Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still in Tobago

Although our days in Tobago arecoming to an end, we have had a chance to see a lot of the island.  One day we hired a guide/driver for some birdwatching and a visit to the rain forest.  That was not our best decision .  We knew more birds than he did.

Another day we went out for a day of snorkeling and fishing.  Bruce and Patty had three stops with a good variety of coral and fish.  Lunch was on the beach of a small bay.  The trip out was interesting as we were going into six foot waves.  We had a lot of bouncing.  Coming back in we trolled a line with an artificial lure but no luck.

Of course, we have driven all over the island.  There are several beaches close to our house for Bruce and Patty to do a little snorkeling.  Just give me a book and a chair and I will watch the gear.  One day just as Bruce and Patty were coming in, music announced that the ice cream truck was there.  We all got ice cream bars.  It reminded me of the Good Humor trucks tha came around the neighborhood when I was growing in Chicago.

Another day we drove to a bay just up the coast.  From our porch we could see fishermen putting in seine nets.  We drove by the bay just as about 15 people were pulling in the net.  There were a couple hundred small white fish that were pulled in.  One of the women told me the fish were sweet but very bony.   The net also held two turtles.  Each was about 12-18 inches in diameter.  They were released back to the sea.

Last Sunday we drove to Englishmen's Bay.  After a picnic lunch, Bruce and Patty spent an hour snorkeling one side of the bay.  Then we all walked down to the other side of the bay.  It was  nice outing.

Yesterday we went on one of our rare evening outings.  There was  steel band contest for the entire island.  We had been warned that things like this often start late.  We came a half hour early and it started a hour and a half late.  We only saw four bands of the small class but each one had about 25 people playing.  There were lots of people to see the bands and we had a great time.

On Thursdaywe start home.  We will let you know what is going on in the north woods.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Greetings from Tobago!  We made it down here last Saturday.  We left for the Minneapolis Airport at 3:30 in the morning.  Our first flight left for Miami at 5:30.  Then we spent 6 hours in the Miami Airport.  That airport is more like a shopping mall but I am not very good at malls.  Finally we took off for Port Au Spain, Trinidad.  Things were VERY slow going through customs and we got to our hotel at 1:00 a.m.  The next morning we took a short flight over to Tobago.  The car rental was easily accomplished and we were on our way -- driving  with the British system on the wrong side of the road.

Our house is lovely.  On the top story is combination living room and dining room with a full kitchen.  The porch overlooks the pool and the sea.  Our bedroom is also upstairs.  The whole upstairs opens up to the breeze and the sound of the waves.  I took a picture with this iPad and will try to attach it but we are into a learning experience with all this.

The first several days were rainy and we just were lazy.  Afternoon naps and early nights brought us back up to speed.  The last few days we have been driving all over the island.  One day we bought fresh dolphin or mahi mahi.  Bruce as quite insulted when the seller wanted to charge is $8.00US to fillet it.  Naturally Bruce had brought his own fillet knife to do the job.  It was a wonderful meal.

Tomorrow our friends the Feeneys join us for the next two weeks.  Stayed turned for the next installment

I can't get the picture on but Patty will help when she gets here.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Starting the New Year

The holiday season is over.  It has been one of our busiest times.  Some of it, I am sure, was due to the way Christmas and New Year’s fell during the week. New Year’s Eve we had about 100 people for dinner.  That is a good number for us.  So tomorrow (Sunday) things will settle down a bit.  Everyone on the staff will take a deep breath and get some days off.

On New Year’s Day Don and I went out to see how thick the ice was.  Here is a picture of him in his dry suit ready to go.  I have a 150’ line attached to his waist.  Everyone says that there isn’t much I can do if he starts to go down.  His suit will keep him dry and floating until help can come.  Luckily we have not had to face that issue.
Just out from the dock we had about 10 inches of solid ice.  We then progressed in 150’ increments.  By the time we got 750’ out, the ice was 4” thick.  Tonight the temperature is supposed to drop to 27 degrees below.  That will help tighten the ice up and make more ice.

People ask us all the time, “Is the ice safe?”  All we can do is report what was found when and where we drilled holes.  Because of the way everything froze on Gunflint this year, we are fairly confident that east of us the ice is not as thick.  As a result we will continue to tell people it is OK to walk along the shore but not to go out into the middle of the ice.

Snow is coming down fairly steadily as I write this.  The forecast is for 100% of heavy snow.  Who know exactly what that means.  The next couple of days will have lots of time devoted to plowing, shoveling and grooming.  It is unbelievable how much time it takes to clean up after a snow fall.  Every step and every porch has to be shoveled.  Every road, path and car park has to be plowed.  That means moving a lot of cars.  It is one of those jobs that as soon as you get it finished, there is more snow coming down.

Of course our resident animals love it.  The other day during breakfast a pack of wolves was seen on the Canadian side of the lake moving to the west end.  As soon as I said something, the entire dining room moved to the windows for a good look.

And it is just not on the ice that we see wolves.  Neighbors down the lake commented that they had been awakened the other night by a wolf howling right outside their house.  They couldn’t see him but they could sure hear him.  It is a sound that brings out feelings from deep in our past.