It’s a sweet gig

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03/15/2016 My niece’s daughter Jillian and her friend Caeli arrived on Saturday afternoon. Since I was tied to the airport I had Bill pick them up and take them to the grocery store before they came back here. I got home around 5 and de-stressed for a bit before we got the girls some dinner.

Sunday morning we were all awake bright and early for another day of adventure on the Radical Catamaran EXPAT day. There was supposed to be a full boat but approx. 10 people cancelled due to the weather. Both of the girls were really excited and looking forward to the day. I have to say I was very lucky to be able to go two Sundays in a row. We started out sitting outside, enjoying the scenery until just outside of Oak Ridge, it started to rain. And it rained hard for a little while. Most of the people were under cover, eating cookies and muffins. The sea was a little rough then too. As we neared the first snorkel spot the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. I told the girls the guys from the boat would pick up on them right away and as soon as we hit the water, they had personal tour guides.

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Jillian and Caeli at the start of the 7 hour day.

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Snorkeling the cow with the guys from the boat.

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Tube coral, this same shot may be in my last blog too.

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Christmas Tree Worms

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You can see the actual worm in these photos. It’s the flat thing closest to the coral, the trees are appendages on the worms back.

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Intermediate blue tang

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A cluster of feather dusters

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More flamingo tongues. The Flamingo Tongue (Cyphoma gibbosum) grows to an inch (25 mm) long. Its shell is cream-colored, but can only be seen when the animal is disturbed, as under normal circumstances it is covered by a fleshy, yellow-to-orange mantle decorated with numerous irregular, black-edged spots. If the Flamingo Tongue is disturbed or stressed, it withdraws its mantle tissue. Only then does its attractive cream-colored shell become visible. (Coral Magazine)

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weird coral

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Not a clue but I think it was alive..

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Feather dusters, they retreat into the little hollow tubes when disturbed.

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Obsessed.

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Banded Butterfly fish

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urchin

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Coral is so fascinating, I could (and have) snorkeled for hours.

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Sea Rods

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red coral

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A Flamingo tongue on a sea rod. I usually see them on sea fans. This looks like the covering is partially retracted.

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Barrel Sponge, I think??

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A smooth trunkfish, it was so gorgeous!

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Another barrel.

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Spiny blue seastars on the tube coral

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Everyone else was back at the boat, hanging around in the water or on the boat. I was still snorkeling around the south side of the cow and decided to swim out to sea more. I am so glad I did. It was a different world out there. The coral was bigger and more dense, there was a larger variety of fish and I saw this guy lurking about. I started to swim closer to look, not wanting to get too close and he started to move so I moved too, quickly. I knew it wasn’t a green moray, duh, because the damn thing had spots. But I’ve seen spotted morays before and this looked different. Then again, who am I to say, I’m not an expert. It was a gorgeous eel, probably around 2′ long.

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People vacation here. I live here.

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Caeli, about as big as a minute..

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So, story is, when Capt’n Ron comes on the Radical Cat, Ed brings him a nice big chair. Someone (Rob B) changed Ron to Rob. However he used the incorrect color of marker. The evidence was blatant.

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Really Rob?? Too funny!

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It was dark and ominous that morning and again coming back at night. We did get dumped on for a little while but then it stopped, the sun came out and it was gorgeous.

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A fun group of people!

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Caeli

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Jill talking with a group of ladies who came to Jazzercize on the beach, or something like that.

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My friend Kathy

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Rain cells off in the distance

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Didn’t realize how dark the sky was until looking at these photos!

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Coming back into Oak Ridge/Pandytown.

Monday was the day with the least amount of cruise ships on the island so we headed for West Bay Beach. I was able to snag chairs at Bananarama for 1/2 price because I sweet talked the guy. They are all so nice there anyhow. It wasn’t very sunny and we kept hoping for the sun to break through the clouds and bless us with sunshine but that didn’t happen until we were half way home. Jill and I snorkeled, I took her out through the channel and to the deeper water then swam up towards black rock and along it. Great array of fish but what was the best was the huge parrot fish that was almost posing for me.

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Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish are a recycling machine. They turn coral and rock into fine sand in the process of grazing algae from them. This particular one is called a Stoplight Parrotfish.

Gorgeous fish! The colors were brilliant.

Parrot Fish and a blue head.

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Under the sea

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Not sure of the fish here, blue is a blue tang, I think the one with yellow is a spotfin butterfly fish, the other may be a brown chromis.

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Bluestriped grunt

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Stoplight parrotfish in the red phase.

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Squirrelfish

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An elusive Doctorfish

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Needlefish

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Mr Parrotfish showing his denture like teeth, all the better to graze the coral..

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Fishes

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Caeli was exploring the beach while Jill and I snorkeled.

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Lobster

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I think this is a schoolmaster snapper, but not positive..

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Another stoplight parrotfish

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Sergeant majors. These guys nibble on you because the stupid tourists feed them. Fish don’t need fed, they have their own eco-system. Feeding them is not cool.

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Caeli and Jill at Bananarama

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The sea as far as you can see

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Jill’s chilling..

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Bye bye United # 1434

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Perfection in blue

When we were done snorkeling we drove to West End and parked. I wanted to go to the Shawn Jackson Gallery and the girls wanted to do a little shopping. I bought the coveted Faces of Roatan book at Shawn’s gallery. After that I called Lisa and Rob to see if we could stop and see Bandit and Sable on our way back down island.

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Bandit, he’s the swimmer and spends his free time swimming around the pool.

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Bandit

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Getting some loving from Bandit.

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Sable got in on it too. These two pups were meant to be together, they are side by side 24/7. So grateful Rob and Lisa gave them good homes.

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Sable baby!

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Double loving. Bandit is marked like Barrio and Sable looks like Max, except my two have floppy ears and these two have pointy ears.

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I was in dog heaven.

The next day we went to Mega Paca where Caeli scored a Burberry sweater for 28 LPS, about $1.00 and Jill got some cute tops. Then we went to the Iguana Farm. We went down to the water and checked out the huge tarpon and other fish and admired the stunning view of French Cay.

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Big old male

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Enjoying the sunshine.

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Another lizard on the wall of Sam and Chelsie’s house.

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Coco drinking some gatorade.

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Beautiful

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Jillian

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Jill and Caeli

After there we went to Parrot Tree and hung out at the 320′ long pool. It was pretty nice, very few people around at all. We swam, floated, napped and ate there.

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Jillian

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Jill under the waterfall.

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Caeli and Jillian

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Me and Jillian

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I love this pool!

On Wednesday we picked up Nidia and two guys and then met Rosalie and Bob and Bill and Alexi across from the airport. We were taking the new picnic table that Kelly Flowers built for Doña Maria to her. The table he so kindly made will last her for the rest of her life. Until now, she had no table to grind her corn on or to sit and have a cup of coffee.

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The hired muscles practically ran up the path to Doña Maria’s house.

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Nidia and Doña Maria

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Nidia’s brother, one of our muscle guys looking at the food Bob and Rosalie brought for Doña Maria.

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Nidia’s brother, Nidia, Caeli, Jill and Maria

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Showing her the goodies Rosalie and Bob brought her.

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A hug from Rosalie

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Caeli, Maria and Jill

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Baby chicks

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Doña Maria’s one room home. Bob said he wouldn’t spend 1 night there. Me neither.

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Alexi went along in case we needed more muscle. He is teasing the chickens here..

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Bob and Rosalie with Maria. It’s kind of funny, she is always smiling but when you take her photo she’s not..

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The girls and I with Maria. I took photos of her when we took her to get her hair done and this trip I gave her the pictures. She couldn’t stop looking at them, I’m sure they were the first photos of herself that she has ever had.

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Nidia, Abuela (what Nidia calls Maria, it means grandmother) and Nidia’s sweet brother.

What a rewarding day, everyone enjoyed meeting Doña Maria and are all ready to go back and see her. My next visit I am taking corn for the chickens, some chicken meal and of course, cold coca cola. My friend Ann has some chairs and cushions for her so I’ll more than likely get her to go along with me. It’s so sweet how people want to help Maria, she has so little and when we give her things, we benefit more from the giving that she does receiving. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Thank you Kelly for making the table, a perfectly honorable gesture from a pirate like you.

Thursday we were planning to snorkel with Eduardo, my friend the cop. Wednesday evening he messaged me that he was on the mainland and wouldn’t be home until Saturday. The girls and I went to Barefoot Cay anyhow. The plan was to snorkel and float in the calm protected area near the palapa. With the wind blowing, there was NO calm protected water. The winds were howling and the sea was churning. The current was so strong that we would have been swept to West Bay in no time, maybe even off to Utila or Belize. We stayed at the pool the majority of the day, it was so peaceful and relaxing.

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View from the pool, there was a huge boat anchored there too.

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Seating area by pool

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The pool is amazing

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The walk out to the palapa

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So pretty but look at the hammocks! They were upside down from the wind.

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Waves breaking on the reef

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Getting some strong waves

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Fabulous table made with hand made tiles.

Friday was the last full day on the island and we were planning a trip to the school in Pandytown, then going to Camp Bay to eat at La Sirena and ending up at BJ’s of course. We drove out to Pandytown and stopped along the way when we saw little boys playing by the road. I had a full bag of Hot Wheels cars that were brought down by my friends John and Lizeth Fowler. The first place we stopped the boys were sitting along the road. The one looks like he was going to cry but he was happy, honest! Next stop there was a small boy standing on the table while his mother scrubbed clothes in a basin. He was very excited to get a car.

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Spanish Hill going into Oak Ridge

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Cute cute cute!! So cute, he got 2.

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How can these little boys be so darn cute?

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This little boys mother was doing laundry when we stopped. She was really nice, spoke perfect English.

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These 3 came from the blue house in the background.

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The girls at La Sirena

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Caeli eating Jill’s rum punch laden pineapple.

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Wall art

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I really love la Sirena. EXCEPT, I went there for onion rings and they were out of onions. I cried, well almost and the waiter magically got an onion from somewhere!!

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We met this dog is 2012, he was a puppy and looked like Highway did as a pup. His name is Diego and he is much bigger than Highway is now.

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The pristine end of the island

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Another friendly dog

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La Sirena has a new sign

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The girls with Miss Piggy

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We were on the beach when someone said, I’ll take your picture Deb. It was my friend Jill, so thanks Jill for snapping this photo of the 4 of us.

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The turn off to Camp Bay

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We made it to BJ’s while the band was still playing. My sandals broke at a school in Pandy town so I was barefoot the rest of the day which isn’t a big deal except I hate having dirty feet. I think the girls had their fill of Rum Punches, laying on the dock is not a normal adventure for BJ’s. Now planking, that is normal for BJ’s.

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Next thing I know, they are going for a boat ride with Keri and Doug’s neighbor in their boat. Caeli left her sandals on the dock, luckily Evereld picked them up and took them to the bar.

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The Banditos, missing Alex

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Kathy, doing an Irish jig.

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Evereld’s rasta boat.

All in all, I think they had a great time, they met a lot of people, went a lot of places and saw things they have never seen before. We came home Friday evening and miraculously found stuff to eat. The girls did some packing and we all went to be early.

I had to work at the airport again on Saturday so they rode in with Cindy and I. It took them forever to get checked in and by the time they were done I had to go inside to get ready for the first flight. I hugged them both good bye and they were off, until the next time.

Before I close, I met a new friend at the airport, her name is Chris O’Dell. She is not just ANY Chris O’Dell. She used to work for Apple Records in London and personally knows / knew all of the Beatles, Yoko, The Stones, Dylan, Clapton. She sang in the chorus of Hey Jude, she was on the roof for the Beatles last ever concert as a group, she is the real deal. George Harrison even wrote a song about her called Miss O’Dell. She wrote a book by the same name, I am slowly reading it, absorbing and processing every word she utters. I get to see this woman every Saturday. I am in utter awe. Check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Miss-ODell-Nights-Beatles-Clapton/dp/1416590943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458086626&sr=1-1&keywords=miss+odell

Since I have nothing that tops that, I’m outta here..

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