Awake at 6 a.m. I prop up on my pillows in my comfy bed and watch a rosy dawn emerge from the sea, spreading a trail of silver across the water. Into my bathing suit and out the door for my morning seashell search along the water’s edge of our deserted beach. The sea is warm as bath water and deep azure blue. Palm trees nod in the breeze and melodic bird songs punctuate the silence. I feel as if I own the island.
Don and I share fruit and cereal on our porch and watch the sailboats come to life in the distance. A tiny hummingbird flits from branch to branch of the Sea Grape tree in our front yard. Hermit crabs drag their shells over the sand and tiny lizards entertain us with their mighty leaps from rock to rock, sailing effortlessly through the air. The breeze, fragrant with salt and exotic flowers, intoxicates.
Some mornings we kayak around the island, exploring the lagoons. Other days, we hike. Today, Don snorkels and I write, savoring the cool, quiet morning. Lunch at our open air café is a daily adventure, enjoyed at white tables under an awning that shields us from the 90+ noontime sun. Bathing suits are the attire of choice. We linger over sweet fruit tea in large, sweating pitchers and share conversations with our old friends, Becky and Jim, who first introduced us to this tiny paradise, and our new friends, Caz and Bob, who are honeymooners from Pittsburgh. The only other guest is a young redhead named Kate, who leaves early every day to go diving and has so far declined to join our friendly lunch and dinner group.
Afternoons are lazy. We nap or read or play in the crystal clear water with schools of brightly-colored fish. Each day the snorkelers compare notes about their sightings — an octopus, a six foot barracuda, a giant ray. Today the excitement was on the shore. A plastic oil bottle washed up on the beach. Within a half hour, it was surrounded by dozens of hermit crabs, dragging their shell houses. They came and they stayed — all day and all night, worshipping at the shrine of the empty oil bottle. That amazing sight became the inspiration for a children’s book, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black Shiny Thing.
(Please come back for Part 3. I’ll tell you about our diving excursion and an interesting encounter with a nudist sailor.)
Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author. She has published five books, including two children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and Revolt of the Teacups. All are available on Amazon and from High Tide Publications.