Let me start by saying, I know things could be much worse…

Usually I love a good electrical storm. I don’t even mind being woken up in the night when things start raging outside. In fact, that happens often. If you live near the sea, you know that no thunder is as loud as the thunder reverberating off of the water. The lightning strikes can be blinding when they flash into your dark bedroom through the slats of the vertical blinds.

The most frustrating thing about watching these island storms is that I can never quite capture them on camera – at least not on my phone. I’d love to be able to show off the magnitude of just how bright the lightning flashes are. Perhaps one day I’ll figure it out, with practice.

This week, we had such a storm. We both woke up at 4 AM and both of us felt compelled to go watch from our balcony window. The rain was falling in sheets, and we could hear the wind whistling. The waves were crashing onshore. It was, for a simple electrical storm, epic.

We went back to bed, but with the continued flashes of lightning and the noisy wind, I couldn’t get back to sleep. It didn’t help that we had just heard about the daughter of our good friends being hit by lightning back in Canada on a hiking trip. She was okay, but suffered second degree burns.

I’m sure I slept a little, but I was up again at 6 with the dawn. By then, the storm was over.

When I went out to have my coffee and my usual quiet time on the deck, I realized just how wild the storm had been. There were large palm fronds broken off the trees, littering the pool deck and even in the pool. From our balcony, the pool appeared to be full of debris.

I debated whether or not to swim, but decided to at least go clean up the pool area. Fallen palm fronds fill with water and create breeding areas for mosquitoes, so we’re always quick to remove them from the immediate area. Our cleaners wouldn’t be coming until Friday, and this was Monday.

I went down to the pool in my bathing suit, but immediately knew I wouldn’t be swimming just yet. The pool deck on one side of the pool was completely covered in some sort of berry that falls from the trees here. The pool was full of the same berries and other debris. There was a foul odor in the air, but I figured that could have been from the next door building site’s Port-A-Potty. Not only had palm fronds fallen, but their leaves had broken off and blown into the pool.



It was difficult to walk to my usual recliner to put my towel down without stepping all over the berries. I managed to navigate my way over and set my things down before getting the net to clean the pool. The first thing I did was drag the palm fronds out of the pool and out of the immediate area, turning them over so the water wouldn’t collect in them. I scooped a net full of berries, leaves, and other garbage out of the pool, including an unfortunate dead baby gecko.

I realized that I would have to clean the berries off the pool deck or it was going to get messier. I went to the storage closet on the outside of our building to look for a broom. It occurred to me later that I should have opened the door more cautiously, as someone could have been sheltering in there from the stormy night. You just never know! The first-floor neighbours have had uninvited guests using their patios in the night, and it had been a bad night to sleep outside.

However, there were no humans or other living creatures in evidence. I found a ratty looking broom and some mops near the door, but further inside there was a wide rubber push tool like a scraper. I took that and tried to push the berries along to the side, but it only seemed to make a worse mess, smearing them so they looked like black dirt or feces on the concrete. I returned the tool to the closet and found more brooms and an upright dust pan. That did the trick! It was a slow process, but I managed to sweep up berries from the edge of the pool and the immediate area between the recliners and the pool entry steps. I’d never used an upright dust pan, and I admit that the cleaners who come every Friday make it look much easier to use than it was for me.

You may wonder why I wouldn’t simply spray the area off with the outdoor hose. I thought of that, but our spray nozzle has vanished in the past few months and without it, the hose doesn’t provide much pressure. Chalk that up as island problems and the problems living on a property without any fences.

After about a half hour of that, I spent another fifteen minutes trying to clean out the pool. By the time I finished, it was usable and I intended to take a swim before something else found its way in there.

As I was swimming, I thought to myself, this water is a little bit cloudy, but I know the pool was cleaned and treated on Friday. Surely the chemicals would kill anything nasty. Wouldn’t they? I swam for 20 minutes, to justify all my work.

Then, I needed a shower.

I know this is hurricane season and that little storm last night could have been much more devastating, although this one was bad enough to take some trees down not far from here.

I also know things could be much worse. I could have been hit by lightning.

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:

Calgary, Canada

Gail is a retired dietitian, sometime writer, and mom of two wonderful grown-ups. She and her husband of 27 years moved to Grand Cayman in late December of 2014. After years of visiting their condo and quietly moving their household belongings in suitcases, they put their plan to permanently escape cold weather into motion, leaving their children homeless.

Gail spends her time pinching herself and acting as amateur part time travel agent. She would love to spend more time on what her friends call “Gail’s Island,” but few members of the family visit, so she and her husband have to go see them in Canada. So much for avoiding the cold weather! When people do visit, Gail is in her element, visiting stingrays, diving, snorkeling, and playing tourist along with her guests.

Her days revolve around studying languages, swimming, yoga, and food. She and her husband love music and travel, and they love to eat, cook, sample wine, and watch tennis and soccer (or football, as they say on the island). Sometimes they are able to combine all of these in one trip, but they are always thrilled to come home to their little patch of paradise, clean the iguana poo off the deck, and enjoy island life.

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