Thanks for visiting our blogspot. This is our attempt to keep everyone who is interested up-to-date on what is new in our world.
Check out our pictures, videos, and journal entries of everything we encounter.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hello everyone and happy April. It is officially spring as you know, although nothing has changed here. The seasons don't really seem to exist except for hot and breezy and hot and not so breezy. Hopefully you all are starting to see some change in weather. Here, It's been very dry lately and the next few months will start to bring some more rain.

This past month has been moderately eventful. Kater is preparing for finals in a few more weeks, and we're both getting pretty excited for the semester to end and to get our break. We've been very lucky to be treated with a ticket to Florida so we can see my family for a week. Kater had a birthday this month! We celebrated her birthday and our anniversary with a quick trip over to Nevis to be together away from the regular routine. We took the ferry over and back which was an adventure all on it's own. I took Kater to dinner and we stayed at Nisbet Plantation and relaxed. Most of our time was spent laying by the beach or the pool doing nothing at all. The property was beautiful, right on the beach, and felt very private.
Above is a picture of the grounds going towards the water. All the cottages are scattered through out the area.
The grassy area leads down to this very nice beach.
After our little break from our routine we returned to St. Kitts on the ferry which blew an engine half way across. There was a lot of black smoke pluming and oil spattering out from the engine room! Lucky for us this particular boat had two engines so it didn't disrupt anyone's schedule. We made it home in one piece.

We got ourselves settled back into our apartment and got ready for out week ahead. We had two cats to spay! That's right, Scrumpy and Saba are officially big kids! Saba was scheduled to go first but she was such a terrible, uncooperative patient that they couldn't work with her and took Scrumpy instead. Apparently this cute, cuddly, little cat of ours becomes an abomination in the clinic. Scrumpy's spay went off without a hitch, and she returned home to us a little woozy but in good shape. Saba went back in the following week and did a little bit better but still not too great. Needless to say they got the job done and there wont be any little kittens running around here. They have recovered very well from their surgeries and seem no worse for wear.

On the school/work side of things, Kater has been on calf watch. There have been a few new calfs born on campus and she has been going in to check on them and make sure they are doing ok.
I was hired by Paula (Joli, the boxer's mom and my part time employer for dog/house sitting jobs) to help her out while her family visits the island. She had me make a schedule of things for them to do and book some fun events for them. I got to tag along as well. We went up to Brimstone Hill Fortress, we went on a rainforest safari ride, a bat-cave hike, zip lines, and a catamaran trip. They were a great group and they had a lot of fun- and I did too. I played tour guide and taxi driver for the week and showed them around while Paula had to work half days. They said they had a really great week.

I guess that will wrap up this update for now. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hello again. It's the start of a new month which means another update. I'm now officially 3 for 3 for staying on track and consistent.

Last month I wrote about our new apartment, which we still love. We are officially settled and really enjoying our new home. We have a couch finally, which only took about three weeks to find, order, and have delivered. Things here are realllly slow sometimes. It was frustrating but at least it's over.

Kater just finished midterms (already!), which means this semester is halfway through. She did very well and as always worked super hard. Today she is off at campus working on a necropsy presentation she has to give with some other students on Monday. Very busy all the time.

For me, I've gotten back into the water again after a long break. I swam and snorkeled so much my first few months here that the novelty had worn off and I had lost interest. But I've gotten back into the water a few times since the last update and every swim has been incredible. Most notably was my first full moon snorkel for lobsters! A few friends and I went out into Half Moon Bay around 9pm during a full moon with some thick gloves and underwater flashlights. It was an unbelievable and almost indescribable experience. Aside from catching lobsters with my own hands, the water was clear and the light from the moon shone through the water and cast the most beautiful dancing light across the ocean floor. It was mesmerizing. Many times I would turn off my light and just float to watch the light dance. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I wish I had taken my camera, even though I doubt the photos could have done it justice. I will try next time- as we plan to make a monthly thing out of it. As for the initial reason for going out in the first place, the lobsters! To catch the lobsters we would scan the reef with out lights, looking for eyes that reflected the light. There were a lot of crabs, shrimp, and many other critters out too. We came across a moray eel, a sleeping green sea turtle, and lots of little squid. Once we located a lobster, the idea is to shine the light on them- creating a 'deer in the headlights' situation. Then, as quickly as possible I had to reach out and grab on to them very tightly. If able to catch them, we would then put them in a mesh bag that we carried with us. Regulation says we are allowed to keep any lobster with a carapace (back) longer than 3.5 inches. We ended up having to throw a few back for size or eggs, but our grand total was ten when it was all said and done. There were five of us so we each brought two home. I cooked mine the following evening for dinner. They were very tasty.

My next great snorkel outing a few weeks after the lobster adventure, was also very fruitful- in the sense that I had the camera and got a few great shots. Shown below are:

Hawksbill sea turtle.



Lion fish.


Stripped pufferfish.

Giant Sea Star.

This swim was probably one of most exciting and one of the best for pictures as you can obviously see. I'm planning to go back out again in the next week or two.
Next up on the my list of updates, Nirvana. Nirvana is a new restaurant just up the road that opened recently. Kater and I went on a date last week and had a really great time. The food is incredible and the property is just as great. It's set on a renovated plantation home up in the hills and overlooking the ocean. They have nice gardens to walk around in, and there is a lot of history to the place. Things are well labeled around the property and they tell the story of its past owners and so on. Here's a few shots of the property and of us:

We really enjoyed it there. It's a nice place to get away from the typical dinner menu and also a great place to not see everyone you know. I'm sure as it becomes more well known that will change and we'll see other students up there. For now though, it feels like it's our little secret place.

I'm not done yet! There's a few more things that happened that we have to write about.

Last week we had quite an exciting afternoon when the field behind our house caught fire. It's not determined as to exactly how it began, but it got going pretty good! Here's a few pictures of the fire, and us helping try to control it.

It was pretty exciting and came close to a few houses in other neighborhoods. No one was injured and no property was damaged except the field itself. John and Kater helped get the horses out of the field to the owners. There were about ten or so scattered throughout the field for grazing. The fire was controlled safely enough where the fire department felt comfortable leaving. Some small areas still smoldered and there was an occasional small fire but they felt there was no risk of anything taking off again.

Alright, phew, almost done! Last but not least- an art update. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been working on and off with a charity organization starting up for the benefit of animals called ONE LOVE "helping animals in need". I just got some of the merchandise that they have made with my designs. They gave Kater and I each a few shirts, tags and a sweatshirt!
Take a look below:

I believe last month I posted their website with some of the art I did for them. Turns out they were unhappy with their web designer and their marketing people decided to hire out to a different web company. They will soon have a new web address that will be linked to the current one (displayed on all their merchandise) and once that is done, these things can be ordered off their site. It's beginning to look like they will be getting some great press soon, including an add spot in a Mighty Dog commercial, and the possibility of some airtime on a major network TV show. I'll keep you posted. It will be very surreal to see something I designed on TV! Imagine that?!

Well that's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy February! Please take a break from all your snow and enjoy some caribbean sun.

We have a few new things to update you all on that we're pretty excited about. First and foremost, we moved! That's right. Some friends of ours let us in early on an apartment opening below their apartment, and it's great. The new place has some great amenities that our last place did not, including a washer/dryer, dishwasher (rare), spare bathroom, and all internet/cable/utilities included. The best part; we have a breeze! That's right, finally. We're still slowly unpacking the last few boxes and waiting on a few more pieces of furniture to be delivered by the landlady- who is great. The new place is even closer to campus, making an eight minute walk now about three or four minutes. We can also look to our left across the small horse pasture and see John and Kalahari's apartments- I could probably hit them with a rock if I tried really hard. Kinda fun.
So if you'll humor me, I'd like to [attempt to] take you on a little tour:

First, the view from outside. Shown here our little porch with an incredible, uninhibited ocean view, and a few seats to enjoy it. Next, the view itself, and a bonus of some nesting American Kestrels which is pretty fun to be neighbors with. They are hard to see in this picture but there is a pair sitting together on the rim of the structure, about a third from the left of the photo.

The living room and kitchen (please excuse the mess as we finish unpacking!)
Washer/Dryer! You have to understand how big a deal this is for us. Before we had to carry out laundry around the building to the basement and share with everyone else living there. Now, that's not the worst thing in the world- but this is just great!
Bathroom #1
Hallway storage and tour guide Scrumpy
The bedroom (still messy, but deal with it!)
"Master Bath". I should mention here that the best breeze comes through this room's window. It is so refreshing, almost like taking an outdoor shower!
Saba pretty comfortable on the new bed (which is also a queen size, an upgrade from our previous full size.)

That's about it for now on my rather crude home tour. As the bingo man down here says, "moving onnnn-a".

Next up, I unfortunately get to remark on the experience of encountering food poisoning for the first (and hopefully) last time last weekend. Right in time to move too, which meant that Kater had to do most of it. I wasn't able to get out of bed for about 16 hours or so without being in a bathroom.
Last Friday night after our volleyball games we went out to eat at Cathy's, formerly known as my favorite little beachside place to eat. It might be a while before I can go back for a meal. After some investigation amongst our group, we determined it must have been the cole slaw that made me sick, because I was the only one who ate it. Not fun, not fun at all. But enough on that topic.

This past month I was once again approached by charity organization ONE LOVE "supporting animals in need". I was hired by this organization last fall to design their logo and animal tags which are now in production and for sale. They hired me again to create some art for their website. I created about ten cartoon pieces to accompany articles on the site. Their website is up and will be finished next few weeks so make sure to check in and take a look: www.supportonelove.com. You can see one of my pieces about halfway down the home page on the left. It says "track us" with a dog sniffing some foot prints- that's me!! They will also offer long and short sleeved t-shirts, and hooded sweatshirts, all donning my designs!!! It's been very fun and exciting and an incredible experience and portfolio builder. I'm sure there will be more. In the mean time, you can visit their Facebook page here: ONE LOVE. You can see the tag I designed and their company logo.

New for me also is the renewal of an illustration project for a book to be published. I've hired to illustrate over 30 pages worth of art for a science-fiction, historical-fantasy novel. It will include humans, creatures, boats, buildings, places, and maps. Very cool! I'll post an update on that again soon, as I'll be putting a lot of time into it.

Kater continues to plow through her studies: Pathology, Virology, Pharmacology, and Bacteriology. I don't know how she does it! She also took out kitties to a "wet lab" this weekend to learn about handling and how/where to approach a cat for blood draws and inspections. The kitties were very good patients, but Scrumpy returned home with a funny hair cut on her neck and forelimb so the students could both practice clearing fur and finding veins. She doesn't seem too bothered by it though.

I'd say that about covers it for this past month. Like I said I'm planning to update once a month, regardless of what has or has not happened. Until the next one- stay warm while we're trying to stay cool.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year! We've been living on St. Kitts for a year now. Wow.

It's been since August since I've updated- obviously you know that. One of my resolutions this year is to try to be better at this. It got tricky to know what to write about, the novelty or honeymoon stage of being here had worn off and I felt like there was less to update about; or that I was always writing about the same things.

So anyway we've just returned to the island after an amazing two and a half weeks in New Hampshire. We saw tons of family and friends and had an absolute blast. We even got a special two-foot snow storm just for us! Here's Kater and me shoveling off the Ackerson's roof in Lyme:
We got the perfect winter fill of warm fire places, family, friends, games, and absolute silliness all the while.

One thing I realized about coming and going from St. Kitts, is that I always like it more every time I return. Before leaving I always have an incredible itch to be home in New England, I miss everything about it. Little things about the island would start to irritate me and I would lose my appreciation of this place a little bit. Once I know I'm soon to return to the island, the nostalgia kicks in and I think of all the things I like and miss about the place. Funny the way that works, that cycle.
So we're back and the weather couldn't be more perfect. When we landed the sky was just cloudy enough to take the edge off the heat, and we were so comfortable walking across the tarmac. It's wonderfully breezy- windy even- and a lower humidity than a month ago.

Since our last post, a lot has happened, but one of the best things is we are now the proud parents of two little kittens! Kater adopted two lit while I was home in the states in September (with my permission of course). We got them at four weeks old because their mother had been poisoned and the litter was found by some students. We have tons of pictures of them but here are a couple from soon after we got them, and more recent.

The black one is named Saba (the name of a neighboring island), and the grey tiger is names Scrumpy (just a name I wanted to use). They are best friends and do almost everything together; eat, sleep, fight, play. They are a constant source of laughter and we are very happy to have them.
While we were in the states a friend up the street looked after them. We were so excited to get back to them.
So currently we're working on unpacking all of our bags. We brought back a lot of food stuff and are trying to sort it all out. The kitties keep distracting us but that's ok; breaks are good.

I'll leave you with that, and like I said- I'm going to try to get better at this, regardless of how seemingly uninteresting I think the post will be.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Well, finals have begun and the last time you heard from us (on the blog) was the beginning of the semester. We are still getting along just fine as you can see!

Hard to believe another one has gone by, but Kater has been doing really well again and surely will get through it without a scratch!

We've had a lot of fun this semester and Kater has even gotten a few chances to get away from campus and snorkel with me. We got a new underwater camera, thanks to Liz and Sam's wedding gift! It's only been out once so far but the pictures were great:
... As you can see!

I've also been doing quite a bit of hiking. We have 1500' hill across the street from us with a radio tower at the top. There is an access road we use to hike to the top. It's a definite leg burner but a short hike; takes about 45 mins to an hour to reach the top. Great views.

I've hiked D'os Dane Pond (pronounced doe daan, at least according to our guide), which is a small pond high in the mountains, probably close to 3000'.

I've also hiked to the bat caves in the hills near the famous 'Bloody Point'. This was one of the most unexpectedly beautiful hikes so far. We essentially follow the bottom of a huge gorge (here, called ghauts), winding back and forth eventually to the bat cave, and ultimately to a nice waterfall.
Next weekend myself and some VIP friends will be hiking to the crater of Mt. Liamuiga! Finally!! We're really excited.
Our Kittitian friend Wayne is also a hiking enthusiast. He has taken us up each time to share the mountains with us. He is a great guy, charismatic and energetic Rasta man- perfect for a leader of long hard hikes. He knows the area incredibly well.
This a photo after one of our hikes with our guide Wayne (tall dark guy on left) and his friend Bertrum (on right) who often comes along as well.

So, obviously from the looks of it I've been having way more fun than Kater- but don't worry, I'm making sure to take very good care of her every day. I've been keeping up with the cooking, cleaning and laundry, as well as many many other every day tasks.
The up-side however, is that next semester Kater will have much much more free time to use how she likes, and reward herself with fun things. She will definitely be going for hikes and snorkels with me. She has even been talking about possibly getting scuba certified!

On the down side of things, we (Jules' owner Paula) and I had to put Jules down a few weeks ago. Her cancer had gotten to be too much for her, and although she still seemed to be happy and having a few good days between bad ones- it was clear that she was in a constant state of pain and discomfort. She was not able to get comfortable for more than a few minutes in most positions, and had little energy. We made the decision that her quality of life was not what it should be, and it was time. We put her down in on a beautiful property, owned by a friend of Paula's. The doctor came on location to administer the euthanasia. It was incredibly sad and hard, but we have had a lot of fun times together and she will always be remembered. We all miss her very much. She has a beautiful grave site now, that I visit from time to time. It is covered with beach stones, coral, and large conch shells. It is very pretty and since she loved the beach so much, we figure she would really appreciate being a little closer to it all the time.
One more picture for old times sake.

What else can I tell you? I've been working on a design project for a startup business on the island called Pondego. Pondego is a creole expression for 'on the go'; "upon the go, up on the go..." You get it. It will be a delivery grocery service for anyone who wants to order their groceries online and have them brought to their house. I think it will be a very successful venture for these guys. I'll post images when I'm finished. My responsibility is to design a logo, banner, and a mascot for the company. I'm almost done. It's been a pretty fun project, and it feels good to be working on art again.
We finally just started the turtle tagging again. Last week was our first outing and we caught two hawksbills who were already tagged. It is important to still catch them and update their information for our systems. We saw a green sea turtle but were not able to catch it.
That's about it for now. Catch you next time!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hi. Well I guess it has been a good solid month since our last blog update. We have had a lot going on. Shortly after our last post, we returned home to the U.S. to visit Kater's family in South Carolina for a wedding. We had a great week and some good quality time with Kater's family. Now that we are back on the island, We have moved to an off campus apartment in West Farm, which is just two roads past school. This makes it easy to walk back and forth in about 10 minutes. We were really excited for this because we didn't want to have to rely on a vehicle everyday... so many things go wrong with cars here. I've attached some photos of our little place below. Take a look around!
(Our front porch, we are in the first door.)
(The 'country' as it is called here, from the porch.)
Don't be alarmed by the burglar bars on the doors and windows. Ross requires all apartments housing their students to provide this extra safety features.
(Ocean from the roof.) This neighbor has a small nursery.
(The ocean, also from our porch- facing the opposite direction.)
It's great to be able to look out and see the mountains and the ocean everyday. We also have a regular herd of goats that forage all along our street daily. They are a riot to watch. There always seems to be one young one left behind, bleating like crazy trying to catch up to the rest of the herd.
(Small side yard/grass alley along our apartment.)
I've hung up a small clothes line to help dry our laundry, as our dryer is pretty lousy. It works, it just only allows 10 lbs at a time and takes over an hour to two hour to dry anything.
(This is our main yard, taken from the roof.)
As with most buildings here, they didn't finish constructing the upstairs, so it is open to go up. There's not much to see besides a lot of cinderblocks and rebar.
(This is a side patio area. Here we have access to the laundry room and garbage.) Our neighbor here has a really nice dog named Riley. He's a big Weimaraner and a goof ball. I like to visit him when I do laundry.
(This is our car, "Dina" short for Toyota Caldina. We've split the car with our friend John and it's been pretty good to us so far- we really like it.)
(Now to the inside, nothing special but it works well for us. This is the view from our door. The kitchen, living/dining room, all are one space. In the back are the bedroom and bathroom. We have a gas stove so when we lose power we can still cook food. This is a nice feature because power outages are very common on the island.
(This is another view of the living area. The apartment came with a T.V. and basic cable package- which is a good number of channels. The couch and chairs aren't the most comfortable we've ever sat in but they do just fine.
(Lastly here is the kitchen. )
I like the way it is spread out, we have a lot more room to work on cooking. Last week I made baked chicken which I breaded with crushed corn flakes. We also had rice and green beans. It's so nice to have an oven again.

That's it for the pictures. The bedroom is a bedroom and the bath a bath... no need for photos.

So what else is new? Other than where we're living... Kater continues to work with the sea turtle monitoring project, walking the beaches at night. I went once with her and saw a leather back! There is a lot of support from the military and special police forces there so it makes us all feel very comfortable. I'll be coordinating the in-water tagging branch this semester, and we are currently working on organizing that right now. We should be starting up in a few weeks. I just got news from the Bermuda sea turtle project that I won't be accepted this year. Dr. Stewart is trying to get me into one in Barbados... We'll see what happens.
I'm also still taking Jules out three times a week. Her cancer has returned so her mom wants her to have as much fun as possible with the time she has left. We have a lot of fun together and I will miss her a lot when her time comes to go.
(Here's a picture of us I took after a day at the beach. We were both pooped!)
I have also joined a Judo club. A friend of mine has been teaching for over eight years and he started a club through Ross. We practice twice a week and it has been a lot of fun so far.
I'm still trying to be an artist, although business is slow. I've done a few more t-shirt projects for different semesters as well as one for the VIPs. I'm also working with second semester on developing a yearbook as a fundraiser. Work with the children's book is non-existant at this point. The writer asked me to begin on another story, as the Sam and Jam one was not interesting to publishers. I sent her an illustration and just haven't heard anything back. I'll be checking on it, but honestly I'm pretty close to bailing on it. It stands to be a great opportunity but I can't control things on her end, and nothing is happening.

Well, this has been a long enough post for now. Hopefully I/we can post updates more than once a month. Thanks for reading.