My adventures living on a Caribbean Island
First Impression #3:
Every new place I have lived has provided its share of unique experiences with nature's inhabitants and St. Croix has been no exception. Among my favorite visitors to our oceanfront have been the dolphins, turtles, and pelicans.
We don't see dolphins every day, but often, early in the morning, we can watch these graceful creatures heading south along the shoreline. One day, we had a special sighting when four or five decided to play in front of our beach. It's only happened once so far, but we are always on the lookout now.
On the other hand, our turtle visitors have dropped by in two very different ways. The first is as they are swimming, poking their heads above the water occasionally as we watch anxiously for them to surface. Once, I was standing on the shore when a small turtle (about a foot in length) peaked his head up just four feet away. Excited, I waded into the water to join him. He took one look at me, whipped around, and took off like a shot towards the horizon. I guess he wasn't interested in a swimming buddy of my size :-)
The second way we have experienced our turtles was to wake up one morning to find turtle tracks in the sand. A Green or Hawksbill turtle had decided a bush at the edge of our beach was the perfect place to dig her hole and lay her eggs. I immediately became the protective mother, shooing stray dogs out of the yard and wringing my hands when the waves came too close to the bush. I missed the actual hatching, but I'm hoping most of the little guys made it into the water without being eaten by birds.
Speaking of birds, the pelicans are daily visitors, gliding a foot above the water, sometimes singularly and sometimes in groups of five or more. On occasion, one will fly high and circle the water in front of the house. That means he has spotted fish. I watch, and sure enough, he dives straight down into the water then pops up immediately like a cork. He tilts his head back, letting water flow out the sides of his mouth, and swallows. He floats for a moment before he flaps his wings while sitting there, shaking the water off his feathers. He remains drifting on the water for a few minutes, then spreads his wings and takes off into the sky, to circle once again before diving like a shot back into the water. Usually this occurs with just one pelican, but sometimes two will eat together.
Overall, sitting on our gallery watching the water can afford us multiple sightings of these ocean regulars. We are even treated to an occasional school of flying fish. Of course, looking closer to the beach itself, there are the many species of crabs, but their numbers require a post all to themselves.
On island, we don't stop to smell the roses. We stop to enjoy the ocean life . . . what wonderful life it is too :-)