September 2008

I got lots of emails about the mosquito plane that i filmed at night a few weeks ago.  Before going home today I went for the final two dives for the open water diver certification.  All done and passed the exam! 🙂 I really enjoy diving ; very relaxing.

Upon returning home, I noticed that the mosquito plane was out and was “buzzing” by our house repeatedly. So with my digicam I went outside and he passed again a few moments after. He is passing again right now as I type this! I assume its some sort of training or a massive mosquito that just wont die.

On another note, a lovely couple that I met earlier this week has started to build a new house in the vacant next to ours.  As you will see from the pictures below, the base of the house is very different from what I have seen in Canada.  Remember, there are no basements here, so they dont need to go deep.

First, they dug a trench that is about 12-18 inches deep at most and then put in steel rods.  In a few days they will pour concrete to make the initial foundation.  Nothing is poured outside of that trench.

Once the concrete is in place, these concrete blocks (see below) will be “threaded” into the steel bars ; from what I have seen in other constructions there will be 3-4 high.  Then inside those blocks they will fill with compacted earth and cover with more poured concrete to make the floor and complete the foundation. After that they will start to make the interior/exterior walls with more concrete blocks.

Nothing on the weather front … nada!  The Atlantic is very calm.  Great news if you ask anyone living in the Caribbean.

Ike passed us last monday but something strange happened in the night of Thursday to Friday.  From what I was told, lots of very large waves crashed into George Town and on Seven mile beach. The  result was lots of beach erosion, many stones/pieces of coral and the beach looking terrible. Here are some pictures I took with my trusty Blackberry ; I had not taken my camera since I was not expecting to really see anything out of the ordinary.

This drop is by my estimates about 3-3.5ft.

The normally pristine beach is littered with stones and coral.  On the flip side, I am sure that by next week, the government and hotels/condos will have cleaned it all up!  I know after Gustav there was some damage & debris and it was all cleaned up quickly.  Seven mile beach is where most tourists stay, so has to be top shape.

On another note, I took the ocean drive back home the other day along the South Sound district.  There is a house that has been in construction for a while.  Let me tell you that this place will be massive.  I have heard figures of up to 30M$ for this place.  My feeling is that is somewhat high. However, it is definitely in the multimillion dollars in cost for sure.  When I passed by there were at the very least 12-15 people working on the site.

The pictures do not do this place justice.  Its absolutely HUGE with a great view of the ocean. I am sure the owner will enjoy it. It looks great ; hope I get invited to some event/function there 🙂

Hurricane Ike passed about 200km north of Grand Cayman last night.  Nothing was closed and it was businesses as usual yesterday and today. During the night however, we had very loud thunder and lots of lightening. This is the closest that Ike came to us.  More than close enough if you ask me! Lets hope this is the last system in a while.

I filmed the lightening in the Youtube video below. You will see that there was lots of it. Not my best video ever, but gives you a good idea. What was impressive is that it was one after another and not one ever 30 seconds or so. It was quite intense ; the video does not do justice to the event. haha

Finally, wave action in George Town around 3pm today. Similar to after Gustav in intensity.  Notice that near then end of the video, a wave comes right at me and I had to get out of the way. I was on my way to a client meeting and did not want to show up soaked in sea water! 🙂

Lets hope everything stays calm so that I can complete my diving certification this upcoming week-end.

This week-end I finally started doing my open water diving certification. I had wanted to do this for a while and never really had the time.  I have 2/3 days done and let me tell you that its worth every penny. I must admit that doing this certification in one of the premier dive locations in the world (and versus doing it in a cold lake in Canada …) is awesome!

The 1st day is a mix of classroom and pool diving where we practiced techniques that we need to know for when we dive without an instructor.   Stuff like emptying a water filled mask underwater, what to do if you run out of air, how to avoid problems with decompression, etc.  Although its a class, its lots of fun and I learned lots of great stuff.  Day 2 was only a bit of classroom, about 1h in the pool and then two ocean dives. WOW!  On the second dive we went 50 or so feet deep and went to see the Sunset mermaid (see picture below) She is an 9ft tall bronze statue in 55ft of water. Lots of very colorful fish & coral to see also.

This is where we set out to sea ; from those stairs on the left. The ocean colors are quite inviting. The water is a very nice 81 degrees right now ; no need for a wetsuit.

The dive instructor Scott (a fellow Canadian) and myself with all the gear before our dive. Note the squinting because of the very strong 2pm sun.

On a final note, Grand Cayman is under Tropical storm watch since this morning for Hurricane Ike.  Although only a good amount of rain is expected on late Monday or Tuesday, we need to monitor this closely in case it turns south once it hits Cuba.  Lets hope the forecast is accurate.  Those poor Cubans look like that storm will almost pass though whole island!

Hi everyone …

Wow, that was intense! After Gustav and the flurry of posts to this blog, its been a nice few days to take it easy and focus on my job, not a looming hurricane. Thanks again for all the messages that i received and posts to this blog. It was great to hears from so many of you.

Hurricane looming eh?  Well, it just so happens that Hurricane Ike just became a Category 3 in the Atlantic.  It does not look as if it will come to Cayman, however, 5-day forecasts have it possibly giving us rain this week-end.  Great, another week-end indoors 🙁   Oh well, life in the Caribbean.  I was supposed to do my open-water diving certification last week-end, that was canceled.  Lets hope I can do it this week-end.

In one of my posts early in the Gustave episode, I showed a picture (see “Hurricane Gustav – Update 8”) of a mosquito plane that is used here in Grand Cayman.  These planes distribute mosquito stuff to control the populations.  Here is a video that shows just how low they fly. They only fly at night (when the mosquitoes are out), but it still gives you an idea of how low they fly.  On one occasion, the plane flew so low and directly above our house that it light up our whole living room.

I am no aviation specialist, but I would be very surprised if he was flying a lot above 100ft.  At one point on them movie, you can  see that when he is on the second pass, he flies behind a 2-story house and disappears.  That’s low!

That guy does have a cool job 🙂