Now the rain is only dripping from the leaves. A moment ago, it was roaring on the metal roof, but already the sidewalks are drying. Geckos stick to the walls, head down, near the lights. A rooster is crowing. It's almost 5am. It's another day in St. Croix.
It's hard to believe we've only been here for one full day. We arrived late in the afternoon on Wednesday, picked up some supplies, and immediately hit the ocean. Daniel began snorkeling instantly again, almost as if he'd never left. His new fins give him tremendous mobility in the water. Buzz has been helping Jonathon learn how to use a mask and snorkel, but he mostly just likes to play in the water and to float with his noodle -- but only over the sand. He got out over one of the rocks and began squealing that he needed help. Buzz ran over, but then said, "Hey! You don't need help -- you can stand up here!" But Jonathon didn't like standing on the algae-covered rocks and screeched until Buzz towed him back over the sand. Little boys are funny things.
This has been a big shift for Daniel. He's used to being the little brother, but here he has to act like the big brother. He's doing really well. It's funny, though, because everyone keeps calling him Charlie. I've done it at least twice. We decided it was because we were used to the little one being Daniel and the big one being Charlie, so Jonathon was being Daniel and Daniel was being Charlie. "If I'm being Charlie, who's Charlie then?" he asked. I said that Charlie was Philip (and that Philip was Richard and Richard was Ashton and Ashton was Michael and that Michael was Michael). In the afternoon, the boys fell in with the other little boys running around the place and had a good time playing hide-and-go-seek.
We have addicted Jonathon to Naruto. There is a huge TV in the living room of our suite, but when the boys tried it, they couldn't get it to tune in any channels. I suspect they just didn't know how to operate the cable box, but rather than correcting this misapprehension, I let them go on believing that you just can't watch TV here. They're finding plenty to do without needing to watch TV. At night, though, since it does get dark early, we do watch 2 or 3 episodes of Naruto. Jonathon has gotten completely sucked in.
We have met with great herpetological success. The boys spent much of yesterday trying to catch anoles with nooses that Buzz and I constructed at the end of sticks. Buzz caught one, but the rest of us haven't yet. In the afternoon, one of the maids told us that they'd found an iguana in one of the apartments. We arrived in time to see them catch it and they let us take it away. After photographing it, we released it into our dining room (which is not really a room, being completely open on one side and peforated on the other). We hope it might hang around. And this morning, I awoke early and went out to see if I could spot some geckos. Sure enough, they were everywhere and I saw more than a dozen. The like to hang out near the lights. They are pinkish with translucent skin -- you can see their organs -- and they have big, dark eyes. I saw one catch an insect. It munched in the insect and then licked it's lips, in a very gecko-like way.
I'm getting a lot of practice with my new camera. I'm taking a lot of bad pictures, but getting better. I'm pleased with several of the pictures I took of the iguana. I still haven't gotten a satisfactory picture of the geckos, though. I'm having a hard time learning how to manage metering, exposure, and aperture. The camera isn't just "automatic" or "manual". There are a bunch of priority modes where its partially automatic and some where it doesn't let you take bad pictures. As I said, I'm taking a lot of bad pictures.
We had heard there was another biologist staying at Cottages by the Sea and met him yesterday afternoon. When I saw him, he looked familiar and, after talking for a few minutes, I sure I had met him before. Eventually, we figured out that he had attended BioQUEST one of the same years that Buzz and I were there. It's a small world. It's also interesting to me that Cottages by the Sea is a nexus of interconnections among different communities.
We all went to Lost Dog Pizza last night. It's the same place that Alisa and I went to when we were here three years ago, but then the courtyard was open and it was like going to a restaurant. This time, the courtyard was closed and we just sat in the bar. Daniel has only recently decided that he likes pizza and I was a little concerned he might not like this pizza, but I needn't have worried. He was very happy -- once the pizza came. I think it was the longest I ever waited for a pizza. It took them at least an hour -- maybe two. We began to hypothesize they had to order the pizza from someplace else, like Puerto Rico, and have it flown in. At the bar, there was a foosball game with the payment mechanism smashed out that, once you knew from where to retreive the ball inside the guts someplace, you could play for free. The boys had great fun playing foosball, sitting at the bar, and chasing giant cockroaches along the sidewalks.
It's 5:30 now and the sky is starting to get light. The roosters are still crowing and the breeze has started to pick up. The lizards are having their shift change: The geckos are hiding themselves away and the anoles are coming out. It's another day in paradise.