View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunday 21 August

I'm pleased to see so many people remembering the old J-land community, which lives on in a different shape on some people's blogs and Facebook accounts. There are some folk who do not believe in on-line communities, or "life on-line" in general. But there is genuine empathy in J-land as it exists today, so I'm happy to continue as is.

I have kept a quiet day today, watching an outrageous rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance on satellite TV and monitoring tropical storms Harvey and Irene in the Atlantic Ocean.

I'm pleased that Gaddafi appears to be on the way out, although I'm not prepared to sell that particular bear's hide until he's been taken out of the way. I do not condone killing people, even an evil b*****d like him. That would be the easy way out, and let him get away without giving account of his actions over the past six months.

St Maarten / Saint Martin

This small island lies in the far east of the Caribbean, and is currently being lashed by tropical storm Irene. What strikes me is that in the 2100 GMT advisory on the National Hurricane Center's website, the northern half of the island is subject to a tropical storm warning, but the southern half is not. The northern half is French, the southern half belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, government based in the island of Curacao.

Saturday 20 August

Today saw me busy with hurricane updates, and up to 8 systems to monitor. Only two fully fledged tropical cyclones, the rest embryonic ones. I have also been occupied with tomorrow's 8th anniversary of J-land, the community of bloggers that I was part of between 2005 and its demise in 2008. Its remnant now continues on Facebook and partly on Blogger.

The weather was decidedly autumnal, with heavy showers and strong winds. Here in the Western Isles, summer is definitely over. Two things standing out in the news here: the controversy surrounding the guga hunt, with our MP sailing with the group of hunters to Sula Sgeir (but going straight back to mainland Lewis after they set foot on the island); and the implementation of a marine area of conservation east of Mingulay. The fishermen of Barra are very unhappy about that, as it will curtail their activities. The SAC has been put in place to protect an area of cold-water coral south of Barra (and east of Mingulay), which the creel fishermen say would not be damaged by creels - for reference, creels are used for catching crabs and lobsters.

Hurricane update - 21 August

Tropical storm Irene has formed and is currently moving through the Lesser Antilles, in the far east of the Caribbean. The system will intensify to a hurricane before moving over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. After passage over Cuba, Irene will blow up to at least a category I hurricane before coming ashore in the extreme south of mainland Florida. This is likely to occur on Thursday of the coming week.

If you are in the storm's path, please follow the NHC output on Irene, which has updates every 3 hours.

Anniversary entry

Today, 21 August, it is 8 years ago since AOL opened its blogging service AOL Journals. They closed it down a little over 5 years later, on 31 October 2008. I have been blogging away here on Atlantic Lines since early October 2008, and find I have decreased my output quite a lot. My activities on Twitter and Facebook are largely to blame for that, and I can see that our community has broadly moved to Facebook. Some of us still keep a blog, but I was quite amazed this morning to find people who had mislaid the URL to their blog - in other words, had not updated it for a while. OK, we all have life off-line to get on with, I do grant you.

I started keeping a journal on 8 October 2004, when I was on my travels round western Scotland. The youth hostel at Kyleakin has long since closed down, and it was a little over a month later that I came to Lewis, crossing from Berneray and North Uist on the little ferry to Leverburgh. In February 2005, I settled in Stornoway and after a while became involved with J-land. Initially through the VIVI-awards (courtesy Vivian Sullivan Nwankpah, who I recently found on Facebook), latterly through the trials and tribulations of J-land members. At which point I should immediately add that it was moral support from your good selves that helped me in no mean fashion in May '08 and after, following the death of my mother.

The transfer from AOL to Blogger in the autumn of 2008 lost us a good few bloggers, but Facebook has helped to pull many of us back together again.

J-land as we knew it is no more, but it has morphed into something new courtesy of Facebook. Let's hope we stick together, and continue to be here for each other in years to come.