Jack Hanna Day Part II

Saturday, August 6, 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

This was an epic snorkel.

Maho Bay is always good for two reasons.  The beach is adjacent the parking and the snorkeling is always decent.  There is also a healthy amount of sea-grass around, so you always have a chance of a turtle sighting.  Well folks, the good grass must be growing right now because it was turtle-mania out there.  One turtle two turtle three turtle NINE!  They were practically rolling in packs.  3 big fat faced green turtles, the cows of the Caribbean, with there soulfully big eyes staring back at you.  Some smaller guys, stuffing their faces trying to beef up.  And interspersed with the turtles . . . rays.  I saw a family of 3, all the size of the top of a coffee-table, cruising the grass strip.  You know, just putting in an appearance.  

The real gems, as always, were much harder to spot.  Octopi.  You may recall that finding an octopus, in my family, is the equivalent of the pubescent warrior being sent out on the plains alone, only to return with the head of a lion in his hands.  Ok, maybe not quite that dramatic . . . but its big.  These screwball animals can be pretty much any color or shape, and they spend most of their time making hiding places.  This hiding actually becomes their undoing (to being spotted by me at least), because there are certain characteristics (empty shells near the entrance to a hole/cave/indention) that draw me to investigate certain crevices more thoroughly (why do I think this line is going to be quoted back to me in the comments?)  And, low and behold, I found not one, but two verified octopi.   The first of which had what I would consider a deluxe hidey-hole, complete with a huge conch playing body-guard just to the side of a sizable cave on the ocean floor (sizable for an octopus mind you).  It’s like I killed a whole FAMILY of lions.  Wait, that doesn’t feel right.  Um . . . it was awesomeface sandwich, lets leave it at that.

The conch (and more specifically their shells) were one of the coolest parts of the snorkel.  Usually you see one or two of these shells (sometimes with conch inside, sometimes not) along the sea-bed.  But today, they were everywhere.  And they were all inhabited.  And it seemed that some conch somewhere gave the retreat sign, cause these conch were absolutely trucking it alone the sand.  Now, since a conch is essentially a huge snail in a shell, you must wonder what “trucking it” looks like.  Here ya go.  To move, the conch sticks itself out of the bottom of the shell similar to the gondolas in italy.  But, because of their clunky shape and lack of real steering, it just kind of pops them up haphazardly like a popcorn kernel popping or, even more accurately, like a person imitating a whale breaching.  So, a bunch of conch trucking looks like a seabed of gorgeous shells popping like its hot in a semi-consistent direction.  Pretty surreal and beautiful. 

It was, by almost any standard, a great snorkel.  As we toweled off and moved to avoid the asshats’ cigarette smoke coming from next to us, our smiles were hard to contain.  If we hadn’t seen any more animals for the rest of the day, it would have still been amazing.  As it turns out, this right here was the perfect amount of animals.  But there were more.

We saw some deer on the drive home.  No biggie.  I mean, kind of a biggie as deer are native to the island and have no real predators here, but it was a small and cute little deer and while it didn’t move to avoid my car, it didn’t run at it either. 

Understandably, when we got home we were exhausted.  Mmf went to nap in the bedroom and I took my book out to the hammock.  My hammock. The mattock.  It is, bar none, my favorite place in the entire world.  Not today though. 

I fell asleep in the hammock per usual.  I had pretty much done that on purpose.  Because it was heading toward dust, I also lay a towel over me, with only my next and head exposed.  When I awoke, it felt like carpenter ants had just set up shop inside my body.  My back was on fire.  Freaking fire.  And my neck scratched horribly.  I ran to mmf in the bedroom.

“I got bit. I’m pretty sure I got bit bad.”  Initially she giggled.  I’m funny, its understandable.  But when I turned to show her my back, the laughing stopped and the gasping started.  It looked like about 15 different relief maps of Hawaii had been built across my entire back.  Apparently, bugs can bite through hammock.  Noted.  They also had taken the easy way and chomped at my jaw and neck.  I was a fire ant.  I just wanted to take a bath in cortisone cream.  I settled for a burning hot shower.  Which helped.  A little.    I think I blacked out after that. 

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