Monday, September 2, 2013

Dolphin Defense

Here in the Turks and Caicos Islands we have a long history of protecting dolphins and this community wants it to stay that way.  Last November I wrote this Call for letters to Governor and Planning and sadly nearly a year later we are still trying to halt having dolphins in captivity in this country.  For this to happen we need your help.  A message from TC Reef's Don Stark
Please Help us Say “No to Captive Dolphins in the Turks and Caicos”

The Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) have long been a safe haven for wild dolphins. Our laws forbade the holding of marine mammals in captivity. In fact, when the United Kingdom was closing its dolphinariums in the early 1990’s, three of the remaining captive dolphins were airlifted to the TCI for their rehabilitation and release into the wild in the waters of the TCI.

That all changed in October 2012 when the Governor unilaterally changed the laws of the TCI to allow the importation and keeping of captive dolphins, in order to allow Dolphin Cove Ltd, a company based in Jamaica, to open a “Swim with a Dolphin” business on the south side of Providenciales in the TCI.

On January 31, 2013 four Not-for-Profit organizations, The Provo Chamber of Commerce, Pride Ltd, the TCSPCA and the TC Reef Fund, united to pursue legal action by way of a Judicial Review against the Governor over his decision to amend the TCI Fisheries Protection Ordinance. His decision has caused a public outcry from residents, TCI businesses, tourists and international animal welfare groups around the world.

Letters of protest have been written to the Governor and the Planning Department, to news papers and blogs. Petitions have been signed, one international petition with over 13,000 signatures. Kudos goes to individuals and groups who have worked tirelessly to change the Governor’s mind but with no success. So, as it stands now, we have a regulation allowing an activity that:

• is abhorrent to anyone who knows or has spent time with these magnificent animals,

• threatens our market brand “Beautiful by Nature”, and

• places this country in jeopardy of losing many visitors and potential home owners who have already said that they would go elsewhere if captive dolphins were allowed in TCI.

Even if Dolphin Cove does not succeed in its bid, as long as this regulation is part of our laws there will be another company looking to do the same thing.

The Judge of the Supreme Court has agreed to hear our case. The Governor may have the power to change laws but he is still subject to our 2011 Constitution which states that any decision made by a law-maker must be 'legal, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair'. We believe he violated these principals. If the Judge agrees with us the amendment will be ‘quashed’ and our Ordinance will revert to its original purpose, that of protecting all marine mammals in Turks and Caicos waters.

Many dolphins have lost their lives and continue to do so to supply these captive dolphin businesses. We owe them their day in court. This will most likely be a lengthy and costly process which we will be unable to pursue without financial support from those of you who care. Our goal is to raise $60,000 to cover our estimated legal costs. Each charity has set up a fund specifically for this purpose. Your donation, no matter the size, will give dolphins a voice they would otherwise not have had in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We need your donation now!


Please visit Dolphin Defense Fund and make a donation, every single dollar counts! If you don't have a few dollars to spare, please sign the Petition to Stop the New Dolphinarium AND the Petition to Urge Carnival Cruise Lines to not offer tours with Captive Dolphins.  Putting pressure on Carnival Cruise Lines may well be the best way to halt the proposed Dolphinarium in Grand Turk.  Without the cruise ship clientele there is no possibility of such a business venture succeeding.

Image by Cecilia Holden via Dolphin Defense Funds facebook page

  Yesterday, Saturday September 1, my family along with other TCI residents marched in protest against dolphin slaughters and captive dolphins around the world.   I agree with the words of organizer Sara Alexandra Skye:
Big thanks to everyone who joined us yesterday on the beach walk in protest against brutal murders of dolphin families and capture of select ones for dolphinariums.

There were 110 places worldwide who joined in this protest. The main killing goes on in Taiji, Japan, where dolphins are driven to exhaustion, then pulled into boats, stabbed or have corks hammered into their breathing holes.

The anti - dolphin attraction movement worldwide is growing: already 70 such places of pain and torture have been either closed or never opened, due to international pressure.

Four petitions against such a thing have attracted 80,000 signatures. Our existing and returning tourists both in Provo and Grand Turk express horror and disgust at such a cruelty - in their words: "we come here for Beautiful by Nature" and we enjoy swimming with free dolphins and rays and turtles. If this happens, we shall not return"

SeaWorld in the US reported a LOSS in second quarter: after a lot of protests, picketing and petitions, and after the film BLACKFISH came out. This film exposed the cruel practices behind the cetacean captivity. Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures who live in families, call each other by name and recognize each other after long periods of time. They take care of their babies and protect each other. They have saved humans and other species after boat accidents. We can swim with JoJo and his family and friends FREE in the biggest open aquarium in the world!

Ric O'Barry, the man who started dolphinariums in the first place, is currently their biggest opponent. Let' s join up with him! Perhaps we could continue in the programme of releasing dolphins back into the wild after they were kept captive like we did with three beautiful creatures back in 1991.

Let us not support something that will give us a really bad name and bad publicity worldwide.

Let us, instead, concentrate on eco tourism: TCI is a perfect location and people around the world LOVE our pristine beaches and amazing coral reefs with abundant sealife.

Let us not allow dolphinariums, long line fishing, let us get clean, renewable energy from solar and wind resources. Let us put up moorings for our boats so we don't damage corals. Let us clean up our beaches and streets, let us create small businesses to support tourism. Let us make our airports beautiful.

Let us promote to new markets: we have already started with Brazil.
Brazil banned dolphin captivity in 1991 - they would be unimpressed to find out that we are supporting this.

Let us create street art. Let us recycle. Let us be GREEN. Let us be BEAUTIFUL BY NATURE!
Please visit the Dolphin Defense Funds facebook page to read more about why all dolphin slaughters and dolphinariums should be STOPPED. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

 Image via pinterest

We are about to hit the beach and see what all the resorts are up to with their various beach parties.  When I first moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands, this day would go by without a hint of red, white, and blue but now the island seems to be catching the 4th fever! 

 Image via birchandbird

I hope my fellow Americans have enjoyed the day, are looking forward to the rest of the weekend, and have taken a moment to be thankful for your many freedoms!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

As I mentioned in the last post, big changes have been on our horizon for the last couple of months.  Last Thursday, the giant event we had been waiting 40 weeks for . . . our baby's arrival!   We are incredibly thankful and feel tremendously blessed that we now have a perfectly healthy and thriving squirmy little bundle to hold in our arms.  We had a welcome party, our island family, bring us dinner and well wishes last night at our new place and it has been such fun to introduce her to her far away family via skype this afternoon.   Here is daddy on the video call to grandma and Aunt Nancy in Montreal.

Melts my heart!   My love, you are going to be the best dad!  I trust that our next decade as a family will somehow be even more amazing than our journey together as partners over the last.  I would wish you a Happy First Father's Day but I know you have already have had it, I see the joy written all over your handsome face.

Now that I have officially kissed that baby bump/belly goodbye, I'll share these beautiful maternity photos that my dear friend, and new mommy herself, Chanelle took of us just before we passed the golden keys to our beloved Fleur de Lys Villa to the new owners.  Please visit the adorable ontobaby blog to see the full spread!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Big News & The Big Move

 It's shameful how long I have been neglecting this blog but I can finally explain the reasons why . .
drumroll please . . . . 

I finally have a HOME WEBSITE!!!!

It has always been a challenge to explain what I do professionally, now I don't need to bumble and stumble on words to try to summarize.  At long last there is a comprehensive portfolio that demonstrates the various work that I do.  Please stop by the brand spanking new website, Stacie and take a peek.  With the new site comes the new blog and I would love YOUR advice!  I have miraculously managed (please read below) to import all 365 posts here on Pepper & Pikey to the new blog so the question is, do I cease writing here and carry on solely over there?  OR do I keep the Turks and Caicos content; the Field Guide Friday posts, the fundraisers, local events, travel entries, personal news, etc right here and post all TC Millwork projects and work related content on the new blog?   Please post a comment below with your thoughts!

There are many other reasons for my long absence from blogging, a few major life events that I am still grappling with and a few more I am still expecting!  Please read my first post on the new blog below:

Magic quote via pinterest
 Image via pinterest
After weeks of procrastination, months of asking various individuals advice, it's done and I can't believe how simple it was.  My very own website had been a back burner project for many years, it's near completion almost a month ago only demanded resolution of the blog.  I had been blogging via blogger since March of 2010 and loved the user friendliness and comfort of knowing the ropes.  365 posts on Pepper Key Stacie had me torn.  Do I start all over here?  Do I try to transfer the old blog to the new wordpress site?  That sounded like a brilliant idea but many tech savvy people said it would be a nightmare.  So I dragged my feet, and with selling Fleur de Lys Villa, finding a house to rent, packing, moving, all while 8-9 months pregnant, there was plenty to keep busy and distracted from blogging with.  With one week to due date and the last thing to tick off the list, I finally tackled the challenge.  Mind you as of this morning I still had not a clue what to do or where to start but I thought it fitting that today's public holiday here in the Turks and Caicos, the Queen's Official Birthday, was as good a day as any to figure out this royal problem.   By this afternoon, just as I was about to give up, I found my miracle;  "How I Moved My Blogger Blog to Wordpress" and within an hour it was done.  Like magic.  Sure there is some formatting and figuring out to do but all that content is now here!  I feel like The Magic Grinder has just granted my wish.  Thank you Computer Guru!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Turks and Caicos Animal Welfare Fundraiser Postponed until June 16th - Image ad
 Image via enews

Image via facebook

Sunday May 26th rained on our parade but luckily a backup plan has been organised!  Sunday June 16th is the day so please come out and support this direly needed program!  Please read above for all the details but for those not on island or who can not make it to Somewhere this Sunday, please check out the Online Auction Form where you can bid on the Elite Golf Package, a one week stay at Windrose Beach House, or the Luxury Stay at the exclusive Amanyara Resort!  Click here for a link to a letter outlining the fundraising cause.

PS-Please forgive my terribly long absence (a full month!) but many changes/big news is on the horizon so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kelly Isle Interior Decor Inspiration

Kelly Isle Kitchen inspiration, images via greigedesiretoinspirekvriver

I am working on a brand new build in Kelly Isle, a contemporary canal home which is a blank white canvas I hope to fill with a few dark details, lots of texture, and plenty of casual coastal white and nuetral tones.  The focal point of the kitchen will be a large central island with the subtle grey and walnut striation finish pictured bottom right.  Sleek bar stools will tie in with the state of the art sub-zero appliances and open shelving will host well designed necessities like these.

 Kelly Isle Living Room Inspirations above and below, images via desiretoinspire, coastalliving, daniellawitte, greige, birchandbird, designsponge, templeandwebster

 I am thinking along the lines of white slip covered sofas paired with ocean grey upholstered chairs and a large jute area rug for the main living room elements.  Natural woods tones and industrial style will play a part in the side tables, coffee table, art, and accessories.

Kelly Isle Upstairs inspirations, images via wherethesidewalkbegins, beachchicdesign, desiretoinspire, designsponge, pinterest, paloma81

The upper level contains the master bedroom, two baths, a nursery, and the office areas.  Nuetral linens, statement rugs, and key contemporary furnishings will continue the style from the main floor.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Image via staugustine

 So often when it comes to reporting on the environment, it's a heavy message of grey gloom and impending doom.  But today we get to celebrate Earth Day 2013 and celebrate the billion acts of green and beyond that millions of people worldwide are taking action to protect and preserve our planet.  This year, on the 43rd anniversary, we view

Image via

Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change
"Climate change has many faces.
A man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise, a farmer in Kansas struggling to make ends meet as prolonged drought ravages the crops, a fisherman on the Niger River whose nets often come up empty, a child in New Jersey who lost her home to a super-storm, a woman in Bangladesh who can’t get fresh water due to more frequent flooding and cyclones…
And they’re not only human faces.
They’re the polar bear in the melting arctic, the tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests, the right whale in plankton-poor parts of the warming North Atlantic, the orangutan in Indonesian forests segmented by more frequent bushfires and droughts…
These faces of climate change are multiplying every day.
For many, climate change can often seem remote and hazy – a vague and complex problem far off in the distance that our grandchildren may have to solve. But that’s only because they’re still fortunate enough to be insulated from its mounting consequences. Climate change has very real effects on people, animals, and the ecosystems and natural resources on which we all depend. Left unchecked, they’ll spread like wildfire.
Luckily, other faces of climate change are also multiplying every day.
Every person who does his or her part to fix the problem is also a Face of Climate Change: the entrepreneurs who see opportunity in creating the new green economy, the activists who organize community action and awareness campaigns, the engineers who design the clean technology of the future, the public servants who fight for climate change laws and for mitigation efforts, the ordinary people who commit to living sustainably…
On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. From Beijing to Cairo, Melbourne to London, Rio to Johannesburg, New Delhi to New York, communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. We’ll harness that power to show the world The Face of Climate Change. And we’ll call on our leaders to act boldly together, as we have, in this pivotal year.
Between now and Earth Day, we’ll collect and display images of people, animals, and places directly affected or threatened by climate change – as well as images of people stepping up to do something about it. We’ll tell the world their stories. But we need your help. We need you to be climate reporters. So, send us your pictures and stories that show The Face of Climate Change.
On and around Earth Day, an interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of events around the world, including next to federal government buildings in countries that produce the most carbon pollution. The display will also be made available online to anyone who wants to view or show it.
Together, we’ll highlight the solutions and showcase the collective power of individuals taking action across the world. In doing so, we hope to inspire our leaders to act and inspire ourselves to redouble our efforts in the fight against climate change."

  (text from

To be inspired and uplifted, view the faces from all over the world working for change at theadvocator.  Locally in the Turks and Caicos we celebrated with the TCI Shines Clean Up Campaign last Saturday.  To learn more about the history of Earth Day, please click here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Contemporary Island Wedding Inspiration

Met a darling British couple last week looking for a stylist for their small but elegant December wedding.   I put together a couple of inspiration boards based on the relayed description of their style; contemporary and sleek with a color palette of bright white, silver, grey, and platinum.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day with TCI Shines April 20!

tci shines
Dear Stacie,

Earth Day is here once again!
As part of our efforts to keep the island of Providenciales clean, we invite you to participate in our 5th annual TCI Shines Clean-up Campaign, on Saturday, 20th April 2013 at 6:30 a.m.

Volunteers are asked to meet at their selected zones to start the clean up from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Join us at The Children's Park in The Bight afterwards for a short presentation and refreshments.
As is customary, we will work in teams,  attached below is a list of the zones:-


You will notice that Amanyara has already confirmed their participation and have selected zone 1. Please advise us of your selection and the number of volunteers who will be a part of your team.

It would be appreciated if you could donate bottled water, gloves, garbage bags, hamburgers and hot dogs.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

NT signature
Nicholette Thomas
Tel: 649-941-5787

Friday, April 12, 2013

Field Guide Friday - Butterfly Weed

Images via B. Naqqi Manco

Asclepias Curassavica, locally known as butterfly weed, is a flowering plant in the milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae.  As one would guess, the sap of this plant is milky (and rumored to be poisonous, especially damaging to the eyes).  It's local name references it's attractiveness to butterflies, as well as birds and bees, who like to visit the blossoms.  It is a nice addition to a flower garden, typically growing 2-4' tall and flowering from spring until fall.  I love the wispy nature of these flyaway seed pods, so pretty!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Nearly three weeks ago my husband found a little blonde potcake puppy on the road (luckily a non busy stretch in the early morning near the Conch Farm), all on her lonesome, filthy, and so scared she ran under the car when my husband pulled over to investigate.  He scooped her up without much trouble and whisked her back to the house where she promptly received a bath, and plenty of food and water.   


We have loved welcoming this little bundle of fluff and big brown expressive eyes into our lives, but the time has come for her to leave us foster parents.  Please contact Potcake Place if you think Cupid may be a right new member for your home!

Cupid is now 8 weeks and ready to adopt! She has been such a joy to watch come out of her shy shell. Her first two days she wanted nothing more than to nuzzle next to you and bury her head under your arm or foot but now she is a confident, full energy, little lovergirl! She has been cohabiting well with a mature dog and cat, and is now fully potty trained and sleeps through the night!! Cupid will be a super loyal dog, she prefers to stay with you in sight at all times versus wandering and is a nice little alarm system already for cars coming in the drive. Cupid is looking for her forever home!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Field Guide Friday - Big Sage Lantana

Image via wildernessarena 

In honor of Easter, Lantana Camara, Big Sage, or West Indian Sage, the only species to date that reminds me of candy.  The clustered flowers come in a kaleidoscope of colors, some varieties all on the same bloom, from white to purple, yellow, red, pink, orange, even blue.  I love the strong fragrance of this plant; the flowers, the leaves, the stems, everything is highly aromatic.  But though you may be tempted to a little taste of this lovely, be aware, the entire plant is highly toxic!  The green berries are the most poisonous and can actually be fatal to humans or animals. 

Image via b. Naqqi Manco

This species, part of the Verbenaceae (Verbena family), is a small tropical perennial shrub that may grow up to ten feet.  The stem and leaves are hairy and the species is known for it's hardy nature, even considered invasive in some parts of the world.  It likes full sun and well drained sandy soil, has some salt tolerance, and is known to revive after you may think it dead (another reason it is appropriate for Easter).  It requires little water, is mostly immune to pests or disease, and has extreme heat tolerance, to the fact of being called fire resistant.  It will grow and quickly colonize burnt areas. The flowers bloom all year long and will attract butterflies to the garden to pollinate, or as you see below, hummingbirds.

Above and below images via one of our Fleur de Lys Villa guests, Mathew, in the courtyard last February.

Based on the coloring I would guess this is a male Bahama Woodstar hummingbird. 

Our current guests, also bird watching enthusiasts, we bid farewell to today as the head back home to British Columbia.  This family has been a real treat to host at the villa, they really enjoyed all the nature surrounding Fleur de Lys and Turks and Caicos.  Much gratitude to the Radley's, bon voyage and we hope to welcome you back to Turks and Caicos in the future.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Progress and Impediments to TCI Marine Environment

Image via wildoceans
Last June I was interviewed by Amdeep Sanghera as part of a Marine Conservation Society funded study to determine key marine conservation issues affecting the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Last evening a small group of individuals and I attended a meeting at DEMA to hear about the results of those findings and enter into discussion on possible solutions.  The largest concerns of the overall study were 1.Decline in conch, lobster, and reef fish 2.Damaging development and water activities 3.Lack of enforcement of existing laws and legislation. Our group came up with several great ideas; an adopt a dive or snorkel mooring initiative, an artificial reef initiative, increased signage within the national parks, a fish certification scheme coordinated between local restaurants and fishermen, workshops on eco-minded fishing and lobster catching practices, a DEMA officer of the month rewards program, a volunteer warden program, an incentive program for local businesses to be DEMA certified operators, and an awareness campaign via a list of top ten tips for conservation practices here in the Turks and Caicos that would be published and broadcast throughout the country for all visitors and residents alike.  We are looking for YOUR ideas!  What do you think can be done to conserve our environment?  What would be on your top ten list of tips? 

The Thursday Night Fish Fry is a superb example of how connected our marine environment is connected to our vital tourism industry here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  CNN has just published a fantastic article, Fish Fry Bridges Tourist-Local Gap in Turks and Caicos, but as importantly, it forms an alliance between the environmental community and the tourism community.  This allegiance needs to be strengthened and solidified so these co-dependent sectors can sustain one another.   We need to keep our oceans healthy, to keep our marine species thriving and their habitats safe and a new threat has just surfaced. 

 Image via sustainablesushi

From the thepetitionsite:

"The Turks and Caicos Islands, known throughout the world for their pristine beaches and diverse marine wildlife, is being threatened by a project which seeks to determine the viability of a commercial pelagic fishery in their waters. This exercise will open Turks and Caicos waters to long-line commercial fishing vessels. This indiscriminate method causes depleted fish stocks and excessive incidental catch, including sea turtles and billfish . Pelagic long-line commercial fishing is incompatible with the Turks and Caicos Islands’ unique marine waters that provide healthy ecosystems for marine species and our “Beautiful by Nature” mantra.  Good conservation and responsible use of our marine resources are the true “sustainable” methods; ours is more than a label, it is a way of life."

 Furthermore, local resident and expert Delphine Hartshorn, writes, "Whether this is just a study or not, we must not allow longlines to enter our waters. Incidental, or unwanted, catch will threaten our billfish, turtle, shark and marine mammal populations as well as seabirds. 97% of blue marlin and 93% or white marlin are overfished as a direct result of pelagic longline commercial fishing. Those supporting longlining will argue that bycatch is released live, however, the majority will not survive after the stress and injuries caused from being hooked and dragged for 8 hours or more before release. The particular firm involved here will also argue that they hold MSC certification as a sustainable fishery. More than one quarter of MSC certified fisheries have been deemed unsustainable and out of 71 that were examined, 31% were concluded to be overfished and subject to continued overfishing. If this certification is so stringent in it's guidelines then why were 189 out of 200 applicants granted certificates? It is merely a marketing tool that allows uninformed consumers to feel they are making sustainable choices when buying fish and for fisheries that are not sustainable to make the claim. A viable solution would be to review the existing fisheries ordinance and allow charter boats, which use rod and reel, to sell their catch - keeping the fish, jobs and money in TCI. Not to mention these commercial vessels are US owned and operated, meaning minimal jobs for Turks Islanders, and if any, strictly minimum wage. Let's preserve our diverse marine environment and ban this ridiculous idea. And for those who believe that the impact of this proposed study for a pelagic longline fishery will only extend to the charter and recreational sportfishing community, you are very wrong. The impact will affect all industries including tourism, other water based activities, real estate, and the Turks and Caicos Islands' 'Beautiful by Nature' brand as a whole. Please support the cause and help us stop this before it starts. Once those lines are in the water it will be hard to get them out."

 Please click here to take a moment to sign this very important petition.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthdays!

My dad Larry (above right) turned 67 years young yesterday.  Today, the baby of his brood (below right), turns 21 YEARS!  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as they say . . . 

 Sterling, wishing you the best birthday yet! In between partying your faces off in Vegas and having a few moments like this . . . .

Above and below images via facebook

May you, your father, and your older brother bond at the bar, and may they impart a little wisdom on reaching adulthood.  Here's mine:

I believe much of what is stated above is already inherently in you.  At this age it can be the best of times and the worst of times.  Always remember this beautiful Cherokee legend:

Image via haartandsoul

Go out there and feed the right wolf bro!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick and Pinterest!

 Images via pinterest

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I have always loved the color green in all her many shades; emerald, moss, mint, jade, malachite, . . .   Any of these and many more, are easy to find, and then get lusciously lost in, through pinterest.  I have caught the addiction in a bad way, see for yourself & follow me here

To my dear friend Kelly, only fitting as it really is your day!  Wishing you a wonderful and whisk birth.  We are rooting for you and can't wait to find out if Kaelyn gets a brother or sister!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Brilliant's New Brilliant Website

Image via brilliant

You must head on over to Brilliant's new website, it's full of color, creativity, and Caribbean cool and I'm not just talking about the imagery!  I have the pleasure of styling for this team frequently so I am thrilled to share the showcase of their incredible talent.  Bravo to Brilliant and kudos to the awesome design duo behind redmetyellow whose delightful web wonder work makes the internet such an inspiring place to visit!