10 Million Words

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Caroline has just hit the 10 million word mark. She just recently took her 10,000th picture on this adventure of ours. My, how the digital age has changed our behaviour!

I’ll leave you with a picture she likes. The stone statue was at the beach at Key Bay. Very well placed.

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Black and White

Sometimes the world is wonderfully colourful and sometimes it’s wonderfully monotone. This is black, white and grey, and shows the variation of what we can see down here.

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:Hammock Time…

I hope that everyone will be able to get some hammock time this summer. Our hammocks are getting good usage as Emma shows. It’s seems to be the place to read on this outing.

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Underwater with the Jacksons

Here is some underwater footage shot at The Indians to give you a sense of what they saw.

Noah’s Birthday

Hello All. Well, as many of you know, the blog is slightly out of sync with real time. If you look at the Where Is page you will find that we’re at least a couple of days ahead of where the blog post is. Again, that’s a factor of time to go through all the pictures that Caroline takes :-), writing them, posting them etc.

Well, I’m going to try and make an exception. We have 3 boys who are going to have birthdays while we’re down here. Noah’s is first. Today is his birthday and he is now 9 years old. So, if you are so inclined, please feel free to send your best wishes. We’ll be spending it at the Bitter End Yacht club but you’ll have to keep following to see what happens. Even I don’t know yet, since for me it’s actually yesterday when I’m trying to get this post up. Does that make sense. 🙂

So, Happy Birthday Noah. We love you.

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When we were in Nanny Cay a lovely family said that we should take their inflatable inner tubes as they were just going to be throwing them out. So, here Noah is sporting the latest in inner tube fashion.

More Fun In the Sun…at “The Indians”

Now, we’re off to The Indians for what ended up being some pretty great snorkelling.

The Indians

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The Indians and the reef around them.

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School’s not quite out… not down here anyway.

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My buddy Emma, showing her snorkelling skills.

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Trumpet fish, I believe.

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Kieran, Deb and Emma

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Next Stop, the Willy T for a Special Guest… You Guessed It

So, it’s time to set off with the Jacksons, to finish their first day on the water at The Bight at Norman Island.

No time like the present to get everyone working, right Deb?

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And, Emma on the bow as look out.

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And, our destination… the floating pirate restaurant at the Bight, The William Thornton.

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And, this is where I met up with Richard Branson. Yup, he was out for a bit of an afternoon of fun and enjoyment at the Willy T. No entourage, just him. And, no, I didn’t think that I would introduce myself at the bar of the Willy T. Another time and place.

The Jackson BVI Adventure

Now that repairs are made it’s time to head off again on a tour of the BVI with our new guests, the Jacksons. Debra has come down with her kids, Jacob, Emma, and Kieran. The weather looks pretty good for their visit and the water is nice and warm.

So, we set sail to our first destination, White Bay on Peter Island. Every island seems to have a White Bay, and a Long Bay, and so on.

Jacob and Deb.

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White Bay’s a great place to learn or remember how to snorkel as well as a great place to do some sand building.

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Kieran and Ethan.

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Matthew’s Perspective on Things

Matthew intrigued us with his perspective on something the other day. He was doing some art and drew this picture of his stuffed animal, Hermert. It’s not a top down picture as we would have expected but rather a front on picture. Caught us off guard.

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Here’s the “real” thing.

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The Rudder and A Passage Back to th BVI

To get back to the BVI to meet the Jacksons, we needed to cross the Sombrero Passage again from Sint Maarten. The weather was going to be basically uneventful but the boat wasn’t the same. Part way through the trip, two aligning screws on the rudder post came loose, were then tighten but then had their heads sheared off. Unfortunately, this left the rudder post sliding back and forth… not a good thing. And, it reminded us of that with each squeak it made. It wasn’t necessarily a dangerous thing but certainly not something that we were happy having either. So, to prevent the rudder post from sliding, I took some broken wood from a shower drain and created a large shimmy to keep the post to one side. It worked fine and got us to the BVI, where we’ve since had it fixed.

Sailing is certainly an activity where you have to improvise with what you’ve got. Fortunately, that’s something that I like doing.

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Passage Making to Go Home…

Okay, we’re not going to Canada but we are going to Nanny Cay, our second home. But, first a stop at Sint Maarten to break the trip up and to get supplies.

After arriving we awoke to a “gaggle” off kayakers on a tour of the Simpson Bay. They were all following their mother hen kayaker while the daddy came up the rear.

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Touring Montserrat’s Volcanic Damage Part 2

Another look at a valley covered in ash. In fact, the valley now extends much further out into the harbour, probably several hundred metres. Fortunately, most everyone was evacuated before the eruption unlike in Martinique in 1902. Those who died were some of the people who refused to leave.

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What is left of the old capital of Plymouth. The whole town was completely covered in ash. Completely damaged.

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Another view of Plymouth which is at the base of the volcano.

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Another multi-story building that is barely poking out from under the blanket of ash.

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We are looking at some of the new coastline in one of the valleys. Everything you see here was once sea and it extends back another few hundred metres.

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Natural pumice stone. Feet here we come. Oh, and by the way, it is lighter than water. The kids (and Daddy) had a good time throwing some into the water to see it float.

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The grey concrete marker was a harbour post before the eruption. I need not say any more.

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As with many of the islands and communities, lots of people know each other. Sam stopped the van when he saw some friends, just to say hi. There were a bunch of people gathered to chat and hang out. Most were expat Americans who now lived down here. In fact, the couple that bought the house purchased it in 1999 when prices were depressed… they got 30 cents on the dollar. Nice deal! The one none expat was a Montserratian(?) who had lived most of his life in Canada. He lived in Toronto, Winnipeg and Thompson Manitoba…. He’s had his share of cold. An interesting man with an interesting life. Oh, and his island name is Uncle.

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Just some examples of the houses on the island.

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Montserrat – Touring the Volcano Damage Part 1

Almost before I was cleared into the country, Sam approached me to see if I wanted to set up a tour of the island. Yes, we were ready to tour and planned to go the next day.

We got to see a lot of the island. More than I thought we’d see. One interesting spot was a river or stream where it is believed that if you drink from the water you are destined to return to the island. So,…. we drank, of course.

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Here’s Sam drinking. He’s not leaving soon although he has lived in England. He actually was living in England when the big explosion happened in 1997, and he returned to the island. This is almost the exact opposite of what most people did which was to leave the island basically for good.

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A picture of the volcano. You can see that there is some cloud and some steam mixed together. On the sail up the side of the island the day before we could actually smell the sulphur in the air at sea.

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An example of a valley that was flooded with volcanic ash.

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This is the top of a 3 story building. Everything is completely covered with ash.

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Inside one of the windows you can see the state of the house…. with a bathtub filled with ash.

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And, a room left devastated next door.

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More to come…

The Other Mates…

On the boat, there are more than just 5 crew. There are many many crew of the furry or stuffed variety. Here is a sampling of some of them.

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Indian River Video

This is a pretty good example of what we experienced while being paddled up the Indian River in Dominica. Pretty amazing experience.

More Indian River

It doesn’t really require a lot of explanation. The scenery was so different from anything you would normally see. Again, just otherworldly.

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These seeds are very hard and very shiny. They were used at one point to make Catholic Rosaries.

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Our guide, Mitchell, whose company is called Providence, made the kids a couple of palm “origami” birds that he mounted on flowers.

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Portsmouth Dominica and Pirates of the Caribbean

Dominica was where Pirates of the Caribbean II and III was partly filmed. On our next stop at Portsmouth, we were going to take a tour of the Indian River. This river was used when they were filming Jack Sparrow going to see the voodoo lady up the river. It was an otherworldly experience to say the least.

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Dominica – Tour of the South

After we got checked into the country, we decided to take a tour of the southern part of the island. The fellow that we connected with arranged for us to be taken around by his wife and Mathieu, one of their two kids, the next day.

The main goal of the tour was to see the Trafalgar Falls. We’d been there twelve years earlier so it was great to go back with the kids.

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Kids and Daddy exploring the falls area in the very warm thermal springs stream.

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Here are Matthew and Noah with the guide, Cecile’s son Mathieu.

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Daddy enjoying a warm waterfall.

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The kids exploring the cool water river.

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The boys.

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Another stop on the tour was a small botanical garden. One very cool thing that Mathieu wanted to show us was a plant leaf that was “hydrophobic”. Basically, you could dunk it completely in water, pull it up and it would be completely dry. Or, you could put water on top of it and it would bead up into a droplet. One more amazing discover on our adventure.

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Turtle at the botanical gardens.

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A panoramic view of the town of Rosseau.

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Dolphin Video

Our family gets pretty excited when we see dolphins…. Here’s our reaction when we say them on the passage from Martinique to Dominica.