Spring has Sprung!

Bon dia people! Pelli here.

The last post covered oh about 4 months, so it’s only proper to do the same in this post. I mean, who really needs a month to month record?
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The last post ended with New Years which ended 2016 with a spectacular bang. It was a good year, filled with lasting memories and new change.

SO, what’s happened in 2017 so far? A little of this and a little of that.

School is going well. We are winding down with just about 3 weeks left to go. Lots going on as we prepare to end the year. I have 2 field trips planned before school is out…one is going to the local marine education center, CARMABI, so the kids can learn why protecting our coral reefs and sharks is important work…especially since we are a small island! I don’t think there is enough education for our local children about the awesome responsibility for our tiny hub of land. I hope to change that for them. After the presentations and tours, I am taking the entire 3rd grade snorkeling. Yep, you heard that correctly. I am hosting 25, nine year-olds in the ocean. *looking at corals* *enjoying life* *not drowning* Yeah what am I THINKING? Wish me luck and patience next week, June 2 starting at about 12:30 after we finish our beach side picnic.

Random shots for ya: Mmmm Good local food! Keshiyana is chicken, cheese, prunes, yummy! Cuban soup is like a nice Japanese curry! All from one of our favs, Gouvenour. And of course, token sunset photo from Mambo beach.

Shark week is coming up!!!!! All the Dutch Caribbean islands + Holland is banning together for 1 week to educate locals on all the dangers sharks face. The shark population has declined so rapidly in our own local waters, that a healthy population hasn’t been recorded since the 1970s. That is crazy, ya’ll!!! So anyway-not here to preach…here to say that I am volunteering and sooooo excited!
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  1. I am the new DATA consultant (or whatever you wanna call me). I am the link between CARMABI and all the dive shops on the island. I am sending out data collection sheets and compiling the data 🙂 As dive shops go out and play, they keep a record of any shark or sting ray sighting. Then I come collecting monthly. Yes!!! Plus, I hope to build some good relationships with dive shops + get the inside scoop on the sites I want to dive most!
  2. Secret Spy…who knew that would ever be in my repitoire…though to be honest I am crap at it as I haven’t done anything yet. I am supposed to go to stores and  the Chinese (small shops owned by Chinese people-we all refer to them as going to ‘the Chinese’) to look for shark meat and fins…and find out where they come from. I am a little shy about this I think…
  3. The Amazing Shark Race: If you know me aaat alllll there are a few things that I looooove. Besides the standard +family+husband+dog+wine, there is HARRY POTTER, sharks, and The Amazing race. And somehow I was roped into planning the Amazing Shark Race, at the local mall, for about 50 kids. No pressure…and it’s not like I don’t have things to do at school! LOL, no worries. I am actually so excited and almost done with the planning 🙂 Let you know how that goes, later.
  4. Finally, as if that’s not enough, I will be helping Kids for Coral with an underwater shark quiz for 3 days (after school). Should be fuuuun!

It’s all volunteer work, but it’s the kind of things I can get behind easily.

I am still working with the Coral Restoration Foundation and helping maintain our coral nurseries. Because I do this we were given 2 opportunities recently.

  1. Last weekend I went diving at the aquarium (all natural water enclosures) for the Animal Encounters dive. Now, we won’t go into animals in captivity. I have my feelings on that and yada yada. This was an opportunity to swim with sea turtles, huge rays, Jack, tarpin, goliath grouper (daaaamn) and nurse/lemon sharks. We were feeding them too, which was neat to see their feeding techniques. Of course my camera wasn’t working (Charged?) so I am waiting on others to send me photos. But the 7 ft rays were friendly and a little bit shovey as they fought for extra fish. The sea turtles shy but magestic and the sharks. Of course that’s why I went in the water in the first place. We were only separated by a net and that’s ok. Probably for the best as the lemon sharks were mating… Such a cool dive. I am eternally thankful to a student sharing her photos with me because my camera wasn’t charged enough! She actually has a few photos and videos of me too! Yay!
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The sting rays were rather bumpy and rough on top and the bellies seriously smooth, like velvet! These guys were NOT shy!

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These fish were huge. You can barley see (me, I think trying to turn my camera on) on the other side, and that’s not an optical illusion. They weren’t shy either.

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Lemon shark baby!

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Meet Herbie, the 400 lb goliath grouper. He was big, one eyed, and fast when he thought someone had food…at the end, just cameras really.

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More big guys hanging out under the boat.

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Tarpon I believe, they feed like torpedoes.

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Shark!!! Hi baby!!

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Awesome shot of the Nurse shark. They eat by making a sucking sound! Like the hose of a vacuum cleaner on your arm, but much stronger 🙂

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There were 3 feeding areas like this. Rule #1-never put your fingers through the fence. Fingers look like fish!

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That’s me swimming with the fishies.

  1. This weekend we celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the CRF (coral restoration foundation) in Curacao. They are putting together a big soiree that involves some exciting fun dives, BBQ, +Cake+ and music. I am looking forward to that.
    **Update: Dive completed! Arriving at 2:00 we got geared up and did our prep talk about what to expect. We took the boat to a new location between Mambo beach and Jan Thiel beach area called Sweet bottom. There isn’t really ‘good diving’ there as there isn’t anything currently but sand. We are making a reef there! The morning crew planted about 200 corals using the epoxy method where they make a glue type putty and attach the coral to an existing rock. The afternoon dive was using zip ties to attach corals to either an iron table or grid. We are continually testing different methods. The zip tie works best (which is the one I prefer). The next project will start using bamboo to make grids instead of iron. We planted about 200 corals too! A total of 400 new corals made a home in a new place today, all from we regrew on the nurseries! It was a great day. We ended with a bbq, beer, and chocolate cake. I can’t wait to see the official video and pictures. I’ll share when it’s ready! Happy Birthday CRF!! Here is a brief snapshot of the work we were doing yesterday. (note: the zip ties are cut down low after we all finished). Thanks for sharing Jen!

Backtracking a bit more…Spring break was something like 16 + days? I lost count. I enjoyed being home, swimming in the pool, going snorkeling, and playing video games. It was nice to relax and explore without much responsibility.

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Oil paintings done under water while scuba diving!

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Amazing!

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Together 14 years!

Carnival was back in March and we had another week off (lots of holidays). Paul’s parents came to visit (Paul’s dad finally got a passport, yay!!!). They really enjoyed themselves and getting to know the Caribbean a bit. Carnival parade was an exciting experience. There are 2 main ones for the adults and the best is the evening parade to close the holiday. We bought tickets for a stand which included food, shirts, music, and bleachers. It was a nice spot, if not a bit loud (google tumba music for a taste). The costumes were amazing and were full of color, lights, and extravagance. It takes months to plan and prepare, make a costume-then you walk 2 parades for over 6 hours? And pay about 1000 guilders/500 ish dollars to participate. That does include the costume, booze, and food all day for 2 days. Some local teachers from school do it every year and a few have suggested I do it next year…not so sure about that ya’ll. But it was fun to watch. Next year I might do what a lot of the Dutch do during carnival…find a place to visit for a week that doesn’t celebrate it…it’s busy here! Also while here, we spent the day on a gorgeous sail boat. We went snorkeling at a couple places, enjoyed delicious food and drinks. It was perfect!

What’s next?

I have my tickets bought to go home to mummy and daddy June 22!!! Yeah 🙂 I haven’t seen them since December, and I am ready to squeeze them tight! They have relocated to Pensacola, so I get to explore a new city. I am very OK with that. West Palm beach was OK, but I am really looking forward to Pcola. I hear it’s more ‘southern’-which will feel more like home. Hopefully we get to drive to GA to see my sistah and the kids, then maybe catch up with some friends I haven’t seen in ages…feels like I should almost say the ‘years’ word. That seems impossible!

More random photos for you:
Discovering a new beach-behind me is an abandoned hotel from 20 years ago. Beautiful beach, cool graffiti, and no tourists. Delightful goat cheese sandwich…my new fav! View of the salt flats (one of 3?) from the hill top before going into Landhaus Groot, where the abandoned hotel is. Oh, and my newest hair cut 🙂 Googly eyes on that!

After that one of my oldest friends is coming for a visit!!!!! Hooray! Laura arrives on July 5 for ten days to celebrate the ending of her training and official Dr. Adkins status of a fully employed and qualified Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Plus it’s her first real vacation in years…so I am super excited. It will be quiet as a lot of people leave for the summer but we will yoga and hike, swim and snorkel, cook up new recipes and hang out. I am always happy when I have visitors and I am especially happy to host Laura for 10 days and show her the Caribbean way. Now if only she would finish looking at the extensive google doc of things to do that I probably have overwhelmed her with…hehehe.

I am at the end of my memory 🙂 See you in a few months for another update!?

K
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