Planes, boats and fins

04/30/2017 First of all, I apologize to those of you who received an email yesterday saying that a new blog was published, only to have me take it down. Somehow the post got published and wordpress wouldn’t allow me to get it back to a draft so I had to trash it and do a shabby copy and paste into a new blog. Our internet has been shit so that may account for it.
Saturday afternoon was the first I stopped and relaxed in a solid week. Remember, I’m O L D. Very old. Don’t misunderstand me, I had a blast entertaining Jillian and Justin this past week. Jillian is my great niece (well, Bill’s really, but I claim her as mine) and Justin is her boyfriend. It was Jillian’s second visit and Justin’s first. In fact he had to get a passport to come visit. We’re happy that he made it to Roatan. So are the dogs, especially Lola, she really liked Justin.
I picked them up at the airport on Saturday. I’m a weirdo who loves to go to the airport to pick up friends. I see so many people I know that it’s like a big party, this Saturday was no different.
Once Jill and Justin got through the insane immigration lines, we headed east, stopping at Eldon’s for them to get some food. After getting settled we all retreated to the pool, it has been so flipping hot that being in the water is all you can do.
Sunday we made the routine Mega Paca shopping trip then came home and got ready to go to the Reef House on Oak Ridge Key. We parked the car and went by boat for the short ride there. I was excited to see my dive friend Caroline there, haven’t seen her for months. We spent some time in the water then I got out and wandered around talking to friends. Tim Blanton, who lives on Roatan and is an exceptional photographer was there with his drone. He made a short video of the Oak Ridge area and hovered over the porch where we all were posing. Check it out HERE. Beautiful video of the area.
Monday we went to Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout. I didn’t know until Justin and Jill got here that Justin’s favorite animal was the sloth. It was a no brainer that we would go there first. When we got to the farm Preston was waiting to give us one of his exceptional tours.
One of my favorite animals is the Coati. They are a part of the raccoon family. Two of them live here.

The first cage we got to go in was the monkey cage. The white faced Capuchin’s are named after the cast of The Jersey Shore, AKA, Snookie, Vinny, JWow, Pauly D etc.  These monkeys are very friendly and love to interact with people.

They were particularly fond of Justin’s curly hair.

They are like kamikaze monkeys. They vanish and then out of nowhere come flying onto your shoulders. They were so much fun.

Next we looked at the spider monkeys but they are not very friendly so guests don’t interact with them.

When we were ready to leave Justin walked over to look at the water again and the monkey grabbed his sunglasses. He finally managed to get them back, all in 1 piece.

Next stop was the parrots, the Red and Green Macaws. These birds are so stunning. There is only 1 green one, Fiona, from Shrek. Her colors are so intense that she doesn’t seem real.

I think the red macaw is named Rose from the Titanic and the other is Fiona.

Jillian with the macaws.

This girl is gorgeous.

We saved the best for last, the sloths. These are all 3 toed sloths and are all rescues.

Quite literally, just hanging out.

Jillian and Olivia the sloth. The sloth is adorable but Jillian is gorgeous! Love this young lady!

Justin’s dream come true

The sloths mostly live in the trees and venture down to the ground once a week to poop and pee. Their only defense is camouflage, they do not use their claws except to climb and grab leaves.

Just an FYI: Daniel does not buy animals, every animal he has is a rescue and they are treated very well.

After we saw all the animals and were getting ready to leave, Daniel arrived. He invited us to go on his maiden snorkel trip on his new snorkel barge later in the week. We said sure, something else fun to look forward to.

We went straight to the Iguana Farm, critters to critters. It was a hot sunny day and there were iguanas all over the place. Jillian and Justin fed them, Jill wasn’t ready to get up close with them though.

Feeding from a distance

This is a black spiny tailed iguana, indigenous to Roatan. This one is molting, shedding it’s skin. Black spiny-tailed iguanas.

This dude just chased another male out of his tree. Sam (Arch) said they are very territorial, especially during mating season.

So magnificent.

Look how long the spines are on this guy’s back!

We had a great visit at the iguana farm, especially because we got to see Sam. Sam and Daniel (sloth farm) are 2 amazing young islander men (and cousins) who work very hard and are quite successful. I am blessed to have them as good friends.When we left the iguana farm I called my friend Marcia to see if we could come kayak and snorkel and she said sure. The 3 of us went home, changed, ate and left for Carib Bight and Marcia’s house.
An extra bonus of going to Marcia and Dennis’s home is I get to see one of my puppies, Duke and their other 2 dogs, Shay and the new rottie, Luna. Puppy breath is the best.
Justin, Jillian and I went down to the water and got the kayaks down and set off for the mangroves. It was a little later in the day so there wasn’t much boat traffic. We kayaked all the way through the tunnels and back.

Justin and Jillian

We then tied the kayaks up to the broken down dock and snorkeled out to the reef. For some reason it was extremely murky and stirred up and the visibility was not very good. And, my camera battery died. bummer.
Once I got more puppy kisses we came home, all got showered and went to Cal’s for dinner. We had an excellent meal, as usual. It was a busy day and we were all tired so it was early to bed that night.

The view from Cal’s and my friend Linda’s house.

Jill and Justin

The next morning we stopped at Jessica’s school to see why she was absent Monday. The teacher said her mother’s lame assed boyfriend kept her home from school because they all overslept. I’d like to lynch him.
From there we drove through Punta Gorda to hand out some of the toys that Liza and Mike brought down for the kids. Once again, it got crazy. The kids were grabbing out of my car, the ones I gave toys to hid them and said they didn’t get any. It became bedlam so I did what I had to do; I closed the trunk and left, no more for them. We passed out a few more along the way, choosing wisely where we stopped.
Jillian wanted to go to La Sirena in Camp Bay, it’s pretty much a must see spot. We all had onion rings and rum punches. My friends Don and Janice were there so we sat near them and chatted for awhile while watching the wind surfers. {side note, I bought a new camera, a Nikon CoolPix B 500 with a 40X zoom lens on it} I am still learning to use the camera and did not have it on the correct setting so these photos aren’t the best.

It must be so amazing to be wind surfing at Camp Bay, it’s one of the more pristine spots on the whole island.

Jimmy, the owner of La Sirena

Jillian and Justin at my favorite beach on the moon.

Looking east

Alligator Nose, just seeing it makes me miss the Duchess of Camp Bay and her husband.

Almost every day when we came home from our activities we jumped in the pool to cool off, rinse off the salt water and visit with the dogs. On Wednesday I thought we could go to The Buccaneer in French Harbor for something different. If I had known they charged $5.00PP entrance fee I would have stayed home in my own pool.

It’s a nice place but it isn’t worth the entrance fee.

They have an area roped off from the sea and pretty much protected from the waves. There are huge decks, swings in and out of the water, hammocks, floats. It’s just not the beach to me.

Floating their hectic career/school lives away

Unicorns, flamingos, swans and penguin floats. I can’t imagine what it looks like with all of them floating around,

Hammock row

Very colorful and somewhat tropical. I liked the ceiling at first but then I didn’t. It’s trying too hard.

I did like the hand painting on the wood deck

I think the painting would have been enough without having fake flowers and dried up leaves on the ceiling.

I have the same chairs

Not sure where these are going but I liked them.

Jillian was interested in seeing Cattleya school so I made arrangements with Connie to go there after lunch. When we arrived the students were with Kamille learning ASL. Afterwards they split into groups and did various projects.

Cattleya is a school for physically emotionally and mentally handicapped children. It’s an amazing school.

We watched the 3 different teachers conduct their classes and learned what each one was doing. The little girls flip-flops on the floor in the photo are some of the ones I donated to Cattleya, thank you Kelly. I’m still passing them out. I also donated the 3 games that Kelly brought to Cattleya.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent in our pool at home. We had big salads for dinner and drank some wine on the roof.

Beautiful evening.

Thursday morning we hung around the house, in and out of the pool, waiting to hear from Stephanie and Daniel. We were going snorkeling with them this afternoon. As soon as they called we went over to the sloth farm. I sat and chatted with Daniel’s Mother until they arrived. Stephanie’s parents were here visiting and they had been touring the mangroves, zip-lining and then going snorkeling. We were fortunate to be invited and very excited to go. Daniel just built a new snorkel barge with The Steelers (as in Pittsburgh) and Big Ben stenciled on the sides. Nice boat with an easy access ladder.

We went out in front of CocoView and snorkeled there. It was beautiful.

Daniel had my camera for a few minutes and snapped a pic of me.

My favorites, feather dusters

Another feather duster

Four eyed butterfly fish, Daniel may have taken this photo.

These are amazing Spaghetti worms  (click on the name for a fascinating video on the worms). They are alive and move along the sand getting food to take back to their hole.

Some pretty purple sponges

Justin and Jillian

Reef scene

Searods

This was the biggest Porcupine fish I had ever seen.

They can puff themselves up to 3 times their normal size by drawing water into their abdomens. Once inflated their spines stick out and they are quite long and very sharp. They do this to protect themselves from being eaten by other fish. Then we moved to a different spot to snorkel, looking for lobsters.

Coral

Pretty sure this is a Graysby.

Juvenile French Angelfish, Daniel took this

A school of grunts and Daniel took this too

Love to hate, hate to love. The Lion Fish. Beautiful but poisonous if you get stung by them and they are decimating the reef by eating all the small fish. They are the only fish you are allowed to spearfish (with a permit). Kill them all.

A conch slowly trucking along. I swam past him on the way out and on the way back he had barely progressed.

Daniel and Dustin (red shirt) wrestling underwater trying to pull each other’s mask off.

Beautiful day with our heads underwater with friends, can’t beat that.

I dropped Jillian and Justin off at Cal’s at 6 so they could have a nice dinner together, then Bill went down to get them when they were finished. They were done in less than 45 minutes, I thought something was wrong but they said it was all good, he just wasn’t busy.

The next morning we left here at 8:45. We stopped and got Ann then took Jillian and Justin to zip-line at South Shore. Ann and I sat and watched them zipping along under the canopy of trees.

Getting ready to go

The requisite upside down ride

Justin seeing the trees from a different angle

They even let them ride together!

As soon as they were done we went to West Bay Beach, grabbed some chairs at Bananarama and waited in the water for Sean (my friend from Canada) to meet us. Soon as he arrived we walked down to Infinity to snorkel.

The always popular Parrot fish

I think this is a longspine squirrelfish

A lobster hiding

I love when I see an opening out into the deeper water. Really feel like a mermaid then.

Blue Tangs

Coral

Sergeant Majors

Brain coral

Christmas Tree worms

I was swimming around in the shallows looking at little things and hoping to find this big Parrot fish. I swam around a coral chunk and there he was in all of his magnificent glory. I was lucky enough to be able to swim with him for several minutes, watching him do his thing.

Mr. giant Parrotfish, I was looking for you.

So amazing

You really can’t tell the size from this photo but this guy was almost as big as my dogs.

He had several fish following him as he gnawed on the coral so he could then poop sand. I know the best facts!

This was a beautiful anemone.

A nice chunk of brain coral

Justin and Jillian

The obligatory big chair pic

Such a beautiful beach. After snorkeling we ate at Bananarama then floated our cares away.

Ann walked up to a restaurant called Nice and Spicy to get her husband some dinner so we ran Sean over the hill to the place he is staying, then went back and got Ann and took her home. We went inside so I could meet her new kittens and I wanted Jill and Justin to see her place and her view. After that we made the long drive home. As soon as we opened the gate to come in the driveway the power went off.

Wonderfreakingful. Bill was making pizza. He got the dough rolled out and partially cooked on the grill before it got dark. Then we put the stuff on the pizza with the LED’s for the lightsource. It was so windy that Bill had to cover the pizza with another cookie sheet just to carry it out to the grill.

Nothing says romantic better than glaring LED’s. I lit candles several times, only to have them blown out by the wind.

The pizza master

Miraculously, the power came back on just as it was time to eat. We ate and cleaned up the kitchen and all ran to take showers while we had water pressure. Not long after that, the power went out again. It wasn’t only us, it was island wide. Just a 36 mile strand of darkness in the Caribbean. It really wasn’t a big deal because there was a very strong wind blowing through the house, keeping temps cool.

We hung out here the next morning, watching Flightstats to see what was going on with Jillian and Justin’s delayed flight. Once we saw it was airborn we went to the airport and got them checked in. The line for departures was long so I took them for a tour of Coxen Hole, the “downtown” center of the island. We drove all along the waterfront and stopped to take a photo of the new sign by Petro Sun. I dropped them off at the airport with time to spare before their flight. We enjoyed having Jillian and Justin and look forward to them returning.

I started talking to them about diving. I suggested they do the course work at home, then get their certs with my friends @ Blue Island Divers when they get here. I need to get Jillian’s sister to do this also, she will be here the end of June.

It’s been unusually HOT. 90 degrees with 85% humidity. Despite the insane temps the wind has been blowing hard and steady, keeping the air moving and keeping it cool inside. If there were no breeze we would either have to remain in the pool 24/7 or melt. The wonderful wild and crazy wind is blowing so much dust and dirt around that my screens are filthy and everything is covered in an inch of dust. Lola is sneezing and Barrio has goobers in his eyes, I think it’s allergies for both of them. Tomorrow is Max’s last day of meds, keeping my fingers crossed.

I have a busy few weeks coming up. A friend is coming for a few days to sign the papers on the land she is buying, another friend is coming to stay with us for 2 weeks while she sorts things out with her house building project. I am helping at a fundraiser for Cattleya for Mother’s Day and am also helping Nidia with a Mother’s Day luncheon on the 13th. TOMS shoe delivery will start in June, super late start this year due to some customs snafu.

Off to find something to watch on the computer. I hope everyone had a great weekend, it’s kind of quiet around here. Jillian and Justin, maybe you should come back.

Come dive with me

 

03/28/2017  I am always making new friends on FB and then meeting the people when they finally come to Roatan. Case in point, Rick and Ruth Bailey from Missouri. I met them quite some time ago online and was waiting until they made their next trip down here to meet up. They came to the island before Teri B left. They were staying for a few days on the east end of the island so they came over and spent a day with us in the pool. After sunning and having a few drinks we all went to Cal’s for dinner.

Ruth and Rick Bailey @ Cal’s Cantina

I used to like the Bailey’s a lot but Rick recently bought Ruth a gorgeous blue Mini Cooper with a racing stripe and I’m a little green with envy. The damn pot holes are so big here that Mini would disappear in one of them, never to be seen again. (Nice wheels Ruth) I can somewhat justify me not having one here. Somewhat….

After Teri left I got an email from my goldsmith in Bellingham’s wife. I started going to Fairhaven Gold in 1995, when we moved to Bellingham. Bill, the owner became my most trusted jeweler. In July of last year I lost 2 gold bracelets he made for me while snorkeling down here. My eagle-eyed son Chance found them in the sand under the water. The next day I called Bill to tell him what happened and that the bracelets were being sent to him for repair. That’s when he told me they were coming down, but he didn’t say when. Their daughter was going back to Utila to live for 4 months. She wanted to see Roatan and her dad, Bill wanted to get certified for scuba. He got his certification at Blue Island Divers and his daughter did some diving with them as well. I picked them up one afternoon and took them for a tour of the eastern end of the island. We went through Oak Ridge and Punta Gorda. After stopping for refreshments, we drove east to the Secret Beach and hung out. It was a gorgeous day, we sat listening to the waves and chatting. After that we stopped back here to tell Bill that we were going to Cal’s for lunch. (see a pattern here?) After that I dropped them off in French Harbor and they got a taxi back to Sandy Bay where they were staying. So nice to see Bill and meet Gina and Mackenzie.
Still dealing with Max being sick put a damper on my life. I needed to get in gear and get ready for my upcoming guests.

I met my friend Abe a long time ago, in a galaxy far away, called Bellingham. Abe used to come to the bank (Bank of America, where I worked) with his Father and sometimes his brothers and or sister. I got to know him through there. I was always impressed by Abe’s Father and by the way all the kids behaved. I transferred to a different department temporarily but when I returned to the branch I saw that Abe had recently applied for a job. I called him for an interview but he was working at another bank, he started there a few weeks ago. I offered him more money and less hours. He said OK and came to work for me. His smarts, personality and his demeanor with people was/is outstanding.

I left BoA in 2005 for another bank. Abe left banking soon after to try a new job with Border Patrol. We always kept in touch. Abe decided the Border Patrol was not for him and moved back to Bellingham. At that time, I needed a Personal Banker where I was working as Customer Service manager so he applied. The personnel office contacted me and said he had worked for them before for a short period of time. I said that he didn’t. They then told me when it was and that he quit to work for BoA. I realized it was because I hired him out from under them and now was hiring him back. They agreed to rehire him and he was very successful there as well. I moved on and he stayed there for a while until he decided to move to So. Calif.

Anyhow, the rest is history, Abe and I have always been in contact with each other, he calls me his American mom. His Mom, Maria is a lovely lady and I know his brothers and sister as well as his father. Great people, love them all.

Flash forward to mid Feb when Abe messages me that he needs a vacation and was thinking about coming to see me. I was very excited to say the least. We chatted about it off and on, talked on the phone and at that point I decided to plant the seed about diving. Abe had never snorkeled, let alone gone scuba diving. He asked if his buddy could come visit too and I said sure. They both wanted to get certified for Open Water Scuba diving. I contacted Eric @ Blue Island Divers and he got them all set up.
I picked them up at the airport on Thursday March 16th, we stopped and got groceries and then came here. They put their groceries away and we ran to Cal’s for food, they were starving. Bill didn’t go, he was getting over a stomach bug and food was not his friend.

The next morning I took the guys to Blue Island Divers in Sandy Bay to start their certification. The weather had been crappy and the north shore was pretty choppy. The guys began their first day long certification and I left, ran errands and came home. (30 min. each way) I went back and picked them up at 3:30, 4 PM and we headed home. They were asleep quite early after a long day of studying. The next morning we were up and back at Blue Island Divers for day two of training. I did the same thing, I went home, then went back to get them. One of the days I stopped by my twin’s house to say hello and get sneak peeks of Miss Juanita, Ann’s new cat.

Day 2, the guys did some open water work with Ernesto.

I met another lady on FB, well, actually she found my blog and PM’d me. She had been here once on a cruise ship and was returning on Sat. for another visit. I was unable to pick her up at the airport as I was running with the guys. Kelly brought down 70 yes, SEVENTY pair of Old Navy flip-flops for the island kids. Customs was not going to let her through with the suitcase. I called my friend Karen who was working that day and she went and talked to them. They needed a letter saying they were being donated. Luckily I was able to get the letter the same day and get it sent to the customs lady. All was well in Roatán.

70 pair of Old Navy flip-flops(zorie’s for Jeanie) , a long-sleeved white shirt from LL Bean for Jessica, undies for Osman and Efraim and bathing suits for them too. Kelly also brought the game Trouble, Jenga and a box of Lego’s to build a fire truck. I really wanted to give them to the boys (Osman and Ephraim) but their wretched horrible mother will sell them and the boys will not get to play with them. She’s a miserable woman. I’ve decided to donate the toys to a school, probably Cattleya.

Kelly knows the way to my heart, she brought me a mermaid bag. She also brought each of the dogs a BeneBone. They are Y shaped and the dogs LOVE them.

The games Kelly brought

The clothes

This little boy is one of many living in the 2 room house in the valley with his grandparents. We gave him school supplies from John and  Lizeth awhile ago.

Two more of the boys. They were chopping with machetes in the woods.

Abe and Paul and I were beaching it at West Bay on Sunday so I invited Kelly to come with us. I stopped by Pristine Bay to pick her up and we were off to the beach. It was the only day in the whole week there were no cruise ships in. We sat at Bananarama for the day. The beach was not very crowded but still a good day for people watching. The guys and I walked down the beach to Infinity Bay. We entered the water there and tried to swim out the channel to snorkel but it was so stirred up the visibility was awful. This is what happens when we get winds from the north. Many of the dive boats were on the other side of the island also.

The miserable ugly West Bay beach.

See how sucky the water was? I gave up.

Big brain coral

A parrot fish

While floating in the water with Kelly we met a lady named Vera, who was holding her dog in her arms while she floated. She was telling us her story, all the time Fido was zen in the moment, not moving a muscle, loving the experience. Turns out Vera and her husband are friends of our friends Stefi and Jurgen who moved back to Germany. It was so nice chatting with her, she even says shit just like Stefi did

Vera and Fido

We had lunch on the beach, had a few beers and headed home. I took them to see the south-west shore of the island and then drove through Toxic Hole (Coxen Hole) so they could see the “downtown” area.
On Monday we were all going to Mondays Don’t Suck on the beach on the moon. I picked Kelly up, got the guys and we set off first for La Sirena for some lunch. Imagine my disappointment when they said they didn’t have bread crumbs to make the onion rings. I was looking forward to having them for lunch, especially because I didn’t bring anything to eat at the beach..

Paul and Abe chowing down

On the dock at La Sirena

After we finished at La Sirena we drove down to MDS beach.

Simply gorgeous.

Tres amigos, Abe, Paul and Kelly. This was at the start of MDS, they were not as calm and normal at the end of the day.

Terry and Roger

MDS turned out to be a fabulous day at the beach. The weather was glorious, the waves had settled down and we had the beach to ourselves.

The beach gang

Jeanie AKA The Duchess of Camp Bay, me, Kelly, Paul and Abe

Lowanna wanted shirtless photos of the guys.

They were playing soccer on the beach

Food, drinks, chairs, rafts, towels and people. Really a fabulous day.

Carmen and I wearing our Sargassum Seaweed crowns. We were absolutely the best Sargassum Sirens.

I love this beach.

I had not eaten and I drank almost a bottle of wine. By the time the day had ended and I had to drive home I was on another level. Very thankful that the majority of the road home was dirt and empty. It’s a slow going road anyhow, potholes, speed bumps, cows and horses. I did have to drive a few miles on paved road but there was no traffic. I drove to my house and told Bill he had to take Kelly to Pristine Bay. I knew I couldn’t negotiate the cars and traffic in French Harbor. I went inside, got the pounds of sand out of the unmentionable parts, showered and passed out on the couch. Once Paul and Abe each showered, they came upstairs too and we all watched Bill make us pizza for dinner.  Well, I sort of watched from the couch but when the pizza was ready, I was starving and ready to inhale several pieces. After we ate and cleaned up, I  went to bed and Paul and Abe went down to their bedrooms and crashed too. Tomorrow was the final day of their dive certification.
Amazingly, the three of us made it down to Blue Island Divers again on Tuesday morning. They were doing 3 dives that day and I planned on diving with them their last dive of the day. I dropped them off and came home and laid down for a while. I noticed on FB that it was Ernesto’s birthday (their divemaster) on Tuesday. I stopped and grabbed a birthday cake for him on my way back to the dive shop. I made it back by 1:30 for a 2 PM dive. I chose not to take my camera because I’m still working on getting perfect buoyancy. We had a great dive, only went to 53′ for 49 minutes.

Abe, Ernesto, their divemaster, Paul, Laura and Ismael, also divemasters

Ernesto with his 2 cakes, photo-bombed by Ismael, who is from Chile.

Let them eat cake and drink beer. It was after 5 PM, the rules of the dive shop for the employees consuming anything alcoholic.

Abe and Paul, modeling their newly purchased BID rash guards.

Paul signing his name, OWD certificate is complete.

Abe’s turn

One last shot of Blue Island Divers, they have such an idyllic spot.

On the way home we stopped at the grocery store and Abe and Paul bought some steaks for dinner. Paul was the chef and along with the meat (I don’t eat meat) he made some delicious fried potatoes too.

Abe checking out the food prep

Our chef for the night

Max resting on Gringo’s hip

On Wednesday morning I picked Kelly up @ Pristine Bay. We came back here and she got to meet the dogs and then we all went to Oak Ridge to meet Carmen and Brett @ BJ’s. They were having us over for the day. The sun was shining, the sea was calm and glistening, a perfect day to be on the south shore.
Carmen had a whole spread of food for us and beer and wine and Bloody Mary’s too. The guys went out snorkeling while we sat and talked. When they returned from snorkeling and dried off, we all got in the boat and went for a tour. We cruised Calabash Bight, then out in the open sea to the mangroves. After we circled around the swimming hole we went to Hole in the Wall. It’s a small bar/restaurant that has been around forever.

The snorkelers

Black spiny sea urchins

On the boat

Into the mangroves

Calabash Bight, my friend Kathy lives in the house on the right and the other place will soon be a Pizza Hut. (hah)

The gang

Paul, just a little happy.

Even Charlie enjoyed the ride

Carmen took this because she said I am never in the pics.

So beautiful

The mangroves open up onto this and continue on the other side

Such a beautiful spot.

First stop, Hole in the Wall. Lobster nachos and cheesy fries

Need a new word? Douchenugget seems to be the word of the day.

Everyone signs their name

Quite an interesting place

This is what you do to your toe when you mysteriously trip getting out of the boat. NOTE: I did not spill OR drop my glass of wine.

Captain Ed, this guy has the bluest eyes I have ever seen. He runs the show there.

From there we went to Trico.

Carmen and Charlie

Bar dog

Another one, this one was really pretty.

Swak Creek, WA? Never heard of it.

This is how we do it here.

Our day was done. We were dropped off at BJ’s and I drove back to our house. We washed up and went to Cal’s for dinner again.

Kelly, Abe, my friend Reynaldo, the waiter and Paul.

After a fabulous meal we took Kelly home and headed back to our house to feed the hungry dogs awaiting their food.

Thursday was their last day here on the island. We picked Kelly up and went to Arch’s Iguana Farm.  The guys enjoyed seeing and feeding the iguanas. Afterwards we walked down to the water and looked around, it’s so beautiful down there. Before we left Abe picked up a few things for his daughter Natalya at the gift shop. We planned to go to the Sloth farm but we ran out of time.

Feeding the iguanas

It was a sunny day so there were a lot of them out and about.

Such amazing creatures. I absolutely love them.

After a stop at the gas station for baleadas for breakfast for the guys, I took them all to the airport. They got checked in and were ready to go through security. Kelly had the shortest trip home, Paul the longest, he was going to Seattle. I said good-bye to everyone and made my way home.

It was an eventful and exhausting week but I enjoyed the company of all 3 of them. The guys are already talking about returning and Miss Kelly better get back down here soon too. We really enjoyed Paul and Abe, super nice guys, lots of  fun to hang out with.

Bill volunteered to make 2 bed frames for a family a friend was helping. We delivered them on Thursday before we took Max in to the people hospital to get X-Rays for the vet on Saturday.

This was before the truck broke down.

The adorable little girls and their dog. The frames were for mattresses for these cuties.

There was plywood for the tops of the beds also, just not shown in this pic.

Max got his x-rays Thursday evening, I swear he is the best dog ever. He doesn’t fight us no matter what we do to him.
He went to the vet from Tegus on Saturday morning. He seemed to be feeling better but she did a check-up anyhow. He had a slight temp so we waited 10 minutes and took his temp again, this time  it was higher. She did a blood test and after viewing the results said he has Ehrlichia. Before Doc C said he had Ehrlichia on Feb 15th. Then Dr Diana did a SNAP test for Ehrlichia and Heart worm on 2/24, it was negative. She also checked his blood with a microscope and said he did not have Ehrlichia. Then on 2/28 Dr Bueno drew blood from him and had it checked and said no Ehrlichia. Now on 3/25 Dr Diana says he has it. I’m so pissed off and confused, I don’t even know what to think. I hate to keep giving him medicine but I don’t want to stop in case he does have it. No wonder I’m nuts.
Final photos of the day, Abe left a pair of almost new Reef shoes here for Alexi.  He was so excited with the shoes and they fit. Alexi would have chopped his toes off so they would fit, especially because they were from Abe.

Reef shoes for Alexi

This is one of Trace’s “doodles.” I think he should make some copies of these and sell them.

The detail is freaking amazing.

It’s a nice day, I’ve been typing  all morning and I’m done. The pool is calling my name, sort of like the siren song.

Hasta Manaña Peeps.

 

On the go again

 

summer

01/26/2017 I’ve been so busy having fun that I forgot about this blog. Not really, but I’m good at putting it in the back of my mind while there is partying to do. And there was partying.

I went to a great party in Port Royal at the lovely property owned by Mel and John. They have put so much hard labor into this piece of property, in the year since the last time I was there, the changes are amazing. This was an undeveloped piece of land situated right at the water’s edge. They have built a large boat dock there and they are still living in their boat while building and working on their land. They have a bodega with a living roof and an awesome casita called Casita Lisa, named for Mel’s BFF. There is a beautiful hand laid stone path winding down from the casita  towards the water. The spot for their home is ready and waiting to be built on. I rode out with Francie and Franklin, it’s a long drive on some rough road. We went to the landing in Port Royal and got a ride with Maggie and Norm on their boat, along with Deanna and Roger and Jeanie. It was a great day with wonderful friends.

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A real cow skull on the front of the living roof.

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Fabulous old canoe, think this was given to them by Franklin and Francie

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This is the roof of the bodega (storage building)

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The crowd and the food table

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Jeanie, Francie and I sat on this bench for awhile and chatted about..life.

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The amazing trees next to their property. I hope nobody ever cuts these down. I was told that pirates used to seek out these trees because they could find “sweetwater” near them.  I think they are some type of cypress tree.

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Francie and Jeanie

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This says it all

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Roger and Jeanie on the boat

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Francie, Me, Roger and Jeanie with Heather in the back

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The boathouse next to the dock we tied up to.

They had BBQ beef and pork and even though I don’t eat meat, I did and loved it. We left late afternoon for the loooong drive home.

On Friday the 13th I decided to push my luck and go diving with my friends Eric and Carly who own Blue Island Divers in Sandy Bay. I have not gone diving since I hurt my foot on Oct. 6th. It was time. After the 5 shots to the ankle it was feeling pretty darn good. I had my friend Carmen’s dive gear to use. She has company for the forseeable future and then they head back to the states so she decided I may as well use it. I got to the dive shop and Eric checked out my gear, got everything ready and we left in the boat. There were 3 other divers with us besides Eric, Carly and I. One was the new DM, Pauli, and a couple and another guy. We got to the spot and fell overboard, waiting for everyone to get in the water before descending. I have used the same mask since the end of Feb 2008. I bought it then while in Curacao with Olivia. It cost $40.00. The last time I dove with it the mask was fine, no fog, no leak. Perfect.

I was having difficulty equalizing and had to ascend a bit before I could clear my ears. Plus, my mask was filling with water. I got my ears equalized and descended with Eric. My mask was like a funnel, I must have cleared the damn thing a dozen times. As soon as I would get it cleared, it filled up again. It reminded me of a situation when we were getting certified. I had a mask with a big profile, it held a LOT of water. We found this out while doing the mask clearing part of our certification. I took my mask off underwater, put it back on, cleared it but couldn’t get all of the water out so I sat on the bottom of the YMCA pool w/ a regulator in my mouth and my mask filled with water. I was fine, just chilling, waiting for the instructor to make his rounds. He came to me and gave me the “up” signal. He asked what I was doing and I told him I couldn’t get all the water out and he said, “so you’re going to sit there with a mask full of water?” Yep, I was. He gave me a different mask, I went back underwater and cleared it immediately. This is what happened diving this time. After clearing it so many times I said, screw it, just dive. So I finished the dive with my mask 1/2 full of water. My dive kind of sucked, had to keep my head in a certain position and didn’t want to go to the surface because, well, I just didn’t. I was pissed. And I had a major head full of snot. UGH! New mask is on the horizon.

After my dive I went up to Ann’s house. I’m so glad she lives close to Blue Island because I may not get to see her very much if she didn’t. We ran and grabbed lunch, I took her home and made the drive east myself. Not bad driving east at days end, you don’t have to fight the blinding sun like you do when you drive west.

Bill and I went to Chuck and Nancy’s house for drinks and dinner one evening. They live 4 minutes away. We were joined by Lynda and Dave and Don and Janice. (thank you for the CD Lynda)

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Nancy, me, Lynda and Janice (Lynda’s photo)

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Drinks on the deck overlooking Milton Bight

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Drinks, see my Mermaid cups? One for wine and one for water. {Thanks to Julie Bennett. }

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The view

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The tree in the center of their circle

Earlier in the month I was contacted by my friend Amanda Walkins who used to live in Scotland but she and her Irish Colombian husband recently moved to Ireland. Amanda has a boring life. NOT. This girl travels and she writes. This is sort of how we met. Anyhow, she emailed me and asked if I would be interested in meeting Jason Holland. Jason is the Latin American editor for International Living (IL). Jason was going to be visiting Roatan in the near future.

I said of course I would. I asked my friend Alex Poirier to join us. Alex is a Buyer’s Agent and has been here for a long time, he has a boat and is a buyers agent for the realtors on the island. Jason wanted a tour of Port Royal and the waterways surrounding and Alex was going to do that.

Alex and his wife (and my partner in crime) Marilyn and I picked Jason up a few days after he arrived. We showed him some properties for sale, showed him Pristine Bay, Havana Beach, went to Eldon’s, to new areas being developed and we showed him a home for sale. After that we went to the dock, jumped in their boat and went to Alex and Marilyn’s house for a drink.

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Jason and Marilyn. It was so windy his shirt was filled with air!

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CBYC Calabash Bight Yacht Club, AKA Alex and Marilyn’s home

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Alex, Jason and I at CBYC

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Their miserable view. (it’s gorgeous) The house on the hill to the right of the mast is my friend Kathy’s. Rumor has it there is also a Pizza Hut (sic) somewhere on that mountain side.

After that Alex, Jason and I did a tour in the boat. We would have gone down to Port Royal but the ocean was rather pissy that day, it was blowing hard with good sized waves.

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Calabash Bight

Alex would need to stay inside the reef and you can’t do that to go where we wanted to. So we went back to the car and drove there. On the way to the landing in Port Royal, we stopped at Martina’s restaurant and B&B. O M G. Martina makes these curly fries from potatoes she spiral slices very thin. Again, O M G. We also had Jerk Chicken Tenders that were absolutely delicious. If you are ever on the road to Port Royal or in Camp Bay, go to Martina’s, yummy stuff. Or spend some time there, the rooms are nice, she cooks for you and it’s a very tranquil setting.

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The view from Martina’s deck

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Beautiful shrubbery surrounds the property

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The dining area

With full bellies we left Martina’s for the boat landing. There we grabbed her skiff and went to Port Royal the short way. We were headed to Kim and Joe Wonder’s house on the water.

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Martina’s boat. From here we could reach our destination and still remain inside the reef.

Kim and Joe live totally off the grid. They have their own electric and water and with boat access only, they have become very adept shoppers. So unlike me who forgets so much shit that I sometimes travel to the store a few times a day or I talk Bill into going for me. Their home is very nicely done, amazing bathrooms (main home and guest house) it’s well taken care of, everything looks new. Honestly, the view literally takes your breath away. AND, it’s for sale. They want to go out on their big boat and do some live aboard traveling. Here is the link to this gorgeous home: http://www.islandrealestate.com/view/roatan-home-4354/  Check it out and spread the word.

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Their home, guest house to the R in the photo.

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It’s a very nice home, I could easily live there.

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This is their boat, Sea Song. They will be traveling in her when they leave.

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Seriously. This is their view. How stunning is that, looking right at the cow and the calf. Excellent snorkeling right in their front yard.

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Some of the Yabba Ding Ding Kim and Joe have found over the years. Left over from the pirate days.

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Glistening water

After we did the Port Royal tour we drove Jason out by La Sirena in Camp Bay and then turned around to make the long, into the sun, drive west.

I hope Jason had a good time. There were still a few things I wanted to show him so we made arrangements to meet on Thursday morning for a little tour of my favorite places. Unfortunately, we did not make it to my favorite place on the east end, the beach on the moon. Maybe another time.

Wrapping this up because I need sleep. These past few parties (in the next blog) have worn me out.

Come back soon.

Another year, another birthday

life

 

01/13/2017 To me, the New Year means another birthday. Having my birthday on Jan. 3rd has always been sort of lackluster. Everyone is still in the NYE hangover phase, struggling to write the correct date when they go back to work, worrying about taking down the tree and putting all the decorations away. Me? I’m over here going, yep, another year bites the dust. I don’t feel my age most of the time but there are days when it’s a neon sign right on the WTF lines between my eyes.

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Just in case you didn’t already know this.

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Google remembered my birthday.

A couple weeks ago the klutz in me resurfaced. I was going down the back steps, they are wooden and shaded and slippery as hell, just like ice. Yep, all 5 dogs around me and I fell. My left leg was under me and I landed on it. Cue knee replacement pain. OMG. I finished what I was doing and came in and had a time out with a bag of frozen peas. I’m sure it’s OK, it’s metal to begin with, I’m damn near bionic. I must have cursed a blue streak because two of the dogs were terrified.

We finally had some sunshine and I totally absorbed every ray I could get. I read a book the first day, front to back, then I started another. This was pretty much my rhythm for the week, the dogs and I were in heaven once again.

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Lola, Gringo and Barrio, working on their tan lines.

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My handsome boy Barrio. He was the only pup I was going to keep. See how well that worked out?

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The jungle guards, Highway, Gringo and Maxillicious

I was introduced via FB to a vet from California who brought HeartGard meds to donate. Dirk and his wife Patti came over to give me the meds and meet the dogs. Bill knows a lady who loves her pets but can’t afford to get veterinary care so once the road down to her house is fixed we will start dispensing the meds there. Thank you Dirk and Patti, we’ll be able to help several dogs with the meds you donated.

On Tuesday the 3rd I went to see my orthopedic doc @ Cemesa Hospital about my re-sprained foot (from the slip on the stairs) and to talk about removing the alien. When I got there and checked in they said he wasn’t coming. WHAT? Obviously he had an emergency surgery at the other hospital so they rescheduled me for Wednesday. I arrived early Wednesday and he was ready and waiting for me. He said to remove the alien from my ankle that he can give me a local, slice the ankle, remove the screw and sew it back up in 15 minutes, I just have to schedule that with a days notice being necessary. Yes, a DAY. He also gave me an anti-inflammatory shot in 5 different places where my leg meets my ankle to see if he could settle this down. It finally is feeling better and I can walk without a limp.

Thursday our friends from Kentucky (who arrived on Sat. and were staying in West Bay) were heading down to this end of the island and they stopped by. It’s really funny how we met. I was working at the airport, walking around chatting with people and I had a name tag on. I spoke to this woman and she said, “You’re Mermaid on a Raft aren’t you?” From that point on we were friends. John and Lizeth are wonderful people and we can’t wait until they finally make the move. Last time they were here John’s sister and brother-in-law were with them. We all went to La Sirena for the afternoon. This visit they brought their son Philip who is a junior at Rochester Institute of Technology, super nice, handsome, sweet and obviously very intelligent young man. Lizeth brought 2 bags of school supplies for the kids and the cutest little REI raincoat for some lucky little girl. I’ll start passing things out when school begins in Feb.

They did a mangrove tour in the morning and afterwards we met them at Cal’s for lunch. Always a good meal at Cal’s. As soon as I got home from Cal’s I called the Duchess, Jeanie, and she was at Nancy’s so I made myself a big vodka fresca and drove the 4 minutes to Nancy’s. There were a few other friends there doing some art projects. Chuck and Nancy have a fabulous art studio in the tower of their home. I stayed for almost 2 hours and then came home and laid on the couch for the rest of the evening.

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A young girl who just moved here did this henna tattoo on herself.

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She did the mermaid on the Duchess. The extra lines are charcoal and will wash off.

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Chuck helping Valerie

Yesterday I dropped off some other supplies (that people brought to Because We Care from the US) at Nidia’s store then went to see my friends at Blue Island Divers. They have been SUPER busy and I’m so happy for them, they are good people, they have an excellent dive op and they work really hard. The Doc said I can dive in a week. YAY!

After that I went to West Bay to see my friend Mario who was staying at Bananarama. I met Mario on a flight from San Pedro to Houston, he was on his way to start college @ Midland University in Nebraska. I was so impressed with this young mans demeanor and attitude that we became FB friends right away and have stayed in touch. He messaged me that his family and his girlfriend were coming to Roatan for a few days so we decided to get together. I got to meet his girlfriend, parents, both sisters, brother in law and adorable 2 year old nephew Mathias. We talked for about 30 minutes, his parents are both college professors on the mainland and they want to build a house here. They asked me if I could help them find land, I said I would try.

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Mario and Sharon. I borrowed this photo from FB.

In the meantime, my friends John, Lizeth and Phil had just gotten back from a dive so I met them at the dive shop, we grabbed lunch at Bananarama (no ranch dressing Liza) and then we went and looked at their property.

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Their view is amazing

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They are so close to the water!

After that we went back to where they were staying and laid on the rafts in the water and had a beer.

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No cruise ships meant a deserted beach

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It felt so good to be back in the water, floating. I love the Caribbean.

It was really nice to spend an afternoon with John, Lizeth and Phil. I am still overwhelmed by the amazing friends I have met through Roatan FB pages or my blog. I’ve been very blessed.

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The sky last evening

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It was a pretty night

Last night when we went to bed it was a semi calm evening. I woke in the middle of the night to huge winds and heavy rains, both bedroom windows, bathroom windows and closet window were open and everything was soaked. Again, thankful for concrete floors.

I got up this morning, sliced the dogs banana and sat down at my computer.  I asked Bill why he had closed it and he said my hard drive was running. I opened it and tried to boot it up and this is what the screen looked like.

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What he didn’t realize when he closed the laptop was, there was a pen laying in it. The pressure of the screen on the pen ruined my display. I’m now using my laptop hooked up to an old monitor while a new screen is ordered for my laptop.

The next morning the weather had turned downright ugly, winds up to 40 MPH, raining sideways and zero visibility, we have a full blown nor’easter bearing down on us. I feel sorry for the people who arrived on Saturday for a weeks vacation, at least it’s not snow and 5 degrees. I still went to Mega Paca. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these shoppers from the swift competition of the newly marked down.”

I just read on crime watch (a Roatan FB page) that there is a diver missing on the south shore, 5 boats and a helicopter were looking for her. She was a skilled 72 year old female diver and was last seen by her DM @ 200′. WTH? 200′, who goes 200′ besides a technical diver?? The divemaster tried to get her to go back up but she didn’t respond and he had to turn around. If she was at 200′ and still going down she was either unconscious or dead. No recreational diver would do something that insane on purpose.  Always a terrible thing to read about, I feel sorry for the family, the DM, the resort, just sucks.

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The sky this morning, crazy winds. This was taken later this afternoon when the rain stopped.

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Earlier this morning you could see nothing but gray, the shores were not visible. It was like living in the clouds.

I have vowed to make these blogs shorter and to post more often and that’s exactly what I am doing, ending this one here and now.

Check back soon, I’m not done yet.

Coming into the Holidaze

weird

12/07/2016   It was a dark and pissy 2 months ago yesterday that I fell and hurt my foot and today is also my granddaughter’s 14th birthday, Happy Birthday Alexah!

I am walking but it’s painful, standing, well, forget it. I think my issue is tendinitis but I’m not a Doc so I’m guessing, and being optimistic that there isn’t a fracture. I have not done any diving or snorkeling yet because I enjoy being able to walk and the pain is enough to still be a deterrent to any new aggravation.

Our company arrived on a semi sunny Saturday, Nov 19th. Early that morning we took Gringo to the vets from Tegus who come to Roatan monthly to find out what was going on with his skin. Dr. Diana did a skin scraping and took some blood from him. The skin scraping showed a bacterial infection and I was positive it was fungal. So much for my veterinary degree. After 2 weeks of new meds he is 95% better and we are thrilled with that. We still bathe him often and have decided to keep him on meds for another 2 weeks. Keeping our fingers crossed.

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Mr. Handsome Gringo was not happy about being at the vets

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We had Bill’s truck (the dog food is in my car) so I couldn’t feed this poor dog.

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Talk about long lunches and crazy hours. Lunch is from 12PM to 2 AM and then they work until 5:30PM. Really Honduras?

We took Gringo home and I drove back into the airport to pick up Julie and Robby. Unfortunately 3 planes landed at the same time and it took them FOREVER to get through immigration. They were happy to be here and hungry, it was probably a bad choice to take them to the grocery store after they landed.

On Sunday morning Julie came with me to Mega Paca. We stayed as long as I was still able to stand. Afterwards we met Bill and Robby @ GiLei’s for coffee and food. Not that I drink coffee, nor does Julie and Robby isn’t a huge fan, but Bill is a coffee guy and the food we had was excellent, we’ll be back for sure.

The weather kind of sucked the first week Robby and Julie were here. It’s been an incredibly rainy winter so far. There’s been so much rain it killed some of my flowers that are in pots. Obviously I’m not keeping a very good eye on them either.

Monday Robby wanted to help Bill who’s helping out a friend and I have no clue what Julie and I did. It may have been a decent day and we may have laid in the sun.

The sun made an appearance on Tuesday so I took R&J down to BJ’s where they got a boat over to the Reef House to do some diving. They only did 1 dive and were waiting for me when I got there to pick them up. They said the viz was mediocre at best. Tuesday eve we went to Cal’s for dinner, excellent as always.

On Wednesday we all started prepping for Thanksgiving dinner. Julie and I baked, peeled and chopped most of Wednesday, even Robby was cooking. Carmen and Brett and Jeanie and Roger, and my friend and Divemaster Guru Eric all joined Robby and Julie and Bill and I for dinner. We had way too much food. I had enough damn mashed potatoes for everyone in this valley. Really I did. I suck at estimating how much food. I was worried a 22# turkey wouldn’t be enough. HA freaking HA! Eric stuck around and we chatted about diving for awhile. I sent him home with a box of food (his wife and kids are in the states and due to his dive business here, he had to miss out on family time). If you plan to learn to dive on Roatan, I can highly recommend Blue Island Divers.  Do your SSI course work in the comfort of your own home and then go see Eric and do your water certification. Diving done right.

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Preparation

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Those 2 big pans, full of potatoes.

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Robby, Julie, Roger and The Duchess (Jeanie)

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Carmen

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He has their attention with turkey scraps.

I tried to do the dishes that night and partially succeeded. Friday was another day.

It rained like hell off and on Friday, just gloomy as crap. Sam and Chelsie and Daniel and Stephanie were coming for dinner. When they got here it wasn’t raining but it was absolutely pouring when they left. It’s the first Stephanie and Daniel have been around the dogs. She and I were out on the porch and they were all excited and barking. Daniel asked if the dogs all had their teeth. Umm, yes they do. Sam’s family owns the Iguana farm and Daniel owns the sloth sanctuary, and they are cousins, and Sam’s wife and Daniel’s girlfriend have been friends for 10 years, Chelsie got Stephanie to move down to Roatan, they are both teachers at the Nuna Academy. We had a really nice evening with all of them, Robby and Julie enjoyed seeing Sam and Chelsie again and well, we always enjoy them and just love Daniel and Stephanie.

Saturday it was semi sunny so we hung out around the pool. Our other friends from Oregon arrived yesterday so they came down today to say hello. I was hoping to be able to dive with Robby and Julie and Liza and Mike but not this trip. Next one for sure.

Sam Arch was in a Wahoo fishing tournament over the weekend at Barefoot Cay. On Sunday they were having a BBQ and the prizes were being awarded. I wanted Robby and Julie to see Barefoot so we went down there around 2. As luck would have it, Sam won the Grand Prize for the largest Wahoo and the first place prize for the most amount of fish caught, weight wise. Everyone except me ate lunch/dinner there and had a few beers. Beautiful day by the water and really happy that Sam won.

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The eating area, we sat under a palapa to be out of the sun.

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I was looking for Sam’s boat but he had already taken it home.

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Chelsie and Sam

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Robby and Julie

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Sam, second from L, Haydee (works at Barefoot) Sam’s fishing buddy and Mr Sherman Arch on the R, Sam’s dad.

Monday was a gorgeous day and that only means one thing, MONDAYS DON’T SUCK at the best private beach on the moon. (It’s a secret and I get shit if I mention where it is) FED Duchess. We packed up some chairs, some food and some booze, a few rafts and headed to the moon. What an incredible place filled with friends all looking for the same thing, an uncomplicated day, minus all stress and hassles of life spent with good friends on our little island paradise on the moon.

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Robby and Roger raking

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The group is in the shade, the sun goddesses moved to be in the sun.

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Carmen, Pam, me and Martina and Dan-o and Molly the dogs.

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The Duchess and Molly

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Some people even came by boat and swam in.

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Julie, Pam and Carmen going for a walk on the beach.

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Proudly flying our flags

Since the weather was co-operating on Tuesday, I offered to take Robby and Julie to Blue Island Divers for some diving. Eric wasn’t their DM that day because he was flying home the next day so they dove with Cole. Cole is awesome, I dove with him a few times, he’s a fun Dive Master. While they were diving I went to Nadia and got my hair colored then went and hung out with Ann until it was time to pick them up. The plan that day was to have Alexi and his sisters, brother and nephew come over and swim and have lunch. Bill picked them up and we ran in the store on the way home and got what we needed. When we got home the kids were in the front yard playing with Bill and Alexi. They came inside and went out to the pool and before you knew it, the young boys were in their undies and in the pool.

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Efraim, Alexi’s little brother and Osman on the raft, (Alexi’s sister Juliana’s son)

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Efraim wringing out his undies

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Juliana and Efraim

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Jessica and Osman

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Alexi

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Efraim using Julie’s camera

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Efraim. Notice his shoes, they don’t fit. His nephew Osman is 2 years younger and bigger than he is.

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Juliana and Jessica hanging out the window

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Yep, Max jumped on the truck hood. Lola joined him but I missed that shot.

Bill made his famous infamous pizza on Wednesday night for dinner, it was yummy as usual. Maybe he should open a pizza joint here.

Thursday I took Julie and Robby back to Blue Island for some more diving. While they were diving I ran and got Gringo more meds then went back and sat at the dive shop and talked to Maria and Elton and the new Dive Master teacher from Greece. When they got done diving we went to the Salty Mango and had lunch, then ran down to see my puppies at Lisa’s house. I haven’t seen Bandit and Sable for several months but they remembered me for sure. Man, I love these puppies.

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Bandit looks so much like Barrio I had to do a double take on this photo.

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Sable, the only girl in Frito’s litter and she’s a feisty one.

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Bandit and Sable. They look different from the other pups because their ears stand up straight and they have smaller bodies than my guys do. Gringo weighs double what Sable does. I’m so glad Lisa has them, she loves these two so much.

Robby and Julie and I headed back east after visiting with Lisa and the pups. Little did I know, Julie had chicken and dumplings cooking in the crock pot, nice surprise and another great meal.

On Friday we all went down to the Buccaneer, a place that recently reopened. There are a few small retail shops in there and they are hoping to get more. They said a restaurant and bar will be opening soon, you can have parties there, meetings or go hang out by the water. Bill and Robby had coffee there and they both thought it was excellent and cheap. Me, I don’t give a rip about coffee, now if it had been wine I would have been all over it.

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The natural swimming pool that Julie and I floated in. However, on Sunday I was told not to swim in that water due to the poor disposal of sewage in that area. UGH.

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Nice long pier.

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Floating in the yucky but clear water.

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Huge swim area.

Friday night we went to Cal’s to eat. He was so busy we hurried and got our orders in before the 2 big tables did. When we got home we sat out front and talked and let the dogs play and tire themselves out. Hah, like that ever happens.

Robby and Julie’s flight was scheduled to leave at 1:30 on Saturday but it got delayed, then delayed more and delayed again. I don’t think they actually got out of RTB until close to 3. Since we had so much time to kill we ran to Blue Island Divers so they could buy shirts. Then it was off for a sweets run to Fresh Bakery. I had the banana chocolate chip cake and ohmygosh it was excellent. I decided to take 2 pieces back to Maria and Elton at the dive shop. We then made our way to RTB. The day I was there to pick them up the line for security leaving was all the way through the airport, this day, not so much. I saw Roger and Jeanie, Liza and Mike and a hundred other people I knew while waiting with them. Once they were in the security line and almost through, I left for home. After a quick stoop at the grocery store I came home and jumped on a raft and floated for awhile.

Of course, Sunday morning was Mega Paca day. I meandered through there for what seemed like hours, then ran to Eldon’s to get peanut butter, which I forgot the day before. I was invited by Milesse to Barefoot Cay to meet the new general managers wife Trisha. Milesse served an excellent lunch along with bottomless mimosas. Very nice afternoon and I met some new friends to boot.

I’ve had a quiet week so far, spent most of it hanging with the dogs, floating in the pool and reading. Today we are going to Brett and Carmen’s so Bill can help Brett with some plumbing {ended up unable to reach the pipes to replace the faucets and showerhead without a demo job}. Tomorrow it’s back to Barefoot Cay for a get together for the airport greeters, should be a fun time, I’m going with Cindy and Cathey.

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Marilyn stopped by Carmen’s while we were there, she is making some curtains, then we rode to her house to look at her pool installation that is happening on Honduras time.

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On the way back to Jessie’s dock.

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Marilyn’s dogs

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At the entrance to one of the mangrove cuts

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Going through the mangroves

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Kids fishing

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And playing

Pretty soon we will be having the Because We Care Christmas parties, there will be at least 4 of them, probably more, depends on how many toys we get donated. Stay tuned for us spreading holiday cheer on this gorgeous rock we call home.

 

 

The art of being a klutz

eternity

10/10/2016 I certainly do lead an interesting life, rainbows, coral and all things pretty. Although, it’s not always pretty things. A few weeks ago my knee with the replacement started hurting, not sure if diving had anything to do with it or not, you know, using different muscles and all. Age obviously not a factor. (HAH) I also had another alien in my ankle. After some digging and pulling I finally extricated the hard calloused knob out of the hole in my ankle bone. I have not yet had any doctor tell me what it is and why I have it, but this alien has been around since my ankle surgery in March of 2013. It’s gone from sore to very infected and oozing pus to now just a hard callous on my ankle that if it gets bumped the pain is intense. I’ve been told to let it alone and not dig the thing out but I have to because, well, I just do. This last one was hard to get off whatever it’s attached to so I used my nails and dug through it. I know, gross. The night I took it out I had really really bad pain in my ankle, bad enough that it woke me up. Then the next day my knee was killing me and I had pains in my leg, like muscular. Being the intelligent woman that I am, I chose to get in the pool and exercise. I guess I overdid it because the end result was I could hardly walk, my left leg muscles felt like they had atrophied. I laid low for a few days, no diving and stayed around the house. Once it started to feel better I ventured out.

Marilyn wanted me to cut Skipper’s toe nails so she and Carmen picked me up (by boat) one morning in Oak Ridge and we went to Marilyn’s house.

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The platform you see is the start of a new bar that my friends are building across the water from BJ’s.

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Yes, someone lives on this.

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The dock in this photo is at BJ’s. Marilyn picked me up next door at Jessie’s.

We got Skipper’s nails cut and caught up on island stuff. It was the first I had seen Carmen in 6 months, they were back in the states. So nice to have her and Brett back here.

Later in the afternoon Alex ran me back to my car because I promised my friends I would look at a house they were interested in. These are some new friends I met on FB who were here for 2 weeks on vacation, looking for a home to buy and checking out the island.

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The view from the home they were looking at. It’s right next door to my friend Marcia’s house. It’s the same bight we snorkeled with all the jellyfish on my birthday!

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Natalie, Tony and Louise, Nat’s Mother. They are from Florida.

I spent a day during their first week here showing them the east end of the island. Then we met up a couple times after that. Tony and I planned to go diving with my friend Caroline but I decided against it because I was still walking with a limp. The day they left I had an appointment to get my hair chopped off with Nadia so I stopped by Tranquil Seas where they were staying and said good-bye.

I realized that I wash my hair, comb it out, lose 319 hairs each time I untangle the mess after diving or swimming, and once it’s all tangle free, it goes in a clip. Never down, always ponytail or clip. What is the purpose of having long hair if it’s always in a clip? So Nadia chopped and chopped. It’s short and I don’t love it, but it will grow and it takes a minute to wash and comb out. Nadia uses product in my hair, I don’t. The day after she cut it I woke up looking like Barry Manilow after a hard night at the Copa. It was ugly.

Carmen and Brett were coming over Saturday for a pool day, they arrived around 11. We spent the majority of the day in the pool, floating and talking and drinking. We only got out to eat and then got back in. It was great to catch up with them.

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Carmen with her cute haircut and glass of wine.

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My favorite boat guy, Brett.

They left around 5 and we just hung out that evening, more than likely I went to bed early. I was supposed to go to the Reef House on Sunday but was having Barry Manilow issues with my hair and was grumpy and not in the mood, so I stayed home and crisped in the pool.

On Monday Bill and I ran over to Karen and Dwight’s house so Bill could look at something for Dwight. I got to see Bacall, the little pup we rescued a few weeks ago. Let me say that love goes a long way with these island dogs. Bacall has flourished, she is a different dog. She and Bogey are inseparable, she can’t let him alone. What a perfect pair. I’m so glad Karen got her, she has a great life now.

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Bacall

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– Bogey, he’s huge!!

I love being a part of happy endings. While we were at their house Barrio decided to destroy a roll of Kirkland paper towels. They WERE on a shelf in the pantry.

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Mutilated but salvageable

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I never know what he’s going to chew up next.

My leg was starting to feel better, I could once again bend my left knee, something that many of you may take for granted. Don’t, it’s a big deal. I decided it was time to go diving again so Caroline and I made plans to meet at Blue Island Divers at 11:30 on Thursday. I got to BID and was happy to see Sully was going with us also. Cole was going to be our DM. I told him about my situation when I get to 1000# so he carried some extra weights on him in case I needed them. (I did.)

There were some people from Colombia going snorkeling with John who were also on the boat. We got them in the water first and then the four of us went to Rocky’s and fell overboard into the deep blue sea. I have to say the ocean was calmer than I’ve ever seen it, both sides of the island were the same. Smooth as glass, not a ripple and not another dive boat in sight. What a fabulous day to be in the water.

We descended to about 60′ and then started swimming around looking at stuff. We went a little deeper at one point in the dive, it was so pretty down there and looking up at the huge towering reef above us was amazing.

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Sea fans and some sea rods

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Caroline with the yellow fins and Sully

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Club finger coral

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My favorite place to be

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Corals and fish galore

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Barrel Sponge

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And another

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I totally respect the “look but don’t touch” divers creed but I sure as hell would love to see what this feels like.

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Barrel sponge with sea rods of some type

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Flower coral

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Bubbles

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No clue what this is called but it looks like a Pomegranate

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Grooved fungus coral, I believe.

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Some Christmas tree worms

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Looking up

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More Christmas Tree worms

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Brain Coral

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Lots of Goby

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More brain coral

It was a fabulous dive. I felt more confident, still working on my buoyancy and air consumption though. I usually end with 600, this day I ended with almost 1100, and Cole only added 2# to me towards the end of the dive.

We all came up out of the water and bobbed on the surface while Elton picked up the snorkelers. He then came over to get us. I got my fins and BC off and handed them and my camera to the guys on the boat and as I was crawling up the ladder I caught my left foot between the rungs AND FELL INTO THE DAMN BOAT. Talk about being mortified. (I have to say I’m not the only person I know who fell into a dive boat, my friend Liza did also with Bananarama, thanks girlfriend for feeling my pain) I totally blame it on myself, well, my knee and the inability to get it to do what I think it’s doing. It’s not the first time it has messed me up and probably won’t be the last. I could tell right away that I had hurt my foot and was praying that it wasn’t broken. I already had 2 knee surgeries and a knee replacement and a broken tibia, fibula and dislocated ankle on the same leg. Fake knee, metal plates and screws in my ankle, there is nothing good about my left leg.

We got back to the dock and I tried not to limp down the dock back to the dive shop, but it hurt like hell. Instead of hanging out there afterwards and chatting, I paid for my dive and told Caroline I was heading home. So thankful it was not my right foot because I wouldn’t have been able to drive the 40 minutes to get home.

I came home, got my camera, dive boots and bag and water thermos out of the car and somehow made it upstairs. Our steps are concrete and are winding, not conducive to climbing with 2 good feet. I set my stuff down in the house and hobbled out to the porch, used my arms to hoist myself down to the pool. Got the gate open and hopped to a chaise, then lowered myself into the pool. I think I was trying to determine how bad my ankle was and if I needed to see a Doctor. By the time I did a lap or two I realized it was bad and I needed to go to the hospital. I got myself out of the pool, used my arms to help me hop back up the steps, sat down on the porch and yelled for Bill. He had no clue I was hurt.

Luckily for us a nice new hospital opened about 10 minutes west of us. I got dressed and Bill and Alexi took me down to the hospital. They came out with a wheelchair and took me upstairs in the elevator. It was the first time Alexi had ever ridden in an elevator, 17 years old!!

I was taken to X-ray immediately, the guy there took 2 X-rays and then the girl came and got me and took me back to my room in the ER. The X-rays were sent to an orthopedic specialist. Then the nurse hooked up an IV (and she got my vein the first try. In the US it takes several tries, usually involving several people, because they can’t find a good vein.) She said the bag of stuff was for swelling and pain, then they injected something else into the bag for pain.

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Ugly swollen foot but my pedi got a lot of attention. 4 blue, 1 green toenail, my mermaid pedi. You can see the white spot on my ankle in the middle of the scar, that’s where the alien resides.

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Then they did a half cast on it by forming an L shape behind my foot, from the back of my knee to the base of my toes and wrapped it with gauze tape then an ACE bandage.

I had to lay there for awhile and wait for the IV bag to empty. While I was waiting the nurse gave me a shot of Tramadol in my shoulder. I instantly had a huge lump at the injection site, she said that was normal??

Once the bag was emptied they told me I could go home. I needed to see the Doc in 10 days and stay off of my foot. Once again, they wheel chaired me to the car, Alexi helped me get in because Bill was paying the hospital bill. Oh yeah, the bill; 2 X-rays were 914L, less than $50.00, medicines were 1176L, $51.00, the total bill for 2.5hrs, IV’s, clean private area, cast, shot, X-rays with Doctor consult, everything was 5981 L or $261.00. We still had to get the meds and the crutches, (which were less than $40.00 and brand new.) In total it was about $325.00. SWEET!!

This just makes me realize what a horrible rip-off medical care is in the US. People think we’re crazy that we don’t have medical here but what I think is crazy is people like our neighbors here who pay $600.00 a month for medical. Hell, you can get a knee replaced for the cost of your yearly insurance. I feel we are very lucky to have the new Cemesa hospital on the island. Everyone was super nice, many spoke English, the place is brand spanking new and really quite nice.

So, the last few days I have been laying around watching bootleg downloaded movies because it’s not illegal here to do that. Yesterday it was pretty warm out so I took the cast off and hopped down the steps to the pool, it felt so good having my leg soaking in there. I’m grateful the cast is removable, except that now, since I’ve removed it I don’t want it back on at all. I wore it to bed last night and took it off a few hours later. The swelling has gone down a lot but my toes are turning black and blue. I’m just waiting for it to go back to normal size so I can shove it in a fin and go diving. It’s called priorities.

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Need to re-do my nails, once I can reach them. The surgical scrub they used was like bug spray, it smudged the polish .

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Barrio doing his Zen thing when he gets out of the pool. Highway chilling on a chaise.

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Alexi painted the roof walls, it looks so much better.

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Love the views

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Still need to put lights up here and some sort of shade. It’s blindingly hot

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The dogs love it up there in the evening but they only stay there a few minutes in the heat of the day.

A little update on Alexi before I move to the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my foot. He is still going to school, he and his 2 sisters and his nephew plan to move into a new house (like new new, just being finished) in November and if things go right and he passes the test Alexi will join the Bomberos in November. {If he gets in he will still go to English school, he said he is not stopping that.} The Bomberos are the fire fighters on the east end of the island. We are hoping and praying this works out for him, it’s a big deal and he makes decent money doing it. His phone that we bought him over a year ago (we made him pay for it over a period of time) broke. It wouldn’t turn on. He had been without a phone for 2 weeks. I checked the money we have collected for him and we had plenty to help him get a new phone, we said we would pay for half with his $$. Bill took him to the store and he picked out a nice smart phone. He was floating three feet off the ground when he left here on Friday with his new gold phone. We told him he has to work off the other half of the cost of the phone and he said no problem. My first thoughts about this were, does he really NEED a phone? Yes, he does. Does he deserve a phone? Yes, he does. He doesn’t lie or steal, doesn’t drink or do drugs and doesn’t hang out with a bad crowd. He loves playing this one game on his phone and was ecstatic that he once again could play. So nice to see someone who has so little be so happy over something we all take for granted.

We still plan to get his cavities filled. We were going to do it last Friday but his school had a field day at West Bay beach and then went to Bojangles to eat. Hopefully this Friday. Still need to schedule an eye exam also.

I had Bill bring me my boot that I wore after my cast came off for my ankle surgery. I thought I could slip that thing on and walk with ease. My bad. Since my foot is still so swollen, this boot hurts like hell.

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These boots were made for walking

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Still swollen and bruised looking.

So I am back to the crutches. I hate them. You can’t carry anything when you’re on crutches. I have a shoulder bag over my head with my water cup and my tablet in it and carry them between the bedroom and the kitchen. I feel like a damn horse with a feed bag. My foot is getting better, I can wiggle my fat little toes now and it doesn’t hurt at all, well, maybe a little bit. I still can’t put any weight on it and wearing the boot allowed me to do that. Probably not a good idea right now.

I will impatiently wait until I see the Doc and stop diagnosing my symptoms and devising my own rehab times. At least I will try.

Now I want gills

you-me

09/25/2016 I didn’t forget about you guys out there in blog land, honest, I didn’t. At first I had nothing to blog about because  I spent a full week and then some on a raft in the pool reading. It was HOT, unbearably hot and being in the pool was my only salvation. I’m thankful my neighbor has several books, however you can only read so many James Patterson’s in a row. After a few books you begin to figure out whodunit pretty damn quickly.

My friend Marilyn had been gone for 2 months, I caught up with her briefly one day at the Reef House but I was slightly under the weather that day with my airplane cold. This damn thing still lingers in my chest, coughing and hacking like a TB patient. Although it is getting better, the fact that I have spent a lot of time under the water recently may have something to do with that.

Marilyn and I decided to spend a day poolside at our house. We floated and caught up on all the island info that happened while she was stateside. Her husband stopped by later on and took a dip, we had some snacks and I ended up drunk on my ass later that day. After Marilyn and Alex left I passed out on the couch, slept there for a few hours then went to bed. I had slammed one whole bottle of wine in the hot scorching sun in just a little time. I’ll blame it on my Seven Fifty wine thermos. I have to blame it on something and it certainly wasn’t MY fault.

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Thanks Tarra for buying this awesome wine thermos for me!

I went to Alexi’s school and paid for the balance of this year, school is out the end of Nov for a few months. The teacher asked if she should put it in Alexi’s Mother’s name and I said, NO. I’m paying for it, my name. Bill bought Alexi new soccer cleats while I was in the states and the other day he took Alexi to the dentist for the first visit in 17 years. He had his teeth cleaned and he has 6 cavities  that need taken care of ASAP. We are also taking him to get his eyes checked. Bill had him doing something pretty simple and he messed it up because he couldn’t see it.

After that I drove down to Juticalpa and dropped off the rest of the soccer stuff for the kids. The director saw me coming and met me at the car. He was very grateful. I also gave my cleaning girl 3 bags of clothes I didn’t want / need. I don’t care if she gives them to friends or sells them, just as long as it benefits her.

On the way home from there I saw a poor sad dog along the road. I stopped to feed him and he started to walk away. I called to him as I was putting food down and he turned around and came back. He took a few mouthfuls and looked up at me and burped. Poor guy.

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He was skin and bones

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I’m going to run over this week and see if I can find him again.

I posted his photo on FB and got so many comments that I was such a good person and stuff like that, and while that’s all nice and warm and fuzzy, the reason I posted the photos is so that others will realize that all it takes is to carry a bag of dog food and some water in your car and if you see a starving dog along the road, stop and feed it. Simple to do and it does make you feel good. By the looks of this guy, he hasn’t had a meal for awhile.

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It’s been amazingly clear for several weeks, the mainland mountains are so pretty. This was a rarity that we could see the mountains behind the mountains.

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Dog food in the making

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This will last 2 weeks along with a bag of Kirkland.

My friend Karen saw the photo of the skinny dog that I fed and asked me if I knew where there were any females available. I said I did, thinking immediately of Lola, the dog I was offered when we were passing out the food with the Carnival Cruise line people. She and her husband picked me up and we went to Pandytown looking for Lola. We found a guy named Jimmy who was trying to help us.  I noticed Lola laying under a truck, we coaxed her out with some dog food and I picked her up. She is a sweetie. Jimmy couldn’t get in touch with the owner to make sure we could take her so we put Lola in the car and drove around looking for him. We never found the owner but found a relative who said it was her dog and she paid for it. I am assuming that was her way of asking for $$ for the dog. Jimmy said he knew of a few puppies that were ready to give away so we looked at them. Karen fell for this little girl and ended up taking her home. Their last name is Bogart and they have a 120# male named Bogey so they named this little one, Bacall.

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This is Lola, she didn’t go home with Karen.

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This is Karen and Jimmy and Bacall. One lucky little girl, Karen and Dwight will take good care of her.

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This is our friend Tonio’s truck. There are no tail lights, no brake lights, no license plate and you know what, nobody cares. This wood was held by one piece of rope.

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Improved view, neighbor took down an ugly dirty tree.

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See the vulture in the tree? He sat there and showed his wings for several minutes, the dogs were going bat shit crazy. A few of his friends joined him and then took off and did dive bombs over the pool. The dogs were hysterical, I had to put them inside.

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Ever since Barrio and Max had the bad fight we keep them separated if we are both gone. Barrio usually stays inside with Mr Barksalot, Highway. This is the damage Barrio did in a short period of time. I hope he enjoyed the taste of the Skin so Soft. (Skin so stinky Robby)

I mentioned in my last blog I was going to do my advanced open water certification at Blue Island Divers, with Eric White. The business is located in Sandy Bay.

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Blue Islands divers are beachside

I did the SSI course which is the same requirements as PADI Advanced Open Water but it’s called Advanced  Adventurer. It consisted of 160 pages of reading material and tests on each chapter. I could chose from:

Photography, Fish ID, Wreck, Buoyancy, Enriched Air Nitrox, Boat Diving, Dry Suit diving, Night and Limited Visibility, Search and Recovery, Waves, Tides and Currents and the 2 required were deep and navigation. I chose buoyancy, Photo and Fish ID and then also did deep and nav. Let me first say, I did not have my camera during the first 4 dives because I was concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing.

The first day I worked on my buoyancy using my own Buoyancy Control Device or BCD. I bought it online, new, years ago and I hated it then because I didn’t think it fit. After my first dive Eric said we were trying a different vest because I was constantly trying to get the BCD centered on my body. When I moved, the weight of the tank shifted my BCD. It was awful. I used his wife’s old Aeris BCD and what a difference. My second dive was fish ID which was pretty easy for me because I am familiar with a lot of the fish and coral in the sea. Not saying I don’t have a lot to learn, I do. But I see a new fish every time I dive and always make a point to identify it.

After completing those two dives on Thursday I was back there the next morning to do my deep and navigation dives. The deep dive was AMAZING. Eric asked if I had any fears about going down to 100′ and I said nope, fear factor missed me at birth. He said we were doing the Odyssey wreck and it sits at that depth. What he didn’t tell me is that you can go deeper onto the sand patch where there are all these garden eels. I’ve never seen them and was blown away. We went down to 112′ but at that depth on Oxygen you can’t stay very long. Well, not unless you want to get narced, Nitrogen Narcossis. At that depth the water was a balmy 84 degrees! We swam alongside the stern of the boat down to the sand patch, then up over the bow that was separated from the rest of the boat. Eric had me do a navigation test while we were there since I had on the compass and a computer. After that we just swam around and ended up close to the spot where we did my buoyancy tests. I plan to dive Odyssey again and take photos. My second dive was navigation, swimming in a square, starting off and ending at the same place. After that was done we just went for a dive and while diving I saw my friend Caroline diving at the same spot we were. How weird is that??

I was exhausted when I got home and went for a dip with the dogs then took a nice 2 hour nap.

Today was my final dive and yay, it was photography and my job was to take pictures.

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So many barrel sponges I didn’t know where to look next. Giant Barrel Sponge

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Corky sea fingers

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Scattered pore rope sponge

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Branching vase sponge

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Giant Barrel Sponge

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So jagged

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A blue sea rod coming through a barrel sponge

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This was on a swim through

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My friend and dive master extraordinaire, Eric

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Cole getting a huge Lionfish

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The deep blue. The red specks are particles in the water that my flash makes red.

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Finger coral, a large brain coral on the left.

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Can’t get enough

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Club finger coral

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Sponges with some yellow fish swimming by

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Sea rods

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This is a prize shot by Eric. We were going into a swim through and he spotted this nudibranch. I handed him my camera and he took the red filter off it first. Excellent shot and my first nudi sighting.

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This is incredible, the color is so intense and I saw it several places we dove. Branching tube sponge

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I feel sorry for the people who never get to experience life underwater, it’s a whole other world. I am so in awe.

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Club finger coral

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So amazing

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One of my favorite pics of the day.

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The end of my 5th dive, so excellent. I can see this becoming a habit.

I can feel my tail growing. I can’t even explain the feeling I get when I’m underwater. I watch the fish swim by and I’m instantly mesmerized by their ability to just glide along the reef, following the water movements, up and down, in and out. It’s enchanting. After my first buoyancy class when I did the fish ID dive in a different BCD I could feel how my breath affected my movement in the water and how I could control my body to go over the coral heads and then back down. I hung vertically in the water and just took deep breaths, feeling my body rise then descend when I exhaled. It’s such a cool sensation. I am still having some issues, when my tank gets down to 1000 PSI I start to float to the surface. Eric grabs my fin, pulls me down and adds weight. I’m convinced that my big boobs and the buoyancy of the tanks are contributors to this. He feels that once I get more practice I will be able to control this ascent, it surely isn’t because I want to surface. If I had gills you would never see me. I’d be down there swimming with Nemo and Ariel.

Gills are on my Christmas list.