Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

Wildlife

Where’s Waldo?

Here we are nearly five months into lockdown, and you might have thought you would hear more from me what with having next to nothing to do but write. However, fiction is not my forte. So without anything happening, there is nothing to write about.

Granted, with our very blessed COVID free status here in Anguilla, I did transition back into saving little dog and cat lives (or more accurately treating their minor ailments). We have been out to eat a few times. We have had a couple of distanced dinner parties on our veranda. And we saw the comet and some meteors. All things that my northern friends would likely be happy to be able to do without worry.  But it has really been pretty quiet down here. And we would very much like to keep it that way in spite of our Government’s recent desire to start opening the island in the midst of what threatens to be a VERY, I mean HISTORICALLY VERY, active peak hurricane season. (Fingers crossed nothing this way comes.)

My current malaise and inertia right now stem mostly from Newton’s Laws of Motion – The first of which states, “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.”

That’s me. A body at rest. And now a body at rest for so long that it takes a very significant external force to move me. I may grow roots. It remains to be seen.
That’s why last week I found myself looking forward to witnessing lilies opening. Yup. Like watching paint dry but for one brief dynamic second at the end. This is the time of year that Michael and I actually get into our pool. Usually we are not hot enough to warrant getting wet. But August to October, that area of the veranda that is otherwise an architectural water feature earns its keep. At least once a day in the evening, we get in and hang over the infinity edge and contemplate life.Last week the lilies were blooming just on the other side of the overflow. We could watch the petals start to separate, space developing between them, the little orange anthers starting to peek out at the top, and then “sproing” the flowers would open. Not exactly gripping theatre but something to do nonetheless.Now those lilies are taking a break so it is back to staring at the sea. But last night something new caught my attention.  I saw a flash of bright green in a mass of bright green and magenta in one of the bougainvillea. Very hard to distinguish between the plant and the “other”…

But I was dedicated to the task of capturing an image. At least AFTER I (as an external force) convinced Michael to break his inertia to get out of the pool to go get my glasses and the camera.
It should be noted that I am not the photographer in our partnership. And hanging over the infinity edge on my tiptoes with a still healing torn rotator cuff hooked over the side balancing the camera trying to zoom and focus into all that mass and depth of foliage was no small feat. (Self-congratulatory pats on my back with my good arm, thank you.) But smack dab in the middle of that picture, just behind that one 2/3 circle of a tiny dead branch at about 2 o’clock from that center magenta flower was this:Can you see anything yet?  Ok, wait, Mr. DeMille, he’s ready for his close-up.My new COVID friend, Waldo, the baby iguana.

Evolution

When Michael and I first moved to Anguilla there were certain things that dominated the landscape here. I mean besides the beaches. Thirty-three beaches is a lot of beaches, sure; but there’s a lot more land to Anguilla than just the coast. So driving from beach to beach still means traveling over long stretches of bumpy, meandering, inland roads. Back in the day, you would find lots and lots of broken down, rusting cars, lots and lots of sheep and goats, and lots and lots of dogs. Nowadays, there are less abandoned cars and less sheep and goats, but there are still a lot of dogs. Historically, visitors and newcomers looked past the cars and were notoriously enamored of the sheep and goats; but it’s the dogs that have always tugged at people’s heartstrings.

There is no doubt that a dog’s life on this island hasn’t always been the best. Nutrition and medical care were not optimal. Diseases like tick fever and heartworm were/are common. And the life expectancy of an island dog without preventive medicine and treatment was relatively short. Dogs were used to guard property and were often chained to trees to serve that purpose. A lot of Anguillians are afraid of dogs and probably with good reason. Anguillian dogs weren’t particularly happy. Or at least they never looked happy.

In fact, you’ve probably heard the adjective “hangdog”. Google defines it as having a dejected or guilty appearance; shamefaced. That’s exactly how dogs in Anguilla used to look: tails and ears and head and well just about everything just hanging down. We rarely saw a dog trotting down the street with its ears erect and tail wagging looking for fun. But I’m happy to report that this has changed. Nowadays dogs do look much happier and healthier on this island.

They look different physically, too. Back in the day everyone talked about Anguillian Long Dogs – as if that was a breed much like the ever-popular Coconut Retriever, a cutesy description of just about any dog born in the Caribbean. Long Dogs in the U.S. are actually mixed breed dogs of the Greyhound/Saluki variety – meaning they have really, really long legs. This makes Anguillian Long Dogs ironic since they are long in body but particularly short on legs – the joke always being that the Queen of England must have visited once and her beloved Corgis must have sown their royal seed on the island thus giving birth (excuse the pun) to the local breed.

It occurred to me the other day, however, that you hardly ever see Long Dogs anymore. Still plenty of dogs but bigger dogs, shaggy dogs, different dogs entirely. So I set out to find one. They are apparently as elusive as the night crane. I finally encountered one, but he was a skittish chap darting into the bush whenever I approached so it was like trying to capture an image of Big Foot. Hence this grainy, out of focus photo but you can see that his forward-facing friend it a smidge taller than he is.

elusive long dog

Sadly I never saw him or any other long dogs again in my search and had just about given up hope when I received a call from a new client to vaccinate her young dog. Imagine my delight when little “Marley” turned out NOT to be the expected yellow Labrador but rather a real, live, bonafide, Anguillian Long Dog. Yes, they still exist! AND THAT, my friends, is not a hangdog expression!! That is a very, happy, little puppy. Bless his little wee heart.

Marley the Long Dog

FOOTNOTE: As an aside, my wordpress dashboard pointed out to me that this is my 101st blog post. I’m thinking someone should have baked me a cake after that last one. 🙁

Thar she blows

It’s that time of year again – the clocks have sprung forward in the U.S. and the humpbacks are heading north with their young ones to gorge on fattier, cold water fish. So the watch is on. Last year was pretty disappointing in the whale watching category. Just a couple of distant spouts. We got luckier this year. Not of our own accord but because we enlisted the help of friends on island in agreeing to a call pact. If either of us spot whales we are supposed to call the others.

A few days ago, Michael and I were having breakfast around 8AM, and I was doing my seasonal scanning of the horizon when I spotted a few good spouts far off to the south east heading east. That would be heading towards our friends’ house.  So, as agreed, I called them. I never saw any more spouts and only received a communication back from Robert asking if I was familiar with a little story about a boy and some false cries of wolf. (That’s what you get sometimes for trying to be helpful.)

Fast forward ahead a few days. I was lying awake in bed trying to let Michael sleep a bit longer when the phone rang. Before I answered, I asked Michael, then awake either from the phone ringing or my asking, what time it was. 6:30A. That meant the odds were that the call was either bad news or a wrong number, but in fact it was these same friends calling to tell us that they had at least two whales spouting southwest of them. They were hesitant to call at first but then felt that I would want them to abide by the agreement. If we couldn’t see the whales from our house, we were welcome to drive out to theirs for some watching. The only request was that I call them back to let them know we were coming so they could ‘throw some clothes on.’ Fair enough.

And that’s what we did. We couldn’t see anything from our vantage point because the sun was just above the horizon and shining straight at us. So we threw some clothes on ourselves, grabbed our binoculars and camera and headed off. By 7AM we were all sitting out by their pool following the spouts and seeing an occasional whale’s back slide through the water far off in the distance. We drank coffee and chatted and hoped they would come closer.

By 7:30A, though, that was still all we were seeing, and the guys decided to drive over to the French bakery for croissants. In all fairness, I said that they didn’t have to walk away from a whale spotting on my account. And my friend told them she had English muffins handy. But they were determined and drove off.  Caroline then felt compelled to cut up some fresh fruit to round out the breakfast fare. Luckily her kitchen windows face out to the sea because, as you might predict, shortly thereafter I called out about a big spout and then sure enough the whale breached. – completely out of the water. It was a stunning sight that she did manage to see from the kitchen. And then she breached again. And again. And again. And again. Like a dolphin skimming the surface she breached seven times in total – though understandably with a bit less gusto each subsequent time.

It was amazing and beautiful to watch. Caroline and I were so excited. I didn’t even reach for Michael’s camera at first because I’m not the photographer in the family in the first place and I’m certainly no wildlife photographer under any circumstances. But I ultimately did manage to capture a couple of frames of some of the later breaches so I offer this one as proof of our sighting.

whale

Sadly, even though that whale or another whale breached two more times, the guys missed it all returning with the croissants after all of the commotion with only more opportunities to see an occasional spout. However, we had a lovely breakfast by the pool. And Robert marveled at island life and the fact that back in Boston he would never dream of calling a friend’s house at 6:30A to invite them over for a spur of the moment breakfast.

I, for one, am awfully grateful that he did.

 

How Hot Was It?

Well, it’s that time of year. Just a week ago I was commenting on the fact that we’ve been really fortunate with the weather. With the occasional storm blowing through we’ve enjoyed intermittent clouds and breeziness which have saved us from feeling the oppressive heat that can settle in here during the doldrums of fall. Well, that’s what I get for counting my blessings because now it is hot – completely still, not a leaf moving, the total opposite of bone-chilling, HOT. 

This is when we use our swimming pool. Most of the year the pool serves only as an architectural, water feature – no more useful than a fountain would be. We see it sitting out there looking pretty enough, but we never get in. We don’t sunbathe or play water sports. We only use the pool to cool off. So now is when it earns its keep. We do a little work, do a little skinny-dipping, do a little work, and do a little skinny-dipping. All day long we are in and out of the pool accomplishing less and less work and more and more skinny-dipping. It’s just too hot to do much else. 

Here’s a case in point. Yesterday morning I was sitting at my computer when I heard a little, teeny, tiny cheeping sound. My desk looks out on the back garden filled with crotons, frangipani, bougainvillea and what I like to refer to as my palm tree- a tall, straight, beautiful Christmas palm framed in the view. There is also one hibiscus bush just under the window. I trimmed it back recently so it has lots of buds but just one newly opened flower perched on the end of the branch like a bright red, crystal bowl, and there was a hummingbird feeding from it. That, in and of itself, is always a pretty sight. But what was remarkable was that this hummingbird was not hovering over the flower. He was sitting inside the flower, resting and chattering while he ate. That’s how hot it is now. Even the hummingbirds don’t have any energy. 

Of course, I didn’t have a camera handy at that moment, and even a stationary hummingbird doesn’t stay that way for very long. I tried, though, all day long (in between bouts of skinny-dipping) to get a picture of him. Apparently he was adequately rejuvenated, however, and never sat still in the flower again. So I was trying to snap a picture of an active, moving hummingbird through a window and a screen and kept focusing on the screen or the distance or heaven knows what so I never did get a decent picture. Here is a decent picture of flower, though. 

And here is a lovely, ‘artistic’ rendition of the screen with the hummingbird (in shadowed relief) to the upper left of the flower. 

And that’s as good as I got, but my dedication to the task at hand did give me a great excuse to just sit at my desk playing solitaire on the computer with a fan blowing on me. So I had a nice, quiet, relaxing, restful day that wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as it could have been if I had bothered to help Michael with some pruning. That is that it wasn’t too bad until 7PM when the power went out for TWO HOURS! I can live without lights. My kindle fire and Michael’s ipad both had charged batteries and illuminated screens. But without fans? 

I do believe that was the first time I have EVER gotten in the pool in the middle of the night. That’s how hot it was.

Name that tune

One of the most striking things about living on island is what isn’t here: noise. We live on a dead end road with only a half a dozen houses all on the ocean side of the street. Only one other house is a primary home and that’s at the other end of the road. Typically the houses around us are vacant; there is nothing but bush behind us; and the Caribbean Sea fills the 5 miles of open space in front of us until the waves lap at the shore on St. Martin. 

The sound of that sea is mostly all we hear. We casually notice when the sea becomes calm or when it’s particularly rough, but mostly it just fills the void with background, white noise.  On the rare occasion when the direction of the wind shifts to come in from the west, it takes us a while to realize that we can hear the low hum of the ferry boats crossing the channel. And when the dragsters elude the police and manage a quick race on the highway north of us, we are unfortunately aware of the activity. Typically, though, the television isn’t left on, and we don’t play the radio. There’s rarely even music playing since all of our cd’s were tucked away when Michael discovered iTunes.   

Our cats are pretty quiet – as cats tend by nature to be. They might make a fuss when they are frustrated by a gecko keeping a safe distance on the ceiling or if they lose track of where I am and call out for me to find them. However, they rarely talk amongst themselves and never converse with me. It’s been years since we’ve been bothered by marauding bands of goats or cows, and the distant neighbor’s dogs aren’t as annoying as they could be (that’s tactful coming from a veterinarian).  Pelicans and hummingbirds are characteristically mute, but the occasional laughing gull chuckles by. Thrasher birds chirp at each other, and the bananaquits tweet. It all makes for pretty, pleasant background music. 

However, as I’ve mentioned before (see the previous post, “Wildlife in Anguilla”) the chickens and roosters can be quite vocal and rather annoying (especially at 3AM!). That’s why, sadly, I am back to trapping chickens again and am still trying to catch one now lonely and now clearly frustrated rooster. After I caught two chickens, though, I noticed a cheeping noise outside the office window. Time after time I snuck out into the yard trying to find what I feared were orphaned chicks looking for their mother. Time after time, I failed. With as much stealth as I could muster, I would creep, step by step, inch by inch, trying to hear them rustling in the leaves. I’d peep my head through the buttonwoods to check the yard next door. I would check behind walls. No luck. I couldn’t see them anywhere. 

Of course, I wasn’t looking up. Baby chickens don’t fly. So it was days of searching before I finally realized that the cheeping wasn’t coming from little chickens. It turns out that there were three baby kestrel hawks calling from the corner of the roof next door. Their parents must have left them to fend for themselves. So, the noise was chicks screaming for their mother but not because I made them orphans. That was a relief. Now the young ones fly back and forth from the roof to the phone lines cheep, cheep, cheeping all the time. So, between the kestrels and that rooster, I’ve got quite a cacophony of noisy, frustrated birds outside.

Wild life in Anguilla

I haven’t posted in a while because we were off island for two weeks at a conference in Denver and then for a few days in San Francisco seeing kids, doctors, accountants, etc. Then this last week back at home has just been chockablock full of excitement in the form of some attention-grabbing, local wildlife.

We aren’t talking about the kinds of wildlife we were accustomed to in the States. While living in California we enjoyed the unique pleasure of having skunks and raccoons picking apart and rolling up our lawn while the deer on the hillside politely kept their distance. The wild boar were never seen but only heard at night running down the drainage ditch on the other side of our back fence, and the occasional opossum rarely caused any trouble.

Contrary to the recent reports of plans to open a zoo on island featuring local animals, though, the pickings here are pretty slim unless you consider the petting zoo favorites of sheep and goats. Certainly there are no lions or tigers or bears, oh my. The land tortoises can be kind of cute, but even our lizards don’t get particularly big. The wild life that was left causing me so much trouble was actually of the typically domestic type.

My own cats are 100% indoor pets. Whether we were living in the States or here in the islands, we never let our cats outside. The restrictive confinement of these open, breezy 3500 square feet of living space complete with an indoor courtyard full of plants offering the optional activity of gecko hunting is simply the tradeoff for keeping the cats clean and dry and safe and healthy. However, the scope of my control ends at the perimeter. So when a free-roaming, stray feline or two or three decide to come up on the veranda to taunt my poor little captive cats, things do not go well on my side of the screens.

The first night we were back in our own bed (after hardly sleeping at all the previous night on a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Miami), we were awakened four times by our cats screaming and hissing at an intruder outside. Each time we’d have to chase off the stray and then try to calm down our cats. Just when we thought we might get some uninterrupted sleep, the roosters started in. At least three of them were competing to see who could make the most noise and win the favors of four or five hens. Obviously someone had already won once since I heard peeping over the wall and investigated to find three, little, wee chicks running around. And the rustling outside the window of our office proved to be at least four little kittens.

Swell. That means that I, a card-carrying, animal-loving veterinarian, had to get into the decidedly disagreeable business of trapping animals. Trust me when I say that this is not my most favorite pastime. Plus, what are the odds that after trapping one or two of any given species the rest of the group won’t get wise to the process resulting in abject failure from that point on? Luckily, the kittens were not too bright because not only did I catch one after another after the first two together, but I also caught a fifth one overnight. Also luckily they were not too feral or ferocious yet so that there is hope that the local animal rescue foundation might find homes for some of them. The same could not be said of their mother who found her way into the trap a couple of nights later. I’d like to think she went to ‘live on a farm somewhere’, but I’ve been on the receiving end of these exchanges before so it’s hard for me to convince myself of that.

Meanwhile, having set the trap outside a bedroom window, I anxiously watched as one of the roosters was courting his girlfriend along the side of the house. He shrewdly sent her into the trap first and then followed her in. I was incredulous. I was going to literally catch two birds with one kibble. But no, the trap didn’t spring. And they happily went about their way. I ran out, eased off on the latch a bit and waited. Sure enough they came back, and I was rewarded with one trapped chicken and one really angry rooster. After taking her to the owner of the local grocery store, I reset the trap without much hope that the rooster would be stupid enough to go in it, but knowing that there were other birds out there who had not witnessed the first hen’s undoing. Imagine my shock come morning when the rooster was found screeching in the cage.

Since then it’s been all quiet on the oceanfront. I don’t know where the other roosters and chickens went, but they’ve cleared out for now, and that’s all I ever wanted…..peace and quiet. And that’s given me the opportunity to relax and take in other slightly more exotic sights: like the osprey who travels through these parts every year on its way to other shores, the return of Johnson, the eagle ray, to our beach, and this morning – much to my surprise – three whales passing by. That’s real, island wildlife.

PS – Quite literally, I saved this document to my computer and got up to stretch my legs just to catch a glimpse of this guy out by my pool. In eleven years on this rock, I have NEVER seen an iguana (hence my comment above about the lizards being small). This fellow must have taken umbrage at my characterization and came out of hiding to make a point. Had I been sunning myself on that chaise lounge, I might have given the screeching rooster a run for his money.

Snowbirds

It’s time for the annual migration. For years we rented our home to vacationers from Christmas into March so we weren’t here on island this time of year. We would overlap a little bit with the folks who come down to the islands to escape the cold, snowy winter and then return to their northern homes in the spring, but we were always heading in the opposite direction. We were sort of reverse snowbirds. This year we have been here for the duration, though, so I have reminders in my calendars on my computer alerting me to watch for departing nomads. I’m not sitting on my veranda watching the planes take off, however. I’m sitting on the veranda looking for the other snowbirds, the whales. 

It’s a little known and surprisingly poorly publicized fact that the humpback whales pass through these islands in February and March on their way from their breeding grounds in the warm tropical waters around the Dominican Republic to their feeding grounds up north. As a result, we were living in our home long before we ever knew that whales swim by here. An Anguillian friend was here one day talking to us and just paused briefly in his conversation to note, ‘oh, there’s a whale,’ and then went right on talking. We were stunned. 

In past years, we’ve only had the opportunity to catch sight of a few late stragglers, but this year we are here during the peak travel season; and we are watching. The problem is that the whales can stay under the water for upwards to 30 minutes if they want which means a person could spend a LOT of time staring at the sea in the hopes of seeing one even if one is out there. Therefore, in an attempt to increase my odds of making a sighting, I asked everyone I know to call me if they see a whale. That way I’d at least know when they started coming through. I even enlisted my gardener to be a lookout. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have much fascination with whales. He was pretty ho hum on the topic – much like that first ‘oh, there’s a whale’ sighting. When I asked him to call me if he saw one, he informed me that he typically spots them while working at friends’ houses further east of us beyond the channel in the open water. No problem, I said. Just call me. He didn’t see the point, though. It’s not like I could be expected to drive all the way out there just to see a whale. 

This is probably why nobody advertises the prospect of whale watching while you are here on vacation.  The gardner is probably not the only one who doesn’t think I would bother to drive 5 miles to see a whale when, in fact, I have driven 125 miles from San Francisco to Monterey, California and then paid to go out on a boat in the hopes of seeing a whale. Suffice it to say, that I didn’t have a lot of confidence that he would call me in the event of a sighting. 

Thank heavens for facebook. A friend returned to the States on Tuesday, and on Wednesday she posted that the ferry boat had passed by a couple of whales on its way to St. Maarten. So, knowing they had arrived, I redoubled my efforts. That night I was just getting ready to go out and decided to take a minute to scan the horizon. When I saw the first spout, I thought I was conjuring the image in my mind. Then I saw the second spout. I called for Michael to bring the binoculars and we spent the next 20 minutes watching a whale spout and roll and breach – oohing and aahing like kids watching fireworks. It was closer to St. Martin than it was to Anguilla, but that’s OK. I have hope. I’ve just got to devote more time to looking. After all, it’s early. I’ve still got weeks before the last snowbirds depart.

Anguilla hornets and Bermuda onions

Just a quick anecdote today.

After a few days of heavy rains on the back side of Hurricane Irene, I was getting ready to venture out to run some errands today when I stepped out onto the veranda to talk with the gardener. We were chatting about the weather, politics, taxes – all of those topics over which we have absolutely no control.

While we were pondering, I absentmindedly brushed something off of my wrist. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a benign little leaf or a hair or even a spider. It was a hornet.  At first I deluded myself into thinking that he hadn’t actually stung me. It didn’t hurt in the beginning. That was just a delayed reaction, though, and, in short order, the spot starting stinging like crazy. I have seen Michael react to similar hornet attacks in a really big way so I had visions of ending up with a grossly swollen and completely useless appendage.

Not knowing what else to do, I knelt down and immediately immersed my arm in the swimming pool in the hopes that the cool water would be soothing. The gardener, however, had another suggestion: rub onion into the sting.Sure , it sounded crazy, but what harm could it do especially given how much my arm was burning by that time? So I ran into the house, cut an onion, grated it, smeared the paste on the sting and covered it with a band-aid.

Viola! The stinging went away within minutes, and now that the little wee bit of swelling has dissipated, my arm is just as normal as normal can be.  I’ve taken the time since to google ‘onions and stings’, and it’s obvious that the gardener isn’t the inventor of this cure.  It is not some kind of island voodoo. There are, in fact,  plenty of discussions pro and con about whether onions work in these situations. All I know is that in this one case – of my arm, my onion and my hornet – it worked like a charm. Thankfully.

Tracking Turtle Tracks

There’s a sea turtle that keeps trying to lay her eggs on our little beach. I’ve never seen her. I’ve only seen her tracks in the sand. I keep trying to see her. And she keeps trying to lay her eggs.

Unfortunately, our beach is not very big. It’s long enough, I imagine. But it’s not very wide (ocean to cliff) so that there really isn’t that much of a safe-for-egg-laying zone above the high tide for a nest.  As I understand these things, though, I assume this turtle (or these turtles since I have no idea if it is one or many coming up on the beach periodically) was born on this beach. If it takes many, many years for turtles to reach sexual maturity, then either this beach is sufficient for nesting or it was a very different beach back in the days of her birth.

In 1995, Anguilla was hit with its first hurricane in decades. Luis was a Category 4 storm when it passed over the island. Apparently, he gathered together a big pile of pieces of dead coral and created a little island that sits off of our beach.  Since I never saw the property before that time, I have no idea what impact that coral pile has had on the shape and size of our beach.  It has either worked to preserve the beach or obstructs the return of sand to this area resulting in a lesser beach than before.

Nevertheless, the turtle keeps coming. I can’t honestly say how often since I don’t go down to check the beach every day. I only know that I have seen tracks there in the spring and in the summer – like I did this week. She always comes up on land on the east end of the beach, so the tracks are not always evident from my perch on the rocks on the western edge of the sand. The other evening, though, I was down looking for the eagle ray, Johnson, that I’ve mentioned before and thought I saw something on the sand. Closer inspection revealed one arcing turtle track coming up on the far side of the beach, going up behind three lounge chairs that a neighbor left on the beach and then back into the water to the west.

There was no evidence of a nest – just the track. Not knowing if the lounge chairs had upset her or if she would try again, I picked the chairs up, stacked them against the rocks, and smoothed out the sand with my feet so I’d be able to tell if she returned.  At 8PM that night, I gathered together a couple of flashlights and a camera and walked down to the beach in the pitch dark to see if she might be there. Michael was off island, so it was just me and the sea. A little creepy and I wasn’t really sure how high I’d jump if I actually stumbled upon a sea turtle. But she wasn’t there then or at 10P when I went back down again.

First thing the next morning I went down to see. Sure enough, turtle tracks straight up from the sea across where the lounge chairs had been. They went right up to the bushes and back down. There wasn’t any gross evidence of a nest but I can’t go digging around right away to check because the eggs have to kind of set up and then you can’t go flipping them over they have to stay in the original orientation to develop. So I’ll wait until Michael comes back and then maybe check.  For now I just smoothed out the sand (having brought a rake along this time to make it easier.) That night, I went down again, stacked up the stupid, lounge chairs and made my flashlight forays again at 8P and 10P. No turtle then and no tracks in the morning. And none again today either.

I do have a theory, however. I’ve been doing some research; and based on the beach conditions and the tracks, I’m going to guess this is a hawksbill turtle. If so, she may well be back again in 2 weeks and this time, I’ll be waiting.

What else do I have to do all day (or night)?