Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hunting in the Caribbean

Yesterday was beautiful. Puffy clouds filled a baby blue sky, the water was sparkling and I was excited.

Bucket List:

We went to the beach with the girls. Don and them were going to play on the beach while Pepe, our new friend was going to take me out and show me the ropes of spearfishing. I had my gear, snorkel and fins. Pepe had his, awesome mechanical spear gun, 35' of rope with a small buoy at the end, lobster hook, his 4' fins and snorkel. He visited with Don a bit, they had never met and I think he wanted to make sure Don wasn't worried about this man taking his wife out in the ocean. Can take the Cuban out of Cuba, but you can't take Cuba out of the Cuban. Not to mention he is a Spaniard...all men could learn from them. Anyways, Pepe told Don we shouldn't be more than 2hrs and we headed out.

We were swimming to the outside reef, best guess 1/2 a mile. Pepe said the best fishing was on the other side of the reef. He had explained that the reef out there "is much more beauty, than reef close to island". To start out we were swimming over sea grass the bottom quickly dropped to about 20-30' of water and it was sprinkled with sea stars and empty conch shells. We were cruising along when in front of us I could see a shadow moving across the floor. Pepe was pointing, I cleared my goggles and  a Lagerhead turtle appeared in front of us. He was magnificent, he was pale with large spots, and he was HUGE!! We swam right up over him and Pepe dove down to touch, I was close behind but Mr. Turtle sped up and stayed about 5' ahead of us. He was 3-4 feet wide and about 4' nose to tail. On the surface Pepe told me he guessed his weight to be 200-300lbs. So beautiful.

Shortly after we came upon some rays feeding along the sea grass, little guys about 1'. They are cool creatures. Lots of life, a gigantic parrot fish, trumpet fish, you name it we saw it. Once to the reef I could see Pepe was right, it was more beautiful then the ones surrounding the island. Nothing was dead, everything was bright and so colorful. The fans were bright orange, purple, lime, red. The fish zipped and dove everywhere.

Once to the reef Pepe would dive down and check under all the ledges for Lobster. Right away he found one and he went to work. He first dropped his spear gun by the ledge to mark it, came to the surface got his lobster hook from the rope, gathered his air and dove. Depth was 25' or so and I watched as he tried to hook the lobster. I was amazed at how long he could stay down there. At first I couldn't see the lobster, but finally she came out trying to get away. Bright orange and fast. She doubled back and hide again under her ledge. Pepe tried several attempts, but she was a quick one. Deciding she wasn't that big anyways we moved on. We looked for fish, Pepe showed me these beautiful little flamingo tongue snails that live on the coral fans. People take them and make necklaces out of their beautiful shells, we collected some, but the shells are not as beautiful with out the creature, because the creature is the one with the spots.

Not a lot of fish worth killing we are starting to circle back when a mackerel crosses our path. He sees us and starts to veer away so Pepe throws his knife out, the fish can't resist the shiny object, Pepe has already sunk to the fishes level, and you hear a small pop and there is a spear through the fish's head. A small bit of blood trails up and away from the fish twitching on the spear, my mind for a moments turns to the sharks just beyond the reef.

Pepe reels in the spear and fish, takes the fish and hands it to me, pulls out a mesh bag and we put him in. Dinner is caught! It all looks so easy to me, but I know that there is a lot of skill into what just happened. Pepe has been spear fishing for 30 years.

We head back into a strong current towing, one mackerel and 4 empty conch shells that are from a graveyard of conch. Some fisherman dumped them over the side of his boat, seeing only the value in the market price of his catch. Pepe the Cuban/Spaniard is carrying everything and I am often just bobbing waiting for him. There is less life to look at because the closer to shore we get, the warmer the water has become and most of the animals have moved out to cooler waters. Morning and evening like everything else is the best time to go hunting. As we near shore Pepe caves, disarms his gun and hands it over. He is a smart man, he wouldn't give me a loaded spear gun. Besides I already pictured myself saying oops.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"One Time"

Cruzan slang "One Time" means really fast. They say, "I go do that ting one time, and den be back"

In other words, "I am going to run really quick and do that thing, and then I will be back."

It has been a month since I moved to the Virgin Islands. I have seen a lot, done a lot. I no longer feel as if I am on vacation. Our house is starting to feel like home. All of our boxes have arrived, and as we spread out into our home, and I stub my toe on the kids toys, it feels more and more like home.

I have a view, comparable but vastly different to the one we left behind. Every morning I wake up and can't believe that I live here. People dream their entire lifetime to live in a place like this. I dreamed of it, really never thought that it would come to pass. And here it is.

It is getting humid as the summer approaches, but I am surrounded by water, so I can cool off. The flowers are really starting to bloom, and as you drive down the road the jungle is coming alive and filling with color. Everyday the weather is beautiful, even the storms are beautiful and after they pass, it is even fresher and better than before.

This island has much to offer, adventure around every corner. I can't believe I am living "the dream". I can't wait to find those adventures and fill my life with memories and moments to last a life time. This adventure better not be to "One Time".

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Hobby

Don and I took our first Kite Surfing lesson yesterday and it was amazing.

Talk about extreme sports!!!! You get into a harness a lot like a climbing harness, and then strap a 11 meter (36 ft) kite to you and fly it in the sky while you have a board (lot like a snow board) strapped to your feet. WHOA!

We never got to the board, we started with a small kite, learning how to fly it, then we graduated to an 11 Meter kite. We of course had to wear the customary lesson helmets and life vests (so sexy), but it was a good thing because 36 ft of kite lifts you of the ocean floor and drags you!! Really thrilling.

We got drowned, at one point the instructor had a hold of me, me the kite, and we both got picked up and dragged yards through the water. It was a lot of fun. But you swallow a lot of salt water learning. Don was doing body drags, basically you fly the kite so it drags you on the surface, he was doing great until he got submerged. I was laughing my ass off, he was too once he could breath again. I think he is still blowing salt out of his nose!!

We both loved it and signed up for lesson 2 next week.

Loads of pictures were taken by the assistant instructor, but I don't have them yet. I will post them as soon as I can!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Love This Bar

Last night was an enchanting island experience.

We went to the Brew Pub, right on the Christiansted boardwalk, which is right at the edge of the Christiansted Harbor, beautiful. The Brew Pub is one of my favorite places to eat/hang. Every time I have come here we have gone and had a great time. Now that I moved here it only took me almost a month to get there!

It was a perfect night. Great band on a floating stage, awesome. Bush Tribe, a mostly Latin/Samba type music heavily influenced by our neighboring island Puerto Rico. They were awesome. The vocalist, a female, was beyond words. She should be recording in some studio in Hollywood but instead she prefers singing on a floating barge in the Virgin Islands....who can blame her.

The food was great, the locals were charming. Macy made two beaus one 60 and one 5. And she danced. Macy loves nothing more than to dance in front of a crowd, and she loves these live bands. Rozi was mesmerized by the "Bar Cat". She definitely has my infinite love for all animals. He was also charming, friendly enough to eat your scraps and let you pet him, especially behind his ears. We have a massive feral cat population here, most of them very wild. Usually very beautiful as well, exotic looking not your typical barn cat.

I tried to take a video of Macy dancing but it was dark and she is hard to make out most the time, the girl has some natural "Salsa" in her. She will drive the boys crazy! The best part about the video was that I could share some of the music with you. ENJOY!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Different Kind of Motivation

Yesterday my oldest Princess turned another year older. She is now the ripe old age of 6, incredibly wise, very into fashion, and has big plans of becoming a world class swimmer/surfer!!

She makes me proud everyday, even when she is throwing a fit, being dramatic, or sullen. She is an amazing girl with a big heart, strong spirit, and fight in her eyes!!

She motivates me. I have found motivation to be different all around in the Caribbean. At home in Idaho I had a hard time finding motivation on blustery days filled with snowflakes. I had a hard time in the blazing summer heat to be motivated to go outside and
bake like a lizard. (not my style) Overall I found it hard and was constantly bolstering myself up to be motivated.

Everyday I wake up here I walk out into my living room, look out my glass french doors into the turquoise blue waters and I am motivated.

It is a different kind of motivation though. I am motivated to be better, healthier. I am motivated to enjoy the small things. The frangipani worms eating the leaves of a Frangipani tree. The palm trees shifting in the wind. To watch the sun rise and set over great beauty. I am motivated to get my
body, into that great vast body of water as often as possible. I am motivated to give my children the best of life's experiences.

It feels wonderful. I hope it is a feeling I can hold onto throughout the rest of my life, something that I can teach my children to respect.

Motivation in a serene sense.

Not motivation to make money, be better, faster, bigger. Those are not the important things in life.

These things we are seeing and doing everyday, they are the important things in life!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adventure of a lifetime!

Well, I have been here for 3 weeks. Almost a month, and I still pinch myself every morning to make sure I am awake. Every morning.

I made Don promise me when we got married that no matter what at some point in my life I was going to live by the ocean, I had intended the Oregon coast, possible Northern California or Alaska's vast coastline. He promised, but deep down inside I doubted it would ever happen. He is not a Mariner he is a Woodsman. (Note my choice of oceanside locations carried his known love as well.) I knew he intended to keep his promise, but I did not for see life's path taking us that way.

Ha, Ha! Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

Life Indeed!

For you who do not know, we now live in the Virgin Islands in the great Caribbean, where a "Code is mere guidelines really".

Three weeks. We drive on the left, have more ethnicity than Chicago, surrounded by salt water, drink rain water from my tap, have bugs, crabs, toads and much more, and every morning I look off my deck to the horizon of endless water! Unbelievable.

The pace here is much slower, we are are known as a U.S. Territory, but closer to a third world country. The people are gracious and extremely courteous. You say Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Night to everyone you meet, yes complete strangers greet you as you pass.

We have Roti, spicy Indian delicacy. Bakeries on every corner with delicious bread. And we have Rum...Don drinks a bottle a week I think he found a reason to love the Caribbean.

The water is gorgeous and abundant with life, it is getting warm as the season changes and full of creatures to explore. The sand is beautiful!

There have been surprises around every corner, most of them great. We were able to purchase a banana yellow Ford Escape, and a ocean green Jeep Wrangler that we fight over driving. We live in an awesome house with views to spare, and room for many guests. (hint, hint)

After a month on the job Don got a promotion and is the Superintendent on the project. I walked into a Vet clinic with a resume that won me an interview, and a job. The girls love the water, they love the creatures, and they love that clothing is optional. The dogs have adjusted, they love the ocean. Zip spends his days chasing and catching bugs and lizards (he is my bug man). Gunner lays on the deck and stares at the ocean....I really wonder what he is thinking.

I have to run, gotta go shopping.....have a Birthday Dinner to make for tomorrow.

Keep coming back. I plan to keep you all posted on our events here, on this blog!!