Saturday, September 17, 2011

Culebra Flip Side (or Why I live here despite certain realities)

Yesterday was full of sunshine, breezes, beauty and the typical torpid heat of our September. Oh, and the veggie guys! But first, I went out toward Zoni to air out a home and this is some of what I saw.

 The sargassum is pretty dramatic from this view!

Ah, this is what I was remembering on those cold, under the blankets mornings out West

When I was writing regularly for Caribbean Travel & Life, I got an excellent assignment to write about Biras Creek, a unique resort on Virgin Gorda. I centered my article around Alvin, the head gardener, who took me around the property he'd cultivated for 30 some years. One of the plants he introduced me to was the strawberry cactus - shown above is one from here. He plucked the fruit and had me taste it, and yes, it did taste like a pale strawberry, and was just as full of seeds. The horticultural info on this plant is interesting, with many names. It's spiky and strange and wonderful.

One web site that sells essences of different plants writes "For those of us who are expecting things to go wrong or be difficult, Strawberry Cactus encourages us to let go and allow our hearts to transmute difficult emotions. We know that there is perfection in each moment and each situation, and we begin to live in joy. " Truthfully? I don't have a clue what that means, except maybe the contrast of spiky and sweet, but I thought it was interesting. And maybe it works, who knows? What I do know is that every time I see this plant, I think of Biras Creek and a wonderful old man who taught me new things with love and passion. Among the many words of wisdom he shared with me, one in particular stood out, and still does. "Being good and kind, that will carry you through the world." Here's to you, Alvin, with thanks and love.

 Defying all mandates on Culebra, this charming bird watching area is actually completed and ready for your enjoyment. The sign shows some of the birds that can be seen. 
The best time to do this is at daybreak, just in case you're interested.

 If you've ever wondered, but don't know what 'tying up for a 
storm in the mangroves' means, this is what it means.

 At the veggie stand, Lawrence and I pondered these fruits. Lawrence said, ' brings something to mind, but it's something underwater.' That made sense. Then along come Pam and Chuck, who knew all about this fruit, including the fact they they are growing the very tree in their yard!! They are called rambutan (pronounced as written). Here is some more information about them. As I read and saw more photos, they look like a red, hairy genipa. I haven't tasted one yet, but I will. Pretty damn fancy stuff we're getting here, Veggie Guy!

Along with rambutan (I just like saying 'rambutan' - try it!), 
there were some purple fingerling potatoes. Who could resist? Not me.

From there, it was down to the ferry dock and matters serious. All in a day on Culebra...welcome to Paradox!


  1. I want to dive under that sargassum NOW! There are surely some good critters taking refuge. Where is the bird watching area?

  2. On the way to Zoni, before you get very far along the road though. Easy to drive right by it...and yes, I think the sargassum is making for some good feeding grounds, good thing to keep an eye out for what is feeding on what! Just sayin'...

  3. Fantastic post!
    They have those birdwatching platforms on Cayman Brac too.

  4. Thank you, Mark. Yes, I personally think this platform is one of the best things I've seen done on Culebra by an agency of the government in the nine years I've lived here. For the people, all of the people. Want to build something? Build something like this!