Xmas 2015

Well-presents galore-never seen so many! And the noise! Even the dog Spot got treats. And all the gifts were useful and almost all needed! My big surprises were a telescope to view the heavens and  a Yemeni chameleon in a tank fully set up. So grateful thanks to my family and especially my son Joseph. Here are some snaps. Thanks for a lovely dinner Marie and helpers.



Special wrapping art.


What could this be.


Pascal the chameleon. http://www.chamaeleon-terraristik.de/html/anatomy.html


Check the mug!



I can see a star!




The newlyweds-Kevin and Michelle


The Xmas jumper brigade.


There follows a power-point of our holiday in July and August 2013. 



DSCF6726 A plasticene model!


Proudly independent since 1962 (formerly British). English is the language (often Pigeon English!)



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Coconut plantation near Mayaro.

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DSCF6791Look what you can make from them!


DSCF6580 2 Much rain means greenery.

DSCF6685Us. Julian, Joseph and Marie.

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False religion abounds.


Fast ferry to Tobago. North coastal mountain range of Trinidad in background.


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Rubbish-a common site.

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Lovely waterfalls for bathing.

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Mosquito net and aircon-two necessities!


DSCF6720 999443_1383258821902438_1686834955_n A comparison!

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Wonderful wildlife. Giant Leatherback Turtle and Scarlet Ibis.

IMG_0181 2 Reesa and Gideon

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Many beautiful plants.



Birds of Trinidad

Feathered species abound in this tropical, insect-laden paradise-here are some that are seen almost every day and a few rarer ones.Unknown2367925879_8f8669ece9_sgolden headedsavannah hawkoreolepelicanimages copy 4


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L to R. Hummingbird. Kiskidee (very vocal in the morning).??? Then Golden Oreole, Pelican, Black Vulture and Scarlet Ibis. Middle row left is a Savannah Hawk of which I saw three at once today-this one has caught a snake. I take no credit for any of these pictures!

Trinidad’s famous pitch lake.

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Trinidad has one of only three pitch lakes in the world.It covers an area of 100 acres and has dropped in height over the last 150 years. The pitch is approximately 30% water, 20% sulphur, 40% oil sand. Some parts are hard and have a skin others softened and sticky in the sun.

2013-08-13 16.46.33  Marie tests the sticky stuff.



The pitch is scooped up by bulldozers and put  into trucks-pulled up an elevated  railway (see pictures)2013-08-13 17.05.32


to enter big boiling vats where at 350F the water and sulphur are extracted to give the pure asphalt used in road building, camera cases etc. A barrel is worth 500$ US.


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Creation of the Lake

The lake was created thousands of years ago by the process of subduction, when the Caribbean continental plate was forced under another plate. This opened fault lines that allowed oil from deep underground deposits to rise to the surface, where it collected in a volcanic crater. The air caused lighter elements of the oil to evaporate, leaving behind the heavy asphalt, a mix of oil, clay and water.


Sir Walter Raleigh came across it in 1595 and saw it’s contents would help seal his ships hulls.

Asphalt Mining

Mining of the lake started in 1867, and an estimated 10 million tons of asphalt has been extracted since. Lake Asphalt of Trinidad & Tobago Ltd. (trinidadlakeasphalt.com) is a state-owned enterprise which mines, processes and exports asphalt around the globe, where it is used for paving roads, runways and race tracks. The company is vital to the local economy, as the major source of employment. The lake is estimated to contain reserves of around 6 million tons, which would last 400 years at the current rate of extraction.

Pitch is a name for any of a number of viscoelasticsolid polymers.

This means that even though it seems to be solid at room temperature and can be shattered with a hard impact, it is actually fluid and will flow over time, but extremely slowly.

Pitch can be made from petroleum products or plants. Petroleum-derived pitch is also called bitumen or asphalt.

Pitch was traditionally used to help caulk the seams of wooden sailing vessels (see shipbuilding). Pitch was also used to waterproofwooden containers, and is sometimes still used in the making of torches. Petroleum-derived pitch is black in colour, hence the adjectival phrase, “pitch-black”. Noah used pitch to waterproof the ark




Caroni Swamp

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Scores of brilliant scarlet Ibis flying in and roosting on an island of green tree foliage in the middle of a huge brackish lake was the undoubted highlight of a two hour boat trip into the Caroni Swamp in west Trinidad. It is noticeable that God has especially made so many red flowers and this particular bird in this part of the world to show the exquisite beauty of contrasting colours. The colour of these birds is due to their unique incorporation into their plumage of the red chemical pigment that they absorb from the tree climbing crabs that form a major part of their diet. (It is B carotene also found in carrots!).

En route to the Ibis island we saw three coiled up Casacabel  (boa) snakes resting in the trees above us. The forests that make up the rest of the swamp are mangroves with massive arching roots lining all the waterways.

Among the birds we also saw the ubiquitous white egrets, some blue heron, tri-coloured heron, sand pipers, a potoo (nightjar) and a large white hawk.

A great time-thank you Lord!





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