Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard about Hurricane Irma.   As of typing, Antigua, St-Kitts, Anguilla & Virgin Islands are about to get a beating by this massive Category 5 storm. I cannot stress enough how bad a Category 5 storm can be. Its been a few years since I have even spoken about a hurricane – that was nice. As a reminder, here is a visual depiction of the hurricane categories.

As you can see, anything category 3-4-5 is no joke!

Ok the good news first: The Cayman Islands, minus some rain this coming week-end should spared, unless some unexpected turn happens soon.  However, the general consensus of forecasts are for it to continue going north-west towards Puerto Rico, the Turks & Caicos Islands, Bahamas and then possibly Florida.

Map is below – Cayman is, as of right now out of the danger zone.  (see red arrow – lower left)

The bad news: My friends in  the BVI, USVI will have a really bad day Wednesday.  So is the island of St-Kitts which was the subject of my last post.   Anegada in the BVI,  which is the last post on this page, will also get a beating.  It is low lying and has been completely evacuated.    I have a really bad feeling about this system ; I am genuinely worried.  Another reason I am worried: I am right now in the Turks & Caicos Islands – see blue arrow.  Ooops!  So I was supposed to be here all week till Saturday and on the smaller island of Grand Turk. So this morning, as part of my escape, I flew to the main island of Providenciales.  Tomorrow, Wednesday I am supposed to fly to Kingston Jamaica from  where I can catch a flight to Grand Cayman.   That is assuming the flight even leaves – so far I am optimistic since Jamaica is out of the danger zone.   Ill post more as this unfolds!

So here in Providenciales (“Provo”) people are prepping.  Here are some things I saw today.

Sandbags are popping up all over the place.   This is at the airport.

At the grocery store.  Lots of people,  but no panic or masses.   Water is being purchased a LOT.  Stores have put all of their stock right near the entrance and many people are leaving with a few of these.

Lots of places have their shutters up.  This one of the local groceries.  These are made of transparent lexan.

Same kind, but in metal.

So to wrap up this post, here are some nice pictures I took on the island of Grand Turk this morning and yesterday.  Grand Turk is a small island with +-5,000 people.  Ill be thinking about my friends there when the storm hits sometime Thursday PM assuming current forecast holds true.

The ocean front – the ocean was sooooo calm this week.

Lots of lovely pink flamingos – hope they will be OK 🙁

The wild donkeys I have featured a few times in the past! These guys should be fine.  Their instinct will make them seek higher ground!

The sunset last night – really nice.

And finally a beautiful  rainbow this morning as I was checking out of the hotel.  Maybe this is a good omen?  I hope so.

More posts soon.   Hopefully from Kingston Jamaica tomorrow night.

Please keep the folks in the affected nations in your thoughts!

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I recently had the chance to go to St-Kitts and Nevis.  A lesser known island of the Caribbean.  I was not too sure what to expect, but I was absolutely delighted. I had a presentation to give on a Friday and then had to fly to New York on the Sunday.  Thus, Saturday was free to visit.

St-Kitts and Nevis has a population of 55,000 similar to Cayman.  It is also a British Overseas Territory

First stop : Timothy Hill.  This view is the view most people may have seen of St-Kitts.  In the background (with cloud) is Nevis – the second and smaller island.  Here is the neat part: On the right, is the Caribbean.  On the left, is the Atlantic ocean.

Basseterre is the capital.  Today one cruise ship is in town.

Big surprise – there are monkeys on the island 🙂

This second guy I saw when I went out for a run on Saturday PM.  I took a turn onto an abandoned road here there he was, just sitting there.

An awesome Royal Poinciana tree

Ok this next stop was by FAR the highlight of the island for me.  I could honestly have stayed the whole day here and enjoyed in the amazing view.  This place was Brimstone Hill Fortress.  It was built by the British (who else …?) and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.    The view was absolutely stunning. The next bunch of pictures are all from this location – I took so many great pictures that I am sure you will also enjoy a few more.

View back to the mountains

View out to the Caribbean.

  

The island in the backgroud is St-Eustasius and is part of the Dutch Caribbean.

  

This last place is adequately called “Black rocks” – its a series of, well, Black rocks. 🙂

So there you have it.  A visit to an island you don’t hear too often on the regular tourist circuit. Even better was the fact that a 3rd party organisation paid for me & expenses to come there and give the presentation.

Each summer, Silversides appear and inhabit caves and other aquatic type shelters in the Caribbean.   So late Friday afternoon, with some work colleague, we snuck out early from work to go diving 🙂

Here were are, all smiles, swimming out to the reef.  The first 400-500ft are not very scenic, so no point in wasting our precious air, so we paddle out.

Lots of caves to visit in the area of “Eden Rock”.  Ocean has been calm, so great visibility.  These caves are not for anyone claustrophobic though.  Panicking in an underwater tunnel is probably not a very good situation.

Around Eden Rock, there are LOT of Tarpon.  Although they are large (anywhere between 3-4ft long) they are 100% harmless and quite friendly.  After-all, they see divers and snorkelers 365 days a year at this location.  Always a nice sight though.

Lots of colorful sights to see. No idea what these banana colored formations are.  Definitely pretty though.

Now for the real show : the Silversides!  The reason it’s a show, is that there are 1000’s of them and they hang around in a school that moves in perfect harmony to protect from predators.  It also makes for some spectacular pictures and videos.  The two pictures below show the “formations” of Silversides that moves in perfect sync – really neat.

Of course video’s give you an even better idea of how neat this is, and how it is to be in an underwater cave. 🙂

 


 

Lastly, on the swim back to shore, I got to see one of my favorite Cayman underwater sights – a school of Blue Tang.  These guys always bring a massive smile to my face.  They just cruise around, doing their thing.  Not to mention they are lovely looking fish.

So there you have it!  Another awesome diving experience in Cayman. I had seen the Silversides before, but did not have an underwater to document it. 🙂  If planning a trip to Cayman, they are around from sometime in June to end of July.  We were likely on the last week-end of them being around so were lucky to find them.

Just a quick post about something exciting that happened today.

We had an unexpected, yet very exciting visitor : A barn owl!  I knew we had them here, but had never seen one.  This lovely bird stayed with us for about 1h.

At about 3/4 of the time s/he was sleeping quite nicely. Seemed very content.

Look at the talons on this bird.  Probably doing a good job eating mice/rats in the area.  Good to have this bird around 🙂

At one point it woke up and realized we were looking. The bird looked right back at me.

Right before its graceful departure!

So that’s it!  I was glued to the window the whole time taking pictures and marveling at this beautiful bird.  I was maybe +-6ft away so it was a privilege to be able to observe from so close for an extended period of time. 🙂

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I was recently on one of my annual (or Bi-annual) trips to the British Virgin Islands.  This time I was there on the week-end and chose to visit one of the other Virgin Islands : The island of Anegada. Contrary to most of the BVI which are essentially mountain pinnacles sticking out of the water, Anegada is like Cayman and almost perfectly flat.

Getting to Anegada from Tortola, the main island is either via ferry or small plane.  We opted for small plane since we were only there for a day and as such were able to maximize time exploring the island.

Clearly a very small place.  Here is the airport “terminal”.  No fences, guards or metal detectors to be seen!

The flight from Tortola is only 10 minutes. I was told that if asked nicely, the pilot will do a slight flight path modification to do a fly over Necker Island.  Necker Island is the island the belongs to British Billionaire Richard Branson. A lovely place.  Anyway, as you can see by the pic below, the pilot accepted to take the extra 2-minutes (seriously) and show us Necker!

Once on-site, the best way to get around is via scooter.  For this trip i’m joined by one of my Quebecois friends who lives in the BVI.

Only a about three hundred people live on Anegada.  But, there are also a number of donkeys and cows.  I liked these the best – the young donkey was quite cute.

And of course the beach.   Since this was out of main tourist season, the beach was essentially deserted.  What a sight it was – so lovely.  Water was warm and we had some cold beer.  Not bad.

On the other side of the island, there are some very low lying sand flats.  Here you can walk out many hundreds of feet out to the sea. Very neat experience being far from shore, yet being only in less than 2ft of water.

So there you have it – a quick trip to an island in the Caribbean many people have never heard of.   I very much enjoyed my day.  Its always nice to visit these “almost uninhabited” islands, not unlike Little Cayman.

Some more information about Anegada can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anegada

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