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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Welcome back. I just got back from another run. I went out at sunset this time- that's the key, running once it gets cool out.
So.... What's new here... Well, Saturday wasn't the most eventful of days. Kater and friends did a lot of studying and sometime after the last blog update, we went to see the dogs on campus. PAWS, (People for Animal Welfare on St. Kitts), hosted a meet and greet event/ open house. We showed up to meet some of the shelter dogs available. Kater quickly fell in love with a girl named Brimstone:
Brimstone was brought to PAWS after being found hit by a car. She's been through a lot and several surgeries. She is the sweetest thing and very affectionate. I spent some time with several of the dogs, but found myself falling for Ellie, who no longer has a picture available on the website unfortunately. She has been with PAWS for over a year, and really needs a home. We of course are not in the position to foster because we're in the dorms, but I think I would like to look after a dog while I'm here and have the time and opportunity to give on my full attention. It is also an incredibly simple but effective way to bump up the security of a household, as locals are afraid of dogs in general.
We also spent a little time with a new batch of puppies:
There were four girls and one boy, all very cute and cuddly. They were so sleepy from so much action all day they didn't leave much of an impression. Kater and I will have to fight over Brimstone or Ellie!
Later that evening we all got together in the lounge to watch a movie and give the students a break from the books. We had some laughs and we hit the hay.
Sunday, Kater, Jon and I went down to meet the Swim Club at Timothy Beach. We carpooled over to Shipwreck and swam just over a mile back to Timothy Beach.
During the swim, we saw lots more jellyfish, and a 6-sided sea star. We also saw another small sea turtle. Kater thinks it was a hawks bill, and I think it was a green. Either way, it was very exciting and we had a good time.
We returned to the apartment and I made us another breakfast like Saturdays.
The afternoon was spent with a nose in the books for Kater, in preparation for her first test tomorrow. I just returned from a run, which brings me back to where I started. Time to start dinner.
That's it for now.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hey folks, good morning!

Again, it's been a few days- my apologies! It's been a busy week for us. Since our last blog update (Tuesday) a few things have happened.
Wednesday I went to a BBQ for the VIP group, another get-to-know-you type gathering. It was a decent time. We swam at a pool in living development called the St. Christopher Club, and had hot dogs, burgers, etc.
Thursday I stayed in and helped Kater make some more flashcards to study with. Her first test is Monday and although I'm sure she must be stressed, she's playing it cool as usual! I continued working on the Sam & Jam book and got another four pages drawn out. I haven't colored them yet or taken pictures, but I will soon.
Friday Chris drove me into town and I got my temporary drivers license:
(pretty fancy eh?!? It's not even laminated!)
There's not much to say about the process. You go in, tell them you want a license, they ask how long for (1 year max at a time), and you pay them. Five minutes later they come back with a little yellow piece of paper, you sign it, and you're on your way.
I spent some time at Chris's house, we had burgers on the grill and played with his dog Mia. Around noon we went to pick up a friend and do some grocery shopping. Our friend Bianca had just adopted a new dog! He's a 7 month old mix, and was just great. We played with him for a little bit too- great dog, I hope she takes good care of him.
Afternoon came and the students had finished another week of school. Friday afternoon after classes means 'Burgers and Fries Fridays' at Shipwreck. So off we went and did our usual routine. Shipwreck also happens to make really delicious fish tacos as well as their burgers. Kater and a few others went snorkeling and I stayed on dry land to play with Harley and Damon. Damon is 2 years old like I mentioned earlier, and he's learning so fast. He was drawing shapes in the sand and talking about colors too. It was pretty neat. Harley was telling me how yesterday he was carrying D inside and he looked up at the moon and said, "can I have that?" Just like my cousin Nathaniel said a few weeks ago, how about that!!

(Harley, Damon, Kater, at Shipwreck)
(sunset at Shipwreck)
On the way home we made a quick stop at the grocery store for the others, and got back home around 7:30-8 pm.
A few of us got together and played cards for a little while before we all went our separate ways for the night. Kater and I watched a movie and went to sleep.
This morning (Saturday) I made a big breakfast for us: Fried eggs with cheddar cheese, cinnamon-raisin bread, and coffee. It was delicious, I hope it's good brain food for the long weekend Kater will put into the books, studying.
As for me, I'm off for a run I suppose. And I guess that's it for now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hi all,
It's Tuesday I went out for a snorkel yet again. A friend and fellow VIP has a sister visiting and she asked Chris and me (the resident snorkel experts) to take them out and show them a good snorkel spot.
We chose Timothy Beach, where we went for the turtle research this weekend. There was some hesitation on my part due to the rough weather we had yesterday and some lingering strong winds, but we decided to take a look and see for ourselves how it looked.
The water looked calm, so we jumped in. Now, we didn't have as much time to explore but we had a good hour or so. During which, we were able to show our friends some of the things we had learned names of, as well as got another good look at the jellies.
I noticed today, and am very excited to say, that I discovered upon closer inspection that these all produce bioluminescence! That's right! If you look closely enough, there are tiny little lights that stream from top to bottom of these marble to ping pong ball sized jellies. The colors of the lights flicker and change from blue, to green, to red, to yellow! It was absolutely amazing and so fun to watch. I found this online: "There are two types of chemicals in the bodies of bioluminescent jellyfish- luciferin and luciferinase. When triggered, the chemical luciferin gets oxidized by the action of the chemical luciferinase . When these two react, the result of the reaction is a photoprotein. This photoprotein is the cause of the bluish glow that the bioluminescent jellyfish acquire."
Now, the jellies look something like these here (again not my photo), with no visible tentacles. I've been searching online to identify the species but currently I'm not having any luck. One possibility could be the 'thimble jellyfish' which is small and common in the Caribbean. I'm pretty convinced however that this is not the correct species. But I digress, on to the rest of the day.
We called it quits after about an hour, and returned to a beachside spot for a small lunch. Chris and I dropped our guests back at their house and we returned to campus.
We had a little extra time so we went down to the stairway by the sea to wait. I saw what looked like lots of little bugs crawling around but when I looked closer I saw that they were in fact the smallest hermit crabs I have ever seen! Most were able to skitter away but I was able to gently get this one for a picture. Check this guy out:

As a reference point, it (with it's shell) is not larger than the width of my ring, which is 4mm.

After that, I met up with Kater for a quick hello, and went to take some photos of the newly settled chrysalis' (2) on the giant milkweed that we have been checking in on from time to time. Kater had sent me a message earlier in the day that they were there, so I had to see.
I got these pictures:
(both together)
That brings me to where I am now, back in the room trying to rehydrate and rest up. I have a few more things to do but I'm considering a brief nap- I didn't sleep that well last night.

That's all for now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Last update was Thursday. Sorry for the lag!

Friday the students had a normal schedule, and were out by about 3 pm. We hopped in a van and we down to Shipwreck, to continue our Friday afternoon tradition- "burgers and fries Fridays at Shipwreck." I was a nice afternoon. Some of us swam, other just sat in chairs under those wonderful straw shade covers.
The monkeys were out, as usual. This time there were lots of very young ones bouncing around too. I also saw two adults have a squabble over something, probably food, which was pretty funny to witness.
I got to talking with the owner, Ra-men (sounds like Amen, to end a prayer), who basically offered me a bar-tending job there. We talked about it for a little, and I told him that once we have a vehicle that would be a definite possibility. I asked about locals working etc, and he said he can't get locals to work for more than a week or two. They all say it's too far or just lose interest. He likes VIPs because they are used to a commute of more than 10-15 minutes! I told him I'd be talking to him again about it.
After sunset, we got back in the taxi and headed home. The pre-vets did a little more studying and we got together to watch a movie in the lounge. It was a pretty low key night.
Saturday Chris and I volunteered to go on snorkel to help locate and research sea turtles, as part of a conservation effort. There is a woman here on the island who is trying to educate the locals about the turtles that frequent this island (green, hawks bill, and leather back). Turtle hunting and killing is still legal here and they have a 'season' which begins soon. Many locals enjoy turtle meat, and also believe turtle eggs and turtle blood are aphrodisiacs. These turtles are on the critically endangered list and she works to provide hunters with other means of income so they don't have to depend on turtles to make a living/feed their families.
We dive to observe how many turtles are in different areas around the island. We swim in a line from shallow water to deeper water, looking for them. When we see one we will circle around it to attempt to corral it so the head researcher can carefully catch the turtle by the carapace (shell) and bring it to the surface. They will then tag and or draw blood to make sure turtles are healthy. It is done very carefully so as to not traumatize or injure the turtle.
We saw three on Saturday! Two hawks bills, and one small green. Unfortunately we weren't able to catch any of them because they are so fast. It was a very good outing anyway, as the two hawks bills were already tagged so the researchers were happy to see them again. I posted a picture of a hawks bill turtle (not my photo):
They are very beautiful to watch and it's amazing how little effort they look to be using when swimming. During our swim, we also saw many large starfish which were red with very thick legs as well as some long skinny ones (brittle star). While swimming I saw what looked like a giant slug... know as 'donkey dung sea cucumbers.'
The cucumbers were easily 2 and a half feet long and as large as my thigh! I saw dozens of spiny lobsters, and hound-fish- which look very similar to barracuda only with a narrower snout. While we were swimming we also began to notice hundreds of jellyfish no larger than pingpong balls. Now, I didn't get stung by any although I should have because I swam right through them, but a few others in our group did. The sting is no stronger than a mild bee sting and they are not poisonous.
That pretty much did it for our snorkel, we were all very tired from chasing the turtles and trying to help the leader catch them.

Sunday everyone got back to studying. I worked on a few projects on my own. The first, is a design for a sweatshirt, which I have donated to the YMCA adventure program (YADVENTURE) in Goffstown NH I believe. The sweatshirts will be a fundraiser for their program. A good friend of my from UNH got in touch with me and asked for the help. Here's what the preliminary design looks like so far:
It's a simple but fun design, showing basically what the program offers: biking, climbing, kayaking, etc... adventure!
I also did a personal illustration, in spirit of a funny discussion I was having with friends. We were talking about how people make their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches... and just about everyone spreads peanut butter first. It inspired this:
Peanut butter, Fluff, and Jelly in a race! PB coming out on top... pretty silly but it was fun. Now if only I could be so productive with the Sam and Jam book!
In the afternoon they had all had enough and decided to head out to the Marriott for some pool time and relaxation. Here's Kater enjoying her spot by the pool:
On our way to leave we saw lots of kittens scrounging around the food areas. I suspect they are feral and get by on scraps. They were curious but not very friendly:
We got home around 8 pm and Kater got ready for Monday.
Monday morning came with rain and wind, it appears to be very cool outside although the weather site claims it is 79 degrees. The 18-20 mph winds make it feel like low 70's from where I sit. Who knows. That is it for now. I'll be meeting with Kater for lunch at noon, in the mean time I'll be working on helping her out with some slides she studies from, doing laundry, and hopefully some illustrating. That's all for now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well it certainly has been a few days since the last post, or at least it feels that way. Yesterday and today were both a whirl wind. We've both been busy! Where did I leave off? The video of the tortoises finally loaded after a 100 tries. I talked about grocery shopping and put up a picture of my most recent "Sam".
I never got to post that dinner picture, but that's ok- we are moving forward.
Wednesday started off nicely, I slept in a little and met with some on campus VIPs to chat and get to know each other. I walked over to West Farm with our friend John to show him the neighboring available apartment. It sounds like we will all be living next to each other which will be great! I returned to check out the 7th semester sale, where all the upper class-men who will be leaving try to sell their things to lower class-men. I didn't find anything of use to us but lots of others seemed to find things they needed. Just below the large animal pavilion where the sale was located, was the area where the market vendors set up. I did a walk through and picked up a few tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, an avocado, a starfruit, a pineapple, a hand of bananas, a string of garlic, bag of onions, a dozen eggs, and steak, all for around $20 US. That's a great deal for here.
Do you remember those caterpillars I showed you? Well there has been quite a bit of activity there. In our daily rounds of campus we regularly check the 'giant milkweed' plants to see what they are up to. Kater discovered yesterday a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis!
Upon closer inspection to the plant, we found 7+ more empty chrysalises meaning lots of hatched butterflies. Here's a few shots:

I say 7+ because it was truly hard to count them, as they were all in different spots and the breeze kept the plants moving around. They look unbelievably similar to Monarchs, however the caterpillar is somewhat different colored. I wrote about this earlier, if anyone can shed light onto this please comment to the blog or send an email- I'm curious.
Kater called me around 5pm to let me know she would be back around 6. I started prepping dinner which included cutting garlic and onions, and boiling some potatoes to mash. I had also been marinating the steak since I bought it earlier in the day. We had a delicious dinner of steak and garlic-mashed potatoes with steamed green beans and caramelized onions spread over the steak. We complimented our meal with a few slices of that amazing bread I got at the supermarket earlier in the week.
After dinner Kater returned to her studies and I got back to work on Sam. Here's my latest illustration:
I like where this is going, and our friend John (also an artist) is letting me borrow some drawing pens. One specifically in which draws a very fine line, think 50% sharper than an ultra-fine Sharpie.
We played a little cards and everyone called it a night. That takes us to Thursday (today).
I got up and left with Kater to meet Chris for some snorkeling. We stayed on campus this time and went down to the 'stairway to the sea'. If you look back in the blog you will see photos from this area. Now, the water here is much choppier so it a little more effort and concentration to get in the water. Once we were in however, it was pretty nice. Neither of us were sure that it is worth all the effort though. Lot's of neat fish, a few new colorful ones but I think we can find better places, Rocky's Cove still remains at the top of my list. When we finally decided to call it quits, we headed over to a neighborhood called 'camps' to pick up Chris's friend Bianca, another VIP. We took her to the grocery store so she could get some things. I was able to get some milk, and a few other things we had been wanting. I am happy to say I have finally found 'crazy salt'!!
We returned Bianca to her house and headed towards Chris's house in Bird Rock. He has a beautiful place high on the hill in a nice neighborhood. We let his dog Mia out and took a look around his back yard. Turns out, he has a coconut tree, a mango tree, and a citrus tree. I just have to find out what kind of citrus fruit it is but its already bearing lots of fruit. I also need to find out when mangos peak, because I will be helping myself to those as well.
Knowing as I do, how much Kater enjoys fresh coconut, I took it upon myself to get some coconuts down. The tree happens to be about 20 feet tall so I wasn't about to climb it. My first idea was to pick up some old drops, and heave them like Tom Brady in hopes that it would knock more down. This didn't work, not any of the 20-30 times I tried! Next idea, a step ladder and a large 2x4 with a pointed end. But I still came up short. After watching us struggle for a little while, and most certainly having a laugh or two over it, Chris's neighbor offered us a ladder. We graciously accepted of course, and this allowed me to get close enough to continue to act silly while trying to get coconuts. Let me tell you, those suckers are on there pretty tight! Another 20 minutes and a down pour went by and I had knocked one down! We celebrated and cheered but one wasn't enough I said, "we need MORE!" So back I went and after some more efforts and sweat, I was able to knock two more down. I was happy with three, so was Chris. I think really he was probably just tired of holding the ladder for me.
We enjoyed a soda and played with the dog for a while before deciding it was time to head back to campus to check on our girls. We got to his car to find the passenger side door would not open. So we got back to work again, trying anything and everything to access the locking mechanism inside the door. The only problem was, that to get to this mechanism, one needs to unscrew and remove the inside door panel, and do to this, one needs to have the door open. We were in a jam! We could peek through the window slot down into the door and see what needed attention, but couldn't get to it.
Time was up.
We had to get to campus so what did we do, I climbed through the window and we took off. We will get back to it tomorrow with the help of a 7th semester VIP who works on cars to make money while here on the island. Wish us luck!
When we got back to the apartment, I took out the trusty old machete and hacked into two of the three coconuts. I'm getting much better now and did the first one in 10 minutes, and the second in 7. Chris took one home with him and I chopped one up for Kater. See here the open one with the un-opened one.
It gives you a good perspective of just how much husk you need to get through to access the milk and meat of the coconut. I have to say, this one isn't quite as good as the first one we had. I will enjoy it all the same!
I've certainly had a lot of activity today, swimming, climbing, sweating, mechanic-ing, chopping, sweeping, and blogging. I think I'm in need of a shower.
Dinner is next on the list, I'm thinking a tomato and cucumber salad, pasta with a side of steamed veggies with garlic butter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TOUCH DOWN...! Finally, the video.

It was funny enough to go through the pain of trying too many times. I hope you enjoy.

Today's Tuesday. I got out and went for a quick snorkel with Chris. Saw some new fish, blues and pinks, cool red ones with big black patches near the eyes. Crazy blues. Beautiful.
I talked to the dive shop guys for a little bit. A refresher is only 35 dollars and renting gear will only cost $15, so I may be able to afford it some time. It's not on the top of my priority list right now but it's nice to know it's reasonable.
Chris took me to the grocery story (Ram's) and I stocked up on the essentials. Got a lot of frozen veggies, and more rice, peanut butter, sugar, etc. We were over due for milk too. Most shipments of foods only come on Wednesdays so by this time some things are pretty low. The only milk available was skim, but that's ok for now.
When I got back to campus I got to work on the book. I did a half dozen sketches with color, looks like the writer likes it so I'll be going with this style I think. Here's my favorite one from today:
I'll be messing around to figure out exactly how the final product should look, but so far I'm happy with the process. I'll be adding more as they come!

Until later.

Monday, January 18, 2010

(low clouds in the mountains)
(same hill on a clear day)

So I believe I last left off with the turtles... excuse me, tortoises! Here's the photos from yesterday. I have tried once again to post a video of the tortoise, but I'm quitting because it just isn't working right now.

Today (Monday) I put my nose to the 'grind stone' and put some hours into researching cat expressions, and poses. I sketched for a few hours and worked on one illustration. I think I need to either get faster or change my approach because I don't think the current way will be very efficient unless I can complete one a day.
Afterwards I made Kater lunch and met her at the student union building to sit with her and eat. I went back home and met up with Harley to go for a drive and take some pictures of Timothy Beach Resort, where my mom and sister will be staying while they visit us. It looks really nice, I think they will like it!
We sat in the shade for an hour or two, I had a carib and we headed back for campus.
Kater had a long day. One of her teachers offered an extra session and she had a quick club meeting too. When she came home I got some rice, veggies and cheese going. It turned out to be so good I took pictures, (which also won't load tonight).
We took quick walk to the "wedge," the school store that has most basic essentials, for something sweet. We are all out of anything sweet in the apartment until tomorrow when I go to the store. Wednesday is when the market guy comes into campus so I'll stock up on a weeks worth of fruits and veggies then.
Plans for tomorrow are some snorkeling, grocery shopping, back to check on Kater, and a scuba club meeting (just for info, probably too expensive for me at this point).
Well I suppose that's it for tonight. I had lots more photos to share but it will have to wait.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We saw the tortoises and they have been named. Someone (their caretaker) has put name tags on their shells and shellacked it on. Some of the names are, Madonna, Percy, Speedy, Isabelle, Bertha, Lula, Miss Piggy, Marty.. There may be more but we haven't found them yet.
I'll be trying to place a video of one of the tortoises eating a hibiscus flower. They absolutely love them and will eat them right from your hand. At the moment my connection is poor and I can't add any videos or pictures. I'll try in the morning.
When we were about done playing with these guys, a few of our friends showed and we ended up chatting for a few minutes, during which it began to rain again. We held out under the roof awning while wind blew rain sideways right at us. At least it as around 70 degrees still.
When it finally settled down we were able to head back across campus to our apartment. We had a few people over to play cards and I made Kater and myself tomato, avocado, and cheese omelets. I've had better, but these weren't too bad.
Everyone pretty much retired early tonight, here it is only 9:07 pm and I'm already ready for bed. Must be the dreary weather, and basically no sun today.

Rainy sunday. Didn't go to volleyball, still not sure if others went. After cleaning I spent a while online checking on graphics jobs etc. Got an email back about the children's book and if I'm understanding all the info correctly it looks like a really good investment of my time and will make some money on it too! I'll keep an update going on that one as I learn more.
The weather broke and I went for another run. I hope I can keep it up, it's been fun. The gym here should be opening this week if everything is on track. That will be nice to get back into a routine again. A few of my VIP friends are looking forward to going too so I'll have company. About 10 minutes into my run it started to pour again. It was great. Windy, rainy, makes a normally hot/sweaty task pretty tolerable. When I got back Kater had heard back about an available apartment to look at so I cleaned up and we took off.
West Farm, as it's called, is a small cluster of apartments about 200 yards down the road (west) of campus. If we do or don't get a car it wont matter because it's so close. It's got a good record for safety, and it's really convenient to walk to campus if one needed to. It's also right next to Ross security too so if someone needed them it would be fast! Nearly all residents are students and the square footage is pretty big too.
We looked at a nice one bedroom with a yard. The owner had 2 cats, and you would never know. It was very clean and open. The kitchen, living room, and dining room is one large space, with about 9 ft ceilings. There are lots of windows and all have bars (door too) for extra security. It shares one wall with a neighbor, and our friend John is really interested in it so we may luck out and have a good neighbor. The bedroom is large, and the bathroom is average size. Overall its great, and we will be pursuing it, cross your fingers for us.
Both cats and dogs are allowed which will be nice if we want to foster or adopt.
We're going out for a walk to see the tortoises! Here's a few pics from the day.
We woke up to some crazy wind and rain! 73 degrees and wind constant around 17-20 mph, although I think we've had some bigger gusts. I had volley ball scheduled for today at noon, but with this weather I seriously doubt anyone is there.
Well I'm happy to say a video finally uploaded to Blogger! Normally our connection makes it too slow and it takes too long or not at all. Enjoy, there won't be a lot unfortunately.
I finally found the mop/bucket so I just did a once over of our place. The floors are nice and shiny and clean now. There was a lot of dust from the previous tenant, and all that we brought to it as well.
This afternoon we're going to West Farm; an apartment complex right next to campus. We went to a dinner party there last week and the apartments are really nice. We have to act fast and take them really soon so we don't lose out. Kater knows someone in her 7th semester who will be moving out and is going to show us around. Wish us luck.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

After the run I tried looking for the cleaning materials but all doors were locked. I puttered around a little, took a shower and went back out.
I checked on the caterpillars again today while Kater was her study group. The little ones had almost doubled in size since yesterday and the large one was no where to be found. I suspect it has either been eaten or made itself a chrysalis. When I met up with Kater at her break, she showed me an old chrysalis she found:

Not much else happened today. Kater has been busy studying and I spent a lot of time on the computer, researching graphics jobs and freelance work. I applied to a T-shirt design website looking for artists and emailed a few others I found on Craigslist. We spent some time playing cards this evening with John, and then all returned to our own business. The vet students hit their anatomy books, I hit my sketch books. Now it's late and time for bed. Tomorrow is Sunday, volleyball, and who knows what else.
Sleep well.

**I'd like to apologize to all those who have left comments on our blog postings. It was only until just now that I even realized that there were comments at all. There is no easy way to know when someone has left a comment. So, I'll be checking more often and can actually answer questions now. Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing it... it's been fun.**

Friday is semester day at Ross. Every semester group participates in 'semester olympics' which includes soccer, flag football, ultimate frisbee, and beach volleyball. I may be forgetting a port but that's basically it. Every semester has designated colors, Kater's is blue. Mine, the VIP group is yellow. Seven semesters plus VIPs, and staff makes for a colorful day. At the end of the day people scatter around to play against other semesters in the different sports which go through sunday. I'll be playing volleyball Sunday against the staff I believe. It seems like a fun way to break up the intense study schedule for everyone, and include the VIPs in the fun.
After the normal morning business of blogging, emails, a little drawing, I went for a walk. I met Kater and some friends for lunch and then wandered through the toxicology garden (yes, a garden full of toxic plants...) because Kater had said she saw some cool caterpillars. These guys look very similar to our Monarchs but without some of the white striping. The plant it was eating was 'giant milkweed', so I wouldn't be surprised if this bugger was related.
Here's a picture:
I took a few photos and this was the best of the ones I took.
After the garden I continued down the back road to 'stairway to the sea', a spot on campus with a nice stairway down the hill to a patio area by the water.
This part of beach is really rocky and theres little to no sand. It's beautiful and quiet and during the day no one is there. I took out my sketch book and drew for a while. I got restless so I went for a walk down the beach looking for boulders to climb and anything else interesting. I eventually found a small sandy area of black sand. You think white sand gets hot... try this out! WOW!! Anyway here's a series of pictures, from rocky to sandy:

I went about as far as you can see in the pictures above. There is a distinct turn in the beach and it was tricky walking on those rocks and hot sand with flip flops, so further excursions will have to wait until another day.
The shore here is literally littered with conch shells. Size ranges from small to huge, but because of the rocks and rougher waves most are broken and beat up. My search continues for the perfect one. Apparently once you get a good one, you can shine it up with wet sand to bring out the nice colors inside.
I returned to the deck and shade of the platform and watched the waves for a while. The tide must have been coming in, because they kept getting bigger. I took some more pictures but they really don't capture the scale of them:
By this time, Kater was calling and was done with classes. They all wanted to get off campus and let their brains rest. They said "let's get down to a beach and have something to eat, you've been to a bunch of them, where should we go?" And where do you think I suggested??? Yes, of course, Shipwreck! Are you surprised? No, of course not. Some of her group has not been there yet, it's never crowded, and they make a mean cheeseburger and fries. So, once again we were off to the beach, and I to my favorite spot. The sun was getting low (it was about 4:30pm) and the temperature was perfect, probably around mid 70's. We found chairs, some got drinks, put our food orders in, and relaxed.
It's so great that when they want a break from studying, they can do this. When the week is over for most students in the states, break time means a movie or something. This is like a mini vacation every week for them.
I took more photos from the best seat in the house, and some more from around the place. The monkeys were out and active so I got some more pics of them as well:

We swam and snorkeled for a while after our meal. We watched the sunset from the float dock out in the water, another beautiful one of course. We learned a valuable lesson Friday, don't hang out on the beach after dark. Why? Mosquitos come out BAD!! Luckily they had bug spray up at the counter and enough for all of us. It was a swarm and we got eaten alive for the few moments it took us to run off the beach. That wont happen again!
The taxi picked us up around 7pm and we headed home. We all took showers, and met up for some cards and TV in the lounge. It was the first I've watched TV in two weeks.
That was about it for Friday, it was a full day and I got lots of pictures.
It's Saturday morning now, just about noon actually and I just got back from another run. Kater and a friend came this time, but we ran different routes. Mine includes a lot of stairs (so I can justify not running as far I think).
Kater cleaned up and went off to some study groups. I think I'll probably try to find the mop which is supposed to be in the building somewhere. The floors are dusty from the ash, sand, and whatever else. After that maybe a I'll check out a little further down the beach, who knows. Whatever it is, I'll be taking pictures.