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A noctural adventure

GekoAfter much discussion, we set a trap line along the road from the beach back into Sandy Point. We were concerned about the effort needed by the very young and very old to go out in the field every day. By staying close to the road, we reduced the amount of work necessary to service the traps by a huge amount, which will make it easier to take Jonathon and Bob out into the field. Daniel had a great time setting the traps. I think he'd been a bit worried about the need to "do work" and was pleased to discover that the work is mostly fun.

The little gang of boys hooked up again over the course of the day, playing hide and seek and, after dark, a game they called "catch the fairie", which appeared to involve shining a light on someone with a flashlight and then all them racing around trying to grab it, while the other person ran away. Running around corners and up-and-down steps -- I thought the game should be called "who wants some road rash?" They played solidly, on the ground and in the water from after lunch until 9pm, with a brief break while we went to the store and ate dinner.

Over the past two or three months, Daniel has been trying new foods. Yesterday afternoon, he suddenly announced that he wanted to try ramen -- just like Naruto. We went out to the store and bought three packages of ramen: pork-flavor, for Daniel; chicken flavor, for Jonathon (who wants anything that Daniel wants), and an extra, since they were three-for-a-dollar. I prepared them with great pomp and served the boys ramen. When I asked how they were, they didn't answer. I realized it was because they liked it so much, they constantly had their mouths full. Eventually, Daniel gave me a thumbs up, confirming my suspicions.

After dinner, the boys went over to another cottage to watch a TV show. I made Daniel promise that they would come home by 9pm. At 9pm, Buzz and I heard a commotion and raised voices and walked over to find Daniel trying to persuade a reluctant Jonathon to come back home and to bed. Daniel and I had already had several conversations about "being the big brother" and we spoke a bit more, with me praising his efforts to be responsible and get back on time. He admitted that it was a lot of work to be the big brother.

I had made Daniel promise to come up by 9pm for bed in order for me to be willing to get him up in the early, early morning to go look for geckos. He was true to his word and I was true to mine -- I got him up around 2:30am and we walked around looking for geckos. We found four or five. I had thought they might be easier to catch than anoles, but found they were more cagey than I had expected. We didn't catch any, but we did get a few nice pictures. I think Daniel was asleep again before he hit the bed.

This morning, we got an unpleasant surprise. One of the tires on the van had gone flat overnight. We immediately found the jack, but neither of us could find the spare tire. After much searching around the car, we eventually found it. It was suspended under the two front seats and was lowered by turning a crank which lowered the tire to the ground -- it was one of those little fake spare tires. After Buzz changed the tire, we drove to the rental agency and they said they would repair it. While we waited, we went to a little farmer's market nearby and got a bunch of different kinds of tropical fruit: star fruit, bananas, mangos, sour sop, coconuts -- and genips. The ladies joked that we couldn't get just one coconut -- since we were men, we needed two nuts. The fruit is all marvelous: the bananas are much sweeter and tarter than bananas in the US and the genips were as good as we remembered.

As soon as the tire was "fixed", we all headed out to Sandy Point to run the trapline. Daniel's new friend Trent came along too. We all took bets as to the number of mongoose we would catch, but the results exceeded even Jonathon's most optimistic projection: we caught 12 mongooses. In addition, we caught a large blue crab and a norway rat. The mongooses always seems extremely angry and frustrated to be captured, but the rat was merely phlegmatic. He watched us curiously, occasionally testing the holes to see if he could fit through any. When we did let him go, we opened door and he watched us quizically, until he was sure we didn't mean him any harm -- then he jumped out and casually sauntered away.

One of the mongoose cages had been dragged around by a dog. It was lying out in the middle of the road and the poor mongoose inside was half-dead. It had been bashed around in the trap pretty well and then left for dead in the sun. We hoped it might perk up a little bit and be OK, but when we processed them, it was clear she had a broken leg and her hip was mangled, so we anesthetized her and sacrified her as humanely as we could.

By the time we got to the end of the road, it became clear that our tire hadn't actually been fixed. Buzz put the spare on again and dropped us off for lunch while he took it back across the island to the car-rental agency. He reported that they were pretty unhappy that the mechanic hadn't adequately repaired the tire and, this time, simply replaced the tire.

It's late in the day as I post this. Now its time to get in the water, float around, and then fix myself a drink with lots of rum.