Thank you, Sint Maarten!

Today was our last day at sea here on this friendly island, tomorrow we will be flying out to The Netherlands! It has been a rather salty four months here in the Dutch Antilles and I got to see some amazing animals, I found a temporary pet named Dyson the Southen Stingray, a new nemesis named Murray the Moray eel and I also picked up a few pretty important sea and watermanship skills!

Dyson the Stingray
Photo by – Martijn Schouten

Apart from basically living on and under the sea, this island has a few really special landmarks like the French fort and the little streets of Phillipsburg, let’s not forget the beautiful locals and their strong soca spirit!

Fort St. Louis

I am so excited to write a story about this place and what we got up to here!

We will be in Holland for a week from Tuesday and then we will be off to Cape Town for a little while before starting the season in The Azores.

I will never forget you St Maarten, and thank you will never be enough Daniel, Elena and Blackie!

Blackie Chongalolo

You can follow me on Instagram to join in on a crazy month of adventures coming up!

Some stories and an itinerary.

Hello! and No, I did not boycott this brainchild of mine!

We have been living on and under the sea, the past few months and I can not wait to write a story about this little island and its ocean!

Dyson The Southern Stingray, I wish that I could turn him into my pet.

We only have a few weeks left here in St Maarten and then we will have quite a few flights to catch! We are heading back to The Netherlands for a few days then to Cape Town and from Cape Town, we will head straight back to Pico island! I am so excited to head back to Cape Town and squish the daylights out of everybody after 11 months of being away from home!

Our itinerary will be :

  • 14 May – 21 May – The Netherlands
  • 22 May – 10 June – Cape Town
  • 11 June – N/A – Pico Island,Azores ( We will be working there for the season)
Just another day in the office for the Schoutens!

Until then, we are going to enjoy and soak in the last little bit of time here on this friendly little island.

One last thing, I wrote a couple of stories! You can click on the hyperlinks if you would like to give them a read.

What it means to be a dive professional

a Look into the industry and why I love what I’m doing so much!

Princess Alice

a Day with the Devil Rays on this magical speck in the middle of the North Atlantic.

I hope that you enjoy the stories and have a great week!

Happy days at sea

We went on a hike!

Up a hill…

Yesterday morning, while we were having coffee and deciding what to do for the day, Marty came up with two suggestions: One was to go for a freedive and the other one was to go and check out the “hill” behind the house. I had the option of either going for a freedive (which is one of my favourite things to do!) or go for a hike, something I struggle to find joy in. Hiking it is! I guess I got amnesia since my latest hiking episode in Spain.

As we approached the hill I already started questioning my skills in decision making and asked myself: why I always advise others to “make good choices” yet, I can’t make any good ones myself?

To Marty, it’s all fun and games!

After huffing, puffing and getting creative with profanity we made it to the top! (Marty handled it with grace, by the way.) I sat down in the middle of the pathway for a bit just to cool down, lick my wounds and figure out if I am brave or if I am just one big sissie when it comes to hiking.

Little Huffer puffer
Questioning my Morals

I got over myself and we made our way back down to town. I tried to work out why do I keep going back to hiking even if it’s just a hill when I know I’m going to get impatient with myself and regret it within the first few meters up.

Eventually it became fun and games to me too!

I want to like it and enjoy it, I guess it is just something way out of my comfort zone and it’s not an everyday/every weekend thing for me. It’s not my thing at all but I still do it. I guess it’s my way of challenging myself and breaking out of that “comfort zone and routine”.

I will most probably not remember that very wise and philosophical paragraph above when I get myself on a hike again! In the end, it was worth it and the sigh of relief when we got to the bottom and the jump in the pool afterwards was so rewarding!

I hope that you all have a happy week and go and find some adventure in it!

Hello from St Maarten!

(We are on the Dutch side)

If you haven’t met Blackie on my Instagram Stories, Meet Blackie!

Gosh, I have not been on here in a really long time! Reason being, it was Christmas and then new years and then I turned 26 and it was time to get packing for the was nuts and exciting all at once!

I finally got a gap to climatize, settle down and get back to writing. Just as I got ready to get editing some photos of St Maarten – Lightroom crashed on me. Someday I am going to win with Adobe. Maybe not today or next week but hopefully someday!

The Selfie at the top will do, for now.

I wrote some fresh stories!

I wrote an Ode to 2018

2018 deserved it so much! It was truly an amazing year and so far 2019 is running just swell! I’m feeling rather shiny on the inside, Imagine swallowing a glitter pill, that is what it feels like to be a Mona. (I do have tough days too)

I finally wrote about Texel island!

It’s such a great little spot to hide and catch a break, it is turning into a yearly tradition to go there and we just never get tired of that place!

And last but not least, a Sprinkle of Spain.

Spain was so awesome and I have always wanted to visit Spain, I am really looking forward to going back someday and to see some more of that country!

How’s about that Sunset?

I also just wanted to say one last thank you to everyone in Holland! It was my first Christmas, New Years and Birthday away from My Cape Town and every single person made me feel so welcome and so loved!

Especially to Majlis, Marty’s mom for always making me feel like one of her own, and for letting us stay there and mostly for all of the cups of tea and stories. Thank you will never be enough, you are a true gem!

a self-timer family portrait

Alright, that will be all for now. I will have some more stories next week, I am setting a reminder to write so that I don’t fall behind and to avoid a busy blog post like this one!

Don’t forget to drink your water, and wear sunblock!

The Frosty Forest

Come and take a walk with me!

The temperature here has been below zero at night for the past few nights, which means everything is freezing! The sun is shining at a minimal and the days are pretty short so when the sun does decide to shine – you race outside to catch every possible ray that you can get on your face!

You can’t take me anywhere!

Getting to see the sun rays play with the frost is quite a special kind of magic to witness, just imagine shiny sparkles all over the place! I tried my best to get the feel of it in the photos below.

If you look carefully you can see the cold sitting snug and thick in the air

This is always such a nice spot to sit at and watch all of the people go by, it’s also right above a pond!

And here is the pond! This photo was taken in the afternoon so half of the pond is frozen and the other half is thawed.

No, you are not allowed to swim in there

Alrighty, let’s continue with the walk! Say bye bye to the pond, down the steps and over the bridge we go!

I love this bridge so much!

We were right up those steps checking out the pathways and the pond a few seconds ago!

Now that we are over the bridge we are making our way to a gate, which leads the way to the plains where the sheep live !

Here is another frosty little path over the gate to the planes. Some parts of the forest are thawed since the sun made it’s way to most of it.

As we were walking down here I was scanning the ground for some frozen leaves like this one!

Here is a photo of the plains, it was not taken with this series of photos- it was actually taken last month when we just arrived in Holland.

The plains during autumn – 2018

Here is another photo of the plains on sunnier days in Holland.

Plains at the start of Autumn – 2017.
Yes, you can swim here!

Once we arrive at the plains we turn around and make our way back, on the way back we usually try and say hello to the sheep! Most of the time I have a standoff with the sheep because they seem a little bit judgemental. I’m the one who starts the standoff and I’m always the first one to walk away as it’s not my forest at the end of the day.

What kind of band do you think they are starting?

And so, the walk through the forest slowly comes to an end, by now our noses and our fingertips are frozen!

Almost home

There are all kinds of routes that you can take through this forest, but this one is my favourite!

Thank you for taking a walk with me! I hope that you loved it just as much as I do. We are heading to Spain tomorrow, This is exciting stuff!

What has been happening?

The cows on Texel island

Hello Darling ones!

With a super late blog post come two fresh stories! The cold weather here in Holland made me reminisce sunnier days in Mozambique and Turtle time in Tenerife (you can follow the hyperlinks added to go to the stories). The best thing about writing is that when I finally get going on a story I get to realize how lucky I am and how full my heart is.

In some more current news – It is raining cats and dogs here in The Netherlands but it helps me write! We just got back from a great weekend on Texel island and Texel island is always a great idea! Texel island is like a tradition to us, it is a small island up north in Holland and if you are not from Holland I doubt that you will know about it. a Story about Texel will be up very soon! 

We are in serious need of some sun so we will be heading to Spain in a little less than a week!! “Here comes the sun doo doo doo doo” I am so excited, I have always wanted to see Spain! 

That will be all from me for now – If you are waiting for an appointment, waiting for a flight or a bus , having a coffee , or even sitting on the toilet -please go ahead and give my stories a read? I have also figured out how to add a follow button , it is situated right at the bottom of this blog post, so don’t be shy! 

Take care and go find five things to be grateful for ! 

How does this work?

This photo was taken by Marty in the forest behind the house!

Hello there world! 

Welcome to the blog! I am just writing this blog post to explain to you how “Where’s Mona?” is going to work. I am really excited to get it running as I have been building it bit by bit over the past few months.

The blog page is to keep everyone current on what has been happening and on what is going to come up! I am going to try and keep it to a weekly post and maybe more.

The story page is for longer reads, the intention behind it is for you to come visit it with you first cup of coffee in the morning or with a glass of wine once you get home in the evening. It’s a space to share photos and creative expression . What you can expect from it is My stories , what I do , where I’ve been and mostly things that are really important to me.

We are currently in The Netherlands at Marty’s moms house after a very busy season on Pico Island in the Azores! Holland is freezing but I am so excited to be back here! 

“Where’s Mona?” is still very new and needs some filling up, so there are still some small changes and adjustments to be made. I’m so excited! 

Have a beautiful day wherever you are!