Friday, November 30, 2007

Dominica: "it's a place best avoided"

sunset 30-11
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
So says an article about Dominica, Barbados and the US soccer team.

And as I read his article about a place he's never visited, having seen this gorgeous sunset, having been surrounded by rainforest-clad mountains, having come through my small but friendly community I thought: 'yes, perhaps you ought to stay away, there's clearly nothing here for you!'

"Breaking news"

I thought I'd see what the local news channel had to say about yesterday's quake. I'd stopped watching - I know there's not a lot of local news at times, but the level of professionalism leaves me frustrated.

And I wasn't disappointed. The quake led the news of course, lots of hyperbole but no facts, apart from the magnitude. Nothing about any reports of damage or injuries, so I have to assume there was none. Perhaps the quake came after the point in the day it can be put in detail on the evening news, not that 3pm is 'late'. Besides, isn't that the point of covering 'breaking news'?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

USGS report on quake

From the USGS website:

Tectonic Summary

The Martinique earthquake 29 November 2007 occurred in the inclined seismic zone that dips to the west beneath the Lesser Antilles islands arc. In the region of Martinique, the South America plate moves to the west-northwest with respect to the Caribbean plate with a velocity of about 2 cm/yr. This relative motion is accommodated largely by the South America plate thrusting beneath the Caribbean plate. The earthquake occurred within the subducted South America plate, in response to stresses generated by plate's slow distortion, rather on the thrust fault that constitutes the interface the between the Caribbean and South America plates...

Earthquakes, such as this one, that have focal-depths between 70 and 300 km are commonly termed "intermediate-depth" earthquakes...[and]... typically cause less damage on the ground surface above their foci than is the case with similar magnitude shallow-focus earthquakes, but large intermediate-depth earthquakes... may be felt at great distance from their epicenters

So, now we know!

7.3 earthquake

We were just rocked by a substantial earthquake - magnitude 7.3, centered not far west of Martinique. Now that's what I call scary - about 2 minutes of sustained shaking. Cars rocked, motorbike shook, water tank shook and slopped water... and Puss fled.

HUGE Tremor

3:00pm - rocked by huge 2 minute tremor. That was scary! More soon.

Dominica vs USA?

Dominica are set to play Barbados in the qualifying round of the football World Cup 2010 to be held in South Africa. And if they beat them, they'd play the US.

I've always said the small size of our qualifying groups mean we will often come up against big guys - last time it was Mexico. I'll not go into the size of the defeat we suffered then, but just playing these big countries is a great experience.. and great exposure! And maybe out new stadium can host one of the games?

What was a not-so-great experience was the CONCACAF website - go here to read why!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Little Tremor

10:19am - a 4.8 'quake' shook us. A little thing really, centered east of Martinique.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now that's what I call November!

rainforest raindrops
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
November is officially here. Dominica's wettest month has arrived. It began by feeling more like May/June - dry and clear skies. But now it's cold, wet and breezy. Brrrrr!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Nigerian scam refined

Who isn't aware of the Nigerian e-mail scam these days? My junk mail filter lists a half-dozen other African countries which flag an email as a possible scam.

I am though noticing a shift away from the crass 'I am Chief Whathisname of Nigeria with an inheritance of $120 million I want to share with YOU'... Locally we now see enquiries for accommodation (including a need for dozens of cell phones). I also know of someone here selling their car who was contacted from Nigeria. Most scams are easy to spot.

Also beware of false award ceremonies and cultural events! Always Google to verify such. I'd like to think we're savvy to all variants of the Nigerian scam, but I'm not so sure.

Friday, November 23, 2007

sunset Dominica

sunset Dominica
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
I'm in the swing of it now, taking my camera out with me when I do my afternoon cycle ride. I'll time the start so I know I'll get to a little clearing that has the view of the palm tree at just the right time. I think it's worth it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

flying over the Pitons

flying over the Pitons
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
Took my first ever helicopter ride the other day - a 30-minute trip around St. Lucia. Excellent way to see the island! The Pitons are a focal point, around which the flight 'orbits' then goes over to the east coast.
I was also impressed with how forested and unspoiled the south east and east side of the island is.

I think the pilot should have just piped 'Ride of the Valkyries' through the headphones rather than his commentary.

One really needs to be right next to the window to get the best pics (I wasn't!). Just have to do it again!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Boxing in Paradise

Showtime boxing in Paradise
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
Boxing with a West Indian flavour. It felt more like a cricket game. Well, it was held in St. Lucia's national cricket stadium.

Supporters of the Guyanese boxer in the stands drumming and flag waving constantly... several showers forcing the ringside crowd to flee to the drinks tent... and the crowd shouting 'Salop!' every time a punch connected.

And the highlight? Maybe when accumulated rain on the tarp above the ring was blown down and drenched the VIPs & boxers' wives....!

"Welcome to the Caribbean, love".

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I mentioned how I was in our gorgeous Botanical Gardens the other day. I took time off from watching the cricket to see the parrots. There are a few kept for breeding purposes, as the big sign says, and it urges people to be quiet.

Indeed, there was a reverential hush - they are magnificent birds. But I couldn't help feeling for them. Poor things had to put up with the noise of 4 days of Creole in the Park then 3 nights of Creole Music Festival. And fireworks. And this year a wicked thunderstorm. I hope they put a big blanket over their cage like me Gran would!

Work Permit info

I'm so often asked questions about working in Dominica, and the definitive (and official) page on that topic is on the InvestDominica website at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

watching cricket

watching cricket
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
There's something special about cricket in the Botanical Gardens. When I lived in Bath Estate, I'd go watch a game to get away from the heat (and noise).

It is a superb setting - gorgeous backdrop, plenty of shade, enthusiastic crowd. Today I could have spent hours there - I wished I'd taken a picnic and a cold beer.

I suppose bigger games will be played in the new stadium, but I'm sure games will still be held in the Gardens.

Postcript: good to see lots of cruise ship visitors watching the cricket today - must have been English!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


We see subtle changes around this time of year. We spend less time watching the weather reports (though Hurricane Lenny in 99 was a reminder you can get a powerful storm in November).

It should also starts to get a little colder, by D/a standards. Not as 'cold' as December/January, but we ought to be feeling a difference. Not that we are, but it's something to look forward to. That and the peak of our wet season. Also missing right now - it's almost as dry as June with clear blue skies to match.

And the sun sets almost an hour earlier now: 5:30 rather than the 6:30 at the height of summer. But in barely a month it's winter solstice and the nights will start to get longer.

Something else I've not seen - or rather heard - yet: the 'cannon'. Usually kids fire off bamboo cannon whose segments are filled with kerosene and heated, giving off loud bangs. Traditionally these start right after Independence and go through to Christmas, but I've not heard one yet in the village.

Musically, Jing Ping stops abruptly once Independence is done, and soon will be heard Christmas songs, the best of which are the Reggae versions of carols.

Listening to: David Bowie - Changes
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Right Response

When greeted by a couple of guys with the cry 'Selassie', do try to remember the correct response is 'Jah' to which we all say together 'Rastafari'...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

2006 Cultural gala

national costume
Originally uploaded by Steve_Mc
The Cultural Gala is my fave part of Independence. It's a fun, colourful, relaxed, full-of-talent afternoon and the last couple of years has been set amidst the beautiful backdrop of the Botanical Gardens.

This year. it was held in the new sports stadium. Now as much as I love the stadium, it's no place for the Gala. Besides being treated like cattle just to get in, the stage is miles away and absolutely no wandering around is allowed. Half the fun of the Gala is the unique mix of the 'lime' and the culture.

So I'm starting a campaign: Move the Gala back to the Gardens! And that's why I post a photo from last year's Gala.

The Next Big Project

I thought I'd document the process you have to go through when coming up with the next killer website. Of course I can't detail everything about it just now...

This personal project was born as many are, from a eureka moment while out cycling. But the seed was planted by my Mum quite some time ago.

But as I gave it some thought, I saw the possibilities. And so I got Serious.

First question - is the concept being done at the moment? A search for the keywords behind the concept is positive - no, it's not being done.

Step 2: find the domain name. All obvious ones are taken. 2a is think of less-obvious (like, or are not obvious names for what the sites do).

Setback 1: Step 2 found a site quite similar to my concept. So Step 3 is: examine that site to see if my idea can still run without being a rip-off. And yes it can (the site I found is just for the US).

So it's back to Step 2, and as such I need to go cycling for more inspiration ;)

Follow this project on our corporate blog!