Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My deliveries - Neem and Moringa leaves

I was positive that I've blogged about how great Neem is before - so I did a search and, yep - this post brought back some memories (may baby chicken Camilla and my puppies, Clem and Lopey!) but I did, in fact, blog about Neem in a post titled A lil bit a this, A lil bit a that back in August, 2012.

"What is neem? For over 4000 years, women in India have relied upon Neem for flawless skin. The Neem tree is an evergreen tree that is part of the mahogany family and is a common feature of the drier regions of India, Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. Neem bark, leaves, fruit, seeds and oils all contain medicinal qualities. Neem is highly treasured in India and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine for many skin issues and daily skin care."

"It is difficult to summarize all of the healing properties of the neem tree because of its versatility. Neem leaves have been used traditionally as a blood cleanser due to their antiviral, antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic qualities. Neem leaves are also used to treat many eye disorders such as conjunctivitis, skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, stomach ulcers, poor appetite, diabetes, gum disease, fever, liver disorders, and arthritis. It is also great for the heart and used to prevent blood clots. The leaf can also be used for birth control because it has spermicidal qualities. If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should not consume products with neem because it can result in abortions and toxicity to infants.
Neem oil is used in soaps, lotions, facemasks, shampoos, and toothpastes. It helps treat fungal infections, lice, dry scalp, dandruff, premature graying of the hair, gingivitis, and skin disorders. Neem oil relieves dry skin and soothes itchy, red, irritated skin. It has also been used for chicken pox to relieve the associated skin irritation caused by the chicken pox virus. Neem has the ability to improve overall skin health by fighting the bacteria that causes pimples and acne. Unlike antibiotics, neem fights bacteria without causing bacterial resistance over time. Neem oil can also be used to treat arthritis and musculoskeletal pain by massaging it directly into the skin."
I found a woman in Belmopan that grows Neem and other herbs, and placed an order that I just picked up from Tropic Air yesterday.
I ordered a pound; this is a little less than half of it:

And this is what Neem water looks like, after you boil it:

It doesn't smell great, and it tastes awful - but it's  so good for you!
I've already used some of the Neem water to rince with after my shower today, and I doused my hair with it to strengthen up my roots and, hopefully, to encourage my dreads to start gaining some length! (They're locking up really good, but I want them longer, damnit!)

I still have plenty of leaves left, and about a half of a pitcher full from of the first batch of water. 
I plan on spraying it on Luna to help with her dry skin and spotty coat, and using it on my own skin and hair daily - it's great as a skin toner and really good for dry, itchy scalp and stronger hair.
I found another lady in Cayo who makes her own Neem oil and Neem soap - I'll be placing my order for those products SOON!

Another herb that I ordered from the Belmopan lady - one that I had never heard of until she mentioned it to me, is moringa:

From what I've been reading, most people use the fresh leaves in pretty much any kind of dish - scrambled eggs or omelettes, mixed with other greens in a salad (I have spinach and kale - will be making some kind of spinach/kale/moringa salad) in chili, soups, stews - really, just about anything.

All I've done with it so far is add it to my coconut rice that I made for dinner last night (along with Parmesan crusted chicken and roasted brussel spouts - YUM)
They have a really light, kind of nutty-grassy flavor to them - not overpowering or bitter at all.

I have an entire pound of them right now - if anyone in San Pedro would care to try some, you can sample mine and I'll pass along the info to order for yourself.

What do baking soda, coconut oil, turmeric, neem water, tea trea, neem and peppermint oil all have in common?
They can all be found in my bathroom.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Flying home, being home.

Before I starting working for the sailing company, I would sometimes fly home to San Pedro and have no idea what all those cayes down below were named...
I still don't know what they're all called, but I can recognize a few now, and that makes me happy...

This is the edge of Belize City (obviously)

This next one is Port-O-Stuck - not a Caye, but a shallow marine channel that runs through a mangrove island called Hicks Caye - this is the best I could find while searching Google:

And here's the view from the plane:

You're probably not as excited about seeing Porto Stuck as I was - there's not much goin on there - but I thought it was kind of cool to see the area I pass through so many times from a different perspective. 

After Porto Stuck comes the private little golf resort island - Caye Chapel:

Then, Caye Caulker:

See the "C" shape at the south end? That's where we anchor. 
Just so ya know. 

It's really really nice to be back home for a few weeks - and since I've been back, I've moved from my little love shack in the San Juan area to a villa just north of the bridge...

Old place, top floor:

New place... all of it:

I miss the love shack, but now I have a kitchen, hot water, washer and dryer, and a pretty decent view from my bedroom:

AND - the new place comes with a dog! I've probably had a few blogs with a picture or two of Luna added before - but here she is in the new crib:

                    With her ducky

She's such a cute little potlicker.... I feel so bad that my cat is such a jerk to her

That's as close as Luna is allowed to get

Here are some random pictures of other things I've seen and done since I've been home...

I've Roasted Brussel Sprouts:

Witnessed a baptism in the lagoon:

Watched this thing (garbage) get closer and closer to shore at Jolly Rogers beach bar:

Went to SAGA, three times, and got way too attached to animals in crates:

Had this guy pose on a palm tree:

Snuggled with Luna:

Worked a day charter over to Caye Caulker with guest from Discovery, Latin America:

Saw some Garifuna drummers on the beach:

Tried, unsuccessfully, to come up with a way to get this sweet piece of wood home;

Had afternoon drinks at Pirate's Treasure - which is a super chill bar and really good restaurant that specializes in Lionfish dishes. If you eat there, you're pretty much helping to save the reef:

Aaaaaaaaaand I took more pictures of palm trees:

I feel like I'm leaving some things out - breakfasts at Estel's, a date day, a date night, chocolates by Claire, sunsets, walks... I must be slacking off on my picture-taking.

Kathy and our friend Jo Ellen are going to be here in, like, four days - I'll try to do better.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Off the boat at Robinson Point Caye

There's a really nice little anchorage spot that we use, only about 5 miles off the coast of Belize City, called Robinson Point Caye. It's just a little cluster of three, mangrove-y islands  - two of them are totally uninhabited and the other one, the largest one, only has one house and a metal (I think) lighthouse structure on it.

The only decent map I could find with Robinson Point identified on it, this one, comes from Rising Tide Adventures, which looks like a pretty sweet charter company. 

Also from Rising Tide Adventures, I found this little piece of info about fishing near the Caye:

Ya see that, fishermen? "...considered to hold the largest concentration of permit IN THE WORLD."
Yet another reason to come to Belize.

That's pretty much all the information I could find out about it, too... if you can Google it you might see a link for a page out of some Belize book and you can see in the description: "Robinson Point was once the center of Belize's boat building industry..." but the link just takes you to an error message. Bummer.

There's also this link for EcoMar Belize which talks about tracking sea turtles in the area! (It looks like they need more donations to continue their study)

Anyway - let's get back on track here...

We were anchored there one night last week and our guests decided to take the kayaks over to the sunken ship near the island to do some snorkeling. When they came back, they told us about meeting the man - the only man - who lives on the island; the caretaker for the only house on the island.
He told them he had been there for about six weeks, without a boat, and was hoping that someone would be returning soon to bring him some food and supplies that he was running out of.

I had to bring the man something to eat... The thought of him waiting there, without any way off, for food that may or may not show up... I can't deal with that. I wouldn't have been able to sleep well, for weeks, until I could get back there again, just wondering if he was ok or if anyone else had stopped by.

It was the last night of our charter, so I didn't have a whole lot left to give him, but I packed up a small bag of rice, some leftover crackers, an apple, a package of turkey bologna, and a frozen piece of conch meat for him and went over to find him.

I had no idea how many cool things were all around the island - starfish in different colors, conch shells, tons of broken coral, awesome driftwood, pretty little flowers...

There's a sunken ship on each side of the island...

Some old, crumbling cinder block structures...

And the house..

The caretaker, Gonzalo, I think his name was, was very kind and totally appreciative of the food I brought over for him.
I didn't tell him, but I think he needs a dog to keep him company - it seems like it would be pretty lonely, being there by yourself for weeks at a time.
I guess that's just another mouth to feed, though...

One thing I always leave Robinson Caye with is more pretty sunset pictures... if you already follow me on instagram then you may have already seen some of these - if not (you totally should) then here ya go -