Check our False Bluff facebook page for some of the posts here - plus a whole lot more that's not just about False Bluff but about Nicaragua's Caribbean coast near Bluefields. We have a limited number of building lots available (email us at for information).

23 October 2016

Friends arrive in Bluefields....

     Long-time friends, one-time neighbors, arrive at Bluefields airport.

18 October 2016


Forgive the horrible picture.  What you are actually looking at are two bats that are roosting in the farm house.  They squeezed themselves in between a wall and a board.  Its good to see they are around and hopefully they will stay in the area, not necessarily inside the house.  We have talked a lot about building some bat houses to keep the mosquitoes down but we will need to design masonry ones since the termites go after any dead wood.  One more task on the list of things to do.

11 October 2016

Choppy Sea

In some of the previous posts you have been able to see what the Caribbean looks like most of the time.  Usually around 4am the sea is quite calm and flat.  As the day progresses the sea becomes choppier.  Its always nice to be able to walk along deserted beach.  The day I took these pics the Caribbean was the choppiest I'd seen it in a long time.  Still beautiful either way.

04 October 2016

Evening on the Bay

Great view of Bluefield Bay in the evening from one of our favorite places to dine.  The Pelican Bay Restaurant is on the end of the point that makes up the Pointeen Neighborhood.  Not only does it have great waterside seating but also great food.

27 September 2016

Final Bit of the Canal

Just a couple minutes of video from the end of the boat trip from Bluefields, through the lagoons, and the final bit of canal.  At the very end you can see the farm house and a straight walk will take you to the Caribbean beach.  Not really any sound to the video and yes I should probably figure out how to add music or something.

20 September 2016

Spiffing up the Guest Dock

The guest dock looking good with some fresh boards and freshly cut grass.  This view from the dock is looking west into the jungle towards the lagoon.  After traveling along our shady canal you know you have reached the farm when you are back in the sunshine.

13 September 2016

Connected to the Country

Bluefields is the capitol of the southern state R.A.A.S.  Its a great town and we fly into it so we can boat out to the farm at False Bluff.  During most of the years we have been staying in town it has not been connected to the rest of the country by a road.  Everything and everyone would would either fly in or boat in from the port at Rama.  Construction on the road started a couple years ago and has reached Bluefields.  Hopefully this will only bring positive changes to the town and the surrounding jungle.

16 August 2016

The changing scenery, 2

     Photos in a recent post showed how the fast-growing palm trees are changing the scenery we see when we sit upstairs at the house.  Along with these highly visible changes in the front yard - between the house and the Caribbean - are the equally highly visible changes along the walkway.  
     When a boat comes up our canal, docks, and offloads its passengers...they either take the public pathway we've provided that goes directly to the beach....
     Or, if they're coming to visit us, they walk along the non-public pathway that's lined on both sides with palm trees that we've planted...and on one side, the house side, with a very low visibility 'fence' that serves as a guide rather than as a prohibition.
     This series of photos begin with the two immediately below, one of which is the view from upstairs, looking toward the sea, before we put up the fence...and the other of which was taken at ground level -  also before the fence.  

     These next photos, however, were taken after construction of the fence. The unobtrusive waist high fence outlines the walkway that goes pretty much from our main dock all the way to the north section of False Bluff....and it's really easy to see from these photos, taken walking toward the house and also in the other direction toward the dock, just how the growth of the trees is defining the walkway.

09 August 2016

Posting a post

     Don't know that I've done this before - posted a post from somebody else, but I've included the link here to a story entitled "Nicaraguan Cities and Their American Counterparts" (and my thanks goes to HD for sending this to me...see July 11, 2016 about HD).
     But Nicaragua's east coast is rarely mentioned, ever, by people writing about Nicaragua.  And when people writing about Nicaragua do mention the east coast what's mentioned are the two Corn Islands which really aren't part of the coast since they sit forty miles off shore smack in the Caribbean Sea.
     So sometimes it seems that Nicaragua's right side (and there's even a site devoted to the right side - doesn't exist or isn't on anybody's radar.  
     In some ways that's good because the right side will manage to keep its 'purity' a while longer -  although really and truly and slowly, Nicaragua's right side's being 'discovered.'
     But the story's fun and is about various Nicaragua cities and what might be their United States' counterparts.  However my real surprise was not so much that Bluefields = New Orleans but that Bluefields is the writer's favorite city in Nicaragua! I'm on board with that for sure.

(Bluefields' Moravian Church)

03 August 2016

Win some, lose some

     ...and Richmond's losing this time.

     Friends for more than twenty years, residents of Richmond's east end, these two are moving to Nicaragua to build a home on the edge of Bluefields Bay.  
   Here they are, there they go - part of the wedding party at the cathedral in Bluefields a couple of years ago:

     No more snow to shovel and a lot of fish waiting right outside the front door! 
        Vaya con dios, bienvenido (and I'll see you in a week or so)!



29 July 2016

The changing scenery

     My last post touted the benefits of pruning all the palm trees we've planted in order to make the trees grow faster.  Here are a few shots, all from pretty much the same perspective, that show how the tree growth is changing the view from upstairs in the house.  (Note that at least one of these shots was taken before there was a house that had an upstairs...)
     The first thing we did was clear all the breeze-stifling low stuff...small knee- or head-high shrubs that grew so prolifically and tightly that the breeze off the Caribbean literally couldn't get through.  And we sure couldn't walk through the stuff without long pants and boots.  We left any palm tree that was already growing and all the sea grapes. Cayman Roca is visible in the distance in the photo below, 2.5 miles offshore.

     Clearing the undergrowth made space for an impromptu volley ball game at the end of a day.

     But the "volleyball court" got filled up pretty quickly as the trees were planted and began to grow. It's easy to orient yourself by checking out the adult palm trees closer to the sea.

          And now, of course, this is the view from upstairs with trees and shade and lots of my favorite zoysia grass covering the ground like an emerald green carpet. Sure, we can't see Cayman Roca from upstairs anymore....but a few more years of growth and pruning will take care of that and give us back the view of that tiny island.

21 July 2016

Pruning the palm trees

     I've taken some crap about my habit of pruning the palm trees we've planted at False Bluff but recently I've had some people who previously questioned the habit ask for demonstrations at their own farms to teach their staff how and why.     
     It usually takes only a single swipe with a machete per frond (a frond is what passes for a branch on a palm tree but is essentially just a big leaf); and we have a lot of palm trees - literally hundreds - that are newly planted and young enough to have fronds still low enough to prune. 
     So the job to prune and then clean up is really time consuming but it's worthwhile for the aesthetics alone if nothing else. Pruning gets rid of the broken or yellowing older fronds and of the fronds that block the view of the sea. 
     And often I sacrifice even healthy fronds. This is especially true in the case of palm fronds that overhang the walkways, our pathways that are now really well defined by virtue of being lined with palm trees...or in the case of palm frond that might smack you in the face no matter where you walk. 
     I don't care if it's healthy and green: gone!
     But the most important reason I've found for pruning the trees is that the pruning at False Bluff has proven to make the trees grow faster - noticeably faster. 
     Since coconut trees are the ultimate single leader tree, when they're pruned there's only one way for the tree to grow and that's up. Kind of hard to miss the effects of pruning after a few years.

15 July 2016


     We've had significant damage done to two clumps of sea grapes close to the house...I'm not sure yet just what these things turn into after they've eaten their fill.

     The sea grapes have made a remarkable recovery considering the amount of damage they've incurred

     ...and they've even begun producing some fruit, tho not nearly what they've produced in the past.

     Next year we're going to use dishwashing liquid.

11 July 2016


     A couple of years ago I "met" Herman Downs via facebook.  He commented on a False Bluff facebook post and we've shot messages about Nicaragua and its Caribbean coast back and forth since then...Herman carrying most of the weight.
     Born in Bluefields, he and his family moved to Florida in the 1970's; and his knowledge of Nicaragua in general and Bluefields in particular is encyclopedic. 
     I described him once in a post somewhere as having the equivalent of a library in his head, a description that was only partly a joke.  He's a gifted researcher and very generous with what he digs up.  I have benefitted - and I thank him.
     Earlier this year Herman returned to Bluefields for the first time in more than thirty years and we met. Three of us - Herman, Herman's close friend Jimmy Lau Downs (they refer to each other as cousins but aren't), and I - hung out briefly in Bluefields and then we all made a trip to False Bluff.
     HD and I sat upstairs talking and listening to the Caribbean... 
     while Jimmy went looking for fresh coconuts which aren't difficult to find at my place.

06 July 2016


     In Bluefields, my very dear grandson and my very dear is good.

29 June 2016

You go, girl!

     The best Bluefields....

25 June 2016

How we'll dig the grass...

     As mentioned in several earlier posts we continue to plant the bright green spreading zoysia grass at the base of each coconut tree at False Bluff.
     However, in order to plant the grass we have to dig it up first.  The stuff forms a tight mat, kind of like steel wool, so it doesn't come up with just a tug - it has to be cut with a blade and pried out of the ground.  Until now a spade has been involved which makes the job even more intense because the blade's pointy.  
     And since we often dig twenty or so plugs at a time, we don't dig large plugs.  Small plugs don't deplete existing mats of the grass so quickly. And because there's not just the grass but about an inch of soil that comes up with each plug, moving a load of smaller plugs over a distance of some acres from tree to tree as they're planted is easier.  
     Not that doing any of this is easy...just easier.  
     Each plug we've dug and planted in the past has been about 4" square - a lot of digging time. When possible we use the spade to cut a strip 4" wide and about 3' long. Then we slice this 3' long strip (stripe?) into 4" cutting up a skinny sheet cake.
     These small plugs - each one planted at the base of a coconut tree - are how all of this grass at False Bluff got started....'cause there sure wasn't any there to begin with. 

     But work is underway to open a plant nursery at False Bluff (more about this later) and so being able to quickly dig plugs of a consistent size is going to be important: the grass won't be put into containers ahead of time but rather dug at the time of order.
     This tool is what we've come up with.  Made to order in Bluefields, it's the big sister to a bulb planter, even with the taper.  This will give us the consistently-sized plug; and when the metal handle's added (what's shown below is a wooden broom handle that wouldn't survive long) we'll be able to stomp the tool down into the grass and lever a plug right out of the ground.  
     This is gonna be a one-stomp process rather than the four-stomp-or-more process that's been required by the spade.

21 June 2016

Richmond's First Presbyterian Church, Bluefields, and the Caribbean Dream Hotel

     A few years ago I was in the Caribbean Dream Hotel arranging with Juanita (see the previous post) for reservations for some family arriving in Bluefields. The office doors and windows were open and I heard the word "Richmond" as part of a conversation going on among a group of people rocking on the front porch.
      Reservations made, I stepped onto the porch and asked...Richmond? Virginia?  And it was indeed Richmond, Virginia that was part of the discussion.  
     It turns out that Richmond's First Presbyterian Church (FPC) has been actively involved in Bluefields since long before I ever heard of the place. Go figure!
   Groups of congregation members visit once or twice nearly every year - and this was part of one such group.  And, of course, Caribbean Dream is where they stay (unless they're at Ms. Freda's house...but that's another story).
     FPC has two ongoing projects in or near Bluefields. One project is their long standing Clean Water Ministry. (I'm one of their customers in Bluefields.)  From the FPC web site: "The Clean Water Ministry team international mission effort of FPC with congregational and pastoral awareness and support with a commitment to...continue developing a network of clean water systems and related education in the community of Bluefields, Nicaragua and other east coast communities."  At the link here you can find a slide show of a water filtration system FPC helped build in Kukra Hill, a small town not too far north of Bluefields:
     The 'hill' of Kukra Hill is very visible from Smokey Lane Lagoon just short of the entrance to our False Bluff Canal. The photo below was taken as we made our way into the canal.

The other FPC project is the sponsoring of students at the Moravian School, a school on Bluefields' main street which will be celebrating ninety-five years of educational excellence this year. Information on sponsoring students can be found here:

18 June 2016

Home away from home

     For years, even before I bought and built at False Buff, the Caribbean Dream Hotel has been the place to stay.  Located right on Bluefields' main drag, it's clean, neat, and close to much of what the town has to offer: parks, municipal offices, hardware stores, markets, the museum, restaurants...

     The hotel is a comfortable and convenient place to stay and often friends and family stay there before or after trips to False Bluff. The newest generation in my family's shown here (again) enjoying a picnic on the hotel's upstairs porch...

     ...and then spending some time in one of the hotel's rocking chairs that are on both the up and downstairs porches.

      The best that Bluefields has to offer is its people and some of them are at the Caribbean Dream.  Over the years we've come to know staff members at the hotel and they are, without exception, kind and accomodating.  We've known Juanita for a decade. One day I stopped to chat with her when she wasn't at the hotel - we were both shopping; and I had the opportunity to meet two more generations of her family, one of whom is just about the same age as the newest member of my own family.

    These two generations later came to visit Juanita at the hotel, the babies barely acknowledging each other.