Saturday, 6 August 2016

Snorkels and Swarms

We bought snorkel gear for Z when we got here, but weren't sure if it was worth the money to buy stuff for Eden.  On Thursday we went to Hanson Bay and Z was happily snorkeling here and there when Eden asked if she could try.  So Z handed her his mask and snorkel, we adjusted it to fit Eden, and off she went.  She took to it like a duck to water -- that girl can snorkel!  So we bought her a mask and snorkel of her own and she's all set now.

Yesterday we went into Cruz Bay because it had rained a bit off and on during the early morning and was still pretty cloudy.  I wanted to check out the library, so it seemed like a good day to do it.  The library is housed in an old plantation house, built in the late 18th century.  It's a beautiful building, although the conditions under which and by which it was built are terrible to contemplate. (Sugar cane plantations were the only industry here at the time, and they were run and made profitable only through slavery of the worst kind.)  The librarian was very nice and the children's section was plentiful and lots of fun, even including a big bin of legos to play with!  While we were at the library, a torrential downpour began and showed no signs of letting up by 1:00, at which time the library closed.  We waited until the last minute, but finally we just had to go out in it.  We were soaked within a couple of seconds, so we just decided to go with the flow and be wet.  We ate a delicious lunch of clam chowder at the Lime Inn, and while we were there the rain let up.  We wandered around Cruz Bay for a bit, and then headed home via the North Shore road.  The North Shore beaches are quite different from the South Shore and East Side.  They're vast expanses of white sands with very little sea grass and few rocks.  The snorkeling isn't necessarily as exciting, but they're lovely and make a beautiful place to play in the sand or just float in the clear water.  We ended up at Hawksnest Bay and had a great time.  At one point Nathan and I were just out in the water, probably about 5 feet deep, talking, when Z said, "Mama, there's something swimming by your feet."  I looked down, expecting to see a school of little fish or something, only to see a huge stingray gliding right past me.  It was a good 4-5 feet from nose to the end of its tail.  It glided around us for about a minute and then took off.  Amazing.

Hawksnest and the beach beside it.

This is a panoramic of Hawksnest Bay

That evening we realized that once again we were going to be hit by a swarm of flying termites.  This had already happened the night before.  Apparently at this time of year, after a rain, termites "swarm" looking for mates.  Totally fine.  The only problem is, the house we're staying in doesn't seem to have much ability to keep the swarm out.  So I woke up at 1:00 a.m. literally crawling with bugs (I was pulling them out of my hair!) and only got rid of them by turning on the light in the bathroom, so they all swarmed there.  After our day in Cruz Bay and Hawksnest Bay, we got to the house and very shortly began to see termites crawling all over the walls again.  Oh no!  We ended up turning off all the lights and going for a drink in Coral Bay, hoping the swarm would pass the house by if there were no lights on.  We stayed for about an hour and managed to catch part of the Olympic opening ceremony, which was nice.  Fortunately, when we got back the swarm seemed to have mostly dissappated.  We are really hoping there won't be another one.  Our landlady said she couldn't do anything to make the house tighter.  :-(

We encountered a couple of island donkeys while we were out avoiding the termites, and Z made friends.

Anyhoo . . . Today we headed out to Salt Pond Bay and had a terrific time.  We all went snorkeling at various times and in various groups and saw tons of great stuff.  My favorite was when Eden and I were out and she said she saw a sting ray.  I said, "Really?  Where?"  We went right back under and she pointed to the sea floor.  At first I didn't see anything at all, and then I realized that there was a fish there, lying on its side and perfectly camouflaged.  It's scales were a sandy color with beautiful green circles on it.  It was just lying there, either avoiding notice or waiting for something tasty to swim by.  I asked Eden how she saw it and she said she saw its eye move.

We also noticed that when we sat in the shallows bunches of white fish with black fins, about 4 or 5 inches long, would swim right up to us and all around us.  Eden and I were eating Bugles (Nathan always buys them when we're on vacation) and so I held one into the water. The fish swam right up and ate it out of my hand!  Well, of course it was only a moment before all four of us were in the water, hand feeding cheese flavored Bugles to the fish.  I'm sure they'll be the better for it.

While we were eating lunch Eden told me she had made up a poem.  I asked her what it was.  She stood up, cleared her throat, and said solemnly, "When the rain comes nearer, the sadness is more," and sat down again and started eating her PB&J again.

On the way back from the beach we stopped at Miss Lucy's for a snack and had a gorgeous view.  There were also a dozen chickens running around, some with chicks, which kept the kids entertained as we waited for our food.  The Johnny Cakes were delicious!

Snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay

Lunch in the Caribbean.  Doesn't get any better than this.

Our post-beach snack place.  Z found a coconut.

The view from our table.

Eden admires the view

Eden discovers I'm taking her picture!


MOM said...

Yikes! Be careful with those stingrays! Isn't that what killed your favorite animal handler guy?

Yaya said...

I love your poem, Eden. It is really beautiful. Been cloudy here, too, and it does make one a bit melancholy.

MOM said...

Oh....we DO want to come. Wish we could!

The Hitchcocks said...

I wish you were here, too!! Love you!