Island Life


Storm Coming!I think I mentioned this phenomenon in a previous post, but it’s pretty relevant to what just happened to me. As many of you know, Saba is like a big mountain, rising from the sea. Most of my walks are on terrain from 1500 to 2300 feet above sea level, so I have beautiful views of endless ocean. The phenomenon I am referring to is how it rains. From my high vantage point, I can see these amazing storm clouds spewing rain in crystal white and shades of light to dark gray. It’s amazing to watch. Often, it’s out in the distance – maybe over by St. Maarten or St. Kitts. Other times, it gets closer and eventually, makes its way over to Saba.
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Cedric Opens the Coconut with Machete!Yesterday, I came home completely covered in dirt and grime. Joel took one look at me and wondered what I could have possibly gotten myself into. Then he saw the coconuts I had carried in. You’ve heard all about my fruit picking experiences in Saba – this one was much more difficult and a bit precarious, but I was determined!
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Uniqe StoreThere’s a rumor that has been circulating for the past two weeks. I hesitated to write about it immediately because, like any good journalist, I like to check my facts first ! Remember the post I did on how food gets to Saba — by boat? Well, two weeks ago, I was in the Unique Store buying groceries. I saw a friend, Sally, talking to the owner in hushed voices, indicating something was amiss. When Sally came to the register, she asked me if I’d heard. I had not. Apparently, the food boats are no longer coming in to Saba. This is a problem, because while some people have gardens for personal produce or wholesaling, there is not nearly enough to support the whole island. Sally was especially concerned for the restaurant owners on the island, who need large quantities of food.

Of course you know what question I asked…What happened to the boats that are coming in now? And more importantly, what are we going to do????
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Egret Teasing the BullIt probably won’t surprise you to find out that I came across another strange thing on one of my hikes! Remember Cletus’ bull, who spent some time in the yard across the street from me? Remember how big he was? Well, this sight was a bit perplexing….
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Baby  ChicksI guess we should never be surprised at what we see as we hike along the trails in Saba! Joel and I were hiking the Crispeen track, which is a trail that goes to The Bottom (capital of Saba, where Saba University Medical School is). The trail has a combination of flat track and low stone steps, with houses just above it. As we walked along, we heard an extraordinary amount of peep-peep-peeping and figured there was a tree full of birds coming up. What a surprise we had when we came around the bend!
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Rainforest overlooking The BottomWell, Joel and I just received our second package of mail from the U.S. Guess what? It was all of our mail from November, December & January! We got many Christmas cards, a wedding invitation for this past January — and late bills! Yikes — we spent some of the day today calling all of the companies who sent us bills to let them know what our situation is.
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Big Rock MarketThe food situation here is a little tricky. First of all, most things come in by boat. There are some things that we can get locally on the island, like fruit, eggs, some herbs and hydroponic lettuce. Everything else comes in by boat — and the boats are impacted by the weather. During the week that we had high winds, the boats were inconsistent, which meant the stores started getting depleted of food. Grocery shopping is funny here — it’s like Forrest Gump said about life & chocolates — “You never know what you’re going to get.”
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Breadfruit tree coming downToday the breadfruit tree in our back yard came down. Our cottage caretaker, David Johnson, along with Ronnie Johnson, came here to take it down. Joel and I lamented losing this tree at first because we liked having this interesting fruit. It is about 6 inches in diameter and when ripe, the green skin is rippled like a brain. Breadfruit is actually not sweet, but savory and is cooked like a potato. The reason for taking this tree down is that it was growing on the second level of our stone wall, which meant it’s roots were eventually going to break the wall. Taking it down without destroying the wall or having an accident was going to be a problem — here’s why.
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View from Mt. SceneryToday was one of the most perfect days that Joel & I have experienced in a long time. After 2 unusual weeks of fog & rain, the weather returned to its normal perfection. The sun was out, a cooling breeze was gently blowing and the skies & ocean were perfectly blue. It was a day where everything felt good — and since Mt. Scenery was clear of its usual cloud cover, we decided to hike the 3,000 ft. mountain, made up of 1,064 steps. The steps make the hike particularly strenuous – more challenging than many of the over 4,000 ft. mountains we’ve hiked in New Hampshire. What a hike this proved to be!
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Papaya tree in our back yardLife is so different on an island. At least when you come from New England. Here in Saba, we have fruit trees in our yard — papayas, limes, lemons and avocadoes. Apparently, everything grows pretty quickly — except for the avocado trees, which can take 10 years to fruit, so we consider ourselves lucky to have one. When I first realized how many fruit trees we had, I was very excited — imagine, fresh, pesticide free fruit from my own yard?! Well, I feel I must share some of the downsides to having & picking your own fruit.
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