It has been over a week since my last post, so there is some catch-up to do. As for sites and impressions, there have been plenty, the most memorable of which was seeing a sea turtle swim to the surface after being on the bottom eating sea grass; with the light behind the turtle and its flippers fully extended, swimming upward, it closely resembled a bird in flight. I have heard about turtles being graceful in the water and it was truly moving to see; streamlined and seemingly airborne; it struck me as an angelic apparition. It swam eight feet in front of me, unperturbed about my snorkeling presence. The turtle, not me, was the creature with the true claim to be there, trying to eat the food that should be in plentiful supply for it, carrying on an ancient existence. Even hummingbirds are not as graceful as the upward glide of that turtle and its up stretched arms. I have a new, exquisite, totem animal.
I also saw what I believe was a humpback whale coming to the surface, it was gargantuan, and supposedly they do swim in these waters. It is hard to believe myself, so I don't expect to be believed by anyone else that I saw a leviathan, but I did, I think. It was off Shark Island in St. Thomas, where we have been staying, in Red Hook. Bob has picked up some work and it appears that I have a project which will be very exciting, so we will see how this plays out.
Last week, I took a great picture of two dolphins playing around the boat as we went to Tobago. The island is populated by birds and there are some lovely white terns which are commonly called tropic birds, as well as boobies and frigates. Pelicans are everywhere in the harbors. I saw some black shape shoot ten feet out of the water, some have said it could have been a sting ray. Then there are many fish that jump as well as fly, but in those cases, they are likely trying to avoid being eaten.
So many things have been happening that it makes my head swim trying to figure out how to record them all. I am becoming proficient with motoring a dinghy, and I 'drive' Bob to work in the morning by dinghy, going around the hill to the left of the harbor and going to a lovely resort and marina. The water is aqua, the moon has been full. The winds are shifting now and everyone is happy about their coming; I think I heard them referred to as the 'Christmas' winds.
I have been hearing great live music and dancing has been fun but my feet have been complaining, so it is important to invest in sensible thongs (flip-flops). We went to a party at a place called 'Villa Fantasia' at the apex of the hill on the right side of the harbor. The view was 360 degrees and it was possible to see St. Croix, 40 miles to the south. Hot tubbing with some lady captains and swapping stories was a particular delight. Bob bringing me some dark and stormies while in the hot tub was part of the Fantasia experience. I reciprocated by bringing him some ice cream while he listened to two new friends playing guitar and blues harp by the pool as the moon rose over St. John. There really is no way to describe this stuff without preening. Please excuse me for this.
There are some downers to life here: the cinguaterra and the chikunganya for two. I am trying to learn about them and will post soon what I have picked up about these two varieties of island illnesses. The first is a disease you catch eating reef fish that eat a particular organism at a certain latitude and the second is supposedly mosquito transmitted. It, I believe, a fast spreading epidemic resembling malaria, if not being actual malaria. There seems to be a news blackout of this, or just a glaring lack of responsibility by the CDC (center for disease control) for managing it. I have heard that there are 400 cases on St. John, which means it is about ten percent of the population. This is a severe situation and it has already hit the U.S. and spreads quickly. I will write more about it.
I realize that this log has to be more of a duty, as my sister reminded me, because if there is no discipline imposed, I will easily be subsumed with vacation mind think. The pattern of life is very easy when you are just playing every day. We have our boat responsibilities but meeting up with people and making friends is much more relevant than cleaning house/boat. These opposing routines--the live-aboard life vs. vacationers play schedule-- have been vying for my attention, with the result that I am realizing that I will be giving short shrift to some of the wonderful things that have been happening, by not giving them the freshest description. This will not do; we are having too much in each day for me to let this time go by with it not being noted.
I will find a way to reconcile this adventurous life we are experiencing every new day, with making it worthwhile for those hearing and reading about it. It's only fair.