Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pittstown Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E-SE 10 knots, gusty and heavy rain during afternoon squalls

Our peaceful sojourn at the house continues, uninterrupted except by the occasional Bahamian stopping by to fill up their water jugs with reverse-osmosis water. I don’t know how Nappy can really put up with that, and maybe that’s why they do it when he’s away. I think they’re all surprised to still see us here, as we don’t really fit into the Crooked Island equation. We’re a completely foreign element, neither sandperson nor tourist. I’d like to pretend we were white Bahamians from Eleuthera, educated in the States, but I’m not sure we could pull it off.

I’ve been studying the bird books the owner has in the house, hoping she doesn’t mind. I figure if she’s a bird-lover she won’t mind a fellow bird-lover making use of her resources. I wish we had her collection of books--she has fish guides, bird guides, weather guides. All we have is one measly guide to Caribbean seashores, which does have good explanations of coral, shellfish, and shore plants, but completely neglects all fish and birds. I’ve always harbored a secret desire to be a botanist. When I was a kid, my aunt gave me a subscription to National Geographic World, the kids’ National Geographic magazine, and I used to pore over it every month. Magazines in English, like books, were few and far between in Thailand, and I read every word of that thing. My favorite article, which I still remember in detail, was about entomologists in the Amazon, who pitched giant tarps high up between the trees and lived in them. They couldn’t pitch tents on the ground, because in the rainforest there really isn’t ground. The earth is covered by decaying vegetative matter many feet deep. It’s not designed to be lived on. Instead, all the animals live in the trees.

They would collect insects in traps at the bottom of their tarps, and every morning they’d be full of oversized Amazonian bugs, and every day they were able to identify a completely unknown species. After I read that, I wanted to be an entomologist for years. That was after I abandoned my ambition to be First Lady. Yes, I was a weird child.

So far, my major triumph as amateur ornithologist was spotting the Bahamas woodstar, one of two hummingbirds found in the Bahamas! I saw it this morning, buzzing around the fruit tree off the balcony, eating from the red flower that every bird in the yard seems to enjoy. I was thrilled--I’ve been looking for it since I first read about it three weeks ago. My next goal is to spot a ground dove, one of the more common birds specific to the Bahamas. I’m compiling a bird list on the computer while Karl toils away. That’s another thing I’ve always wanted to do, become one of those hardcore birders with their crazy life lists.

So that’s about all the news. I’m afraid the website is going to turn boring, with us neglecting to brave the high seas for months at a time. It’s turning into a construction-worker-in-the-Bahamas blog, which I suppose has it’s own cachet. I do hope we can be off again soon. Have no fear. My wanderlust will not permit us to remain stationary for too long. Although the wanderlust is going to have to do ferocious battle with my unsatiable desire for iced beverages.

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