Critters

“Mom, I think a moth or something just flew in up here.”

The upstairs is complete open: a bed under a peaked roof with dormer windows with a walkway, open to the ground floor, leading to the balcony. I ascended, looked up.

“Holy smokes.”

This guy was roughly the size of a medium bat. I can’t find him on the butterfly poster in one of the downstairs bedrooms (“!La conservervacion de las bosques es la conservacion de los mariposas!”), but he was quite beautiful. Nonetheless, at that size, I wasn’t mad about him thunking into me in the middle of the night. S managed to catch him in a canvas bag, release him to the wild – only to have him fly back in. Wily little sucker. He seemed to like our ceiling rather a lot. S made a makeshift butterfly net out of an unused mosquito net, and this time our dark beauty stayed outside.

We had retackled the dog beach, heading a little further west to amazing snorkeling on Tuesday, but the path out was still a bit of an obstacle course. The reef is magnificent and quite shallow in places, and you have to flatten out your body right on top of the water so as not to get dinged by coral. (I, alas, painfully discovered that brain coral can indeed outsmart you; I banged my shin against it and got a rather nasty scrape.)

A neighbor told us of a channel and the Kid and I got our game on and headed out (sans S, otherwise occupied).

It was an incredible trip. We didn’t bring the camera as neither of us can dive and I was too paranoid about dropping it to the bottom and not being able to get it back. We wished we had. We saw more fish than ever before, including a huge school of blue tang elliptically orbiting below, as well as a half dozen kinds of angel fish, a queen parrotfish, a lone and very mellow barracuda (they get a bad rap, they’re not bad guys), gray and red snappers, and just in general had a grand old time floating around in a massive aquarium. We’ll be back with photos.

The best part of the trip for me was the return. I had led the way out, a twisty turny path where we had to go single file. The kid said he didn’t like being behind me because the bubbles from my flippers made it too hard to see, so I told him to lead the way. He did, and it was a thrill to see all six feet and change of my gawky, generally ungainly son glide away from me like an eel. Yeah, there was one part where I swear I heard an underwater, snorkel-muffled “oh shit,” but we crossed the coral with nary a scratch.

Today we’ll be exploring the island. This time we’ll have the camera.

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