Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boy is it Dark!

Living where we do in an isolated spot on the island has advantages that I believe I have covered before. The one big thing is that when it gets dark, it is dark! You can see more stars than imaginable and when the full moon shines it is like a wonderland.

During November, when the fireflies seem to be at their busiest, we sit on the porch in the evening and watch them dancing to and fro. Fruit bats swoop in and out of our porch and whenever we have an evening rain shower, the frogs are in full chorus.

Since we have solar power we are, of course, conservative about the use of our electricity and at night usually have no more than one light on in the house. We don't need any more since our bathroom is right off the bedroom and there is sufficient light to see our way to it if nature calls.

The downside of solar (and believe me I love solar power) is that on rainy days (especially if there are overcast days 2-3 days in a row), we must run our generator for 3 hours a day to get the batteries up to full capacity. Normally this is not a problem. However, and there's that word, yesterday proved to be a rain-filled day so my husband went out to crank up the generator early in the day.

Lo and behold, it would not crank. Not a murmer. Since it had not been a very long since the last time we had it running, my husband was surprised when he was met with silence. Not a click, not a buzz, not a sound to indicate any power was getting from the battery to the switch to the generator.

Well, he immediately set to the task of finding out what the problem was as our batteries were low and we needed to charge them up. After about an hour or more he announced that it could be one of two things; the starter switch was out or the starter motor, both of which could present a problem in obtaining a replacement.

As the day wore on and he was no where near finding a solution, we assessed our circumstances and I started getting out the candles!

Now, I normally keep candles on each step to the second floor for romantic evenings when we want to enjoy the beauty of a candlelit evening. This is how our stairway looks (on the left) in full light with the candles on the stairs and on the right when evening is settling in.

I keep candles in an open space above each window, also for effect, and when they are all lit it gives a lovely warm glow to the room.

Because it was close to dinner time I had to put candles at strategic places in the kitchen so I could see to cook and on the table so we could see to eat. As it got darker, I added more candles so we could see better.

Soon, I had candles lit in the living area, the bedroom and the bathroom, as you can see from the photos.

When we retired to the bedroom, there being nothing we could do, not even read, we simply laid back and enjoyed the beauty of the room bathed in soft, golden colors. It gave us a chance to reminisce about days gone by, our experiences during High School and College and things in general. It was a delightful and peaceful evening over all.

The next day, my husband was up bright and early and back to solving the problem. One night in the dark is about all we were conditioned for as we needed power to run the freezer and refrigerator and water pump!

After what seemed like hours and with some help from our friend, Ronnie, who dropped by to see what he could do to solve the problem, it was finally solved. It was indeed the starter switch and by hot-wiring the unit, my husband and Ronnie got the generator going again.

So, I can now cook meals with sufficient light so that I will not burn myself and when I drop something I can see what kind of mess I've made! The refrigerator and freezer were turned back on, the batteries charged up and we had Internet access so that I could write in my Blog about our latest emergency.

All in all, a night in the dark was pleasant and gave us the opportunity to step back, relax and appreciate nature and the beauty of the night!

P.S. I am sure there will be comments about the "romance" of the evening, but that was a foregone conclusion!


  1. We also get to experience the frustration and beauty of candlit/headlamp evenings. Because we live at the "end of the line" our power is always last to turn on. And because of the many trees it goes off often.

  2. Dear Sharon:

    That was a beautiful blog. I could just picture your home in the candle light. I remember the first time I was at your house and you lit all of the candles in the living area. It was so beautiful. I loved the pictures and your prose was wonderful.

    Keep up the good writing!


  3. We've searched the internet over the past 12 years for information on Guanaja and other places we visited on the mainland but have mostly come up empty handed, until now! I am thrilled to see the updates on the island through your blog. Thank you, Thank you for sharing! The biggest surprise is the new airport.

    We would love to know what happened to Bayman Bay? Is there any structure left after Mitch.
    Your new fan ,
    Jill Van Buren