27 December 2022

Bay House Post Hurricane

 Work continues on the new house in town.  A lot of cleaning had already been completed and the plan was to leave as much existing vegetation as possible while making the upgrades.  Then the hurricane hit.  A lot of damage was done including blowing the top out of the largest tree and having it land on the house.  A lot of cutting has been done to all the damaged trees.

The below picture is the front of the house with the top of the tree from the back yard on it.

Lots more cutting.

Lots more cleaning.

Last damaged tree being removed.  Majority clean now.

20 December 2022

Happy Holidays, New Friends, and New Neighborhoods!

 If you are reading this we hope you have Happy Holidays!

We hope you get to spend time with friends, family, and new neighbors.

01 December 2022


Until earlier this year, Covid had interrupted all work - to a certain extent even routine maintenance - on our project at False Bluff.  We planted and pruned and cleaned.  But even building repairs were deferred and for sure, completion of the rental cabins just came to a screeching halt.

Then, during an earlier trip this year I got things started up.  A lot of repairs to existing buildings and a giant step for mankind toward the completion of our first two rental cabins.

And then Ian came to visit and we took an almost direct hit.  Damage was much worse a bit north of us but we lost the roof on our largest building and there was some other building-related damage...just after new work had been done.

But the biggest damage was to our canal, access we provided for many many people when we dug the canal more than a decade ago.  Hundreds and hundreds of trees down, blocking the canal and all the people who depend on it to get where they're going.  

Cleaning and clearing took precedence and my incredible staff had that canal open again in less than 10 days.  There were no chainsaws to be had anywhere in the area...not to rent, not to borrow.  So we now own just about the larget chainsaw Stihl makes.  

The solution to the canal problem went like this:  get the saw from Managua and have a party.  We called for volunteers among the people who use the canal...come help clean this up and we'll feed you.  And thus it happened.  Sure, there's more to the story and there was a lot of heavy work but there was also a celebratory feeling to the event.

We cut and moved huge quantities of large trees and hired a man who is an artist with his own chainsaw.  He cuts trees like I would cut a block of cheese.  Need some 2 x 4s?  Here you go.  How about some 2 x 12s.  No problem.  We have enough green lumber - treated and stacked to dry - to build several more cabins.  And since people work with green lumber in this part of the world, some of the fallen trees even became the new framework for the roof that had to be replaced.

But I don't have a single decent photo to share of any of this.

17 November 2022


La Costena is Nicaragua's only domestic airline.  Based in Managua, La Costena carries passengers to mostly Nicaraguan locations:  Big Corn Island, San Carlos, Bluefields, Bonanza, Ometepe, Puerto Cabezas, Siuna, San Juan de Nicaragua, Waspan, and the non-Nicaraguan city of Tegucigalpa which is the capital of Honduras.  I have read that at one time Avianca owned a part of La Costena from 2010 but sold their portion of the smaller airline in 2019.   

La Costena has proven to be a very "user friendly" organization with good person to person communication.  Until recently it's been suffering because of past covid shut downs...but covid regulations spread suffering everywhere.  Before covid's unnecessarily onerous burdens on the tourism business, La Costena offered two flights a day between Managua and Bluefields. 

Their early afternoon departure from Managua was timed so that people arriving there on their way to the Carribbean could get to both Bluefields and/or Big Island.  As it is now, most people spend their arrival night in Managua and catch the early/only flight to Bluefields and/or Big Island. Bit by bit La Costena is adding the second flight back to their list...so far only on Sundays and a few Saturdays. Hopefully a busy tourist season will see these flight additions happen for all the other days of the week.

When I last checked in for my La Costena flight to Bluefields I asked the woman at the counter how business was. Her reply was "Better, thank god." This photo shows how the waiting room in Managua looked when I sat down to await my flight. By the time the flight was called the room was full, as it should be...full of mostly European tourists headed for Big Island (and perhaps from there on to their boat ride to Little Island, a place to small for any airplane).

10 November 2022

Drupes...who knew - and who cares

    Cashew nuts aren't really nuts...they're drupes.  

    It turns out there is all sorts of confusing classification and nomenclature regarding what I've long thought of simply as nuts.  Cashews aren't nuts.  Peanuts aren't nuts.  Almonds aren't nuts.  Acorns are classified as nuts but not many people eat acorns the same way people eat cashews or peanuts or almonds.

    By definition a drupe is a fruit that's fleshy on the outside but with a shell covering the outside of the seed of the fruit - the cashew in this case.  

    A very different thing about a cashew is that although the seed is, indeed, covered with shell...in the case of the cashew, a really hard shell...the seed isn't on the inside of the fruit.  Instead the cashew seed hangs from the bottom of the fruit, one per.  My guess is that over the eons the cashew seed shell got really hard since it's not on the inside of the fruit that produces it.  Protection, you know.

    Peaches are drupes and the peach seed is very much an "innie."  People eat the outside of the peach, the fleshy part of the drupe; but I doubt there are a lot people who eat the seed that's inside.  With a cashew, the seed is an "outie" and hangs from the bottom of the fleshy part of the drupe.  And the fleshy part of the cashew is commonly called a "cashew apple."   

    The common naming of the cashew fruit as an apple just adds more confusion to classification and names since the cashew is not at all kin to an apple.  They're not even in the same family.  The cashew tree family is Anacardiaceae while the apple tree family is in the Rosaceale.  (This is really important stuff here.)

    At False Bluff we have trees that produce both red and yellow cashew apples which make for really good eating.  However, like the fruit of the pawpaw tree, a US native, a cashew apple is very fragile...too fragile to make it to a grocery store shelf in any appetizing way.  

    So we just pick and eat the cashew apple right off the tree.  And like the fragile pawpaw, the apples of the cashew tree make wonderful jams and jellies.

    We simply don't bother with the cashew seeds though....those things that are labeled "nuts" and are so very expensive in grocery stores.  There are several reasons for the cost of the things - but that's another story.

04 November 2022


Most everywhere there is still a push to vaccinate people against covid. Even in Bluefields, anybody who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine.

Vaccinators wander through town - and most likely the surrounding rural areas - offering on-the-spot vaccinating and are willing to discuss the benefits and reasons for being vaccinated with anyone who might still have never heard of covid.

There was a small representative crew from the local health department offering vaccines and information during a Bluefields street festival I attended. There were lots of people out and about. These three were not at all aggressive in their efforts but they stood out because they were nearly the only people out that day who were wearing masks.

On August 10, 2022, the all-time covid stats for Nicaragua were:

  • 14,872 cases and
  • 244 deaths
The US State Department page includes the following CDC statement regarding Nicaraguan covid information: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Nicaragua has an unknown level of COVID-19."

Note:  The CDC statement on the State Department page does not identify as sarcasm

29 October 2022


The first thing I noticed when I got to the Avianca location in Miami International Airport for my first flight with that airline was the curve in the ceiling and the roof.  The curves in both were familiar and comforting, like being at home because that's a pretty typical roof line in Bluefields, Nicaragua.

Avianca, MIA

BICU, Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University 

Hotel Escuela BICU 

When I began to look at available information about this roof style I learned the following:

  • there is a reduced emission of harmful CO2 gases; 
  • the roof construction is relatively easy to build;
  • the roofs are quite wind resistant;
  • there is always an increase of air flow through the building (I can verify this is pretty nice in areas where air conditioning is not the norm);
  • and - long thought to be true, but now in question - the roof shape transfers more heat away from the building than peak-roofed buildings

22 October 2022


     We have lots of papaya trees at False Bluff.  They grow fast from seed and bear fruit early....two nice characteristics.

     The fruit is either big or not big, depending on the variety of the tree; and we have both varieties.

     This is a just-peeled papaya from one of the trees that produces big fruit - and it's a pretty typical size for the variety.

     I'm sure there is a taste difference between the varieties but I can't tell.  However, I prefer the big fruit because there's so much more to eat - and that means everybody gets a huge bowl full like this.

16 October 2022

AVIANCA - some airlines never stopped flying to Nicaragua

American Airlines recently announced they will begin flying to Managua again - after more than two years.  The airline made it official enough so that it showed up on the US state department page.

So I booked a flight using a ticket I had purchased more than two years ago.  However, I'm keeping my fingers crossed since that ticket was repeatedly put on hold as the "we're going to fly to Managua" statements turned out to not be true.

Prior to American's announcement, flight craziness for travel between the USA and Nicaragua nudged us into trying Avianca for the first time in our years of traveling there. The differences were like anything different...they took a bit of getting used to.  But overall we have been both surprised and pleased.

Part of the surprise was that Avianca served a meal...not just two cookies or a half ounce of tiny pretzels...but food. Not hot on a plate with utensils and a napkin...but food.

Another of the 'differences' was where in the grand scheme of the Miami airport (MIA) Avianca is actually located. We're accustomed to more than a decade of the "D" gates. Avianca gates are "F" and are about as far from D as you can get.

Although the drawing of MIA, below, shows D and F are pretty close together, getting to F from D is not as simple as it looks. Good exercise though. So, in the future, we will probably take the cheapest flight to Miami and then Avianca from Miami to Managua. The walk will do us good and we'll save a bit on trip insurance since we just won't bother with insurance on the flight to or from Miami.

10 October 2022

Coconut tree root

Tropical Storm Julia, aka category 1 Hurricane, hit the southern portion of Nicaragua's Caribbean coast a couple of days ago.  Landfall seems to have been Kukra Hill.

There was extensive damage there and in Pearl Lagoon (north of Kukra Hill) and in Bluefields and El Bluff (south of Kukra Hill.  

And there was damage at False Bluff.

The end of the 2022 hurricane season has inflicted a lot of damage in a lot of places and we feel both lucky and relieved that though there was damage at False Bluff it was relatively minor.

One side note is the incredible root system of the coconut palm tree that makes it such a survivor.  Coconut palms are, indeed, lost.  In fact we lost this one....but coconut trees put up a hell of a fight.

03 October 2022

Shopping for produce in Bluefields...

There are small produce markets all over town which is really convenient for the many shoppers who walk.  Taxi rates just increased and relatively few people own cars.  Even if you own a car, traffic can be a mess.  But when your fruit and vegetables can be bought just around the corner, shopping is easy.  Buying meat is almost as simple, but that's another story.

Most of the people who run the small produce markets throughout town shop early in the morning at the city's main market which has its own wharf.  Farmers from out of town show up very early with boats full of produce.  Anyone can buy here...small market owners, people who run restaurants, individuals.  I have bought fresh fruit here but I fall into the 'put it in a bag' group.  Some people load trucks.

28 September 2022

How things have changed...

During my first overnight visit to False Bluff we hung Hennessy hammocks in a clump of coconut trees right near the edge of the Caribbean.   The undergrowth was such that there was no way to move inland.  

Well, of course there was a way but we would have had to hang our hammocks about ten feet above the ground to be above the brush and we would have had to clear a space to build a fire for meals and....you get the idea.  

As it was, the area close to the sea was free of underbrush and the hearty breeze coming off the Caribbean kept most of the bugs away...and made a fire for meals nearly impossible.

During our second day we had visitors.  At this time in our project about the only way to get to our place was to take a boat from Bluefields across the bay, out into the Caribbean, and then head north about eight miles ...and then hope we didn't capsize on the way to the beach.  Capsizing is a favorite game along much of this stretch of coast.   

Or you could take a taxi-boat from Bluefields across the bay to the port of El Bluff...and then walk through El Bluff and then north about eight miles up the beach.  

Or, you could hire a boat ride from Bluefields across the bay to the area that later became our canal...and then slog a couple of miles through a mangrove swamp.  

False Bluff is on a narrow section of land and so traveling through the swamp had long been the chosen method for many owners of property along this stretch of beach because it was usually cheaper and always more direct.  For generations the hardy people who have subsistance farms north of us traveled to their homesteads through the swamp, carrying supplies...groceries, trees to plant, new chickens for their flocks.  There haven't been any homesteads south of us during our time, though there have been some in the past.

And one of our visitors on that first overnight camping trip was Mr. Allen who appeared out of the swamp carrying, among other things, a 4' tall breadtree seedling to plant at his place.   We all introduced outselves and talked briefly.  He didn't stay long.  Not only had he just walked 2 miles through a swamp loaded with stuff (like a small tree) but he had at least an hour more to walk up the beach to his place.  

One of the best long-timers out there is Mr. Allen.  He was on - and stayed on - his farm during Hurricane Joan in the early 1980s.   Joan hit Nicaragua's coast at about 145 mph.  It was a bad hurricane and did a huge amount of damage to Nicaragua on its way to the Pacific where it became Tropical Storm Miriam.  It is unusual for a storm to survive moving from the Atlantic/Caribbean to the Pacific.  

Bad hurricanes are rare in Nicaragua which is one of the reasons we chose the place.  This is a photo of damage Joan did to the central park in Bluefields...there is no photo of Mr. Allen's homestead on the coast.

Forward to different times.  Much of the underbrush is gone, a cushion-like zoysia grass in its place, hundreds more coconut palms, and some buildings.  We no longer have to introduce ourselves.  Mr. Allen is a friendly visitor anytime he wants to stop by, sharing news and a meal or a snack.

23 September 2022

Acres and acres and acres of rice

Some countries are limiting their exports of rice, an action that will have a negative impact on other countries that rely on such exports to stock their grocery store shelves.  Almost as though Nicaragua knew what was coming in the way of rising prices and potential food shortages, the country has worked to massively increase its production of rice.  Feeding its own people continues to be a huge commitment; and if the crops are really good there may be some to export, thus bringing in much needed money.

Huge amounts of land are now devoted to growing rice and that land usually produces more than one crop each year.  Found along the rice-growing acreage are hundreds of relatively new processing plants similar to this one.

Wending its way through the vast expanses of rice fields is a new road built to facilitate planting, maintenance, and harvesting; and then the processing and movement of the crops after harvest - whether the crop is destined for internal use or for export. 

I recently traveled the approximately 25 mile length of the new road.  It's a wide smooth easy ride putting travelers almost into Managua (depending on which way you're traveling) with some beautiful views along the way.

From planting to harvesting is roughy 120 days and that gives a couple of harvests each year.  In Nicaragua most of the work is done by hand, including building or rebuilding the dikes that surround each rice field to keep the water in during most of the growing.  

19 September 2022

As time goes on...

At the beginning of our adventure on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast we walked on the beach.  We had just begun clearing the dense undergrowth; and so, except for a few cleared pathways, the thick brush meant that we walked to - and then on - the beach....because there was no way to walk on the land short of wearing heavy clothing and boots for protection, with a machete in hand to clear the way.

And so we walked - up and down the beach, gladly.    With brief forays into the water.  

At the start of the False Bluff project we were building friendships as well as piers and housing.  After all the years since 2008 - when this picture was taken - to now the friendships have become family-like ties.  And we've got a better camera than we had in 2008!

14 September 2022


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shuffles taxpayer money all over the world...usually with no input from United States taxpayers as to where it goes, or why.  

If you are a United States citizen, be aware that some of the money you earn goes someplace a politician decides needs the money more than you do.

Frequently even after the USAID money part is gone, the 'aid' part lives on, maybe providing benefits other than International Development.  

Or maybe not.  These sidewalk entrepeneurs in Bluefields show us how this 'aid' lives on...in what can perhaps be viewed as small examples of International Development: shoe repair on one side and chinese video copies on the other.

10 September 2022


  Julio Castillo Miranda

Gone Way Too Soon

Julio managed and oversaw the digging of our canal and is shown here with a clump of the mangrove roots which had to be removed before our pontoon boat could navigate the canal.  Over and over again he showed innate management and organizational skills. There are stories about, and pictures of, Julio throughout this blog.

06 September 2022

More about hospitals

A primary concern about hospital care expressed by many who aren't familiar with Nicaragua's Caribbean coast, either the north or south autonomous region, isn't about the number of hospitals there but about the fact that most of the people who live on the Caribbean coast live in very rural areas where there are few roads and travel to a hospital can be 'difficult' and 'very difficult.'  The rural areas in the autonomous regions are usually described as "remote" or "the bush."  

This population density map of Nicaragua shows just that:  population density.  But the map gives no clue as to how and where the population actually lives.  Neither of the autonomous regions is well developed and what you see from an airplane traveling to Bluefields is mostly green even though there's nothing green in this map:

If by chance somebody is unfortunate enough to need more than the Bluefields hospital has to offer, the airport is right around the corner...actually almost everything in Bluefields is right around a corner...and Managua is a 45-minute flight away.

Although I've been at the Bluefields airport when a patient, attended by medical personnel, is carefully loaded into a plane for a dedicated flight, I've never gone into one of Managua's hospitals.  But now that the son of my staff family is in his third year of medical school at one of Managua's teaching hospitals - I might at least get to take a tour.

In Managua there are hospitals that rival anything we've got in the United States.  Prior to shut downs (that covid stuff) all over the world, Nicaragua had positioned itself to take advantage of "medical tourism."  There are a lot of benefits to medical tourism for both a prospective patient and for the country offering the health care.  Worth noting is that from the United States alone it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people travel to another country every year for medical treatment.

There is more than one hospital in Managua that offers excellent healthcare.  The best known among hospitals there are the Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital, Hospital Bautista, and the Military Hospital.  (The Pellas family immigrated to Nicaragua from Italy more than 100 years ago.)  

The Military Hospital, which also won an award for its architectural design, is a public hospital "which accommodates everybody."  This is the hospital I really hope to tour:


Note:  As UVA (University of Virginia, USA) has worked with one of Bluefields' two universities, UNC (University of North Carolina, USA) works with the medical school in Leon, Nicaragua.  

03 September 2022

False and not false. At False Bluff and elsewhere. Yeah, I know

One morning, walking the beach, we came across this beautiful example of a false crawl before the incoming tide washed it away.  And if this is new information to you, a "crawl" used in reference to a sea turtle, is just another way of saying "track" or "trail."

I'm guessing the turtle was a Green sea turtle looking for a place to lay eggs - because that's the variety that we've seen most at our place and laying eggs is why turtles come ashore.  

A Green won't lay until she is sexually mature which is at about 20 years; and at that age she may be 4' long and up to 700 pounds...so she's going to leave marks on the beach.  You can figure all these personal details just from the fact that she left marks on the beach.

And the beach where she leaves her crawl marks - and hopefully where she lays her eggs - is the same beach she was born on.  Might not be the exact spot where she was hatched, but pretty close.

A female turtle will often 'scout' a place before laying eggs.  It's actually been estimated that about half the times a turtle comes ashore she doesn't lay eggs.  Sometimes she's interrupted in her mission to do that... and sometimes the place she's checking out doesn't meet her standards.  

We're pretty sure that the female that left these tracks wasn't interrupted because....we're the only people out there and our constant presence keeps most people and four-footed predators away, especially at night, which is when turtles lay their eggs....and we're all really careful not to interrupt.  

There's at least one important personal detail you can't figure out from looking at the crawl and that's - what is there about the place she visited that didn't meet her standards?  If we could figure that out we could fix it.  

False crawl - at False Bluff

Not a false crawl - somewhere else

30 August 2022

Bluefields hospital (and the University of Virginia)

Only three of Nicaragua's 32 public hospitals are located in what is known as the Caribbean coast.  The 'Caribbean coast' portion of the country is divided into two autonomous regions that, combined, make up fifty-five percent of the country's total territory.

Hospital Ernesto Sequeira is in Bluefields.  Small and not showy by many standards, it's got everything hospitals are supposed to have.  I have friends who've been successfully and professionally treated there for things ranging from minor injuries to life threatening illnesses.  And as a hospital should, it has an emergency room that's open 24-hours a day. 

The UVA information is a curious sidenote to those of us who have spent most of our lives in Virginia, although we weren't aware of the collaboration between Bluefields and a Virginia university until long after we selected the area for a place to live part time.

Interestingly, one of Bluefields' two universities - BICU - is the first site of the University of Virginia School of Nursing's reimagined global initiatives program which includes conducting "research with the UVA faculty and Nicaraguan clinicians." 

The BICU site may or may not translate easily from Spanish to English but it's doable...and anything is better than wikipedia:  https://www.bicu.edu.ni/

28 August 2022

One man's trash is usually still just trash

At False Bluff we've cleaned trash off the beach for more than a decade and still more trash rolls in on every tide. It would be wonderful if the stuff rolled out with the same regularity. Keeping the beach clean is a never ending fight as earlier photos throughout this blog show.

What you see in the picture immediately below used to be typical of our section of beach. If you take a stroll up or down the beach you will see how easy it is to locate just where False Bluff begins and ends...you can't get lost. The beach to the north of us and the beach to the south of us still looks like this.

Now Bluefields has a mayor who is waging the same sort of fight against trash that we've been waging. But his is an urban environment with a lot more people to help clean up. He's going to have a fight nonetheless.

But a recent tropical storm, Bonnie, was a great educator. After people had to leave home to spend time in community shelters because of heavy rains and flooding, and after a couple of houses in town collapsed, the mayor explained that when the city's sewers get clogged water backs up and floods happen.

It became very clear, very fast, to almost everybody in Bluefields that a lot of the inconvenience - and more importantly a lot of the damage - from Bonnie's heavy rains was caused by the fact that the sewers were full of trash.

Since the water couldn't go where it was supposed to go, it went where it wasn't supposed to go.

Here, people from Monkey Point (almost to Costa Rica) arrive at the main wharf in Bluefields to shelter in place:

"Sewers should not be used as landfill" states city hall in a news story that went on to claim that "Unfortunately, the sewers remain full of rubbish that people throw away, hindering the passage of water, which facilitates flooding..."   

26 August 2022

COVID testing...but only in Managua

Although this requirement seems to have been suspended to re-enter the United States  - hopefully forever - I was required to have a negative test in order to board my flight home at the end of my latest trip.  

Managua is the only place in the country where covid testing is done.  But the negative effects of the testing requirement have been catastrophic to Nicaragua's tourism and that would probably have been true regardless of where your testing was done.  Imagine your test results were positive - what do you do about your flight, a hotel, a doctor, a hospital stay, re-booking, re-testing.  The cost of the tests alone were/are high, particularly for a PCR which may still be required for re-entry by some countries. 

To have testing only available in Managua might have been somewhat understandable when a PCR was required; but by the time I cycled through, only a rapid test was on the menu and those are quick and easy.  The person 'conducting' the tests, and those being tested, were in contact by phone with 'applicable government authorities.'

There is at least one big formal place in Managua where testing is done and the stories of high prices and delays and confusion there have become the stuff of legend among people who only wanted to go home.  

However, a friend in Managua dug up information for me about a much less expensive and much more relaxed testing site...fully approved by those 'applicable authorities.'  And so off we went to a small shop which was, as is often the case throughout Nicaragua, in the front part of a private home.

These sorts of commercial enterprises can be found all over the country...sometimes even restaurants. The sales or restaurant seating areas occupy the front room(s) of the home. Saves on rent, saves on commuting time. There was limited seating in this one and another couple came in right behind me and my friend. While we waited, all of us, including the woman conducting the test and her helper/daughter, chatted as best we could. A highlight of the visit were the bunny ears on the phone by which we communicated with the 'applicable authorities.'

At the end of the test I gave the woman in pink shoes just $80USD. She handed me a plain folder which held two pieces of paper and on one of the pieces of paper was the word NEGATIVE.

I worried until I got to the airport the next morning, thinking that this was all too simple, that this couldn't be enough...until I found myself in line directly behind the couple who had come in to the testing place right after us - and watched them get cleared for the flight with no problem at all.

We smiled at each other

23 August 2022

Covid and Nicaragua's response

"'Rumors' as a source of information"  

That quote sure sums up a lot of what we've endured during the 'covid thing.'

Nearly everybody I know at False Bluff and in Bluefields contracted Covid, whether they were vaccinated or not.  All but two of these people have come out just fine on the 'good health' side.  Of the two who died, one was over 70 and had serious health issues; the other was in her 90s.

I read much of the media criticism from around the world about Nicaragua's response to covid; but I missed the positive stories - and it turns out that when I dug a bit, there are several.   A 2021 story explained that at the start of 'the pandemic' Nicaragua took action similar to that of Sweden and, to a certain extent, similar to that of Florida in the United States.  Another story, published about a week ago, includes an interview with Nicaragua's top covid advisor. 

Nicaragua's response to covid was bashed by NIH as "Nicaraguan Government's failure to confront the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)" when NIH pushed back on the story in "Fair" (see links below).   

However, both WHO and the University of Oxford indicated that Nicaragua's "failure to confront" covid couldn't have been all bad.   "In a recent study conducted by the University of Oxford and the World Health Organization, socialist Nicaragua was placed number nine on a list of the ten safest countries (in Latin America) to visit during the COVID-19 pandemic."  

According to the UN there are 33 Latin American countries...and those at all familiar with Nicaragua know that the majority of those 33 countries has much more money than Nicaragua.

Nicaragua made major preparations for patients very early, while a lot of other countries were still trying to decide if there really was a pandemic.  

The country's 'official' covid count was considered dishonest by most media and the figure quoted by some sources was more than doubled.  However, it seemed that "The higher figure is based on “suspected” (not tested) cases, and according to the observatory website includes “rumors” as one source of information. But even the higher figure is dramatically lower than those for adjoining countries..."

Note:  Links to the two stories mentioned 



22 August 2022

The natural beauties of Nicaragua

In March of this year MARENA introduced a map of Nicaragua's natural beauties.  

Actually it introduced two maps:  one is static and one is interactive.  

Nicaragua has a very large number of conservation zones and these are included in the interactive map.


18 August 2022

Working to protect sea turtles


Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources

A few years ago we decided to pursue having the beach that borders us designated a turtle sanctuary.  Several of the world's species of sea turtles nest on a Nicaraguan coast...some of them at False Bluff. 

Despite existing Nicaraguan laws passed to protect turtles and their eggs, the destruction continues in large part because of economics:  turtle meat and turtle eggs are food; turtle shells are jewelry.  

Over the years I have visited the MARENA office in Bluefields to talk about how to make a sanctuary designation happen...and then there was 'the pandemic' which put a temporary end to a lot of good things.

But finally, during a recent trip to Nicaragua, MARENA and I began to work out some details. The first thing was a site visit so that the 'officials' could actually see the place that we wanted protected. It was never a question of 'if' but of 'how.'

This first trip included both MARENA staff and a representative from city hall; a long walk; and a discussion of what comes first...which turned out to be taking an inventory of nest sites during the current nesting season.

My staff and I were give some good information, including drawings - right there in the sand - by the very knowledgeable city hall rep on how to recognize the difference between a turtle's exploratory visit from a visit that actually resulted in eggs being laid. The tracks coming and going across the beach are different for each of these activities.

The group from town was a bit surprised at our enthusiasm about wanting to protect the turtles that visited us...and definitely surprised that we had bothered to verify previous visits and hatchings with photographs and videos. The first visit generated enough interest on the part of the 'officials' to schedule another trip almost immediately, a trip that would include additional people and representative groups - like the army - and a possible expansion of the area to be protected.

The immediate result of our sanctuary designation will be education and a legal right to stop people from killing turtles at False Bluff and from stealing clutches of eggs.

The photo does not show a turtle leaving eggs or a turtle looking for a place to lay eggs. Instead, these are the tracks of a Green Sea turtle that we freed from a tangled mess of sea garbage that had wrapped her tight and totally immobilized her.

The photo shows the tracks of a turtle making a break for freedom.

Note: The rest of the story (and additional photos) were posted here in 2011

14 August 2022

Back To Work

For what seemed to be an eternal two years, the world was pretty much shut down because of a virus? because the 'experts' said so?


Most covid edicts everywhere in our hemisphere have been lifted and travel is ramping up. We are once again making visits to False Bluff...resuming repairs to the staff house and resuming completion of the two rental cabins. Both are things that we had begun before things went crazy.

And of course the first thing that needs to be done is to transport materials from Bluefields to our place on the edge of the Caribbean. The previous post noted that we have purchased a house in Bluefields. Having the house won't make the trip shorter...False Bluff will still be eight miles by water from Bluefields.

But a house near the center of town will make getting stuff from Bluefields to our work site at the edge of the Caribbean a whole lot easier. Because the current process for getting stuff moved is thus:

  • over a period of days, shop in town
  • load onto a rental truck ($) any purchases that are too big for a taxi
  • have the usually multiple purchases - from the usually multiple places - delivered to a staging area
  • hire another rental truck ($) to haul purchases to the boat which is never near the staging area
Every now and then one truck can do it all but there are usually a few days of shopping before heading to False Bluff while purchases pile up at the staging area. It's pretty easy to figure out which steps we can eliminate when the place in town is ready for use.

Here our materials are being loaded at the staging area to be carried to the boat to then travel eight miles to our canal that leads to one of the most beautiful places in the world.