Friday, 28 December 2018

Mel's family and other animals!

We hope that you had a lovely Christmas and that it wasn't too much of 'a let down' (like for the Santa and snowmen in our picture!). You may feel 'let down' because you didn't receive a Christmas card from us - the cards we sent from Antigua haven't arrived :-( .

We spent the Christmas period with Mel's family (2nd photo) and other animals (3rd and 4th photos). We enjoyed all the animal company we had - human, other land animals and sea animals too!

There are two types of iguana in Puerto Rico. Here is a beautiful live example of one. On a walk in San Juan with Mel's Mum, we saw the gruesome sight of a dog eating one of these creatures. Mel's nephew, Cy, was sorry to have missed that sight!

Mel and Cy also went on a 'coqui' hunt one evening while we were all staying in the far West of the island in a place called Rincon. The coquis are tiny nocturnal native Puerto Rican frogs named after the really loud song that they make. They are very shy but love hanging out in bromeliad plants. If you look carefully you can see a coqui looking up from the centre of the plant in this photo.

Other wildlife highlights have been spotting an endangered 'manatee' in a lagoon in San Juan and seeing a huge variety of fish when snorkelling on Cy's birthday trip including the trumpet fish which is one of his favourites.

Mel is staying a few more days with her family on the Puerto Rican main island while Steve has headed off to another Puerto Rican island called Vieques. Steve (and later Mel) will be learning about permaculture and building a pond on an eco-farm / guesthouse there which will hopefully be a great place for local wildlife to hang out.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Two more boats and Puerto Rico landing!

After just one night in St Thomas, we were lucky enough to be introduced to a lovely American family who agreed to take us on the 4-5 hour journey to Puerto Rico. As you can see from the photo,  we were led by our youngest Captain yet! ;-).
As luck would have it, the family were heading to the small Puerto Rican island of Culebra - a place with fantastic snorkelling and an excellent ferry service to the main island.  As we had two clear days before needing to meet Mel's family there, we relaxed and snorkelled, seeing amazing large corals, two species of turtles and much more.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Cause and effect

After another night sleeping on the sail boat in Tortola harbour, we have taken a ferry to St Thomas.  We managed to get accommodation in a downstairs room in a hotel that was largely destroyed by the recent hurricanes and a hurricane related fire(in the second photo). It is the increasing severity of these hurricanes which made us more determined to travel here in as low carbon way as possible. The links between the changing climate and deadly hurricanes has not been lost on the islanders. In Antigua we visited this government establishment where electric vehicles, solar power and wind turbines are being adopted and promoted. Also, there was a nursery where various tree species are being grown and distributed to schools and parks.  This not only helps combat the causes of climate change but will, hopefully, make the island more self sufficient in the likely event of increasing climate catastrophe.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Catching the boat!

After the 'near misses' in terms of boats to Tortola, we suddenly got lucky and met a fantastic group of 4 Spanish men who have given us a lift to Tortola, in the British virgin islands. They are delivering a catamaran for the charter industry and we could not have been in better company.  Have just arrived after about 26 hours sailing.  Tomorrow we'll try and catch a ferry to St Thomas in the US virgin islands and just a short hop from Puerto Rico.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Missing the boat?

We've now been in Antigua for a week and we have done a few days of painting the cottage.  We decided, though, that we were not getting enough time to search for boats towards Puerto Rico. Now we have moved to a small guest house in the capital of Antigua, St. John's. We have visited several marinas and cargo ship offices but no luck so far.  Annoyingly, we have missed a few boats by a matter of days and now a super yacht show is happening so we may not find a boat for at least a week which is past our deadline.  
We are also getting time to enjoy the sights of this small island, especially the beaches.

The third picture shows Mel enjoying improvising a knife to eat rescued peanut butter with fancy super yachts in the background. Who needs superyachts costing millions and costing the Earth when you have free peanut butter and a spare business card to make a knife from? 😆.

We've been following some of the news from the climate talks which is giving us food for thought on this very vulnerable Small Island Developing nation (SID). 

The last picture is the view from the guesthouse where we are staying now.  From here we can see the huge cruise ships coming and going with their own environmental issues.