Planning Excitement

One of the best things about going somewhere is the planning stage.  I loved planning out the routes when I have traveled cross country, even though most of the time, I took a different path.  For the past several months I have been perusing property rental websites and the Cayman version of Craigslist for options on vehicles.

The Cayman dollar (KYD or CI) is worth about $1.20 USD.  Rental properties start at around CI$1000 and not every place is pet friendly.  In fact, I find it somewhat amusing that not all places are children friendly either.  On several of the listings it will have the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, central AC or window units, and then clearly states “No children”.  Like every other city, there are also places that should be avoided if possible for various reasons and luckily I’ll be working at the perfect place to figure out where those areas are located.  My biggest problem right now is actually getting a response to the emails I send to different rental companies.  I know it will be easier to look for places in person.  I’m also incredibly fortunate that one of my future co-workers has offered one of her spare bedrooms to me to rent for a period of up to three months.

On another good note, about 90% of the places for rent in Grand Cayman are fully furnished and include linens, dishes and such.  This means I only have to bring a couple of suitcases with clothes (I’m going to need more island friendly attire), my camera and various lenses and my computer.  I’m going to be as minimalistic as possible.  I don’t need things.  Things just cause a headache in the long run.  Except for camera lenses.  I can always make room for more camera accessories.

I will also be able to rent Roberta’s spare vehicle while I am looking for one of my own.  Vehicle shopping is also something that will have to be done in person.  Most of the vehicles I’ve seen listed on the ecaytrade website appear to range between CI $5000-7000 for a decent used vehicle.  Maintenance and general upkeep up vehicles is incredibly important there due to the salty air.  Also, it’s important to make sure that any iguana poop is rinsed off of the vehicle as soon as possible due to its caustic nature.

Speaking of iguanas.  There are two types of iguanas on Grand Cayman.  There are the indigenous blue iguana and the invasive green iguana.  The blue iguana is endangered but efforts to assist in conservation and repopulation have been quite successful and the population numbers are on the ride.  They’re shy creatures that are found in the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Garden as well as the Blue Iguana Nature Reserve.

The green iguana began its takeover of the island in the 1980s when they were brought over as pets.  They are everywhere.  When I went down for my interview, we had 4 run out into traffic in front of us, and there were several others that I spotted all over the place.  They’re a nuisance.  Efforts are being made to prevent them from migrating over to the sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Within my first week of arriving, I’ll have to accomplish several things.  I will need to get my Cayman Drivers License, which is one of the things that I’m most nervous about.  The one time I’ve driven on the opposite side of the road was in Scotland…at night…in the drizzling rain… and it was the longest mile of my life…  I’ll also need to open a banking account, find my way back and forth to work and get a general lay of the land.  A lot of things to do in the very near future.  I’m excited and scared to death all at the same time.  But I know it will be okay.

But Tori, what about your things?

Well, it’s official.  I am moving to Grand Cayman sometime in the beginning of September.  I say some time because I know I’ll be starting my new job on September 14th, but they haven’t given me a date for my departure flight.

A lot of people have asked questions regarding my housing situation and what I plan on doing with all of my things, so I’ll address that here.

My house.  I bought my house back in 2002 when I was 20 years old, engaged and planning on having kids.  Obviously, that plan fell through.  Thankfully… I love my house, but I do not need a house at this point in my life.  The stars pull at my hair too much.  I have a serious case of the wanderlust. So I’m selling because  I don’t want to worry about the hassle of having to rent it out.

Since I do not want to worry about the storage of the multitude of things that I own, I’m getting rid of everything.  Well almost everything.  My parents are going to let me keep two footlockers at their house that I’ll fill with things of sentimental value.  The only things I’m planning on taking with me are my clothes, my computer and my camera.  That’s it.  So I am getting rid of everything.  And I have spent years as a semi-hoarder.  Thankfully, it’s not a painful process to get rid of things, it’s just very time consuming.  I’ve found myself puzzled several times, saying to myself “I’m a single person, why the heck did I ever need 27 coffee mugs?”  I’ve bewildered myself with some of my previous purchases.

Subject two – my dogs.

The best thing about this contract is that I can actually take my dogs.  Well, I can’t take them at first because they’ll have to go through a series of tests to ensure that they are able to come into the country and stay in a quarantine of sorts.  However, they’ll be able to join me in  a few months and my awesome sister is going to take care of them while they’re waiting.  And I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to accompany them on the flight down when they join me.

Hopefully that answers the two main questions that people seem to have for me.

A change is coming…

August 3rd, 2015

I’ve been back in the states for far too long and wanderlust has gotten a serious hold on me. It’s time for a change. I am in need of scenery that isn’t Glynn County. Granted, I have an upcoming vacation to Iceland that I am super excited about, but I also need something that is a bit more long term.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my home town but it is not where my heart is anymore. I’ve seen too much of the world to know that I have seen too little of it.

So, a new adventure is on the horizon. I am currently waiting for clearance and a final job offer to go work another dispatching contract. This time it is a far cry from the harsh cold of Antarctica. Instead of the cry of the skua before an attack or the howling winds during a Con 1, I’ll hopefully be hearing the sound of steal drums and reggae music.

That’s right. The Ice Princess is planning on moving to the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands to be precise. As of right now, I have a conditional contract that is dependent on medical clearance, but I am hoping that I will have that contract in hand by the end of this week.

Sunset from 7 Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Sunset from 7 Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

December – Part Three – Why, hello 32! Birthday Part One

December 16, 2013.

Ah, my birthday.

The day I finally hiked Ob Hill.
The only day of the week that I was able to walk normally due to incredibly sore legs after said hike.

I started out my birthday at the fire house. At two minutes after midnight, I received what I would consider my first birthday present, a call to dispatch the guys on. Yes, I am a horribly wicked woman. I love waking up the kids in the middle of the night. Especially when I was getting out of work early.

Due to holidays, skipping meal breaks, and coming in on my off time, I was able to cut out of work and around 12:30. Once Cindy, a fellow dispatcher, came in from getting her mid-rats meal, I went home to change and grab my camera. I stopped off in the galley for a sandwich to take on my hike as well. My original plan was to be on top of Ob Hill at 04:02 AM. Why? 04:02 am is the actual time of my birth. Yes, I know I’m in a completely different time zone and that I was planning on being up there 18 hours before 04:02 am on the east coast, but c’est la vie.

So, after going to my room, changing and opening up my birthday gift from Rick and one of my gifts from Aunt Victoria, I had my bag loaded and was ready to tackle the hill.

I headed up the road and was shortly at the point I had reached before, but never went past.

I took a moment to look around at the town which was quietly sleeping, for the most part. The sky was a stunning shade of blue and a few wispy clouds swept their way across the azure.

I turned the opposite direction towards Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus and saw fog rolling in. The base of Castle Rock was obscured, as was part of our most active volcano.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned it before? We live pretty darn close to Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world.

Right, next it was onward and upward.

My next stop was at the podium where the guest log book was SUPPOSED to be located, however, due to constant weather changes, the box it lives in was being replaced and there was no book on the podium. This means I’m going to have to climb the hill again so I can sign it.

As I got closer to the top, I kept staring at the cross and trying to figure out how much longer it would be to get there. It reminded me of being in New Zealand with Rick, hiking Mt. Sinclair and him reassuring me “it’s only 30 minutes before we get to the top” even though the summit looked DAYS away.

Remember, I’m from the flatlands, I don’t do up very often.

Then I reached a point in the path that divided. One trail went to the left, the other to the right. The problem I had was, I couldn’t see the cross any more. I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go. So I took the path to the left.

Then I discovered I chose poorly.

I was standing in front of a pretty steep incline with no more trail upwards. There was a part that lead around to the back side of the hill, but I know that I am a rather clumsy individual, and it would not be wise for me to attempt that trail. I backtracked to where the path divided, and headed up the other path.

Lo and behold, there was the cross, the summit and the view. And the wind.

The windchill kept me from staying at the summit until my goal time of 04:02, but it was still a glorious view!

After I got chilled, I started down the hill. My legs were all wobbly and at one point I slipped on a rock and landed on another rock. I knew at that point that I would have a bruise on my hind-end.

I finished the traverse down the hill, happily singing Happy Birthday to myself to help stay warm.

When I got back to the room, I was exhausted and sweaty. I called Rick to thank him for my gift and to chat for a bit before passing out.

I needed my beauty sleep. After all, my birthday soiree was later that evening.

A view from the top

A view from the top

View from the top, again

View from the top, again

Proof that I was there!

Proof that I was there!

Peaking around from my hiding spot

Peaking around from my hiding spot

Ob Hill Cross

Ob Hill Cross

Beautiful birthday morning

Beautiful birthday morning

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Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus

Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus

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Castle Rock, shrouded in fog

Castle Rock, shrouded in fog

December 2013, part two – Fire Expo

Dec. 07, 2013

Ah, the annual firehouse expo. This year it featured engine rides, trying out on the bunker gear, 5 alarm chili, and putting out a building fire. Okay, so the building and the fire were props, but it was still fun for those who gave it a whirl. I stood outside with the folks playing with the oversized water-hose and took a bunch of pictures of them. Surprisingly, I didn’t get sprayed until the very last person.

Or should I say thankfully.

Again, pictures to come.

A December Condiment – aka catch up time

Almost on the home stretch

Almost on the home stretch

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A cloudy yet pretty day

A cloudy yet pretty day

Wasn't climbing to the top this day

Wasn’t climbing to the top this day

John, a firefighter

John, a firefighter

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Pressure Ridge on the back side of Ob Hill

Pressure Ridge on the back side of Ob Hill

Me

Me

Keri, my coworker

Keri, my coworker

December 2013 – Part one

So much has happened in the past two months. I am having to remind myself of things that have happened via photos.

The end of the year started out much like the beginning of 2013. So many things happened, and quickly.

Dec. 04, 2013

With the weather becoming warmer at the beginning of the month, more outside activities started occurring. During the first week of December, I took a stroll about the Ob Hill Loop with two coworkers, Keri – a dispatcher and John – one of my firefighters. It started out being a lovely day, but the time we were on the back side of the loop, our ears were quite red and probably nearing frostnip status. At least mine were. My first season here, I got a slight case of frostnip on my right ear and am now more prone to it occurring. Despite that, it was still a good walk about.

Ob Hill Loop is probably my favorite recreational route. Due to the wind and fog at the top of the hill, we didn’t go to the top. However, it was that day that I decided if it was clear on the morning of my birthday, I was going to hike that damn hill.

Pictures to come!

47 and a wake up!

Since August 27th, 2011, I have spent 752 days in Antarctica.

I now have 47 days and a wake up left in the season.

I will have been here for 385 days if I leave here as scheduled on February 24th.

That means, I will have been on ice for a total of 800 days since August 2011 by the time I leave.

And now, I will begin the long task of catching everyone up on what has been happening since November.