Oct 102017
 

The 2017 Hurricane Season has managed to leave a large scar on the Caribbean, as many of its beautiful islands have been ravaged by two major hurricanes – Irma and Maria.  It saddens us deeply to know that so many people have lost their homes and their livelihoods.

Many of our friends have asked how they can help.  To that end, and with her permission, I am sharing a post created by the talented (and super sweet) Chrissann Nickel, founder of the website Women Who Live on Rocks.

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Every new photo I see out of the islands that have been ravaged by Hurricane Irma & Hurricane Maria sickens me. Imagining how truly terrified everyone must have been during the storm and the dire situation the survivors are in now makes my soul ache. I wish I could take that pain away from our fellow islanders. I wish I could rescue them from the hell they are living in now. I am at a loss for words. And hurricane season continues to wreak havoc. My heart breaks for all those who experienced Irma and are still there, in need of rescue and basic life services.

I happened to already be away on vacation when the storms hit and have watched this horror from afar. I, like so many others, have lost my home, most of my possessions, and the island life that I loved so much. It is a surreal feeling – knowing that when I closed up my home to leave for vacation, I was walking away from everything I know and cherish. But I am one of the lucky ones. I did not experience that storm and I am safe in the US now.

The islands you love need your help desperately.

If you are a tourist who has ever visited these islands, please help. If you are someone who has ever dreamed of living in “paradise,” please help. If you used to live on an island, please help. If you are a fellow islander, please help.

*photo via Shaun Schroeter on Facebook

People have lost their businesses, their livelihoods, their homes, and all of their worldly possessions. They are in need of food, shelter, and evacuation. The situation is immediate and dire. The widespread destruction throughout the Caribbean is unprecedented.

I have tried to compile a list of ways you can help NOW for each of the islands effected. If you have additional organizations that you think need to be shared, please add them in the comments space of this post below or in the comments of the link of this post shared on our Facebook page.

Here is what I have so far, by region:

GENERAL CARIBBEAN

Caribbean Tourism Organization

Global Giving

Sailors Helping

OXFAM

CDEMA

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Save the Children

Direct Relief

Samaritan’s Purse

Caribbean Rotary Clubs

Help Resort Staff Throughout the Caribbean

Donate via Apple Store (How To)

Irma Aftermath

ShelterBox

All Hands Volunteers

Sandals Foundation

ARK / BWA Aide

ANGUILLA

Anguilla Go Fund Me

Help Anguilla Rebuild Now

Anguilla Help

Help Rebuild Seaside Stables Anguilla

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Halo Foundation – Barbuda Relief Effort

Barbuda Go Fund Me

Barbuda Recovery

Barbuda Hurricane Animals

Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross

CUBA

Help Cuban Animals

DOMINICA

Dominica Go Fund Me

UrtheRootz Mission: Rebuild Dominica

PUERTO RICO

Vieques Love

Vieques Citizens

Puerto Rico Real Time Recovery Fund

NVOAD Volunteers

Save the Children – Puerto Rico

Acacia Puerto Rico

United for Puerto Rico

Friends of Puerto Rico

ST BARTH

St. Barth Disaster Relief Fund

St. Barth Go Fund Me

Gustavia Relief Fund

ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN

St Maarten Go Fund Me

Rebuild SXM

Dutch Sister Islands Fund

French St. Martin

Goisco

SXM Paws – Animal Relief Fund

St. Maarten Hurricane Relief

THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

BVI Relief Fund

Virgin Unite Community Support Appeal

Jost Van Dyke Go Fund Me

BVI Government via Pledgeling

Three Sheets Sailing – Accepting Mailed Donations

BVI Go Fund Me

BVI Immediate Relief – You Caring

Virgin Gorda Community – You Caring

Amazon BVI Pets Wish List

JVD Strong

BVI Strong Apparel

Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society

BVI Volunteers

THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands

St. John Community Foundation

Virgin Islands Relief

Irma Relief for our Sister Islands

Love for Love City by Kenny Chesney

St. John Rescue

Art for Love City

Gifft Hill School

Tim Duncan VI Relief

USVI “Adopt a Family”

United Way USVI

My Brother’s Workshop

USVI Amazon Wish List

ReVIve the VI

St. John Go Fund Me

Patient Assist VI

USVI Recovery

Animal Evacuation

TURKS & CAICOS

Turks & Caicos Go Fund Me

Turks & Caicos You Caring

Turks & Caicos Just Giving

Friends of Beaches – Turks & Caicos

THE BAHAMAS

Bahamas Humane Society

Bahamas – You Caring

I know this is overwhelming. There are so many places that need help. But contributing literally ANYTHING that you can is what counts. And if you can keep contributing over time (add it to your monthly budget!), that would be even better. Pick one, pick several!

*photo via Brittany Meyers on Facebook

Please share this with everyone that has ever been touched by these beautiful islands – even if it’s just through a screensaver.

Additionally, keeping these islands and their people at the forefront of the media is essential. People quickly forget, but these islands will need help in the long haul. Any news coverage you are able to obtain to feature the islands in need would be incredibly helpful. Think local, think global.

Thank you for caring. The islands will come back to their glory one day. Now’s the time to point them in that direction.

Jun 012014
 

Ahh, the white sand beach…

Matangi Island, Fiji

Matangi Island, Fiji

It’s the quintessential daydream.

Trunk Bay, St. John

Trunk Bay, St. John

It’s the kind of image that inspires notions of quitting one’s day job and purchasing a one-way ticket to the islands.  No shirt, no shoes, no problems.

The non-curious sort will be perfectly content to stroll on the white beach, perhaps clutching a tropical libation served in a coconut shell.  And really, what’s wrong with that?

But others may marvel at the dazzling white sand and wonder how it got there.

It’s simple really.  That white sand is composed primarily of excrement. Parrotfish poop – bluntly stated.

Bonaire Parrotfish - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Bonaire Parrotfish – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Approximately 80-90 species of parrotfish inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans around the world.  Divers, snorkelers and swimmers are undoubtedly familiar with this commonly seen brightly colored fish.

parrotfish photo

Parrotfish play a critical role in the health of a coral reef ecosystem.  Their fused, beaklike front teeth allow them to break off and ingest pieces of coral.  The algae on the coral provides the fish’s food source, while the coral is ground up and excreted as sand.  It’s this excreted sand that forms the beach upon which we all love to lounge.

Parrotfish, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Parrotfish, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Parrotfish at Cleaning Station, Bonaire

Parrotfish at Cleaning Station, Bonaire

Pretty Parrotfish M

Notice the prominent, fused front teeth

Here are some other interesting facts about the parrotfish.

-This fish changes sex throughout its lifespan, beginning its life as a female and eventually becoming male.

-It’s bright coloration makes it easy to see, but it is easily heard as well.  It produces an audible crunching sound when biting coral.

-A parrotfish can produce 200 pounds (90kg) of sand per year, and the larger species can produce even more.

-At night, many types of parrotfish produce a transparent sack which encases them to provide protection while sleeping.

-The larger species of parrotfish, such as the bumphead or the midnight parrotfish grow up to 3 feet (1m) in length.

Midnight Parrotfish

Midnight Parrotfish

So now you’ll be prepared the next time your beach going toddler asks, “Daddy, what is white sand made of?”.

Nov 112013
 

In my last post I promised to show you more photos from the extensive house reef at Gallows Point on St. John.

Although we didn’t see the moon jellies this year, there was plenty of other sea life to watch and photograph.

Hawksbill Turtle - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Hawksbill Turtle – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Octopus - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Octopus – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Reef Squid

Reef Squid

Squirrelfish - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Squirrelfish – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Christmas Tree Worms

Christmas Tree Worms

Flamingo Tongue - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Flamingo Tongue – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Curious Squirrelfish

Curious Squirrelfish

Do you have a favorite St. John snorkel spot?

Nov 052013
 

In September we spent a week diving and snorkeling the waters of St. John.  Our lodging of choice on St. John is Gallows Point, due in part to its extensive house reef.

Gallows Point House Reef

Gallows Point House Reef

The resort layout is perfect for snorkeling.  The walkway (pictured below) makes it easy to access the reef.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many different creatures call this reef home.  Here’s a glimpse at some of them.

Feather Duster Colony

Feather Duster Colony

Nurse Shark

Nurse Shark – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Front View - by Mr. Reeftraveler

Front View – by Mr. Reeftraveler

Peacock Flounder

Peacock Flounder 

Squirrelfish

Squirrelfish

Feather Duster

Feather Duster

Trunkfish

Trunkfish

Check back soon for more photos from Gallows Point Reef.