Kevin and the boys have a bonfire raging on the beach that smells like a combination of the trash they haven’t burned because of the high winds, and dry coconut palms and husks. They’re sitting, two docks down, beginning the day with a joint.
I’m tucked quietly on the steps, in the shade of the rickety shack on our dock where Eric stores the compressor that fills the dive tanks and on top of which the osprey nest. Most of the island is still asleep.
We put off our boat ride with AC until this morning. Clearly, it was the right thing to do. The wind blew hard across our little dot of sand for about thirty six hours and the locals looked to the ever darkening skies in hopes of rain. We got a little, but not nearly what they need to refill the huge, 800 gallon black tanks that collect every drop of fresh water that falls on Tobacco Caye. They’re in the longest dry season that any of the old people can remember.
“If we don’t get rain, a good, slow soaker, by the second week of February, we can forget it until at least June,” David explained. “To buy water is expensive, $60BZ per five gallon bucket including the gas to get it out here. It’s a little cheaper to move it in your own boat, but it’s still expensive.” We did the math and then reminded the boys to use 30 seconds of shower water, soap up and then another 30 seconds to rinse, and to shower all three together.
This morning is calm. The boys are already awake. I heard them whispering through the crack in the walls between our rooms. I know they are excited. This week just keeps getting better for them.
Hannah and her friends showed up. After a long expedition into the rainforest in the northern quadrant of the country, wet nights, hiking and adventures they decided they wanted a beach and when they hugged us off the boat, Hannah shrugged, “This is the best beach I know Mom! Besides, I missed ya!” she winked. I seriously doubt that.
They rented a cabin at the end of the island and we’ve hardly seen them except at mealtime; they made a deal with Carmen and David to eat with us, it’s the best food on the island. There has been much fishing and snorkeling, even a night dive last night, Tony reported, after I was snugly in my bed with my book. I think this afternoon they’re taking off for Placencia, but who knows, their plans seem to shift with the tides.
Carmen is cooking breakfast. The island is starting to stir. It smells like the morning joints have burned out, along with the beach fire. AC is puttering on the other side of the island with his boat.
He’s taking us on an adventure this morning. He’s promised the boys a swim with some manatees and perhaps some deep water fishing. He returned, the fishing hero yesterday afternoon with three proud American guys and seven big barracuda between them.
Our boys honed their skills with a hand line on the dock all evening and excitedly plotted their attack on the great silvery fish. Elisha is quite sure he’s got a leg up, having pulled some long, narrow, toothy critter with an aqua blue top and a barracuda silver bottom from the sea before dinnertime. It was the length of his arm and Kevin, the mostly not-high dude that fished the afternoon with them smacked it with a paddle to subdue it.
It was hard going to get the boys in bed last night. We had to track them down across the island in the darkness, one by one. They’ve discovered the sport of hermit crab tracking and as a result they finish their dinners so fast that it’s almost rude and the screen door never has a chance to hit them in the backside. Carmen, our cook, just laughs and shakes her head.
They set off with head lamps, following the tracks in the sand, just like Josh and I did when we were small. Last night’s count was 44 in about as many minutes. One big enough that I felt compelled to remind them to watch their fingers.
The sun is solidly up now. The frigate birds are hanging like kites over the dock, watching with one eye to see if there’s anyone catching a fish or tossing bait down here. Kevin just came over to check his trot lines. I got up and hauled on one for him about ten minutes ago when it started twitching. He pulled it in. All we got was a rock.
I haven’t been in snorkeling since we got here, my book and hammock have been too good. I think, however, that today is the day. The ocean is smooth, the air is warm, the wind has laid. It’s going to be another “pretty average perfect day.”