Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine’s Day Heart for You

We were snorkeling at Peter Island in the BVIs, and this little heart-shaped plant floated by. Sweet, no?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Creature Feature: Iguanas

Coming to greet us on Allen's Cay, Bahamas

Lizards in general are ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean, and iguanas are among the largest here. They look like little dinosaurs (and I think they’ve been used as dinosaur stand-ins in some older movies), and can grow to more than five feet in length, including tail. In the Bahamas, guides bring tourists out to Allans Cay, where they feed the endemic Allans Cay iguanas. Needless to say, this spoils the little suckers, and when you land your dinghy on the beach, the iguanas come rushing down to see what you’ve brought them (we brought them nothing, as we try not to feed wild animals). So, if you have a reptile phobia, or just don’t like being rushed by spiky lizards, don’t visit Allans Cay. On many islands, iguanas just wander about, and pretty much ignore you as you’re trying to take their picture. The shyest we’ve encountered were on Hassel Island just off of St. Thomas, USVI. As we were walking the trails, we’d round a corner, and hear this crashing in the scrub as iguanas, some quite large, took off at top speed. In Grand Cayman, they have blue iguanas, and are so proud of them, that they have artist-painted iguana statues all around the island. Here are pictures of a few of the iguanas we’ve seen.

Face off! They were hissing at and sparring with one another.
Blue iguana at botanical gardens in Grand Cayman
Colorful iguana statue at Rum Point, Grand Cayman

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yacht Spotting: Andrea Cay

This 120-foot luxury yacht has anchored near us a couple of times now at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Not as large as some of the behemoths that go through here, she’s still got nearly three times the amount of living space we had in our house in St. Pete. Four crew take care of ten guests in air-conditioned comfort and American red cherry woodwork. More details can be found here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Creature Feature: Smooth Trunkfish

A kiss for you! Aren’t those perfect fish lips? We’re always happy to see a smooth trunkfish swimming around when we snorkel on coral reefs, though we have not, actually, been tempted to kiss one. Their coloration is beautiful, but these little guys are just so odd looking. First, as you can see, they’re shaped like triangles, narrow at the head and broad below. Second, they swim by fluttering fins that seem too short for the job. And then, of course, there’re those big pucker lips. But…they have a use! Trunkfish blow jets of water through their lips at the sand to uncover buried invertebrates, which they then eat. They can grow to nearly twenty inches long, but usually are about half that. If you want to see something really adorable, check out this picture of a juvenile trunkfish. Too cute!