Phasing my 23andme

Hello there!

As you guys have read about before here, here, and here. I took the 23andme test in June 2018 and got my results back on July 18, 2018. I was left very underwhelded, there was not much to learn from the results.

Take a look for yourself:

Over 100€ for that, I thought my brother’s Ancestry test was much more informative. It was fine though, a couple of months after there was an update and it broke down the African. It still wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t just West African anymore. My .3% African Hunter-Gatherer was gone while Nigerian, Senegambian & Guinean, Congolese, and Sudanese was separated from the broad West African category. Coastal West African while narrowed down from just West African is still a broad category not to mention the Broadly West African, Broadly Congolese & Southern East African, and Broadly Sub-Saharan African. Just a lot of Broadly.

My European stayed mostly the same. Scandinavian at .4% was added send it made sense since my brother had Norway and Sweden which I assumed came from my Father’s mother. My grandmother’s family has been in the Danish West Indies since the first slaves were brought there. There’s also a mulatto ancestor with the surname Boldt, I admit it’s not much evidence but a cousin who descended from that same line also has Norway and Sweden. Unfortunately Ancestry DNA doesn’t have a Chromosome browser so I can’t see where that Norway and Sweden is located and if my brother and this cousin match on that same chromosome. Since doing my research on my grandfather’s place of birth Saint-Barthélemy, I realized that Swedish could come from that side since the Swedish colonized the Island from 1784 to 1877.

I should note that my African went up and my European went down, not by much but I found it interesting nonetheless. My Native American stayed the same and I gained Western Asian and North African.

In May 2019 my results went through another update, they called this a Beta update, my African portion was broken down even more, I lost the Sudanese but gained Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, the Congolese & Southern East African got a break down showing Angolan & Congolese but there was still those pesky Broadly categories.

My European had a revamp, the Iberian category was renamed to Spanish & Portuguese, I lost the little bit of Italian I had. My Native American once again stayed the same. Strangely, I had Central & South Asian added at 0.1%, seeing how categories at that level seem to vanish I didn’t expect to see it at the next update.

Now we’re at my most recent update before I phased with my father. It was updated around September 2019 but if you remember I was pregnant and sick during that time so I didn’t see the update until April of this year. My African Hunter-Gatherer is back at the same percentage too. Southern East African was added at .1%. My Western Asian & North African went up. I had a location for France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine which lines up perfectly with my paper trail, and I had a Caribbean location Dominica, which is right on the money since both my Mother’s parents were from there.

For Father’s Day I decided I was going to buy my father a 23andme kit, it wasn’t a surprise since I had spoken to both parents about it and they were interested, my father got his kit in July and his results were ready earlier this month. I’m not going to lie but I didn’t expect anything in his composition other than European and African. What he received shocked me.

My father apparently has Native American ancestry. Never in my life has anyone ever mentioned him having Native American anywhere in any of his family lines and since both his parents have passed I have no one to ask about it and will probably never find out where it comes from. Even better?

My Native American comes from him. All my life I was told my Mother’s mother had Kalinago ancestry and when I saw Native American in my composition I assumed it came from my Grandmother, jokes on me though, it could have come from a Grandmother, just not the one I thought.

My Father has two region in France and six in the United Kingdom. Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie lines up perfectly with our paper trail but all the United Kingdom regions are a mystery.

Here’s my results after phasing with my father. My African Hunter-Gatherer is gone once again. Italian has reappeared. My West Asian & North African has gone down again, this time they are trace ancestry.

I guess my course of action now is to test my Mother and see what secrets her dna is hiding.

The last of them

Leen

That’s what my grandfather would call me. Said in his Dominican (Dominica) accented English.

I have so many wonderful memories of him and with him. I can still hear him calling my brother Andre Champagne or hear him playing the guitar with us children gathered round in that little house in Peter’s Rest.

I can see his photography hanging on the walls of my parent’s home. It was through him that I developed a love of photography, I always hoped that I could someday be as good as he was, I haven’t used my camera in a very long time and that makes this so much more worse to me.

I remember the Werther’s candy he always had for us kids. I loved them and will always think of my Grandpa when I see them. They don’t taste the same but I’ll buy a pack the next time I see one and just pretend for a moment that it’s the same one you used to share.

I remember that one year when you had so many Sonic the Hedgehog tops, my brothers and I would color on a piece of paper, cut it out to fit in top of the top and watch the pretty patterns it would make as it spun in a circle.

I remember the last time I saw you, 2015, my mother brought me and my son to see you before we left the Island for France. You held onto us and prayed for our safe journey.

I didn’t grow up knowing my great grandparents but I’ll be damned if my children don’t know about their great grandfather Norbert.

My grandfather was my last living grandparent, he fought that cancer for 18 long months, every message from home I dreaded those words, I knew it was coming but still…

My Truths

This is going to be a heavy piece, it will involve speech about molestation, if that’s one of your triggers I’d suggest skipping this post, with that said I’m going to talk about something that I’ve talked a little about before but never in my blog. I want to change that, I want to speak my truth so others can understand certain aspects of my life and how I’ve processed it.

So, here we go…

This is a memory that is clear as day in my head even though it happened over twenty years ago.

Imagine if you will, this thin, small child, five almost six years old, quiet, she doesn’t say a thing. Expressionless the whole day. This vulnerable innocent child was me.

It was a new school, new people, new everything, I was in first grade and still mute even though they said children are only shy at first. The class was about twenty students maybe more maybe less, the size didn’t important, the children aren’t either, except for two. A boy and a girl.

I had no interactions with these two, never sat near them, never played with them, but these two affected me in a way nothing else has ever done.

It was not a normal day, we were not in class, no, we were in the school’s cafeteria. There was an event going on but I can’t remember what it was about, doesn’t matter, I was sitting at a table far away from everyone except for the boy E and the girl K. I can’t remember the names of the other students but I remember these two, I don’t know how I feel about their names, a curious thing, I don’t hate it but I won’t speak it. Ever.

I don’t know why but K decided to notice me that day, maybe it’s because we were so far apart from everyone else but she was sitting right next to me.

It’s going to get a bit graphic and I apologise but she stuck her hand under my skirt and fondled me, she pulled her hand out and said “smell yourself”. I had never had the inappropriate touch talk, no, that came later, so, as you can no don’t tell I was confused and didn’t know what to do. The boy E never touched me but he did not tell her to stop either, instead what he did was laugh and I didn’t understand that either.

I never told anyone about what happened, not my best friend, not my parents, I think I wanted to forget it ever happened. I buried it so far that I just never thought about it. That is until I was in my early 20s. I was talking to someone about rape and molestation and it was like opening a door. I remembered everything all at once.

It explained why I had an aversion to being friends with girls, why I never felt comfortable around them, why I felt different to my peers.

I talked about being The Useless Sibling but now I knew why. I up to this day have trouble accepting hugs and being touched, I still feel a little uncomfortable around women and I honestly don’t feel attraction. I honestly thought I was asexual because I’ve had people I thought were attractive I’ve never envisioned anything other than being friends, I had one or two I’ve called boyfriend but in truth it was just in name. I have never wanted to be physical with any of them.

The day I met my husband was like being awoken, it’s corny as hell but I often wondered what it would feel like just to be held. We lived in different countries then so there was no way to find out. The day he asked to visit, I swear I almost fainted, I asked my parents and they were fine. Yes, I still lived at home so when my husband came to visit he met all my family at once.

That first day was full of nerves, this guy I’d spent two years chatting to was finally here, the first time in my life I felt like a woman and I wanted to explore.

Demisexual, you don’t feel attraction until you’ve formed a deep connection, I now had an answer for my lack of interest in guys other than being friends.

On the subject of friends, although I’m still a little uncomfortable, I now have a few women I call friend.

I won’t allow a girl who was most probably being molested herself to dictate who I can and can’t be friends with.

Oh, if you’re not following the Facebook page, I had mentioned that I would do a special post for Father’s day so be on the lookout for that.

What’s occupying my time?

I’ve been remiss in updating the blog, I’m sorry, I kept telling myself now is the perfect time but I just get distracted with other stuff.

I’ve been writing letters on the Slowly app, which I’ve talked about here.

So far it’s been really good letters with one or two exceptions, if you get a really icky letter you don’t have to reply and you can report the user which I had to do yesterday. This person sent me this letter:

This was the very first letter they sent and then they followed that up with a media sharing request.

If you’re looking for a partner look somewhere else thank you very much!

Have also been spending my time on reddit, especially on the Ask the Caribbean subreddit, I’m always looking to interact with fellow West Indians and I have not been disappointed in the subreddit.

AskTheCaribbean

Also while perusing Instagram I got a follow from an old classmate but received some pretty iffy messages, was this the work of a scammer or was I being an ass to someone? 🤔 Read and decide for yourself.

So, was I justified in playing around with this person?

Oh, I should also mention that Oyanie made 3 months on the 22nd, my baby is growing way too fast!

When I have a little free time I read a little, I’m currently reading A Mermaid’s Kiss by Joey W. Hill

The synopsis reads like this:

The angelic Jonah has been battling the Dark Ones for centuries. But his noble spirit has begun to tire with the weight of war – allowing a Dark One to strike a blow that severs his wings and knocks him into the sea.

Anna is a Daughter of Arianne – a direct descendant of the mermaid of legend. Anna’s longing for love compels her to risk her very life to protect and hide the fallen Jonah. And the longer Jonah delays his return to the heavens, the more Anna’s secret passions are tempted.

But as she falls more in love with him, Anna wonders if she’s destined to lose her heart and her dreams to save Jonah’s soul?

Apparently it’s part of a trilogy with a few other novellas, I don’t know how I feel about it since I’m not very far yet, I can say that the main characters annoy me…

I’ve also started watching a show on Netflix called You, it’s a thriller about a book store manager who one day meets an aspiring writer and becomes obsessed with her. Here’s the synopsis :

What would you do for love? For a brilliant male bookstore manager who crosses paths with an aspiring female writer, this question is put to the test. A charming yet awkward crush becomes something even more sinister when the writer becomes the manager’s obsession. Using social media and the internet, he uses every tool at his disposal to become close to her, even going so far as to remove any obstacle –including people — that stands in his way of getting to her.

From the POV of the book store manager I feel like they’re trying to get you to sympathize with him and accept that he had good reasons for doing what he’s done. If you haven’t watched it yet, give it a go and see how you like it because I’m hooked!

23andMe Beta update

So last night 23andMe released their beta update.

I spoke about it on this post 23andMe: Changing Ancestry Composition.

If this is your first time hearing about it, 23andMe is a DNA testing company, it’s one of the more well known ones, you have Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FTDNA, which does big y DNA testing.

Along with the introduction of Trace Ancestry category. My estimates have gone through quite the change.

I’ve always found my French & German percentage to be on the small side for having a father who is half French. This estimate is more understandable. I went from 3.3% to 9.7%. My British & Irish also went down, for the longest time it was higher than my F&G and it shouldn’t have been. It’s nice to see that they’ve shifted some of the B& I over to F&G where it belongs. I just hope they’ll be able to do the same with Spanish & Portuguese because I have no known ancestry from those areas, what I do have is Ancestors who lived in border towns so maybe, just maybe they were S&P?

Here’s my complete update:

Identifying my curl patterns

Welcome back!

Today I’m going to talk about one of the most common topics of discussion in the Natural hair community, curl patterns.

To be honest I’ve never given it much thought at all because I have more than one type of pattern of you go by the chart that seems to be everywhere.

This chart right here:

According to this chart the front of my head is a mix of 3b and 3c, the middle is a mix of 3c and 4a, the very back of my head is a mix of 4a, 4b, and 4c. Like I said before I have a lot of curl patterns.

The curl patterns aren’t that important though, it’s the porosity of the hair or so I’ve been told.

My hair is low porosity and coconut oil is supposed to be really good for this type of hair but I can’t use coconut anything or my hair will become very brittle and break horrendously.

Having hair that dislikes Coconut with a passion is kind of difficult to be honest because so many hair products geared towards Afro hair has it in it. There are so many highly favored cult favorites that I just can not use.

I’ve begun to disregard all the suggestions that have been thrown my way because what works for one person’s hair doesn’t work for everyone, sometimes you just have to find what your hair loves.

My hair loves Argan, Avocado, Rice water, and Jojoba. I know this because I’ve had favorable results with them.

When I shaved my head back in 2017 I honestly didn’t know what kind of curl pattern to expect, when I was youngest my mother used the wrong products and my true pattern was hidden.

You probably can’t see it well but my hair was like a 2c and almost like a straw broom, to be honest it’s like when I flat iron my hair and take braids out.

I’m pretty sure that texture was because my mother used this grease on my hair.

My hair doesn’t do well with grease at all, it is very heavy and what that does is that it drags my curls down until all you see is limp greasy strands and washing did nothing because as soon as we were done washing my hair with shampoos and conditioners that stripped my hair she would comb it with a fine tooth comb and it was painful so painful that I’d run away and hide until my hair was pretty similar to a bird’s nest and then the real pain would come when she tried to de-tangle it while it was dry!

All my life my mother said my hair wasn’t as good as my middle sister’s because I didn’t have curls like her but when she sees my hair now she can’t believe how similar my hair actually is.

My hair is curly and coily but to maintain this it needs the proper care.

I’ve developed my own routine and I baby my hair so that I can look at it and feel a sense of pride. My hair is just as good, my hair is my crown.

The Useless Sibling

Hey guys,

Today I want to talk about something that has always bothered me.

Ever since I was very young I’ve always viewed myself as the useless sibling. I have two older sisters who were obviously intelligent, they got good grades they were Salutatorian and Valedictorian of their classes, I also have three younger brothers who are also obviously intelligent, graduating with High honors, internship, also Sal/Val of their class, and then there’s me.

Quiet, can’t speak in school, trouble with bullies, terrible grades, held back twice, nothing really special. I didn’t graduate with honors and I didn’t go to college, I am the useless child. Every parent must have a dud and I always knew it was me.

When I was younger you could go to Wendy’s for a free meal with your report card and for whatever reason my father always brought me along to see my siblings get their free meals and he would buy nothing for me. I’d sit there and watch them eat and feel out of place.

He’d also do this with toys, I got nothing while they got something new to play with. I never really blamed my siblings, I blamed myself for being too dumb to understand the work, too dumb to be able to speak.

My mother probably didn’t know about this and I know if she did she would have bought me something even if it was something small and tiny. She never let me feel useless until that one year she said to me “if you get good grades, I’ll buy you that doll you wanted”, I worked my ass off and I didn’t get that doll, sold out is what she told me.

I think that was the same year my youngest brother was born and my grandmother, my mother’s mother passed away. I remember not feeling anything really, I didn’t cry, I didn’t understand why others were crying but when I saw my mother break down I felt it, I cried because my mother was crying. I loved my grandmother and I have very fond memories of her but I just don’t feel emotions like other people.

That was also the very first year I was held back, I stopped trying, I stopped caring, my first experience with depression but nobody noticed. They said I was being difficult and willful. Nobody saw me.

I used to have a very best friend that I’d eat with hang out every chance I got and the very next year we stopped hanging out and I’d sit by myself on the stairs in front of my class room. I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t eat lunch, my thought were not the best and I didn’t know how to change them.

It’s not to say some of my classmates didn’t try, they did, they invited me to sit with them under a mango tree, they’d share a little of their lunches with me and talk around me. Never to me because everyone knew I didn’t talk. I barely even smiled or showed any emotions.

For my entire young life I felt out of place like I couldn’t understand my peers, they were all speaking a language I just didn’t know. I tried to emulate them, I tried to have crushes like the other girls and copy their mannerisms and what I thought their thought patterns might be but it was like playing a part I had no business trying out for.

In Jr. High my second year of 7th grade after being held back yet again I encountered a teacher that challenged me. According to one of my older sisters she was in the woman’s class all of one day but this woman would constantly call me by my sister’s name and it chafed because I had my own name. This woman would also make fun of students who did poorly and I was not going to let her make fun of me, she was going to know my name. Mine, not my sister’s but mine.

I got into honors that year, I spoke for the first time that year, my grandfather, my father’s father passed away that year. My mother was pregnant with my baby sister that year, 9/11 happened that year and my mother lost my baby sister that year.

It was a catalyst for me and I let everything push me into doing everything I could to get out of school.

It didn’t matter. My father still didn’t acknowledge what I had accomplished, I was still the child that couldn’t speak and couldn’t make it in the real world because I was filled with so much anxiety I couldn’t do half the things my siblings could.

It’s amazing how much your parents can hurt you without knowing they did or maybe he knew exactly where to inflict the worst pain.

He’s such a confusing person, he says these cruel things but then he took me out for my birthday just me and him and he bought me a birthday gift that I never thought he would. We’d go out to the movies together and we argued yes but it seemed like only the two of us did these things. My father was like me.

He was filled with anxiety and he didn’t know how to express his emotions.

As I got older I learned more about him just by observing him and I am so much like him not just in looks but in temperament.

All those times when he’d sit by himself away from others, I understand it now, he looked so cut off from us because he didn’t know how to interact with us.

When he’d want to leave or not go to a social function, I fully understand it. I hate social functions and how it drains me.

His special hobbies, his desire for a schedule, I do all of this as well.

I felt like I was looking for his approval and never got it but I was the only one he’d call to help him, the only one he showed a little attention in, I think my father understood me just a little better than I understood myself back then.

That saying he kept saying to me? That I’d never go anywhere and be able to survive in the real world?

I took it to heart and pushed myself, I left home and traveled internationally, I got married and I might still struggle socially but I function on my own level.

I might not be as academically fortunate as my siblings but I am not the useless sibling, I made my success in personal battles and I accomplished my own great things.

Thanks for reading a tiny bit of my story.

I love new books!

As an aspiring author, there’s nothing I love more than new books, the smell alone can be addictive but the feeling of getting your hands on the next book in a series after waiting for months even years is explosive.

Unfortunately for me, finding time to read these days are slim to none, not only do I have to go out several times to drop and pick up Naveen but I have to battle my depression to even feel like reading a book I not only was so excited to read but waited a long time to receive in the mail. I used to be able to read over 100 books in a year and I have fallen to a little under 50.

I want to enjoy my favorite past time again, I want to be able to fall into a book and forget everything around me, I want to live and love.

Last month I finally got Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2) by Christine Feehan.

Go zero to sixty in this dangerously sexy novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

Breezy Simmons was born into a ruthless motorcycle club—and now that she’s out, she’s never going to be that girl again. But when her past catches up with her, Breezy must go to Sea Haven to seek out the man who almost destroyed her. The man who chose his club over her and left her feeling used and alone.

As vice president of Torpedo Ink, Steele is ride or die for the brothers he lived through hell with. He never thought he’d find something as pure as his feelings for Breezy, or that keeping her safe would mean driving her away with cruel words that turned her love for him to ash.

Now, Steele won’t let her walk away twice. He’ll do whatever it takes to make Breezy his woman again—especially when he learns the real reason she came to him for help, and that the stakes are higher than he ever could have imagined…

Synopsis from Goodreads available here: Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)

I preordered this book back in January and had to wait quite a while since it was shipping from the US to France. Before devouring it I decided I was going to re-read Judgment Road first so that I can have the settings and characters fresh in my mind before continuing the series. Although I already read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it I am struggling to get through it. I really want to read the new book but I want to finish this book first!

To make matters worse I picked up a new book and immediately started reading it. It’s called Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique.

A critically acclaimed debut from an award-winning writer—an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them.

Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. Uniquely imagined, with echoes of Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, and the author’s own Caribbean family history, the story is told in a language and rhythm that evoke an entire world and way of life and love. Following the Bradshaw family through sixty years of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, love affairs, curses, magical gifts, loyalties, births, deaths, and triumphs, Land of Love and Drowning is a gorgeous, vibrant debut by an exciting, prizewinning young writer.

Synopsis from Goodreads available here: Land of Love and Drowning

I have only read a few pages but I am enjoying it, I feel like I’m home with the use of Creole writing, I know some might struggle with it and pronouncing the words right but it’s my native tongue and it just rolls off my mind’s tongue. I feel a sense of peace in this foreign land.

On another note, I was looking forward to receiving a new phone I just recently purchased but it got pushed back to next week. I had planned on getting acquainted with my new phone this weekend but I think I will use it to read and write.

Until next time!

23andMe: Changing Ancestry Composition

I don’t know if I ever mentioned before that I took a DNA test with 23andMe on here but I took one back in June 2018. The main reason I took it was to discover who my father’s family was, my father was adopted when he was young and while we knew the names of his parents I didn’t know anything else. My paternal grandfather passed away when I was 13 years old and in all that time I had never even met him, my two older sisters stayed over at his house but never me. I’m always told that I look like his side of the family so it was a pretty hard blow to never know him or about his family and wish that I had been given that chance. I have no pictures and very little stories to even remember him by so I took to genealogy to try to learn something. 
My grandfather was born in Gustavia, Saint-Barthélemy, Antilles françaises in 1920. He was the son of Vitalis LaPlace and Marie Josephine Turbé. My grandfather left his home to stay with an aunt in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands where a lot of French people migrated to in the late 1800s. While my father was born in St. Thomas he grew up in St. Croix where I was born and I didn’t visit St. Thomas until I was well into my 20s thanks to one of my older sisters. 
One of my younger brothers did an Ancestry DNA test in I want to say 2017 but Ancestry doesn’t ship to France so I went with 23andMe. Looking at my brother’s results I had an idea of what my Ancestry Composition could look like and I was excited waiting for my results.
I got my results back on June 18, 2018:

The African portion was pretty underwhelming and my French & German was pretty small for someone whose grandfather was a French man.  What I have since learned is that some of that British & Irish, Iberian, Italian, and Broadly categories were hiding a good portion of my French DNA and it was nearly impossible for 23andMe to separate it from the other areas of Europe because of migrations over the ages. 
Sometime around October 23andMe updated their African categories and I had a brand new Ancestry Composition to look at:
My West African was broken down into Nigerian, Coastal West African, Senegambian &Guinean, Congolese, and Sudanese. My African Hunter Gatherer category disappeared. My British & Irish went up, Italian went up, Iberian went down, and Scandinavian appeared. Western Asian & North African category appeared. Everything else remained more or less the same.
In December 23andMe once again updated their categories:
Coastal West African category was broken down into Ghanaian, Liberian, & Sierra Leonean. Iberian was changed to Spanish & Portuguese. Everything else remained the same.
Yesterday 23andMe invited their V5 customers to try out a Beta Update to their composition:
My Ancestry Composition went through a lot of changes!
Central Asian & South Asian was added.

My African categories were all decreased with the exception of Congolese and Sudanese. I gained a new category as well, Southern East African. My European increased Spanish & Portuguese now being my highest category at 6.6% British & Irish decreased from 8.9% to 6.0% my French & Geerman went from 3.3% to 5.6% I completely lost the Italian I had which doesn’t worry me much since I never had any Italian paper trail. My Native American remains unchanged through all of these updates.
It has been so fascinating watching all of these changes and I can’t wait to see what other changes happen later on.
On the paper genealogy front, I had a really big breakthrough yesterday as well. I have a brick wall 3x great-grandmother Anne Louise Chapelain who I couldn’t find any information on her parents or siblings but yesterday I decided to go back over my work to see if I missed anything and while going through my 2x great-grandfather’s second marriage I found an uncle named Joseph Chaplain in the witness section. This Joseph Chaplain would have been 35 in 1888 so born around 1853 give or take, I think he might be a half brother because Anne Louise was born around 1835, that’s a good 18 years older and depending on her mother’s age might have been way after her childbearing age. I haven’t found anything on him so far but I have hope. 
Until Next time!

My Hiking Experience

Hiking to the Natural Pools

Yesterday, December 30, 2012, my family and I hiked to the Tidal Pools on the Island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.

Let me start off my saying I had never been to the Tidal pools, didn’t know about them until recently even though I was born here and lived here my whole life. That being said I had no idea what I was getting myself into by saying I want to go on this hike.

First I got up around 8 am and started to get ready by having a quick shower, I knew I was going to sweat on the hike, without a doubt, only a mountain goat wouldn’t sweat after walking for 2 hours. Yes this hike was 2 hours to get to the pools and 2 hours to walk back from the pools. So I showered and started to filling my bottles of water, no cold water only room temperature, it wouldn’t do to shock my system by drinking ice cold water after walking in the hot hot sun for so long. Water ready, I’m ready, got a call that said my cousin wasn’t going to be able to come even though he was the one who knew how to get there and was going to drive some of us down there so we didn’t have to hike.
He’s not coming again, so my mother was like “Oh well, I guess we’ll do something else” naturally I was disappointed, I wanted to see these pools and it was a big let down after waking up so early and filling up the bottles…I didn’t want to stay home or drive around, that’s boring.
I guess my aunt was feeling the same and my brother and other cousin had been there before, they knew the way so we decided to hike it still.

It was a long drive to the road where we would begin the hike, it was located near the Carambola Beach Resort and Spa which is on the West end of the Island and we live more towards the East End of the Island. Yes the Island is small only 82.88 square miles but when you grow up here it seems very big.
When we were close to the resort I started to take some pictures because the view is beautiful, I was happy taking pictures out the car window when I caught a man jogging in one of them, I have no idea who he is but he is now a center piece of one of my photos.
We drove up to the road, and started getting out of the cars, there were four cars in total, one car held me, my sister, one niece, and two of my brothers, the other car held my oldest sister, my youngest brother, my mother and my two other nieces. The third car held my aunt, my two cousins, and her two kids, the fourth car held my uncle, my other aunt, and their two kids. There were 19 of us in total and we were ready to hike this thing!

My brother and my cousin would lead the group since they’ve been there before, my sister had also been on the hike before but she stayed in the middle in case the group got separated for any reason. We began walking, and it seemed we had been walking forever, it was fine, I had my water, my bag holding my camera and sd card wasn’t heavy and I had a good pace….until it started going uphill. That was the worst part of the Hike for me, going uphill. I got winded so bad, I honestly believe my heart was going to give out on me right there on the trail, the others were still going and I could see them but I had to take a rest, I wasn’t alone, my cousin stopped beside me and then everyone else stopped ahead, the stragglers came up to us and stopped too. I had been on a hike before, was much earlier in the year but I had done worse, I didn’t pack any water that time so this time I was prepared. I took sips of water and calmed myself, drinking too much water would have made me sick and probably cause me numerous problems on the hike including having to drain fluid somewhere in the bushes….I wasn’t interested in doing that so sip it I did.

Taking our break

Break was over and it was time to move again, it’s been about an hour since we started to walk and some of the group was very tired, I wasn’t feeling too bad after sipping my water, my heart was even back to normal, I did feel a big fatigued though, we continued walking but on even ground with a few dips here and there, we came upon a beehive of African Killer Bees, everyone had to be very quiet so we can walk past there without agitating the bees. It was very tense because of the little kids, just the slightest sound can bring a bee out of the hive. There we were trying to past by the hive in single file quietly but rapidly so no one is stuck by there for a long time. We passed there successfully and continued on our journey.

Next we had to walk by some tall grasses, it was such a pretty view that I stopped to take pictures, I told them to wait for me but they didn’t stop, I was up in the front so I wasn’t too worried about being left behind.

View from the tall grass

I should not have stopped, on the ground were hundred if not thousands of red ants, and when I stopped they crawled up my legs, I hadn’t noticed but my cousin’s daughter was quick to tell me “You have lots of ants on your legs”, let me tell you the feeling was not pleasant, I started stomping and shaking my legs, brushing them off in hopes of getting these ants off but everywhere we walked there seemed to be more ants, we walked through some very tall grass that reminded me of scenes from the first Jurassic park, it was kind of amusing, the Velociraptors would be the red ants and they were biting!

On and on we walked with these ants just crawling all over the ground and onto our shoes even while walking rapidly, we finally reached a dirt road where there weren’t as many ants and I immediately started stomping my feet and brushing ants from my sneakers, one ant already bit me and I was not going to allow any of the others the chance to taste my flesh.
We walked down the dirt road for a good while before coming up to a stony beach, finally some of the younger kids thought, the beach! But this was not the end of our journey.

The stony beach before the pools

Nope our journey was to take us over jagged rocks and brave rushing water with big waves, our destination was not this beach. I didn’t know at the time that the pools were on the other side of the jagged rocks though so I took some pictures of the view, and it was a spectacular view, the hills in the background, the water and the rock outlines made for a beautiful display.

Then is when I learned that the Tidal pools I had walked over such treacherous terrain to view were some ways over on the other side of those rocks that can cut flesh and the waves crashed onto. I was game, terrified of slipping and being taken away to sea but still game.
I have never climbed so fast in my life before, I felt like a monkey climbing for it’s life, clinging onto the rocks and looking for hand and foot holds so I don’t fall into the rushing sea. I was thinking to myself is it worth it? I hope it’s worth it or I’ll be so upset.
When I finally reached the other side, the view answered my question.

My brother standing on the jagged  rocks

 It was worth it, I had never seen such a beautiful rock formation before in my life, the water was reflecting off of the rocks and forming a moving sparkling show for the eyes to behold, the water was clear and you could see fishes of blue and black swimming happily along the bottom of the Tidal pool…this…..this was totally worth, tripping over tree roots, nearly suffering heart failure and being bitten by red ants. I will never forget such natural beauty.

The Tidal Pools