober?
    Of course, now I haven't been able to get out and plunder and pillage to fetch me barrels of rum, so I have had to dry out, so to say. But I do have  a new and improved excuse,  I list, what with my mashed up mangled  fin, so of course my pictures have gone from being askew one way, to the other.
    How about I just take my pictures while laying down?  Then I won't have to trouble me fin to stand up and take dem bloody un-straight pictures you have brought to my attention.
    Perhaps what I need is some high quality  swill such as some of those highfalutin French Champagnes you are so famous for,  to satisfy my vice, and not this ole cheap rot gut, that makes me see crooked!
    Much *hiccup* luv,missing you already...
    Miss Mermaid
Today in the BVI
(taken while Miss Mermaid was laying down resting her mashed fin)
Well, lo and behold, while I was laying there snapping my pictures, a dang crate floats up from Bayou Child addressed to Dear Miss Mermaid in the Caribbean.  The crate was very aromatic and smelled of lavender, thyme, garlic, dill, curry, marjoram, oregano and so on. I tore it open with great glee, wondering what on earth?
I find a sweet note from Bayou Child:
    Dear Miss Mermaid:
        I hope you enjoy the gift of these exotic kitchen spices and herbs.  They are all certified organic. 
    Bayou Child
P.S. Love your pictures....
Dear Bayou Child,
    You are sweeter than cinnamon!  I am ecstatic and thrilled!  I love to cook and the organic spices are beautiful with vibrant colors. I just whipped up some of me famous  Irish Sailing Veggie Stew with cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, 'shrooms, carrots and garlic.  I flavored it with laurel (pairs really well with cabbage dishes), basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, parsley, pepper and bay leaf. I let is simmer all day long in me crockpot with your fancy organic herbs, while torturing my neighbors with these heavenly scents emanating from my abode and oh my goodness, this is so delicious!  Your organic herbs are truly wonderful.
    Thank you, thank you!
    Miss Mermaid
P.S. I sent you a small rum barrel full of me Irish Sailing Veggie Stew. Enjoy!
***OK, I will come CLEAN. Bayou Child didn't mention a THING about my pictures. I just threw that in for Frenchie's ire...
Today's Links:

- Pay Again
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 15:11:08 EST
Drizzly rains have dotted the day with peek-a-boo sunshine. This is a rare day indeed for the normally sunny islands.  Winds are light around 5 knots. Temperatures have plummeted to a cool 82 degrees.
I am techno challenged, but somehow I blunder my way through computers and cell phones and VCR's.  Starting 4 days ago, my cell phone began making a shrill ring at all hours of the night.
I finally figured out I was receiving text messages, after being repeatedly woken up to this strange noise in my home.   Scrolling through them all, I see they all say the identical thing, that my phone will be cut off for non-payment.
Now everyone that lives in the BVI is basically forced into the same cell company due to lack of allowed competition (we thank our forward government for this).  Talks have gone on for years that this would change, but I don't see it happening yet.
Besides, I want to keep my number, I have used it since I lived aboard my boat and I have friends from all corners of the earth that have my number.  To change it would forever close a modern day link to old salts.
Just recently, I received a call from a dear friend I had not seen in 6 years, but she had my number and she had called. I had lost track of her one day when I had tried to reach her and found out her phone was disconnected.  Rumors abounded that she had sailed far away. So you can see why I don't want to lose my number and the government hasn't passed any laws that we can keep our numbers, even if they allow new companies to compete locally.
Anyhow, the cell phone company has chronic statement problems. They often arrive the day your phone is being turned off for non-payment or approximately three weeks after the due date of your payment.
This of course was driving me a bit wild, so I set up an auto credit card payment with them, back in the dark ages, like 15 years ago, or whenever they opened, as I have one of their first phone numbers.  This was new to them, and I remember having to beg them to set up this system.
I remember them telling me, I should just pop into their office every month with my credit card and let them run it through that way. I tried to explain, I was  a sailor on a boat, I ran all over the Caribbean, but was home ported in the BVI and I didn't even own a rusty trusty jeep (at the time) and all the reasons why showing up in person every month was not convenient.
This puzzled them, as this is how Tortola has done business for decades. You must present yourself in person to every utility company you partake of their services and present payment, every month in person,  often without benefit of a prior bill (that will come in your mail 7 weeks later!)
Somehow, I won the battle, with the cell phone company eventually, to pay my phone bill by credit card. It's not like I use my phone that much, but like I say, when you've had a phone number for 15+ years, and you have friends from all over the world, it behooves you to keep the same number, if you want to ever hear from your traveling, sailing friends, skallywags, bilge rats, and so on,  as well as  landlubbers.
So I tried to call the cell company back, but the number the cell phone company left on my cell phone, was invalid!  The next morning, after a night of interrupted sleep, waking up, wondering just what that weird noise was, then dozing off, only to hear the noise again.
The next morning I managed to miraculously reach a live person at the cell company. I politely  explained that my bill was paid, I had checked my credit card online and the cell phone company had charged me a week, ago, so please quit calling me at 2,3,4,5, and 6 am informing me I was past due.
I also told them it was a dirty deed that I couldn't text them back or call them back, as both systems said invalid numbers when I tried to use them.
The employee promised she would get with the technical department and sort this out.
Well the next night, I wake up with a start, wondering about the weird noise I heard. I doze back off and this goes on several times (maybe every 45 minutes or so)  before I get up and search my apartment for this weird noise, which of course was silent. I went back to bed and heard the noise again, just as I was entering happy dreamy land.
I go in search of the cell phone and yep, it's text messaging me again with numerous threats of disconnecting my service.
So the next day I call the cell company and they tell me now, that they have no idea why this is happening.
What do I say to that?
I said well I sure don't know either, but if they will give me their home phone or cell phone, I will call them at 2am when this starts up again and maybe then they can track it down.
They don't like this either. Then I am told, I need to pay my bill and this will stop. I explained I paid my bill last week. Next I am told they have a new accounting system and it only posted the bills and not the payments, so I may have to pay again, to straighten this out.
What?  Did I hear right? Pay my bill twice to fix their accounting snafu?
The next night, I again had left my cell phone on, I just don't think about turning it off at night. No one calls me at 2-3-4-5-6.am except the cell phone company.
Well, guess what.  They called and called. I turned the phone off. 
The next morning I call these Pirates at the cell phone company, asking them when they might fix this problem. I talk to numerous folks. 
They each conclude, they don't know how to fix this.
I don't know how to fix this.
Life in the islands.

- Dark, Clear and Dry
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 20:13:55 EST
Here it is dark thirty and I am just writing. So, it's currently dark and 82 degrees with very light winds. No storms are on the horizon. Life is grand!  Not a bit of rain today.
I went to Road Town today to visit the hospital, therapist, doctor and so on over my mashed mermaid  fin. Road Town is STILL hotter than the rest of the island, so I worked up a good sweat by the end of the day and got in a good bit of hoppling around *whew*. Everyone I dealt with was wonderful and we dined at the Village Cay Marina for lunch and much needed cold drinks.  I was delighted to see they had a new lunch menu that was deliciously different.  I had the veggie lasagna and salad with 3 friends. YUMMY!
From the mailbag:
Dear Miss Mermaid,
I continue to enjoy your accounts of life in Tortola

I do though wonder sometimes how many of your" tales" are really true. I
used to be a believer until you confessed that your account of how you broke
your fin was not at all accurate.

But then, having spent 4 winters in Anguilla-the fifth is coming up-I too
have seen the most mind boggling events.

Still, that you could not find a wheelchair, a walker, a sarong? That the
power is as infrequent as in central Baghdad?

Time to move to Anguilla where, I think you will find a kinder, more
appreciative berth.

Wondering in Anguilla...
Dear Wondering,
    Billions of blue blistering barnacles! 
    You believe everything I write?  Shiver me timbers!
    Oh course, everything  I write is true!  I report the weather as accurate as I can (even if I do cheat by double checking my crystal ball, but  you want things accurate don't you?)
    Well, OK, hmm,  I'll admit, I told a few (very few!) tall tales  about how I broke my fin. Maybe one day, I will tell you the truth about what really happened to my poor fin (like it snapped when the shark bit me...)  I guess you CAUGHT me on that one (or two or three or four... LITTLE mis-truths!)
    But, I have come clean about being a sailor of the high seas in my checkered past (all true!). That alone should have warned you that I can be a scurvy bilge drinking rat (and me parrot concurs) that likes to spin a merry yarn or two.
    Yep, our BVI power outages are awful!  Just ask anyone on Tortola or in the BVI.  Power goes out more often than most folks comb their hair.  Baghdad probably has better power than we do. Rumors abound that they are installing  new BVI generators and that is why we have all these outages.  (Well, their excuse has changed again, even if the outages have not!)
    Wheel chairs can be had from the BVI Red Cross. Problem was I called and called and called the Red Cross and kept leaving messages. Then I emailed them a bunch. Finally after about 8 weeks, they called me back to say YES, they had a wheel chair for me, that I could rent, they aren't free. Problem was, I had just had my cast removed and now had a brace and a walker and didn't need a wheelchair anymore. They also rent walkers. I was trying not to growl as I paid a fortune to buy this walker. Apparently the Red Cross was having voice mail and email problems and that is why it took them so long to get back to me.
    Voice mail and email problems are common on Tortola and in the BVI (if you are using the local phone company and if you are using the local email server, which I don't, but they did.)  Much of my voice mail signals me 4-9 days after the actual call, so I could believe the Red Cross on that. And they use the local email server which is notorious for chronic problems (same company as phone company).  And, yes, they are the only place that has medical equipment for rent in the BVI, but it's a well kept secret!  I know because I failed miserably at locating same from them (or anyone)  in time for me to rent it, rather than buy it.
    Needless to say,the Red Cross does do great work in times of tragedy.  I know.  On another island, after a hurricane wiped out some of my life, they helped me out tremendously, with a little hand up that enabled me to pick up the pieces and move onwards.
    I only went to one sarong place, that I wrote about,  recently, (I need to check out more sarong places when I get out and about again!) and yes they used to carry really nice sarongs, so I was dismayed their inventory had gone downhill. I politely told them so, by simply saying, I had bought some beautiful sarongs there in the past, of terrific quality and was hoping for the same again. 
    As far as moving to Anguilla, sounds dreamy to me! 
    I hope I have answered all your questions and THANK YOU for reading StormCarib.com  and writing me!
    P.S.Do you have a pool or beach or boat that Dear Miss Mermaid can laze about in Anguilla?

- What We Care
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 13:27:09 EST
83 degrees, light winds, bright blue skies.
My friend just sailed from Antigua to Virgin Gorda and reports it was a beautiful sail without incident and simply a marvelous time to be alive and sailing.  He is only 70 something and happy go lucky wiff his little boat, his gray curls tied in a pony tail and his beard to the wind.  He got on his rasta colors and jammin to dah tunes, sailing merrily onwards.  Ah, the good life...
Da current done mash up hours ago, it is island (pronounced eye-lan) wide, nobody gots da current no how.  Lately at night, da internet done mash up too and it stay off for hours at a time.  T'ings just don't be changing here.  Da current was mash up like dis all da time since dey bothered to get dat big ol' elect-tricky corporation in here, t'irdy some odd years ago (pronounced turd-dee, you silent the H,just  like da t'ree dat comes after da two and before da foe, got no H sound either. )
Lawdy mercy, da current just come back, me son! In under t'ree hours!  Cheese 'n bread!  We must be jammin', we makin' such fancy improvements here on the quality of life.
But who care?  Everybody done t'ink me and everybody else, done lays around in a hammock under da coconut tree, after we done fishing for our supper.  When we tire of d'at we just go limin' at da beach, swimming wiff da dolphins dem. At dark thirty, we move to da rum shack, also seaside and finish out our days of leisure. So what we care if da currnet and da internet done mash us up again!

- I'm BACK!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 12:19:36 EST
Wonderful Monday. Cloudy skies, but warm and dry. We had two  little storms last night for about 20 minutes each.  Black kitty was so happy to get a fresh water rinse. He just loves to shower in the rain.
Today is it 82 degrees with light winds and moderate surf.
The fogging truck came around and sprayed for mosquitos this weekend. That was lovely, as it seems to have run them off.
We've had several  little earthquakes over the weekend. I could feel them and my visitor thought I was nuts.  He  said he felt nothing, and  continued to slurp his Vodka-OJ.
But I felt just this tiny vibration on several occasions. Plus the kitties were anxious, they aren't too keen on this earthquake business either. Now that I've checked around, I see we had 3 earthquakes from 3.2 to 3.6 on the Richter scale over the weekend.
Nothing to worry about, but I'd rather just stick to the small ones, the ones I never feel, those under 3.0.  So, now that I've almost wiped out my hurricane stash, it times to replenish  it for the earthquake...
Seems if you live in the Caribbean, you  have to always keeps a little emergency food and stuff stash. The stuff is things like candles, batteries, flash lights, torches, mosquito spray, matches, meds, gasoline, and something comforting, in case your nerves are shot ( they usually are, if you've survived a hurricane or bad quake!)
I am very lucky, I have never been in a bad earthquake at all. Only things like hurricanes, fires, sinkings, groundings, a head on collision, a boating booboo,  and a near drowning.  I know, some of you have remarked, you always thought my head had been under water a little too long...
As a small child, my family went to visit more family, so there were about twelve of us at a crowded beach one day. I was playing in shallow water, paddling around with my new swim skills. Suddenly a wave came up and knocked me down under, the undertow grabbed my under-toes and swept me out to sea. When I surfaced, the people on shore looked like tiny ants! Naturally, I panicked and began hollering for help and no one on shore could hear me.
I could see the teeny tiny  people moving  on shore, I could see the life guard in his tower yet no one seemed to notice this small child offshore, screaming her head off and waving her arms around. I was the youngest in the  group and I thought YIKES!  What if my family decided I was a pest and too much trouble to raise and  they weren't coming for me after all, just going to leave me out there to find my fate.
A woman napping on a raft, that was drifting my way, happened to wake up and see my little hands waving frantically, while screaming "Help! Glub, glub!  Help!  Glub, glub!" so she paddled with her arms, a good ways out to fetch me.  I was in such a panic, I grabbed the raft, which bounced her right off in the water and now she began shrieking!
"I can't swim! I can't swim!"  and silly me thinking why is this grownup napping on a float in the ocean if she can't swim.  Now we were both in a panic, but I felt ten times safer clinging to the raft, though it was flimsy and cheap and not designed for our combined weight. It bobbed up and down in the water and it seemed we were both being swept further out to sea. I showed her how to stick her back and legs out, so she would float on her belly, then cling to the raft with our arms and paddle with  our feet.
I couldn't believe I was a small child, telling a grownup how to practice paddling with feet. But at the swim class, we had been issued little float boards, the first day, to hold onto while we paddled with our feet around the pool. It's was my very first swim lesson and it stuck with me clearly.  I thought this swim business was fun and easy indeed. Though the older kids had taught me basic dog paddling before my swim classes, it's not a very efficient means of swimming around, though it is my favorite, to this day. (Especially with a big hat and sunglasses on. )
Anyhow, as we managed to get back in again, I was ever so grateful to be on terra firma.  I barely thanked the lady, and ran down the beach as fast as my little feet would carry me, hollering for mom, who of course wanted to know where I had been.
"Out to sea!  And this lady who couldn't swim came to get me on her raft!  And I'm BACK now!"  I grinned at her knowingly (you can't get rid of me THAT easy!)
I spent the rest of the afternoon on shore, building sand castles and turning a nice shade of brown. I didn't venture past ankle deep water and I learned what an undertow was, as word spread around the beach.
Gobble Gobble!  Thanksgiving is next Thursday in the US. We don't celebrate it officially in the BVI, but Jolly Roger will be having their pot luck dinner with turkey and many restaurants will feature roast turkey on their menus.
If you aren't here, cause you are there, you can order all manner of things delivered to your door, including a Godiva Chocolate Foil Wrapped Turkey, a Whole  Organic Turkey, or even smoked duck.
This map below, shows 34 earthquakes in the last week. The larger boxes, are the ones over 3.0 on the Richter scale.

- A Whale of a Tale
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 10:33:11 EST
Well we had yet another power outage last night. I must admit, my coconut telegraph insider friend (she snuck in the elec-tricky corporation and overheard a few t'ings) was right when she said a few weeks past, that we would have many outages over the next few months.
Today is gorgeous, though there are no winds yet. It is 83 degrees and the birds are merrily chirping.
Tomorrow should be good for beginner surfers to entertain themselves at Capoon's Bay.
I read the funniest thing about a huge dead stinky whale that washed up on Oregon shores  in the 70's.  The Highway Department decided to blow it up with a half ton of dynamite. (What?  They thought they were blasting through a mountain pass?)
Their thinking was, the small bits would be scattered out to sea and the sea gulls would feast on them and that would be the end of the big smelly whale. (I don't think their engineer was really an expert at explosions...)
Well, this is a whale of a tale. When the blast went off, only a small portion of the whale blew up. Those smelly bits rained down on the spectators, who had been "safely"removed 1/4 mile away.  Yuck!  The "hungry" sea gulls were no longer in sight.  (Perhaps they were blown to Asia?)
A 200 pound whale steak landed on a nice car, parked in town,  thoroughly destroying the car.  Fortunately, no one was killed. But it was reported that many of the town's inhabitants were covered in bits of smelly whale carcass from the explosion. Even the camera that was filming it was hit with the foul blubber and had to clean their screen and edit out that part before carrying on.

- Surf's Up!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2006 20:51:27 EST
Well here it is dark thirty, and your erstwhile reporter is just now coming online. I have had problems with internet connection today *sigh*. Life in the islands...
Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, we had a mini storm for about 22 minutes of brisk  winds and horizontal rains. Kitties came running in, inquired about breakfast, woofed that down, then scampered out again when the storm finished.
Surf's been up all week at Bomba's, and the surfers are missing work left and right to take advantage of the waves. It was clear and sunny all day with moderate winds. Tonight winds are light  and it's a cool 82 degrees.
Montserrat  Volcano continues with ash and steam venting. Winds have moved much of the ash westwards, so our sunsets are not near as colorful.
We expect the weekend to  be gorgeous and loverly, just in time for the weekend events.
Today I was reminded of the time we Shanghai 'd a drunk from a bar for a ten day offshore sailboat delivery. He got the part we were going sailing, and he packed his bag and came aboard. He was massively drunk and we were quite desperate.
He slept about 12 hours of snoring, emanating this awful beer breath that stunk up the cabin. When he woke up, he stumbled out to the cockpit, belched loudly  and looked around.  Noting there was no land in sight, he looked a bit confused.
"Where's St Thomas?" he inquired "And where do you keep the beer?"
I told him St Thomas was 60 miles south of us and we had no beer on board.
"What?  No beer?  When do we reach land?"
"Oh, in about ten days." I told him.
"Holy %^&*!  I can't go ten days without beer!  Pull over, let me go buy a few cases!"
Thankfully, my shift was over, and the captain came up to the cockpit to take over the helm. I drifted off to sleep in my bunk and I could hear our new crew and the captain banter back and fourth.  Apparently, it was news to him, that he had agreed to a ten day offshore trip to Annapolis, Maryland!
Eventually, the captain showed him how to steer a compass course and he began rotating 2-3 hour shifts with us.   The only problem was that on day 2 or 3, he began hallucinating from the DT's. (Delirium tremens is a disorder involving sudden and severe mental changes (psychosis) or neurologic changes (including seizures) caused by abruptly stopping the use of alcohol.)
So the captain and I took turns waking up, to go check on him, during his watch, to check his  compass course and current condition. This made for an exhausting trip. Neither of us ot more than one or two hours sleep at a time, then up to work two or three hours, then rest and so on.
On day 4 the seas became really rough and salt water and sea spray liberally doused the cockpit. We discovered that our new crew's foul weather gear consisted of a flimsy jacket with a hood, while the captain and I each had heavy duty gear.
Before our new crew's next watch, I found some Hefty heavy duty 50 gallon jumbo garbage bags. I used a pair of scissors and fashioned a jacket out of one bag by cutting a hole for his neck and two more for his hands. I made  a pair of pants out of the other bag by cutting two holes for his ankles. I convinced our new crew to put this on, then I tied a rope around his waist to hold the make shift pants up and then had him don the "jacket".  I helped him get into a harness and lashed him to the pedestal on a short tether.
I tried not to laugh. He looked ridiculous, but he was very happy and claimed he was much warmer now.  He wore his flimsy hooded jacket under the brown garbage bag. His head was hooded in bright yellow, contrasting against the dark brown garbage bags. Four days of erratic beard growth graced his jowls.
I went to bed and woke up later to his banging, usually a signal that the man on deck needed urgent help. I go up top and he was hallucinating from the DT's, dressed in two jumbo trash bags to protect himself from the sea spray while banging on the wheel with his spoon and singing at the top of his lungs in a horrendous off key way.  I was glad we had thoughtfully tied him to the pedestal, he may be a nut, but he was our nut and we prayed he wouldn't fall overboard lest we become short handed. 
I adjusted the sails then I passed him a mug of warm tomato soup before collapsing back  into my salt encrusted bunk.  He asked what it was as he stared at the mug. Frankly, I was hoping he would use the spoon to eat and not use it to bang on the stainless steel wheel and wake me up. I was a tad exhausted. 
"Rare Steak topped with  Sauteed Shrimp and a twice baked potato stuffed with cheddar cheese and salsa." I told him.
"Oh!  That sounds wonderful!" and I noted his face clearly lit up as he eagerly dug his spoon into his "meal" and steered with his feet. 
Heck, if he was hallucinating, I might as well make the meal entertaining... 
As I dozed off to sleep I could hear him screaming "I love Steak and Shrimp!  Yummy!"
Don't forget to buy your Caribbean Christmas Music

- Do I look like a taxi?
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2006 17:56:04 EST
Last night we had some rains, but none during today. The tropical wave that was headed towards us, simply vanished! 
However, a new tropical wave has sprung up and is currently around 45 West, South of 15 North. The last few days, I keep feeling rumblings. Nothing shakes, just a distant rumble. Imagine my surprise when I checked and we have had quite a few earthquakes , almost daily over 3.0 on the Richter scale.
I went to the mermaid hospital yesterday.  The physical therapist is determined to make a sailor out of me again.  She mangled my fin into numerous positions.  I learned to do all sorts of fin exercises. They are fun to watch cause my fin turns red, blue, purple, and pink during  these painful  manipulations.
They have this balance thingy, like a half a sphere, and you stand on the flat side and try to stay balanced. It was just like trying to walk on a deck at sea. Then you have to lean to port, then starboard, each ten times. When done with that you have to lean forward then aft, ten times each.  I closed my eyes and pretended I was sailing again! 
They even have a big stainless steel wheel there, just like a racing sailboat. I didn't get to play with it though (darn!)  The patients are often hidden behind curtains and I felt sorry for the guy next to me, behind the curtains. I could hear his therapist saying "one, two, three" and he muttering "Stop!  Cheese and bread!"  The therapist said "We are only going to do ten of these." He was muttering "Cheese and bread!  You sure you not trying to kill me?"
Next, I  had to go to customs to do some paperwork. They were very nice and efficient.  I had to climb their huge stairway to the top. I thought I was going to die. My fin doth protest greatly!! 
Afterwards, I decided to hopple across the street to a store.  This dang rude taxi driver came up in my face, he almost tripped me up, he was so aggressive,  and screamed at me as if I was wearing hearing aids "TAXI!  BACK TO THE SHIP!"  and it really irritated me.
What happened to the NICE people on Tortola? 
The store I went into, used to have nice clothes and stuff. Now they have pure junk, very shoddy flimsy clothing, the kind of stuff you might get to wear twice before it shredded in a modern washing machine. I asked about the sarongs, and the lady brought me a selection of her version of "rayon".  They were thinner than a piece of medical gauze and woven so loosely, that a good washing would surely shrink it to half its size.  I shook my head and said "What happened here?  I bought sarongs from you before that were beautiful and well made."  She shrugged her shoulders and said it was the Chinese, they sold you beautiful stuff one time  and then the  next shipment arrived of poor quality.
The store was overstocked with everything imaginable that had either "Tortola" or the "BVI" stamped on it.
I see the changes on Tortola with the Cruise Ship arrivals and I am just not impressed.  Is Road Town becoming a place of  cheap souvenirs and screaming taxi drivers?
I took my walker and went to the bank and cashed my temporary disability check from Social Security. I felt like a very old mermaid, and very embarrassed for some silly reason. Then the teller told me she loved my outfit, especially my hat.
I guess she doesn't see too many mermaids with a walker wearing a hat these days... She sure perked me up!
Road Town is still the hottest part of the island.  Getting home and opening the door, I was greeted to a nice cooling breeze.   I collapsed back in bed, my day out was exhausting, my fin was huge and begging for an ice bag. The ice put me to sleep and I dreamed of a nice sandy Christmas with Santa Claus riding his sleigh in and shimmying down my coconut tree...
Never too early to shop for  Christmas, it's just around the corner.
all links are underlined!

- A Red Sea
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 07:09:54 EST
Yesterday, the current done mash up twice. *sigh*
At 430am we were treated to an almost 30 minute mini-storm with gusty winds and rapid rains. Winds are very still, now at 716am.  The sounds of roosters, bird, frogs and cicadas can be heard quite clearly.  Temperature is a cool 82 degrees and last night, I had to bundle up in my afghan to keep from freezing!  Autumn must be finally hitting the BVI, only 6 weeks late (typical, we late for everything!)
Message in a bottle from Lori and Ken:
maybe mermaids too had extra fins....or legs.......
Now let's see, Dolphins are related to Miss Mermaid  cause they are my mother's uncles', bothers' wife's daughter's son-in-law's grandmother's aunt's children by her second husband. Does that make us cousins?
On another note, Billy Bob, a reader from New Hampshire says it's been mighty c-c-c-cold and he is getting old, and he hasn't had the energy to chop up all his firewood sitting out back in his shed. Furthermore, tomorrow is his birthday and he wishes he could either build a fire to stay warm or had the money to   fly south and frolic with Miss Mermaid in the sunny warm Caribbean.
I felt sorry for Billy Bob. Being cold is a terrible t'ing.
So I called up the sheriff's office (anonymously, well they didn't believe I was Miss Mermaid, so they wrote my name down as Anonymous) and told them I didn't know HOW Billy Bob was doing it, but he had somehow figured out a way to stash  illegal drugs inside  his firewood out back in his shed and I gave them Billy Bob's address and hung up.
That night, Billy Bob was asleep under 3 quilts, 2 comforters and 4 blankets when he was awakened by the Sheriff and a host of Swat team members, who held him at bay, while they lit up bright lights, opened up his shed and chopped open every bit of his firewood, looking for illegal substances.  Finding none, they sneer at Billy Bob and leave.
The next morning, I called up Billy Bob and asked him if his firewood still needed chopping and he said "Um, no, not anymore!" and explained what happened.
So Happy Birthday, Billy Bob! Enjoy your split firewood!
Daybreak, on the Sir Francis Drake Channel with Nanny Cay & Tortola
Red sky at night, Sailor's delight, Red sky at morning, Sailor's warning,
But, what about a red sea???

- Car Mystery
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006 10:25:55 EST
84 degrees, bright and sunny with scattered clouds. We've got another wave meandering our way at 10knots.  Currently it is at 51west and 15north.  The BVI is located at roughly at 64west and 18north.
We've been lucky, our named storms have only made it as far as Isaac!  This shoots plenty on holes in all the expert predictions. Maybe they should revert to a crystal ball like Miss Mermaid.
The Rotary Club is sponsoring  a Fun Car Rally Nov 11th.  It sounds funs, except lots more drivers will be on the road in the rally. 
I hope it is fun and that the rally doesn't cause any accidents. Folks here tend to drive either 9mph or 90mph, they pass on curves and wicked hills, they slam on brakes to chat up a pedestrian.  Some people simply stop in the middle of the road to repair their car!  Another common phenomenon here, is to park your car on either public property or someone else's property and then spend the next 3 years pretending to repair the car.
One day last week, I was riding with friends (I can't drive yet with my mangled fin) and we wanted to park on Frenchman's Cay near Pussers.  Lo and behold, 4 of the nearby parking spots were consumed by broken down cars!  It looked more like a car repair or junk yard than it did a parking lot for stores and restaurants.  Another spot was taken up by a boat.  Now the little seaside mall there already provides a free dinghy dock, but free parking to store your boat in their parking lot?  What's up with dat?
We never could find parking within 1000 feet of hopping distance so we departed and went to another restaurant, (CoCo Plums) where we could  park within 50 feet of the door (to save me the hassle of walking too far with the old folks' walker.   
A few years back, where I live, first 1, then 2 broken down cars appeared one day in the yard where residents from 6 abodes park.  Everyone assumed it was someone that lived here.  After about  a year of the broken down cars sitting in our yard, the landlord determined they didn't belong to anyone living on the property, nor any of their relatives.  Matter of fact, no one ever figured out whose cars they were or how or why they ended up here!  Finally the landlord paid to have them towed to the junk yard.  We still wonder about those cars and how they ended up here.  You would think if your car was missing,  you would eventually notice!
Tortola on the left, Frenchman's Cay on the right, Soper's Hole in the middle. Support Miss Mermaid, Shop At Amazon

- A Liter of Juice
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 13:12:24 EST
86 degrees at 2pm with light winds. Surf isn't up yet but expected to be by Wednesday.  No rains yet today.  It feels hot, because of the lack of wind I suppose.
Things have taken a downward turn here. I woke up at 4am and hoppled over to the kitchen for a liter size carton of juice.  I planned to hopple over to my desk and pour a glass and sit down.  However, the carton, a full liter of Papaya Juice, slipped from my hand and before I could move, you guessed it, it slammed onto my injured fin.  Since the juice wasn't opened yet, it didn't spill. If it had, I've no idea how I would have cleaned it up.
I screamed so loud that  a friend from Jost Van Dyke, who had woke up to go fishing, called me on the phone to ask what happened. I was still shrieking as I grabbed an ice bag and hoppled back to my lair, propped up fin and iced it.
I notice I now have a huge nasty bruise on top of my already swollen fin.  Since I don't sleep with the brace on, there was nothing to protect me.  ARGH!  T'ings are going backwards, no forwards here!

- Lessons To Learn
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 13:36:58 EST
 Fantastic day for the beach. A mild 85 degrees with gentle tradewinds.  Early morning rains graced the day, like a fresh morning rinse.
I hobbled around today to see what critters were living with me. I found a few cats lazing about, a dead half-eaten bird under my chair in the shower, and Lizzy Lizard clinging to a vine.  I didn't see Froggy Fidel  or Herman the hermit crab.  I am getting around pretty well now, well if you call going forward a few feet without any aids.  That's all I can muster, then it's back to the dang old folk's walker.
I was never much on watching cable TV, as there is so much to do here in the great outdoors. In the past, TV viewing was reserved for late night insomnia, as I find much of the stuff available to watch, puts me to sleep in under a half hour.
However, having been laid up, the past two months with my busted mermaid fin,  from my unfortunate accident, I have to admit, I have watched tons of TV. I've read every book I own and can't get to the book trades.  Many of our cable channels are US based, though we get Spanish cartoons and soaps plus British news.
I'm not impressed with the local cable company's choice of  channel lineup.  It seems geared towards those who like numerous channels of cartoons, very old movies shown 38 times in one month and Spanish listeners. While I know some Spanish, my brain is mucho lento!  I can't seem to listen as fast as they speak!  Por favor, habla lento!
We do have ONE semi-educational channel, which is my favorite. I've now learned how to build bridges and dig tunnels, all about tornados and hurricanes, more than I ever wanted to know about snakes (yuck!) and why planes crashed and buildings crumble. I've been dazzled by oversized machinery and learned how to hunt like a cheetah.  I've discovered that many wildlife species consider humans as merely part of the food chain, an elusive delicacy, that much of the wildlife, apparently, would like to try out. Nothing about mermaids though.
I watched a curious sea rescue recently, filmed both from the sailboat in peril and from the freighter that rescued them. Initially the sailboat lost their engine, then were dismasted so they were left adrift in rough weather.  A few days later when a freighter rendezvoused with them, I was shocked to see the freighter raft up to the sailboat and the sailboat had NO fenders out.  The boat was a goodly size, so it made me wonder.  However, later on, I saw that a bunch of the equipment in the interior had not been properly installed, but, rather was duct taped together.
Even is you don't plan on ever going to a marina, you still need fenders and the larger the better. I used to catch a lot of flack from my sailing buddies because I had humongous fenders.
But up until Hurricane Luis, I never had a single scratch on my boat. Fenders were useful for hauling out in the yard and tying up aongside before being lifted out. Sometimes I had company over that had a big dinghy and it was safer to put out fenders and left them raft up along side in certain sea conditions and so on.
Fenders are those rubber or plastic things with loads of air and or foam in them, to prevent from mashing up your boat.  I watched in horror as the sailboat slammed against the steel  freighter repeatedly until she had a huge gapping hole and sunk in seconds (not minutes)  before anybody had been rescued!
Also, interesting to note, was the lack of life jackets the crew had on when they knew a rescue was imminent.  So the boat sank, the crew went down with it and I wondered if the propeller of the freighter would suck them into oblivion. Of course, I had to wait through 14 commercials to find out (thank goodness for that little mute button!)
Amazingly, the crew surfaced, hundreds of yards away,  clinging to various flotsam and jetsam,  and the freighter eventually picked them all up. There were numerous lessons to be learned from watching  that  short video. This crew knew for well over 36 hours that a freighter was diverting to assist them, yet they seemed totally unprepared when the freighter arrived.  No fenders, no life jackets on deck, no abandon ship bag, no harnesses
Back in my early days of sailing, matter of fact, it was like my 2nd time ever at sea and I thought I was with an experienced captain (boy was I ever wrong)  I found myself on an upside down catamaran with 2 people on board and one life jacket in the Pacific Ocean. One day I will tell you all the crazy things we went through, adrift, contemplating the one jacket and  two people. 
There was a point when I suspected my captain might kill me, in order to have the jacket to himself as he kept wanting to take the jacket and swim for help and leave me clinging to the wreckage, of one submerged hull with the other hull, still afloat, though quite dubiously. I think the appearance of a shark, gave him second thoughts about swimming and fortuitously, none of us were bleeding or injured.
Amazingly, we only drifted about 12 miles, I guess about a mile an hour, but the problem was we were drifting further from land, not closer and we were already about 10 miles from shore when we flipped under his self proclaimed expert sailing skills. The problem was, we weren't in a popular sailing area or in a shipping lane.  The Pacific has huge wave swells and often the swells were towering above us, while we were drifting in the trough.
For comforts, we had salvaged two sodas, one credit card and one hotel key. We tried to right the catamaran and had we weighed 200 pounds more each, we might have succeeded, but the mast was busted up and the sails were ripped, from our underwater inspection, all we could see was a huge mangled mess.   Fortunately we were rescued about 12 hours later through an amazing miracle.
When I was pulled aboard the boat of salvation, I collapsed, as I could not stand up, and as I lay on the deck, my entire body  shook uncontrollably for about an hour, which scared my rescuers.  By the time we reached land, I was able to walk but I was still vibrating from head to toe for awhile. I guess it was an adrenaline rush that caused the shakes. 
I kept thinking, no one knows we are out here, we will just be listed amongst more   missing person lists,  that go unsolved.
Just another story that had numerous lessons to be learned and another time I apparently used up one of my 19 lives and lived to tell about it.

- Happy Sails
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 4 Nov 2006 12:44:24 EST
This morning at daybreak we were treated to a heavy downpour for all of 10 minutes.  Now the sun is out brightly, the winds are light and it's 84 degrees.
Starting Monday we should start to see surfing swells on the northern shore. Sunday is the full moon with parties at both ends of Tortola. 
On Monday the 6th, the annual Caribbean 1500 Rally will set sail from Hampton Virginia, to Village Cay Marina, Tortola. We wish you fair winds!   George Day, a circumnavigator and the publisher of Blue Water Sailing Magazine will be sailing with the group. They have over 70 boats participating this year.
Phyllis and Doug from St John sent over a message in a Cruzan Rum bottle:
It looks and sounds like Happy Thwappy may be a Cuban Tree Frog (they sort of look like a clump of putty or clay, and can vary in color from greenish to clay white).  A noisy, highly invasive species of frog. 
So, armed with this info,  did some more research and yep, I got me a Cuban Tree Frog.  Maybe I should rename him Froggy Fidel. I also read with interest that they are known to bark like little dogs at odd hours of the night.  Hmm, I didn't hear any barking, just all that thwapping around as he explored my place.  Apparently mine is just a lost baby, as he was pretty tiny and reports indicate they are from 1.5 to 6 inches long.
They are also voracious eaters and will eat other frogs as well as lizards.  Which reminds me, I haven't seen my pet Lizzy the Lizard in a few days...  She usually hangs out in the potted vines, climbing up and down them for exercise.
Cuba tree frogs can also change colors.  They are avid hitchhikers and often catch rides in potted plants being shipped to nurseries.  Hmm, maybe Froggy Fidel thinks my potted plants are going for a ride somewhere...
Speaking of hitchhikers, a while back I was driving to town and noticed a 7 inch lizard clinging to my hood. I stopped the  car and suggested he get off. I am not one to touch reptiles, so I merely implored verbally. He ignored me and sat there as if to say "This isn't Road Town and I am going to town!"   So I continued on my trip and he managed to sit there on the hood,  all the way to Road Town, surviving potholes, speed bumps and sudden stops for those folks in front of me, that slam on brakes to chat with a pedestrian.  When I parked in Road Town, he merrily hopped off the hood and went his way. 
Another day I was at a friend's house  when we noticed a lizard floating belly up in the pool and not moving.  We assumed he was dead. My friend's young daughter volunteered to get in the pool and evict the dead lizard bare handed. Most unfortunately, her mother encouraged her and the daughter took a dive in the pool.  We watched her scoop up the lizard, and the warmth of her hand apparently brought the lizard out of hibernation and he woke up and tickled her hand, which made her shriek loud enough to be heard all the way to  Anegada. I think I discovered just how strong my heart is, that day!  I nearly fell over from the incredible shriek that this little 50 pound girl made.
She dropped the lizard, and literally walked on water, to escape the pool, shrieking hysterically at the top of her lungs,  the whole time. (I think I heard Crystal goblets  shattering in the kitchen as the shrieking continued unabated.)  The lizard went back to sleep in the pool, floating belly up, as apparently the coolness of the water sent the lizard into a sort of hibernation. (Perhaps lizards are deaf as well?)  
Next the mother fetched the pool scooper, the basket thingy for fetching leaves out and scooped the sleepy lizard back out, he immediately woke up and scampered off. Meanwhile, the daughter quit shrieking. (I think she was hoarse by now.)
But I swear my ears were ringing for an hour, after that blood curdling shriek...
Note to self:  Never ever encourage a small child to fetch anything that might wiggle...

- Great Weather and A Cat Maid
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 14:00:55 EST
86 degrees with moderate winds.  Nothing remarkable to report on the weather other than we've had scattered showers three times this morning all under 5 minutes each and 2 with the sun shining at the same time.
Birds are busy chirping away merrily and I have a new pet,  that has moved in with me, uninvited.  Throughout the night, I kept waking up and hearing a "thwap, thwap thwap".  I would get up and hobble around with my walker trying to find the source of this unique noise, to no avail.  I laid back down.
A pile of plastic shopping bags of unpacked non-perishables, fetched by a dear friend and delivered to me,  were on the counter and I heard something rustling through the bags. Again, I hoppled up and  a search produced nothing.
I laid back down. I heard the "thwap, thwap, thwap."
Sometimes I could hear the "thwap, thwap, thwap"  emanating from another room. I finally decided I must have a thwappy ghost thwapping his way around my place and I would just have to live with it.
I woke up for the 11th time and I heard the "thwap, thwap, thwap".  Mind you it's erratic, not always a nice neat staccato. Maybe the thwappy ghost is blind and hesitant.
Early this morning I was struggling around the kitchen, trying to make a pot of coffee (I am really tired from the lack of sleep)  when I heard the "thwap, thwap, thwap" very close by.
I froze in place and carefully looked around me. All was silent. Have I been homebound so long that now I am hearing things? Finally,  I continued with the coffee ministrations and kept a careful ear out. I struggled over to my desk, sat down, with coffee, and opened up my computer.
"Thwap, thwap, thwap"  I heard again, coming from behind me. Realizing I had coffee and no milk, (I make super strong coffee and dilute it heavily with milk)  I struggled to go back to the kitchen and fetch some.
There, I encountered this creature perched on an empty salad bowl I hadn't washed yet.  I managed to snap this one picture (below) when the camera announced "dead battery!" so it's not very clear (I wasn't really awake yet either) and I seem to have misplaced my spare  camera battery *sigh*. I guess the little froggy was busy all night, giving my unwashed dishes a pre-wash.
This morning I washed all in super hot water and noticed there weren't any food bits left, so perhaps little froggy was very busy all night.
My new pet froggy, started to hop and there it was, the "thwap, thwap, thwap."  I guess I will name him "Happy Thwappy."  He is now ensconced on dirt in a potted bromeliad on the balcony, looking quite smitten.
Once in awhile I hear the "thwap, thwap, thwap" as he continues to explore his new home. I think he KNOWS I am far too slow to evict him, he can "thwap, thwap, thwap" a lot faster than me.
Perhaps he can keep Herman,  my hermit crab company.  I didn't adopt Herman either, he just appeared one day, cleaned up the spilt cat food and left. Or so I thought.
Every few days, I see Herman the hermit crab go by, he seems to know when I am laying down with leg propped up high, he takes his time to go strolling around while I watch from my pallet. My cats have become real slobs and sometimes me or my walker collides with the cat food dish. Sweeping up the mess,  is quite difficult in my condition, so I've settled for the mess and blamed the cats.
It's my fault the cat's won't eat off the floor. When they were tiny, I imposed strict rules that they only eat what is in THEIR bowl. This was because I didn't want them eating out of MY bowl or plate or whatever I am dining with. I also didn't want them begging for handouts.  When I give them people treats, I place them in their bowl as I don't want  them to expect to be hand fed unless they are deathly ill.
While counters and table are off limits to the kitties, I wanted them to learn to tolerate food smells and not go stealing my stuff.   Eventually they learned, the food in their  bowls were 100% theirs and everything else edible not in the bowl, was 100%  mine.  So when the cat food spills outside the bowl, they shrug their furry little shoulders as if to say "not my stuff cause it's not in MY bowl!" and turn their nose up at it.
Now Herman the hermit crab,  cleans up the spilt cat food and anything I drop while trying to assemble a simple meal, so I haven't seen much reason to evict him.  He doesn't seem to be a very picky eater and I must admit, having a clean kitchen floor is nice. Not that there is much to eat, sometimes days go by without me making a mess.
I am not sure where Herman the hermit crab hides, (guess that's a hermit for you!) but he shows up several times a week, so I think he doesn't stray too far from the free treats.
It used to be my cats would eagerly slay anything that wasn't human that set foot in the home, but now they've either become complacent or maybe they like the extra pets or maybe they brought Herman the hermit crab in  on purpose.
Perhaps, the cats were tired of me fussing about the spilt food, and decided to hire their version of a cat's maid, in the form of Herman the hermit crab. 
Now the cat's maid has a new friend, Happy Thwappy.

- Cloudless Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 10:10:16 EST
Beautiful day with light winds and 84 degrees.  No storms on the horizon and only 28 days left until hurricane season is over. There is another tropical wave off of Africa headed our way.  The sky is a brilliant blue today with virtually no clouds hanging about.
Hey did somebody lose their dinghy?  Cause the police found one drifting in the Sir Francis Drake Channel  with 371 pounds of cocaine. To claim it, contact the local police... as they are seriously looking for you!
There is a lot of media about the Vincent Connolley murder on Virgin Gorda.  None of the reports mention that owning a firearm is still against the law in the BVI.  It's a sad state of affairs around here, what with 3 murders in 2006. 
I caught a ride back to the hospital yesterday after finding out about the secret door.  See, initially I called for directions to the Physical Therapy department because I heard a rumor they were no longer located in the hospital. Well apparently they have moved back into the hospital, this time in the new section which is blissfully air conditioned. The old section, where all the patient rooms are, is not air conditioned. This encourages patients to get well in a hurry as Road Town is much hotter than the rest of the island.
The lady on the phone told me I had to go upstairs.  "What?  I have to climb a flight of stairs?  If I could climb a flight of stairs, then I sure wouldn't need physical therapy!" 
She suggested I take the elevator. "What?  Take an elevator?  If the current mash up, I be stuck in there for hours!  I am not taking an elevator!  And if it breaks, did you know  the closest Otis Elevator repairman is in Puerto Rico?  And if the weather is bad and the airport is closed, then I could be stuck in there for days!  Nope I am not taking an elevator."
Then the lady on the phone, sighs, like I am being a real pest and says well let me connect you to the therapist.  The therapist comes on the line and I ask her "How come they put the physical therapy department on the upper floor?  If I could climb steps, I wouldn't need therapy!"
She says "Oh, just use the secret door, and then you won't have any steps."
She gives me directions to the secret door that don't make much sense to me, but I gathered it is black and it is hidden in back of the new section.
So up we go to the hospital, sneaking around the back where we find a big dirt parking lot and lo and behold, there is a BLACK door. We park adjacent to it and I get out. The black door has this HUGE step up.  I struggle and manage to make it up the big step. This is a hospital, why isn't there a nice ramp?  Then there are the huge heavy doors that open outwards and there is no button to automatically open a door.
It was like a cartoon comedy, me with my walker, trying to struggle to open the heavy outwards door and backup with my walker, then try to hold the door open and negotiate me and the walker inside. I thought that heavy door was going to knock me face down on the sidewalk and it slams shut just as I manage to get out of the way.  I am still on the wrong side though. Meanwhile my friend showed up after parking the car and she struggled to get the door open so I could go in without breaking my neck.
We go click clacking down the hallway.  We come to a door that says "Future Kitchen" on  a piece of paper scotch taped to the door. The next door paper sign reads "Physical Therapy was here, but we moved it"
Now what.
So I click clack  and flip flop down the hall some more, taking a left.  There is another door and another paper sign and it has an arrow and reads "Physical Therapy moved".
How many times have they moved this department?
We come to a few chairs in the hallway next to an open doorway. We look inside and there are weights, walkers, crutches, a stationary bicycle and it all looked very new and very clean.  There is not a soul around.
Then we come to a closed door with a paper sign that says "Please knock and enter and announce yourself".
My friend opens the door and we enter.  I tell you just the walk to get to the department has about wore me out. I am standing there breathing heavily and the receptionist looks at my friend and asks if she can help her. So I was feeling silly and I say "Bet you can't guess which one is the patient!"
I was pleased that we were right on time and displeased when the receptionist suggested we go back out and sit in the hallway. However, a very nice therapist showed up a minute later and escorted me into the toy room.
She was trying not to laugh as she asked me to remove my shoe. I said "Go ahead and laugh, everyone else does" as I bent over to remove the duct taped shoe sole from my foot with a loud rip.   You see since my cast finally came off, but my foot and ankle are huge and shedding skin every day. I thought people only had 7 layers of skin, so I wonder what happens when I run out of layers?
There I was all dressed up to go to the hospital and none of my shoes will fit my foot. Finally I looked at my oldest pair of sandals and got the scissors out and cannibalized the shoe until all I had left was just a sole.  Then I got out the duct tape, wrapped it around the sole and around my foot. 
Now I am all dressed up to go to the hospital and my shoe is stuck to my foot with duct tape. I feel like a real classy act here.  So I stuck my favorite straw hat on for good luck and set out.  There wasn't time to go shoe shopping.
An hour later, the therapist has mangled my foot into all sorts of positions and I watch it turn red then purple, then blue then pink. I groan now and then and try to do all the exercises she shows me.  How I broke my leg in two places and now it's my foot and ankle that are mangled?  She tries to explain to me it is common. She also suggests I go look for Velcro shoes and to try Clover's Store.  Then she put my leg brace back on. I had arrived with it in my backpack, because I claimed it didn't fit right. (It does, I just don't like it!)  I open my backpack, pull out a roll of duct tape and proceed to duct tape my sole to my foot and brace.
When we leave the hospital, I suggest we go to One Mart which sells groceries and appliances. I announce they have a little scooter attached to a buggy and I can sit in that and drive around and shop. We get to One Mart and there is no scooter attached to a buggy parked at the front door. I hopple over to the cashier and ask her "Where is the little scooter and buggy?"
"Mashed up!"  she replies. So I sigh.
But we figured out I could toss the walker into a buggy, and then use the buggy as a rolling walker.  I felt like heaven on earth, to be in a store!  My first trip to a store in two months!  I was so excited. But by the third aisle, I was exhausted, so we left, after paying for my purchases. The cashier was real sweet and said she hadn't seen me in awhile! 
Next we went on a Velcro shoe hunt. Clover's Store sells shoes, unusual cloth, sewing notions, sewing machine parts and occasionally pillows, sheets and towels. I encourage my friend to park illegally near the door and promise her I can talk the cop out of a ticket by waving my walker at him.  I struggle up the steps to Clover's and a nice sales lady runs over and opens the door for me.
I ask her if she has any Velcro shoes. She says she has ONE pair left and shows me to a chair next to an older lady. I sit down and feel a bit embarrassed that the lady next to me isn't being helped by a sales lady, so I say "Um, I think she is first".
The older lady says "No, I am not here to shop. I just came in to sit down in the air conditioning and cool off."  The sales lady nods knowingly and hands me a right shoe. I take my duct tape off to a loud R-I-I-I-I-I-I-P which gets everyone's attention in the store and few muffled giggles.
I try to get the shoe on over the brace and it won't go.  So I spend the next 10 minutes trying to get out of my brace. I get the shoe on and tug and pull with the Velcro and finally the shoe is on and the brace is off. I get up to hopple around and ask about the left shoe because I was really hoping to buy a pair, not just one.  The saleslady disappears behind a door. I hear boxes being moved around then I hear a huge pile of boxes topple in the floor behind the closed door. It opens and out steps the saleslady with the left shoe.
I try it on, and hopple around the store and ask how much for the pair.  I guess that duct tape really affected the saleslady. She studies my ugly foot, looks at my walker and says in a low voice, "Just give me five dollars."  Not one to argue, I paid and left. 
In the car I announce my lucky find and great deal to my friend who peers at my shoes and says "I didn't know ANYTHING on Tortola sold for $5!"  and we giggle and commensurate about the high cost of t'ings.
Life in paradise. And now I don't have to carry duct tape in my purse anymore!  Yippee!  I am so happy!

- Gorgeous Day
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2006 07:18:41 EST
Gorgeous day in the BVI and a very sad one too.  85 degrees and virtually no winds. I am off to the mermaid hospital again but I hope they don't keep me long.
On avery sad and tragic note:
Vincent (Vinnie) Connolley in Virgin Gorda was found shot to death. I knew Vinnie and I am just thoroughly shocked to hear we have another apparent murder in the BVI.
My heart and condolences goes out to Vinnie's family, friends and coworkers.
Pray for peace.

- Twick or Tweat, Fan the Heat, Give me Something Cold to Eat
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 12:04:56 EST
946am the current done mash up again
1010am the rains start coming down, gray skies
1017am sun playing peek-a-boo, but rains still falling
1029 rains top but sky is still overcast with sun playing hide-and-seek (19 minutes of rain!  WOW!)
1035 am rains start up with more gusto!
1036 am rains stop, quite abruptly
1046 am DA current done come back on, after only one hour, now daft is pretty quick
Typical sort of rains are the norm in the islands. Typical BVI Electricity outage is the norm too. Dat guv-ment keep saying dey fixed our current problems.  But like my friend says, "Da guv-ment here for one purpose and one purpose only and dat is to mess t'ings up for the rest of us!"  And I must admit, I agree whole heartedly.
Like many residents I plug-out my t'ings like dat computer and stuff I don't want dat big bad  BVI Elec-tricky to mash up if and when they decide to flip that big switch and bring us back online. Lucky for me I have cellular internet and laptop batt-tree, so I can still communicate even when dat elec-tricky mash up.
By the way, the BVI is on Atlantic Standard Time, year round. So for those of you that still honor that semi-annual daylight savings time, we don't!  Folks here are very confused about time. When they say they "go to come back", that means they are leaving and will be back in 10 minutes, or 5 hours or 3 days or 2 years. Many folks do not wear watches or own calendars.
I was at the hospital last week and waiting in line in my pilfered wheel chair,  to pay my bill so I could get more X-rays. Several people were scattered around in the waiting room.  The man in front of me pulled out a check book and asked what day it was. Someone said Thursday and he nodded. A lady gasped Thursday?  But my appointment was for Wednesday! An old woman said "What?  You been waiting here 2 days to see a doctor?"   Meanwhile another  said the 25th, a lady said, no  the 26th and someone else said, no it's the 19th.  Eventually we voted for the 26th.  Then he asked what month it was. Someone volunteered September and another corrected them to October. The old man scribbled on his check book. Then he asked and do you know what year it is?  The line was silent for a moment then someone said I think it's either 2005 or 6. Then he asked if we thought it was 2pm yet. Two said no and three said it was later than 2.
So can you imagine if we decided to change our time twice a year?  It's confusing  enough that we keep changing the day every 24 hours. The seasons just don't change much here to mark time. Dusk and dawn have very quick twilights, so basically either it's dark or it isn't.  Hence the term dark-thirty.  I must admit, when tourists ask me what time it is, if it is still daylight, I look at my bare wrist and say "It's half past a freckle..."
Indeed if you are outside and ask the time, during the day, many folks will look heavenwards and give you an approximation that is very often pretty darn accurate. So why wear a watch?  T'ings start late here, folks show up late and time and watches, are  just something new-fangled that the rest of the world uses.
 Rolex  is going to open up a shop here soon. So now we can pay $7,000 to know what time it is. While I am sure the tourists and some of the well-heeled sailors will flock to the new store, it is doubtful they will make many sales to islanders.
By the way, to check current  local BVI time click here
For beautiful 2007 island calendars see these pages.

- Dark Thirty on the 30th
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 18:39:06 EST
Well, here it is dark thirty and I am just now putting out the weather report. Well chances are, it will be dark all night, until 615am, when the sun will rise, once again. We had about 90 seconds of rains today and plenty of sunshine.  Tomorrow, we are expecting much of the same.
Went to a party yesterday, where one lady explained she was starting a pot garden on her roof. Now that is one way to get everyone's attention!  She explained that usually she just grew weeds. Someone pondered the difference between growing pot and growing weed and others wanted to know the exact address of her roof!  Turns out she is trying to growing edible vegetables in pots on her roof and not growing pot or weed.
Now perhaps this gaffe isn't nearly as bad as my friend who thought she had found some errant marijuana in a paper bag.  She was packing up a gift for someone and hunted down a nice paper shopping bag with handles.  Noticing it had a small handful of leafy green stuff that resembled marijuana, she thought she had struck gold 
Not one to miss an opportunity, she emptied out the bag, rolled up the green stuff and began to  smoke it.   Next thing she notices, her cat is running in circles around her, meowing quite lustily and breathing in the smoke quite heavily.  This puzzled her, as her cat is offended by cigarette smokers, and hastily leaves the house if anyone lights up.
Then it dawned on her. A while back, she had come home with the shopping bag, it was pouring down rain. Her cat, who loves the outdoors, seemed a bit bored and was staring out at the rain, most unhappily.  So she put a scoop of catnip in the bag and laid the bag on the floor, on its side.
Kitty cat happily entered the bag and played with the catnip contentedly until the rain let up. The next day, seeing the bag in the floor, my absent minded friend, thought it had blown off the shelf, so she folded it up and put it away to be reused at some point.
As she explained to me "There I am, joint in hand, with my cat climbing my leg and meowing hysterically when it dawns on me, that I am smoking catnip..."
Island note: Good heavy shopping bags are HARD to come by in the BVI so folks tend to recycle the ones they do manage to get.  The grocery stores are famous in the BVI  for using flimsy little plastic bags and putting exactly 3 items in each bag, double bagging it all and sending one home with a 100 plastic bags containing 3 days worth of groceries.
I happen to save my flimsy plastic bags and use them for garbage. Only problem is, they don't seem to make a suitable garbage can that holds these bags neatly. Hence, all my garbage bins are mop buckets, which are the perfect size for the flimsy bags. Thanks to the generosity of the grocery stores, I am able to triple and quadruple my garbage and still I never run out of those flimsy little bags.
If you hunt around the island enough, you can find color coordinated  mop buckets  to match your room's decor. Since floods and hurricanes can and do happen here, (though rarely having a plethora of buckets is not a bad t'ing.
If you save your flimsy little bags and don't have a fancy bag holder to contain them in, a sturdy paper bag works wonders for keeping the flimsy ones in check until you are ready to recycle them.

- 101 Uses for Cane besides walking
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2006 11:30:13 EST
High noon and it's 86 degrees with balmy trade winds wafting by. The sky is a fantastic blue with a few cotton ball clouds hanging around. Doubtful we will get any rain, but if we do, it will probably be less than 4 minutes all together.
The crystal ball was right on target yesterday, we had exactly 2 minutes of rain at 1226pm.
My fin is on the mend, and I can't wait to get out and about again.  This has been a long arduous journey to nowhere.  If anything I have learned more about the medical care here, both government type and private type. What I have learned is; don't get sick and don't have any accidents!
We have plenty of doctors and pharmacies here, but still, it's a toss up.  One doctor gave me a prescription that took me to all 4 1/2  drugs stores and none had it in stock. Makes you wonder.
I bought the last old folk's type 4-legged  walker on the island and paid a handsome price for it too. It works pretty well, except you can't carry anything around except in a back pack, as both hands are busy with the walker. For the erratic terrain here, I find the walker more useful than crutches.
The only problem is steps, I have to sit down on the step then scoot my way up on my tail, with the walker clattering behind me, then use the walker to get up off the top step and then hopple my way onwards. Needless to say, I try to avoid steps at all costs. Going down steps is just as awful, I end up sitting down and scooting my way down and my tail is pretty sore.
If the steps are big, then me and the walker can negotiate them.  So last time I went to town to see the doctors, I stopped by the Pub which only has two big steps to get inside and was able to hopple up and in and over to the bar and have a lovely lunch. 
I also own a pair of crutches, courtesy of the hospital, who insisted if I only grew 5 inches taller, they would work fine. Needless to say, the crutches are worthless (I haven't grown 5 inches taller). Hospital wouldn't take them back for refund or exchange, so I guess when I can get out and about I will donate them to the Red Cross or something.
The drugs stores or the hospital needs to order spare rubber tips for the crutches. A friend of mine, a while back, tells me she had to go buy crutches for her husband and the hospital was out again, so she went to the various pharmacies in search. Once pharmacy had the crutches, but they were all missing the rubber tips. When she asked about this, the cashier told her there was a one-legged man who walked all over the island with one crutch and he wore his rubber tip out quickly.
Since no one sold spare rubber tips, her would simply "borrow" rubber tips off the crutches for sale, thus none of the crutches in stock had rubber tips on them.  Only on Tortola...
I called a store about a quad-cane, the kind with 4 legs, for use by one arm, a step up from the walker.  They had them in stock, or so they claimed. My friend ran down to the store for me to get one, and low and behold, they were "finished" which in island speak means out-of-stock and we won't get any more until next month or next year.
I have a single cane, the kind with just one leg and tip, but I am not able to use it yet, I still need the stability of the walker. However, I've discoverer the cane is useful for other things, since it has a nice curved handle.
For instance when I lay down, I can use the hooked end of the cane, to maneuver the TV stand into place for optimal viewing. I can flip it around, and use the other end for pushing the on/off button of the TV (the remote is broken for that).
For weeks, I had to use an office chair for a wheel chair (none of those around either) and I was using my good fin to push myself around in the chair and then I discovered with the aid of the cane, I could go a bit faster. 
When I want to sit on the balcony at the dining table, my office chair won't jump the track of the sliding door, so I used the cane to pull a deck chair over close to the door, then stood up on my good find and switched chairs, then used the cane to scoot the chair over to the dining table. 
Once I was ready to go back inside, I used the cane to fetch my office chair closer, then pushed my way in the deck chair with the cane, over to the door and make the switch again. While sitting in the office chair, I could then use the can to hook the table leg, and drag the table over close to the door, and clear off the dishes, then push the table back into place.
 I can use the curved part of the cane as a dressing stick, using it to pull up undies or shorts over the big cast.  The oscillator on the fan broke, so I use the cane to push the fan into position, rather than get up and go do it with my hands. Like I would move across the room to sit down, and discover the fan is no longer aimed at me, so I could just reach across with the cane and push it into position again. 
Life is hilarious here! 
If all goes well today, friends are threatening to come over and  kidnap me to go over  to a pool party. Yippee!

- Trick or Treat!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2006 11:50:43 EDT
Another great day in paradise!  A tropical wave is moving south of us, and we probably won't get any ill effects from it.  We have some nice trade winds blowing in today and that sure feels good. I expect we will get about 2 minutes of rain today, probably in the afternoon. It is 86 degrees at 1030am.
Sad news is that Bobby's Market won't be getting their usual pumpkin shipment in time this year.  Not sure if it's coming late, or just not at all.  One year they had a massive pumpkin on a palate on display in front of the store. You were supposed to guess the weight and win a prize if you were correct. The only problem was, the weight of the pumpkin was spray painted on the wooden palate it sat on.  I wonder how many prizes they had to hand out that year!
Back in the dark ages, when I first came to the BVI, I was shopping around October and noticed there were lots of Happy Father's Day cards for sale.
As Thanksgiving rolled around, which isn't celebrated officially in the BVI, I couldn't find a turkey anywhere!  Turkey is just not a Caribbean thing.  Most islanders have never baked one and I can't think of a single restaurant in the BVI that serves roast turkey except on a very special occasion. Nowadays, you can buy a frozen turkey almost year round and of course some places serve the proverbial turkey sandwich, but it's that pressed meat stuff, not from a real turkey roasted in their own oven.
When Christmas rolled around I went looking for stocking stuffers and what I found was orange and black candy, at full price of course.  For New year's the paper goods department was selling paper plates and napkins with bright orange pumpkins or witches on them.
As Valentine's made it way in February, you could buy all manner of chocolate Santa's and the candy was wrapped in red and green wax paper.  Paper goods were selling HAPPY NEW YEAR napkins and plates. 
Easter came hopping around the corner and we were treated to heart shaped chocolate boxes and bright red candies and I-Love-You little hearts.
By Mother's Day, we could treat her with Chocolate Bunnies and candied eggs.
When Father's Day rolled around, I had to settle on a card "To Mom on Mother's Day" and cross out Mom and scribble in To Dad on Father's Day and draw a moustache and whickers  on the woman's face in the background.
Life was funny then and it's still funny now.
If you like a good laugh then click Trick or Treat.

- Kitty Rain
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 13:16:11 EDT
1230pm and the winds just howled and it sprinkled rain for all of 5 seconds. Guess the wind kept it moving too fast!  Yesterday, as I predicted, it sure did rain in the afternoon. Guess that  crystal ball  is getting pretty reliable!  Of course all we had yesterday was 11 minutes of serious down pouring.
Message in a Bottle:
Can you tell me what the weather may be like this next week.  I am a little nervous as we fly in on Saturday for a week,and it looked like it may rain all week. This is a long awaited vacation for me and my husband an I was just curious what you thought I should expect? Thank you.
Signed, Worried
Dear Worried,
    You looked at the wrong weather reports (and I didn't write the one you looked at!)  Yes, it often rains everyday. But usually for just a few minutes. I know, because  I often time them and many are simply less than 5 minutes.  Check out WeatherBVI.com
    Oh sure, it may cloud over, pour down and look like the day is ruined, but in a few minutes it is likely gone and the birds are chirping and the sun is out again.
    If you are at the beach, when it pours down, just run for the nearest bar and order a drink.  Before you can finish it, I bet the sun will be out again.
    Also, if is really raining hard where you are, look around, it often isn't raining somewhere else. So if you are in East End when it's raining, you might be able to go to West End where the sun is shining.
    Islanders don't own rain coats, well a few do, but very, very few. Now most folks own lots of umbrellas like me, cause usually you can't remember where it is. Is it in the car or in the house or in the backpack? 
    I finally worked my way down to my only umbrella and the other day I went to open it up for a friend to use and noticed the innards are all corroded out and breaking off when I try to fold it up.  So I guess once I am able to get out and about again, I must invest in a new one.
    However, I know I used to have 3, but I have loaned them out and somehow they just never made it back to me. 
    Of course, soon I will be up and walking, maybe I should get a walking cane umbrella. Then I will always be prepared.
    Also, if you are NEW to the islands, always roll up your windows in the car. That is because by the time you run back to shut them, you will be thoroughly wet, and the car will be wet and the rain will stop and there you will be, rolling up the windows and the car will steam up in the heat and fog up all the windows. Then you have a real mess to deal with!
    This is true of boats. My friends used to make fun of me, cause anytime I left my boat, I always closed it up tightly. It didn't take long, but I was fastidious. This saved me from ruining my teak work. While everyone else was in their dinghies racing out to their boats, that were left wide open, I remained ashore, nice and dry grateful I ALWAYS closed up the boat.
    So don't think you can look a the sky and say "Oh, it won't rain" and leave the boat open. More often than not, you will be sorry and your teak and cushions will suffer greatly.
Black Halloween Kitty watches the rain out the window, from the comfort of my IN basket on my desk. He thinks it means the cat is IN!  *sigh* guess I will have to move my IN stuff to another place.

- Pumpkin Fumpkin
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 11:24:00 EDT
Another gorgeous day in paradise, though folks are mumbling it's a tad hotter this year than normal.  We have a tropical wave about 600 miles east of us, so no ill effects yet. The sky is a brilliant blue with balloon  clouds of bright white drifting by.  My weather clock shows little rain drops but I think that will be later on today and it won't last long, according to my crystal ball.,
Message in a Bottle
I've never anchored in apple bay. Can you do it to go to the full moon
? we are going to be down chartering during full moon !
Signed, Howling To Be There!
Dear Howling,
Yes, you can anchor there, if the wind is dead calm and there are absolutely no sea swells and you don't mind bumping and crunching your way across the reefs in your dinghy to anchor out  and swim ashore  the final 60 feet. 
Soooooooooo, I really don't recommend it and the bareboat company is liable to go ballistic if you try it.
It's best to anchor in Soper's Hole, West End, Tortola, and take a round trip taxi.  Arrange for that early in the day for the best options. You can dinghy over to the ferry dock and walk across the street to the West End Taxi Association and make arrangements there.  Do so before the last ferry though, as they tend to close up then. It's a short taxi ride, but over a very steep hill, so not anything you really want to walk.
 Halloween  is just around the corner! Most people carve their  Jack-O-Lanterns , but some have other ideas with their pumpkins...
All clickable links are underlined.

- Sunny Days are Here Again!
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 12:43:56 EDT
Beautiful day in paradise with gentle winds and 86 degrees.  Just a great day for the beaches.
Rumors are that all the beaches and the Baths in Virgin Gorda have reopened after the massive cleanup from the freighter accident.  I haven't heard about the whale, but I suspect she is history by now.
I better be careful about swimming, I sure don't want anything to mistake my broken fin for lunch!

- Busy Week
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 12:43:45 EDT
Lovely Monday with 86 degrees and very light trade winds.  Skies are a brilliant blue with cottony clouds.
Today is a Public Holiday, St Ursula's Day. It' our last Public Holiday until Christmas.
Catching up on the Coconut Telegraph...
Another cargo ship  barge ran aground, the M/V Vagabond, between  Fallen Jerusalem and Round rock, near Virgin Gorda on Monday  October 16th. Volunteers have be scrounging the beaches and underwater to pick up the huge mess. Apparently this cargo ship wasn't using containers so all manner of goods are floating and sinking  in the waters.  Much of the beaches on Virgin Gorda as well as the Baths were closed, due to the high amount of floating and sunken debris.
Hilarious rumors abound that the captain of this barge, was asleep at the wheel, as was the captain who  ran aground in his barge near Brandywine Bay on Aug 25th. Perhaps narcolepsy runs rampant in the BVI?  
No matter what the real causes, for these two mishaps, and we may never know the truth, it seems these captains and crews need  refresher lessons in chart reading for the BVI and perhaps a lesson on making strong coffee...
Heaven knows, many people  sleep on the job in the BVI, just that most aren't commanding a ship at the time.  I remember years ago, at a spot I won't mention where, I used to frequent on daily walks.  I had a special off road trail I created, that initially included walking through hotel grounds to reach a deserted area,  I liked to traverse.  It  included a stroll through the "nap corner", a hidden spot, one wouldn't normally find.  Usually 2-5 employees were napping on pilfered lounge chairs at any time of the day or evening, in their uniforms.  They once told me it was their "break time".  But I noticed I could go on a walk of over an hour and come back by the break time spot and the same folks would still be snoring away.
A friend of mine used to work days and nights. I ran into one morning, at job #2  and  asked her how she could work all night and be so chipper the next day. She explained that the night job was her "sleeping job" that she showed up, stayed awake the first hour, slept the next six, then worked the last hour. Where do I apply? 
A  bar, that I used to frequent because it was close to a pool I had permission to use, often had a lone bartender stretched out on the entire length of the bar, sleeping throughout her shift. We used to tiptoe behind her, make our own drinks and leave money under a rock, inside a rusty coffee can. That bar is, ironically, closed now.
Back in the dark ages, I used to clear in my charter boat at Jost Van Dyke. At the time the Immigration office was run by a charming lone male.  Usually, the office was open and empty.  We would help ourselves to the forms, fill them out, then go for a stroll down the beach looking for the officer. More often than not we found him:   (a) in a bar drinking or (b) asleep in hammock under the palm trees or (c) asleep on the sand at the beach. Sometimes he would interrupt his activity to clear us in properly, but more often than not, he would say "I know who you are, I catch ya later..." and we would buy him a drink at the bar or fetch one and deliver it to his hammock or beachside lair. I can't count the number of times my clearance costs consisted of the price of a drink. Sometimes he took our proffered paperwork and other times he insisted we hold onto it for "later".  GONE are those fun filled casual days, so please don't expect you will ever be able to do this again in the future. Immigration and Customs are serious about their work these days.
Last Wednesday, a dead whale washed up at Salt Island bringing feeding sharks with it and closing the Wreck of the Rhone, the BVI's most popular dive site.  Eventually humans worked to tow the carcass to the back side of Salt Island, along with a flotilla of sharks who continued to consume the deceased. Sharks are often referred to as the public sanitation workers, of the oceans.
It's been a BUSY week in the BVI!  Gone are our sleepy days of not much happenin'.  We got plenty going on it seems. See more news.

- Pink Clouds
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 06:51:12 EDT
Red Sky at Night Sailor's Delight
Red Sky at Morning Sailor's Waning
Shakespeare said something similar in his play, Venus and Adonis. “Like a red morn that ever yet betokened, Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds, Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”

In the Bible, (Matthew XVI: 2-3,) Jesus said, “When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.”

Red sky at night, sailors delight.
When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically good weather will follow.

Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.
A red sunrise reflects the dust particles of a system that has just passed from the west. This indicates that a storm system may be moving to the east. If the morning sky is a deep fiery red, it means a high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain is on its way.

The colors we see in the sky are due to the rays of sunlight being split into colors of the spectrum as they pass through the atmosphere and ricochet off the water vapor and particles in the atmosphere. The amounts of water vapor and dust particles in the atmosphere are good indicators of weather conditions. They also determine which colors we will see in the sky.

During sunrise and sunset the sun is low in the sky, and it transmits light through the thickest part of the atmosphere. A red sky suggests an atmosphere loaded with dust and moisture particles. We see the red, because red wavelengths (the longest in the color spectrum) are breaking through the atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths, such as blue, are scattered and broken up.

So how about a pink cloud  at morning?
This picture was taken around 6am this morning, 82 degreees with gentle light winds. 

- Marvelous day for Driving My Chair
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 14:14:48 EDT
Just another gorgeous day in paradise.  86 degrees with 5 knot winds and lots of beautiful blue skies. 
Around 5am we were treated to a 4 minute storm, then it dried right up and the sun arrived just on time, later on. I remembered a friend of mine promised to come by early in the morning, so I wheeled over and unlocked the door, then  I climbed back in bed and dozed back to sleep.
I had the most fantastic dream, that I could walk again!  I got so excited about  it, that I woke up and jumped out of  bed, expecting to land on my two feet, and GO SOMEWHERE! 
But alas, I landed on my tail with  quite a thud. I think I heard the neighbor holler "earthquake?".  Ha ha, keep ya day job, comedian, ya ain't...
Soberly, I crawled my way back up into bed and pretended like it never happened and went back to sleep. I awoke to a knocking at my door and I hollered "It's open!  Come in!"  and was grateful I had on my mermaid sarong. 
My friend walked in and I struggled to get up, realizing my tail is quite sore from that little fall earlier. She is real funny and she knows I am using my office chair, for a wheel chair.  So she says "You want me to drive your chair over to you?"  I was laughing so hard about her "driving" my chair over.
Later on, after I was seated in my chair, trying to make coffee for us, she said "Ya know, if you would drive your chair over here, then I would sweep and mop over there for you. "  So I "drove" my chair across the room.
At one point she was behind me trying to untangle a mess, I had run over a cord and it was caught in the wheel and she said "Don't shift into reverse while I fix this!"  Once she had my wheel freed she said "OK, you can put it in gear now and go!"
When she got ready to leave, I was escorting her to the door and she says "You don't have to drive over, I can let myself out!"

- Cloudy Sunshine
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 14:42:37 EDT
Bright and sunny today, not a drop of rain thus far. Skies are still overcast wit patches of blue.

- Storm Rages, Da Current done mash up again *sigh*
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 23:10:28 EDT
1015pm, da current done mash up again! By 1017, I had fired up my generator in the dark (getting GOOD at that lately!) Weather was still and dry. 1105pm, generator apparently ran out of gas after coughing and sputtering. *sigh*
1106pm, the rains poured down and the winds picked up. I am in the dark again, using battery for computer and cellular for connection.
This storm is  righto n top of us, but trying to move east.
Yes, east.
Pray for east.
I hear it picking up now, torrential rains, winds are all over the place.
I will zip this off, while I still can!

- Stormy Mess Building
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 18:11:09 EDT
We've got a storm mess building right on top of us. Just check out the current satellite picture.  The rains picked up around 8 this morning and just poured heavily through til noon.  The schools closed around noon, and parents scrambled everywhere to fetch kids and either go home or back to work with children in tow, a common island t'ing.
Actually, I am in favor of kids getting to go to work and see what parents have to do all day in order to buy clothes and some rice and chicken for their children, not to mention a roof.
I had to go to town, in the worst weather possible, but the mermaid specialist was only going to come to Tortola for one day, and I was desperate for him to look at my broken fin and wave his magic wand over it and make me all better.  I took my crystal ball reading with me, but he still insisted I go back to that dang X rated room and get pictures of my sexy fin taken.
Anyhow, I digress, pardon me, but the storm got so thick that visibility was reduced to about 200 feet and less at sea. Several  bareboat companies had been calling since yesterday, asking the sailors to come back to port.  Many just didn't want to leave from where they were already tucked away.  Some were too close to a semi-dry watering hole and weren't about to leave their Rum Punches and Painkiller Drinks to get on a boat and go ANYWHERE.
We had over 4.5 inches of rain in the last 24 hours!  Now that is a lot. Ghuts are emptying out from the mountains and bringing a ton of garbage down the hills with them.  Apparently some folks still consider "da bush" to be an appropriate place to toss their rubbish. Shame on them!  You know who you are.  Those big green things placed all over the islands, are for your garbage. They are easy to spot because they either look like a big green  garbage can or a big green  dumpster.  They are FREE, so toss your garbage there and not in da bush, me son.
A large ghut empties into Nanny Cay and all manner of garbage and refuse was floating around, having emptied out from the hills. The waters had turned to a disgusting brown.  A friend of mine spent the afternoon trying to dislodge palm fronds from under the swim platform of her power boat, docked at Nanny Cay and her boat, as were many others were just surrounded by a sea of garbage.  Incredible.
This afternoon the sun poked out, the rains stopped as if to mocked the schools for closing earlier. Tonight and tomorrow is expected to be another wet  and wild adventure.
Currently at 6pm, winds are brisk and rains have stopped.

- Stormy Weather & 4:30am Screamer
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 05:06:08 EDT
It stormed all night, with howling winds and torrential rains. Around 4am the rains stopped but not without a good bit of grumbling, rumbling and mumbling from distant thunder. I tucked in my afghan a bit tighter around me, yeah, I was cold and dozed back  off into lala land.
Then at 4:30am somebody shows up underneath my window looking for a neighbor who sometimes lives below, and hollering something unintelligible over and over, each time getting louder and louder. It's a good thing I can't hobble around with a cold bucket of water, cause I was sure tempted to give my screamer down below a good cold shower.
But lucky him, I couldn't do such an evil thing, only think about it. After a few minutes of yelling (gee wiz, can't you just go knock on his door?)  the screamer gets back into his car, which is parked in the other neighbor's driveway. Heck, let's just wake EVERYONE up.
Now he starts honking his horn! Incredible!  One honk is not enough, he has to try it out a few more times.  Lawdy mercy!  It is 4:30am!  Now all  that honking woke up the neighbors, who turned on their outside lights and that woke up the dogs, who woke up the chickens who woke up the roosters who woke up the tree frogs who woke up my cats who meowed at the door, inquiring about breakfast.
So now I am up!  Thank you very much.  Cats are fed, weather report is out and I am back to bed again. Grrrrrrrr.  Life in the islands.  Maybe when I wake up next, this will seem very funny. But at 4:30am, I just failed to see the comedy.  I bet our visitor was laughing his way down the street as he drove off with a screech of his tires, which set the horses off complaining. I wished I had a water balloon to toss at him.  Hmmm. Note to self:  add balloons to shopping list.
 Funny, the evil things one can come up with when rudely awoken for no good reason.  Just wait until I get my water balloons...  I can be SILLY at 4:30am too!

- Rains and more rains
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 13:55:20 EDT
It is POURING down rain and has been steadily for an hour. If your cistern was empty, it won't be now!  If this keeps up, we are going to be in a flash flood situation. Tortola is going to be green for a long time coming. 

- Cloudy and Overcast
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 09:56:52 EDT
5am and the winds have arrived with great gusto, going from 0 to 20 in a matter of seconds. I can hear a distant roar, either strong winds or rains in the distant.
10am, 84 degrees, still a very overcast day. Winds have died right down again to 0-3.  Still no rains.
Did you know that if you tie enough helium balloons to your balcony chair that you can just sail away on a cloud? So here's a picture of the Sir Francis Drake Channel with Nanny Cay Marina in the foreground.
Tomorrow, I am aiming to float by the hospital and get some of those fancy X-rays and see how this mash up fin is healing.

- Rum Barrel Tales
  • From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 13:38:15 EDT
Today it is 84 degrees, still very overcast.  We've had a sprinkling of rains.  The winds are very gentle, not yet up to speed, certainly no where near Christmas winds yet. Overcast days like today could give us a bad rep with the tourists, but fortunately, this type of day is very rare.
Well, I've got indoor showering now. Talk about coming into the 20th century. Will wonders never cease! The plumber finally got me all fixed up.  Gone are the days of me showering on the balcony. Show's over folks!  Move your telescopes onwards to more exciting t'ings.
I can't swim  with this broken fin and heavy cast, so I hoppled  down to the shore, dragging my   Floating Lounger .  I am suffering from what landlubbers call "cabin fever".  I just had to get out of my lair and go somewhere. Anywhere.
I sat down in the lounger, propped up my fin and  pushed off from the beach. I  went for a nice drift with my camera  tucked in my  Aquapac Camera Case  and my little packed   Lunch Cooler .  I had a nice little snooze while floating gently out to sea. When I woke up,  I took this picture of Tortola for you.  It's like we are living in a black and white world, but  honest to goodness, I used a color camera.  This picture was taken from the Sir Francis Drake Channel this morning.
Having worked up a ferocious appetite from all that napping and picture taking, I opened up my  Lunch Cooler and sipped on my Rum Punch while eating my tuna sandwich and merrily drifting along.  I see something on the horizon, and eventually, it drifts over to me.  It's a  rum barrel, floating by.  Incredibly,  it's addressed to Dear Miss Mermaid, from  Lori, a gentle reader and avid sailor, hailing from Minnesota.
I must say, I  owe her a HUGE THANK YOU,  for her very thoughtful get-well gifts, that floated up.  I felt like it was my birthday!  Inside were wonderful treats including my favorite: CHOCOLATES!  and some award winning honey from the Minnesota state fair, Halloween candy, a funny Halloween card, a get-well you silly mermaid letter and some heavenly oatmeal soap (the only kind that mermaid's can use!)
I tell you, life just couldn't get any better!  Next, an old rum bottle floats by, so I grab it, rip off the label, scribble a thank you note on the back of it, address it back to Lori the sailor, in Minnesota, shove it down in the bottle, cap it off and  toss it out to sea. Mama, bless her soul,  told me once if not a hundred times, always write your thank-you's before you use a gift and I was hankering to tear open those chocolates. Now that my thank-you duty was done, I could eat them, guilt-free, with no ill repercussions from the mama spirit.
I tethered off  the rum barrel and it bobbed quietly next to me. Life was grand!  Just starting in on my Chocolates, I see  my friends sail by.  I waved at them and they made a U-turn and sailed up right close  and said "Dear Miss Mermaid?  What the heck are you doing out here in the middle of the Sir Francis Drake Channel on your  Floating Lounger
"Eating lunch."  I replied. "Want some chocolates?"  and I leaned over passed some  to them. 
"Dear Miss Mermaid!  When the doc said to keep your fin propped up, I don't think he meant in your  Floating Lounger way out here in the middle of the channel!"
"Well, he should have specified that.  Want some rum punch?"  I offered.
Next thing I knew, they had lassoed me and my lounger and towed me and the rum barrel,  back home behind their sailboat.
So, if ya wondering why today's weather report is coming out so late, it's because I was busy all morning, taking pictures and collecting my mail.
So here it the picture I took for you. And again, THANK YOU LORI for the treats and keep an eagle eye out for that rum bottle, floating your way.

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

Back to top | home | tools | pleas for help | QHWRN | guide | climatology | archive