Caribbean TURTLE NESTING Season
Normally, in Saint Lucia, we witness turtle nesting from April to September. It’s not a hard and fast rule however and there have been times when visiting Leatherbacks and Hawksbills have surprised us.
We are lucky at Calabash Cove to see so many turtles nesting on our beach during the season. It is secluded and generally quiet and the resort is, for the most part, elevated from sea level. The advantage of this for turtle visits is the absence of bright lights on the shore that may detract or disorientate one of these amazing creatures.
Myth or Fact?
We have all heard the story that turtles return to the beach where they were born to nest. Is it true or false? Like many things in nature, there is not a “one size fits all” answer. However, for many species it is true. There are some turtles who will come back to the same nest several times in one season and others like our Leatherbacks will come to the same beach but dig a new nest.
We cannot be sure whether this recent visitor to our cove was a frequent flyer or a newbie. It is quite likely that she laid eggs here earlier in the season. Either way, she gave us a surprise to see her in November. Moreover, we still have the hatching to look forward to in early December. Perhaps, as Christmas babies, we should call them Holly 1, Holly 2, Holly 3………………Holly 120.
MORE ABOUT TURTLES
You can refer back to an earlier article about another turtle nesting earlier this year. Could it be the same turtle? We’d like to think so, but in the dark, it is hard to tell one from the other. Ha Ha.
THE WOODMAN OF BONAIRE ESTATE
Stanfield Dolcy,- a joiner by trade, a lover of gardens and a passionate exponent of wood carving. Fifty seven years young, he started his career as a forest officer for the Saint. Lucia Government. Married with four girls, he has been a most loyal, respected and lovable “Calabashie” since the Cove’s opening nine years ago. In all that time he has been carving items for the resort and guests.
COCONUT ET AL
An unassuming and charming “Saint Lucian” he delights the guests not only with his carving, but also with his endless knowledge of indigenous plants and trees of exotic wood. Now and then he opens a fresh cut coconut with his machete to have guests taste this truly healthy local libation straight from the palm…..reciting a famous Caribbean Song…drink, drink Coconut water, drink, Coconut is good for your daughter, think, etc 😉 Go figure what that means, but every Saint Lucian will tell you it works, true that ! Dolcy also knows, where the best Mango and Pineapple grows.
Carving AT THE HOTEL
Guests encounter his work immediately on entering the property, by an artistically sentry post carved from a massive single branch of a Saman Tree embracing the Calabash Cove sign next to it.
Another example is when you arrive at the front entrance a magnificent Welcome Sign presents itself, before entering the lobby. Furthermore, Stanfield is expert in utilizing exotic local woods like Mahogany, Saman, Bamboo, White Cedar and White Wood.
CARVING TO EQUIP
Therefore, Dolcy created and carved all the hotel’s room numbers, wooden menu covers, bill presenters, paper towel holders and signage around the property.
In addition he regularly creates, to order, special mementos from a single piece of wood for guests. Works of art by Stanfield are on display for sale in Memories of Calabash and as decor around the resort.
CARVING FOR ART
NATURE’S WONDER UNDER THE EAVES OF
The Kestrels “Bumpy and “Grumpy”
Our two resident Kestrels Bumpy and his wife Grumpy are preparing their nest under the Calabash Cove eaves to expand their happy union. They would like two boy fledglings and have already picked their names.
Whilst Grumpy patiently broods for the first two weeks, Bumpy buzzes around the glorious Calabash gardens, hunting for the finest morsels of fresh prey to keep Grumpy and her fledglings happy. Kestrels are are rather partial to field mice.
Kestrels Hatching at Calabash
It is rather amazing for us to have Turtles hatching on the beach one week and beautiful birds of prey the next. Anyway, it isn’t long before the first faint peeps and scratches from inside the pale blue eggs can be heard.
This means of course that the joyful hatching was impending and with Papa Bumpy watching googoo eyed as Max and Moritz appeared in their cosy warm nest, overlooking the bluest of blue oceans and the lush greenery surrounding them.
Meet the new Kestrels Max and Moritz
Two weeks into their new world and Max and Moritz are still enjoying room service provided by Meals on Wings, provided by their doting parents. And like Room Service in the resort, it’s all inclusive !
Not long though and the boy Kestrels will need to start learning the tricks of the trade in hunting techniques and to get ready to make their own way and fly the coop.
Empty Nester KESTRELS
Meanwhile the proud parents, Bumpy and Grumpy, now no longer needed sit happily in the laurel tree that overlooks the C Bar. They watch their two boys dive bombing ( not always successfully to start with) the “All you can eat” buffet, provided by the magnificent gardens daily/
And the boy Kestrels also learn the fun of staring at the “Whispers” windows and thinking the reflection is them!
A True story by Robert with some embellishments purely for dramatic effect
A Short Chocolate History
Sitting in the Windsong restaurant overlooking Calabash Cove, I am sipping on my hot chocolate at breakfast. The rich thick texture of the locally made hot chocolate with a touch of cinnamon has a very distinctive taste. So very different from the rather bland, insipid concoction often passed off as hot chocolate. Then I started thinking about Chocolate History. Where does chocolate come from? As a child the answer would be; the market. After all that is where my parents bought the solid sticks of chocolate to make cocoa tea from market vendors. You grind it by hand, boil it in rich milk and then add honey and spices. Yum
But where does it really come from? Our chocolate history begins in Meso-America.
MESO-AMERICA & THE AZTECS
The region known as Meso-America lies between central Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica.
Fermented beverages made from chocolate already existed around 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom.
To Aztecs the seeds had so much value that they were once used as a form of currency. Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter, frothy liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to have aphrodisiac powers and to give the drinker strength. Still today, these drinks are known as “Chilate” and you still find them in rural areas of southern Mexico.
With the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century, adding sugar to the recipe popularised chocolate drinking throughout civilised society. Originally among the ruling elite, but gradually achieving wider popularity
In the 20th Century, chocolate was considered an essential component making up American soldiers rations during wartime.
The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec Nahuatl word chocolātl, before finding its way into the English language.
THANK YOU THE MAYAN PEOPLE
The Mayan people, did leave some surviving writings about cacao which confirm the identification of the drink with the gods. Decorations on vases show these ideas visually.
Mayans would season their chocolate by mixing the roasted cacao seed paste into a drink with water, chili peppers and cornmeal, transferring the mixture repeatedly between pots creating a thick foam topping. Unlike the Mayans of Yucatán, the Aztecs drank chocolate cold, as an aphrodisiac or as a treat for men after banquets, and as part of the rations of Aztec soldiers.
Pueblo people, who lived in an area that is now the U.S. Southwest, imported cacao from Meso-American cultures in southern Mexico or Central America between 900 and 1400. They used it in a beverage consumed by everyone in their society.
Until the 16th century, this drink from the Central and South America was unknown to Europeans until Christopher Columbus encountered the cacao bean on his fourth mission to the Americas on August 15, 1502, when he and his crew seized a large native canoe that was laden with cacao beans.
After Columbus took these cacao beans with him back to Spain, it made no impact until Spanish friars introduced chocolate to the Spanish court.
FAMOUS NAMES IN CHOCOLATE HISTORY
New processing innovations introduced the modern era of chocolate. Joseph Fry learned to make chocolate moldable by adding back melted cacao butter. In 1875 Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestlé. By 1879, Rodolphe Lindt had invented the conching machine which further refines chocolate production.
Lindt, a Swiss-based concern with global reach, had its start in 1845.
Besides Nestlé, several chocolate companies had their start in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Cadbury was manufacturing boxed chocolates in England by 1868.
In 1893, Milton S. Hershey purchased chocolate processing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and soon Hershey’s chocolates with their famed chocolate-coated caramels was a household name in the USA.
West Africa produces most of the world’s cocoa. In recent years, the rejuvenation of abandoned cocoa plantations in Saint Lucia has re introduced an indigenous industry. Saint Lucian Chocolate is once again on the market.
My Calabash Cove hot chocolate meanwhile, has been joined by a fresh, warm and crisp pain au chocolat. The croissant, an Austrian invention later perfected by the French. I will just enjoy both and worry about the history of the croissant another time.
HOW MANY STEPS TO SWEETWATERS POOL?
It’s twelve steps, I am sure of it. Do you really think so? Yes, let me try it out. And so, I pushed the sheers of our four poster king size bed aside and reluctantly pushed myself off the bed. Delighted to have chosen a swim up junior suite at this point. With feet planted firmly on the beautiful palm leave patterned floor rug I make my way. First onto the deck and then the edge of Sweetwaters infinity pool. By now I am out past the patio door and my eyes firmly focus on the aquamarine coloured water directly ahead of me.
Five, six, seven… Ally said, are you really doing this?
Eight nine ……. splash. Just as I dive into the pool I spot a glimpse of the Caribbean Sea directly over the edge of Sweetwaters, Calabash Cove’s amazing swimming pool. As I hold my breath under-water a question comes to mind. Do I head left to the swim up pool bar or continue to the middle of the 100 feet of freshwater pool? Since it’s mid-morning, my better judgement prevails. Therefore, let me give the bar a pass for few more hours. That means getting my muscles into gear and make for the far end of the pool.
SINK OR SWIM?
With an endless spectrum of blue colors surrounding me I decide to do get a few strokes going. After all, how often do you have a magnificent pool all for yourself. It virtually begs me to do laps. Two three times down that stretch with the Caribbean morning sun bouncing off my back and warming up my shoulders. Pure Sweetwaters bliss with not a worry in the world. Four, five, six lengths and it’s time to take it easy. Probably, in a few days when my mind and my muscles will be in the right condition again, I will make it a full dozen.
COFFEE AND CROISSANT ANYONE?
At last, I raised my head out of the water and get hit with the scent of freshly brewed coffee drifting in my direction. Right, breakfast time. Ally had ordered breakfast on our private patio. However, looking towards our room, I feel like I was still dreaming. There, sitting on a white table clothed table, a basket laden with freshly baked croissants beckons. In addition to this, a plate of freshly cut fruits and a gleaming shiny french press creating the aforementioned scent.
Finally, seven, eight more strokes and here I am, back on our flower covered deck. Droplets of water run down my legs. I feel like I have earned this morning treat.
Furthermore, to answer the question – how many steps …..? Who cares? Definitely too few to matter when you are in paradise….
Author: A Daydreamer