Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

After a weekend dedicated to Typhoon Songda (Saturday anticipating/storm, Sunday cleanup), Monday we headed out to see the effects of the storm on our favorite beach and to maybe find some washed up treasures. 

Somehow this greenhouse survived the storm, but the sugar cane in front doesn't look so good...

This is the entrance to our special beach looking a little shell shocked.

It was a gorgeous day with clear skies and very little humidity.  The waters around have been incredible colors because of the churned up water and our beach was no disappointment.

The snorkeling was excellent, except for this little fish...

Cannon had been wanting to try spear fishing and believe it or not, he stabbed this little guy.  After which, Stevie decided to try his hand on some slightly larger fish but had no luck.  Cannon was either incredibly lucky, or he is a born spear fisherman!

Stevie trying his luck at spear fishing.

Later, Emmy and I walked down the beach to find washed up treasures, but decided the only things the storm washed in were fish and garbage.  There were lots of little dead fish way up the beach so the waters must have been really high.  In addition to the dead fish, we also found a dead sea snake, dead bird, naked man (alive, not dead) and this cool box fish!

This huge rope had been thrown up onto the rock by the waves.
Emmy, looking cute.

Lundy wasn't feeling too good so he took a nap on the beach.  Looks pretty comfy if you ask me!

Another shot of my little box fish friend.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Aftermath

So after I got the yard cleaned up a bit, I took the kids out into town to check out the damage there.  Looks like the hardest hit parts were other parts of our base (although I didn't check out other bases).  Big limbs and trees knocked over.

Can you tell which side the wind was blowing from?

Out in town I was amazed at how little structural damage was done.  I mean,we're talking some serious winds here, and there weren't even signs blown down never mind building damage!  The only thing I could see were that the street lights were blown sideways, which makes for tricky driving when you can't see if you're on red or green!

Can't even tell there were 125 mph winds out in town!

Except for the traffic lights - kind of twisted!

We went down to the marina and found one boat who will have a very sad owner...

Yes, that's the real color of the water!

Finally, we went down to the sea wall where we found all the surfers on the island rejoicing in the churning seas.  Usually Okinawa doesn't have really big waves so I think everyone was taking advantage of the day.  It was fun watching all the bobbing dots in the surf trying to catch a big one.  London was particularly fascinated and applauded every time someone rode a wave in!

See all the black dots?  Those are surfers!

The Aftermath

Typhoon Songda hit us last night with a pretty good punch.  Wind gusts were up to 125 mph, and although there was very little rain, the wind did a lot of damage - especially to the plants.  Which is unfortunate since I had (note the past tense) a lot of plants...  Who knew that wind could kill a plant instantly?  They look like they've been hit by frost!

This was my vegetable garden - just got my first cucumber on...

This tree used to be between Kelly and my house - now it's tipped over into our yard.

This is what wind does to banana leaves and trees.

The neighbor lost a few palm trees.

This was my front garden - the lantana is dead. :(

Can you guess from which side the wind was blowing?  What am I going to do with half dead bushes?

Of course, the plant damage was insignificant compared to Kelly and Mike's loss - their two sheds blew away in the middle of the storm!  And that was with them being tied down, sand bagged and full of stuff!  I knew it wasn't going to be pretty this morning when I looked out our back door at 10:00 last night and saw a suitcase, chair and garbage can!  It kind of looks like a tornado damage.  The neighbor's outside table blew apart and the big piece of glass that goes on top is missing!  Gone with the wind (pun intended!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Confusing weather reports

How can the forecast on Wunderground.com say that the current condition is winds of 8.0 mph and there is a 30% chance of precipitation when the satellite looks like this?

I believe that says wind gusts of 120 mph in the upper corner - not 8 mph!!!!

Actual weather forecast from the website:

Weather at a Glance

Weather Station: Stearly Heights, Okinawa

Mostly Cloudy
Temperature: 77.8 °F
Feels Like 80 °F

Wind(mph) 8.0


72 °F
Chance of Rain
30% chance of precipitation
Typhoon Songda

Typhoon Songda and bread

Yes, I must be getting partly Japanese to mix such diverse topics in one post, but there is a correlation (sort of).

So we've been waiting all day for what was once "Super Typhoon Songda" to hit our tiny island.  At one point it was supposed to hit us directly at about a category 4, now it seems it's going to swing to our west slightly and be a mere category 2 (96-110 mph winds).  We've been sitting at TCCOR-1 (tropical cyclone condition of readiness) all day in anticipation of the storm.  Poor Stevie has been on hold all day waiting to be called back into the hospital.  He was on call yesterday and is the guy for Sunday so he must go back if the status bumps to TCCOR 1-C. 

Of course, that doesn't mean the weather has been bad.  In fact the kids and I were outside playing for a while until the grueling humidity had us scurrying back into the A/C.  Then about 1:00 I was feeling restless and since there was still no rain and very little rain, I took the kids shopping at the PX.  What else do you do when anticipating a great storm???

Which leads me to the bread part of the title... One thing I do tend to do when trapped inside is to bake and this morning I thought some homemade bread sounded good.  For some reason I had a wild idea that it would be good if you could make bread in a slow cooker (I left my bread machine in storage in Virginia) so I went to the computer, tapped in "slow cooker bread" and *bingo* tons of recipes popped up!  Who knew?  I tried it, it's super easy, and it was wonderful with Italian bean soup for dinner!

Yummy warm, chewy bread!

PS - They just now called to tell Stevie he's due back to the hospital.  Now he has to be on call until Monday morning...bummer!

Friday, May 27, 2011

That's One Big Head!

I stopped in at our favorite fish market the other day to pick up some fish for dinner and we found this on a cart in front of the stall...

Those were some big ole tuna - would have been neat to see the whole fish!

Sad Day

I know that military life includes a lot of moving, but saying good-bye is never easy.  Today we had to say good bye to our great friends Liz, Don and Lydia (and Molly the dog and Speedy the cat).  They're returning to the mother land but will be missed dearly by all of us.  They've been like family to us here and my heart is missing a piece right now...

Toasting the move at "Pizza Heaven" aka Il Piccollino


They're "winning"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another beautiful day at the beach

Sunday's weather included gorgeous blue skies, just enough heat to merit getting in the water and low tide at just the right time.  The culmination?  Another awesome day snorkeling and picnicking at the beach.  The only dark cloud - it was Liz and Don's last time as they move this week.

Amazing water!

Stevie and London snorkeling

Emmy and Lydia playing in a tidal pool.

This is the way I have to start off snorkeling- checking for any bad things before I get in!

See... I do get in eventually!

Me and Emmy

Can you see the coral shelves under the water?

Me and Liz, photo by Emmy

Best friends

Stevie and Don snorkeling

There were tons of brittle stars this time - must be breeding time?

Hanging out on the beach

Cannon being "seaweed man"

The gang

Aren't they sweet?
 After the beach, we went to Thai in the Sky - a yummy Thai restaurant with a fantastic view.

The view from Thai in the Sky

Dining at Thai in the Sky

In the Honey Badger on the way home.

In the Honey Badger on the way home.