Are killer bees next?…We survived Cyclone Nisarga unscathed…Photos of damage in Mumbai…

Mumbai cyclone
This is the first such storm to hit Mumbai in over 100 years. Dark clouds hang over the city ahead of cyclone Nisarga making landfall in Mumbai.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today’s photos are a result of damage caused by Cyclone Nisarga are from this site.

Neither of us had experienced a cyclone/hurricane in our lives. Living in Minnesota we had plenty of experience with serious storms and on occasion tornadoes. But, a cyclone was a new experience and we had no idea what to expect. 

Mumbai cyclone
The FedEx MD-11 plane skids off the runway while landing during heavy rain, as severe cyclonic storm Nisarga made landfall, at Mumbai Airport.

Fortunately, (and sadly) there was only one fatality when it could have been many more. As it turned out Mumbai planned well and many lives were saved by evacuating thousands of residents and getting fishing boats docked at the shore rather than out to sea.


The damage from high winds and flooding was substantial, but overall the city survived well. Our hotel didn’t incur any obvious damage from what we could determine.

Mumbai cyclone
Sea waves strike at a slum area near the Arabian sea as cyclone Nisarga makes its landfall on the outskirts of the city, in Mumbai.

During the worst of the storm, we stayed hunkered down in our room, never having the necessity of waiting it out in the corridors. I was able to continue my hourly walks, which gave me an opportunity to look out a few windows at the ends of the corridors to see the roofs and parts of buildings flying in the wind.


We are grateful and also sad for those who suffered and were disrupted during the storm, especially Covid-19 patients who had to be moved from makeshift tents and outdoor facilities. One can’t imagine their terror when having to be moved while they were suffering with the devastating effects of the virus.

Mumbai cyclone
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows NDRF personnel clearing fallen trees from a road in Alibag town of Raigad district following cyclone Nisarga landfall in India’s western coast. Cyclone Nisarga ripped roofs off homes in a coastal town near Mumbai after officials ordered offices and factories to shut and told people to stay home, reversing a move to ease a coronavirus lockdown in the Indian megacity.

This morning, my son Richard texted, (tongue in cheek), “Will it be killer bees next?”  I wrote back, “Maybe it will be a meteor rushing toward Earth, or Godzilla roaming the streets, or even Sharknado with sharks flying all over the city of Mumbai?”


We say this in an effort to inject a little lightness into this otherwise challenging situation. I guess I’ve spent too much time watching “disaster” movies and now real life is even more frightening than such movies as “Contagion.”

Mumbai cyclonesA family looking for shelter during rainfall ahead of Cyclone Nisarga’s expected landfall, in Navi Mumbai. Heartbreaking.

It’s still raining very hard and we still can hear thunder as we’re sitting safely ensconced in our comfy chairs with the darkening drapes closed with lamps on in the room. Most days, we’ve kept the drapes closed to keep the room cooler, but in the past few days, we’ve done so to provide some protection from the wall of glass if high winds caused any issues.


We watched the movie “Rocketman,” entertaining us for a few hours during the day and at night, we’ve been binge-watching two TV series; the Scottish show, “Dr. Finlay” and the 60-episode Australian show, “A Place to Call Home” on Acorn TV on Amazon Prime, a truly addictive show we’ve found exceptionally entertaining.
Mumbai cyclone
A corporation worker works to clear an uprooted tree that fell on a road during Cyclone Nisarga at Juinagar in Navi Mumbai.

Right now, anything we can do to “get out of our heads” for a few hours each day is worthwhile. As mentioned, at 3:00 pm we start streaming our favorite shows.


We pause the shows once an hour for my corridor walks, donning a face mask, putting my shoes back on, and carrying my phone with a headset to listen to podcasts to make the walking time pass more quickly. The latest time of the day I embark on the walk is 6:00 pm. Some days, I’m able to finish earlier, once I log 10 walks for a total of 2 miles, 3.2 km. 
Mumbai cyclone
Vehicles get damaged by uprooted trees due to strong winds after the landfall of cyclone Nisarga at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai.

Each time I head out the door, I attempt to walk faster than the last time, rather than attempt to increase the distance. Keeping track of my stats on the Fitbit I’d purchased in the US has also been a good diversion.


Much to my surprise, Tom has also been exercising by climbing the stairs in the stairwell near our room. He does this each day while our room is being cleaned. It’s good to see him up and moving around as opposed to sitting in one spot day and night.

Mumbai 15
Damaged billboards due to strong winds triggered by Cyclone Nisarga, at Bandra Reclamation in Mumbai.

Today, we’re back to our usual routine, now that the worst of the cyclonic storm is moving through with less damage. 


Yesterday, we read a news story that South Africa won’t be opening its borders to international travel until February 2021. Oh.

Mumbai cyclone
People scramble to enter a truck during an evacuation of a slum on the coast of the Arabian sea in Mumbai on Wednesday, as Cyclone Nisarga makes landfall.

Have as pleasant a day as you can as we all continue to make our way through this pandemic.

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Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2019:

Front door view from this property we’d booked one year ago, from August 23, 2019, to September 6, 2019.  The cost for 14 nights is Euro 2125, US $2395.96 which averages to Euro 151.75, US $171.14. This amount is higher than we’d usually pay but we’ve balanced the budget by choosing varying prices on all four properties.  For the listing on this cottage, please click here.
For more details from this post, please click here.

Battening down the hatches…Cyclone Nisarga is on her way to Mumbai within the hour…

Nisarga Cyclone Live Tracking: Know The Current Location of Cyclone, Get Movement Alerts
This morning’s weather map of the anticipated course of Cyclone Nisagra. As you can see Mumbai is located on the map in the dark green area indicated as the path of the cyclone.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

It’s morning in Mumbai, June 3, 2020. Cyclone (hurricane) Nisarga is expected to make landfall in Mumbai in the next few hours. There’s literally nothing we can do other than to stay put in our hotel room, away from the full wall of glass windows, heading out to the corridor if it becomes dangerous to our safety.


At this point, with varying news reports online, each stating different information, we have no idea as to the specifics other than what we feel is accurate on IndiaToday TV news.


There hasn’t been a cyclone of this magnitude in Mumbai in 129 years. As a result, disaster control may not have the necessary experience in handling this type of disaster. However, it appears they’ve evacuated almost 100,000 people living in high-risk areas where their homes consist of tents, huts, and lean-to type properties. 


This leaves millions of citizens in danger who reside in less sturdy buildings whose roofs and entire properties may be subject to the ravages of this untimely disaster.


Covid-19 patients in tents and less secure properties have been relocated to areas with generators to ensure ventilators and other mechanical life-support systems are protected by the use of generators.


Last night, we called the reception staff to inquire if the hotel is protected with generators. As most major hotels, they assured us we will have a continuous power source if the local infrastructure fails during the storm and thereafter.


However, there is no guarantee that WiFi will continue if local towers are felled during high winds, expected as high as 125 km, 78 miles per hour, or more, with definitive speculations unknown at this time.


Last night, after we’d gone to bed while watching the news, we got up at midnight and packed, in the event we’d have to evacuate in a hurry. We doubt this is a possibility. 


On the fourth floor of this large 334 room hotel, we’re anticipating we’ll be safe, although we’re fairly close to the Arabian Sea from where Cyclone Nisarga is rapidly gaining speed and intensity.


On the news at the moment is a video of the thousands of fishing boat owners getting into the sea to further secure their boats, covering them with makeshift tarps and coverings. This is their livelihood. Losing their boats to this storm will only be yet another disaster after Covid-19 has left so many poor families suffering.


We’re not adding any online news reports to today’s post when each publication is vastly different from others, except for the following, seeming factual information from this site which doesn’t allow me to copy and paste their story.


Instead, as we watch the TV news we feel well informed as to the progression of the storm. The area most at risk where the “eye” of the cyclone will hit, is Alihab, a mere 90 km, 56 miles from the center of Mumbai. The cyclone itself is over 125 km, 78 miles wide. 


Thus, if the cyclone eye hits its exact anticipated target of Alibab, a suburb of Mumbai, this area will be greatly impacted  As we know of hurricanes, cyclones, and storms, their path can change at any point.


As I upload today’s post shortly after 12:00 pm., we’ve begun to feel the beginnings of the storm. In an hour or more from now, the full brunt of the storm will reveal itself. It’s raining heavily at the moment but the winds are yet to come.


If, over the next several days, you don’t see a post from us, please know, as soon as we are able, we’ll be back online.


Prayers for all the people of India and the world, on this frightening day, during these frightening times in our lives.

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Photo from one year ago today, June 3, 2019:

What an adorable Poll Dorset lamb on the property on the farm we rented in Devon, England, one year ago. Please click here for more details.

Update: Cyclone (hurricane) hitting Mumbai within 24 hours…Just in case..

Dear Readers,
In the event you do not see a post from us tomorrow or days beyond, it will be due to WiFi and/or power outage. A powerful cyclone (same as a hurricane) is expected to make landfall in Mumbai in the next 24 hours. 

A cyclone hasn’t hit Mumbai in a decade. Go figure.

We will return with a post immediately upon the restoration of services. To all our Mumbai and Indian readers, may you stay safe along with us. Please write to us with updates from your area once the WiFi service is restored.

Please see yesterday’s full post below or here.God speed.

Jess & Tom

Costa Rica’s devastation from tropical cyclone Nate with photos….

Although a few trees were lost on the grounds of the villa after Hurricane Nate, the many beautiful plants such as this Bromeliad and other flowers have survived, flourishing in the sun that’s finally appeared for a few hours each morning.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A heartbreaking 11 souls perished in Costa Rica during Tropical Cyclone Nate over this past week.  Also, on October 6, the hurricane caused at least 38 deaths: 16 in Nicaragua, 7 in Panama, 3 in Honduras, and 1 in El Salvador.

From this site:
“Hurricane Nate was a tropical cyclone that impacted the Gulf Coast of the United States in October 2017. The fourteenth named storm and the ninth hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Nate, originated from a broad area of low pressure over the southwestern Caribbean on October 3rd.

A red alert was issued in neighboring Costa Rica for the Central Valley, Pacific coast, and Huetar Norte Region, while the Caribbean coast was under yellow warning. In the canton of Oreamuno, Cartago Province, a bridge and part of a riverside house succumbed to the forces of a swollen river. Flooding throughout the country has been described as the worst in recent years and led to at least 11 deaths, with two people missing. Approximately 11,300 residents were being housed in shelters. President Luis Guillermo Solís declared a national day of mourning on October 6th.”

We are located in the Central Valley, as mentioned above.  We spent days hunkered down, indoors and safe high on a hill from the ravages of the storm. So many of our friends/readers and family members contacted us to ensure we were safe, which we were. 

Other than the inconvenience of a few power outages, we stayed safely indoors, frequently peering out the glass walls of this house as the storm moved through over several days. Our only concern for our safety during the storm was the possibility of landslides throughout the valley.  Fortunately, our immediate location was spared.  Never in our travels have we experienced such non-stop heavy rains with howling winds. 

With the utmost of respect and condolences for the people of Costa Rica today, we share the photos from the CR Post, dated October 5, 2017. We pray for those who lost their lives and their families and for those who were injured and lost their homes.

With the rainy season continuing, we must admit we do miss entire days of sunshine. But, rather than focus on bad weather, we’ve become passionate about bird watching, more than anywhere in our past travels. There were too many photos from the CR Post to publish today, but we’ve included as many as possible.  (Wi-Fi limitations affect how many photos we can post).

Many times each day, we’re dashing from one spot on the veranda to another as we are beckoned by the call of a bird we may not have heard in past days.  We’ve found we have an automatic alarm clock, a yellow-breasted Social Flycatcher who descends on the veranda railing outside our bedroom door and makes so much noise we’re awakened every morning around 5:15. 

Of course, now we’re obsessed with spotting another Toucan when the owners of this property, Bev and Sam, and our neighbor Charlie both have stated they’ve yet to see one in the yard. Humm…safari luck. More of that yet to come!

May you have a safe day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 9, 2016:

A fisherman on the beach in Bali after pulling in his nets, most likely filled with squid.  For more photos, please click here.

Technology dwindling…Tomorrow’s trip to Australian Immigration…

Volleyball competitors warming up for tournaments.

Hurricane/Cyclone Debbie is building strength expected to hit Queensland’s coast on Tuesday morning (48 hours from now). Unfortunately, for our thoughtful and concerned readers, this is nowhere close to our location.

In the US, it’s comparable to a hurricane coming ashore in New England, with us being in Georgia at the time resulting in no risk for us in this area. However, we pray for the safety and well-being of all Australian residents as they “batten down the hatches” in preparation for this building cyclone.

There were many lifeguards on the beach ready for action if necessary.

On to yesterday’s activities, including a trip to the computer repair store in Manly…Bob dropped us at the computer repair shop in Manly shortly after they opened at 9:00 am. He wanted to stay and wait while we went inside to drive us to our next stop.

Lots of bathers and surfers enjoying the morning surf.

We appreciated his kind offer, but we knew we’d manage fine on our own. We were quite a distance from the outdoor mall, the Corso, in Manly, where we planned to stop at a pharmacy for a few items if we had to leave the country tomorrow after our morning appointment at the Australia Immigration Office. 

There was a heavy cloud cover with occasional peeks of the sun through the clouds.

At least we’d have enough products with us if we’re unable to return to Australia before the cruise on April 22nd. As the time approaches, it’s a daunting thought, now only 24 hours away. I wonder how much sleep we’ll get tonight. 

As much as we’d like to let such thoughts escape us today and tonight, it’s difficult to ignore.  Having had these two weeks to imagine the possibilities, we’ve had ample time to digest and contemplate what may transpire.

Families at the beach playground reveling in fact it wasn’t raining for the first time in weeks.

As to yesterday’s trip to the computer store…we paid an AU 55, US $42 diagnostic fee when we left the laptop, told to call at noon to see what could or could not be done to repair it. 

Many luxury condos and apartments line the beach road with small units beginning well over a million dollars.

We left the shop hopeful the problem was repairable with the major concern of repairing it. Would we get it back by Monday, in case we’re required to leave the country?

We reframed our thinking, hoping to gear up for a positive day, and began the long walk along Manly Beach’s esplanade to be thrilled to see the level of activity and excitement in the popular beach area. A popular annual volleyball tournament was in full swing, along with the biggest rash of surfers and swimmers we’d seen anywhere in the world at any given time.

Volleyball on Manly Beach.

As we made our way to the Corso outdoor mall, we enjoyed the walk. Lately, we’d hardly walked much with all the rain keeping us indoors. Checking my FitBit several times a day, I’ve been disappointed with how few steps my device has logged over these past few weeks.

Man and child making sandcastles on the beach.

Yesterday, we logged nearly 10,000 steps when later in the day, Bob insisted on taking us out for some sightseeing, during which we took many great photos along with those from the morning walk.

After a stop at the pharmacy in the Corso, we continued to walk toward the wharf where we hoped to catch the free Hop, Skip, Jump bus that would take us back to our Fairlight neighborhood, requiring more walking to reach our holiday rental.

More surfers in the water.

Upon our return, it was almost noon. We called Ben at the computer store, only to be told Tom’s laptop was deader than a doornail. There was no way to repair it without incurring more cost than a new laptop. This was not good news.

Schedule of tournaments for the annual Volley Fest event in Manly Beach.

With our missing shipment from the US, which included my new smartphone, and now, with Tom no longer having a laptop, we’re down to only two significant devices. Between us, we between only one laptop and one phone. Ouch.

Entrance to Volley Fest activities.

After we discover our fate tomorrow at the immigration office and if we’re allowed to stay in Australia, we’ll order a new laptop to be shipped here to us, insured with guaranteed three-day delivery, entirely possible from the USA to Australia. 

Lone surfer on Manly Beach while sun peeking through the clouds.

Of course, we’ll pay a premium for expedited and insured shipping, which we’re willing to bear when the alternative is buying locally at considerably higher prices along with modifications suitable for Australia, not the USA. 

Tomorrow, our post will be live later in the day after we return from immigration, especially if “safari luck” kicks in. On the other hand, if we have to leave promptly, we’ll post a short notice and will do a complete post once we arrive at the new out-of-the-country destination. Either way, no more than five hours later than usual, some posts will be uploaded on our current status.

Bleachers where spectators can watch the competition.

Please keep your fingers crossed for us! Back at you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2016:

Our favorite cria, Mont Blanc, wasn’t gaining weight, although occasionally, he’d munch on a bit of vegetation. We watched his progress daily, only to a sorrowful end some weeks later. For more details, please click here.