April 17th, Monday

I woke up just past dawn. There were still some pretty pink clouds in the sky. But it was sunny. Yeah! I tried to write in my journal out by the water but the gnats were too vicious. I came back in to write. In general each morning while the others wake up I write about yesterday's events.

I took a short walk down to the little shell graveyard to the west along the beach. C-- and the kids discovered it. Piles of small 1/2" shells wash up and you can pick them up by the handful. I was told that if I kept going, I would find the larger shells. I brought back a few handfuls of shells and started to sort them. If I have time I will string them on some thread for a necklace.

Mom strings shells as the kids lounge

Yesterday Stanton Cooper stopped by to see how things were going. He is not only the man who rented us our cars, but is also the caretaker of Balara Manor. While he was here he noticed that the our car had a flat (not the minivan that we had been using). Today he sent over a man to fix it for us. Very nice of him.

After breakfast the Goulds went out to snorkel. We wanted to go to Cupid's Cay to see what it was like. We stopped at the post office to mail our post cards then looked for a good parking spot. We parked where all the trucks that belong to the dock park but on the side farthest from the docks. This spot was right by the water. So we crossed the road and hopped into the Carribbean. Right off we saw two Barracuda swimming by the shore. Then not much but sea slugs and sea grass until we got to the little island off shore. The snorkeling was much better here than at yesterday's beach. Lots of different kinds of coral and sea fans and a few anemones. We saw a few schools of fish: angelfish, blue tangs, bar jacks and sergeant majors. Grouper was also very common. Other fish we saw: barracuda, squirrelfish, snapper, grunts and lots of butterfly fish and angelfish. The most striking where the juvenile angelfish with the bright blue stripes and yellow patches, probably they were blue angel fish since I saw adults of these but no adults of the queen angelfishes. There were also damsel fish, gobys and parrot fish, and a school of hog fish. We also saw a yellow sting ray. The best part was seeing two spotted eagle rays glide below us. They were huge. I'm not sure how big they were but they certainly were wider than my arm span. Their tail was at least 8' long, or should I say one of their tails. The other ray lost its tail somewhere and it was only about 1' long. It was eerie watching them slide beneath us. Then of course it was back across to the town again. It took forever to swim back and we all got very tired. The kids and I were also very cold by the time we got out.

Daphne and Beth make sand castles

Joel stopped at the store to pick up bread. The rest of us stayed in the car to warm up. When Joel got back he rolled down his window to cool off the car and the rest of us complained. We were still freezing. Too bad we didn't have wetsuits for when we have to be in the water for over an hour.

At home we showered the salt off and ate leftovers from last night. And we finished the key lime pie.

The kids and I went off to make a necklace of shells and Joel took his nap. He seems to enjoy the pattern: snorkel, shower, eat, sleep, repeat. He says that's what he wants his vacation to be like. The adult Meeks went off to snorkel around Cupid's Cay while we watched Amos. [Ed: Joel only took one nap all trip, but snorkled a lot and took lots of showers.]

Around 2:30 we started to get ready to go to Twin Beach to snorkel. As we were getting ready the Meeks showed up so we all went.

Scott and C-- relax on the beach

Today there were two cars parked at the turnout for the beach and the people from the Twin Coves house were there also, so we didn't have it all to ourselves. We took off snorkeling. The coral here seemed a little better than the coral over by Cupid's Cay, but there were not quite the variety or quantity of fish. The waves were pushing us around a little and we were at low tide so you have to watch the coral. Beth wanted to go in because the waves bothered her, so I started back with her. Close in to the beach there were large tracts of sea grass. It builds up thickly then traps sand and builds up more. Certain spots had this build up ripped away and the thick wall of grass was interesting to see. I saw a conch shell on the bottom and called Joel over to dive and pick it up, but he claims he never touches anything in the water. [Ed: look but don't touch.] Humph! I hope I'm strong enough soon to take off my jacket. I seem to be recovering quickly so it is possible.

Afterwards Beth and I walked down the beach. We saw little air holes close to the high tide line and we wondered what made them. We thought clams at first, but there were no clamshells washed up on the beach so that was unlikely. We dug down about 1 1/2 feet but still couldn't find them. We figured maybe an insect but careful examination of the dug up sand revealed nothing.

Twin Beach

The next order of business on a pretty sandy beach is castle making. Beth and I made a pretty castle together. I thought it was time to head back when it was done, but the kids didn't want to leave. Since we really needed time so we could start the fire and burn it down to coals for our barbecue, some of us had to go back. Scott sacrificed himself and relaxed in the sun while the kids played. The rest of us headed back to start dinner.

Sunset at Balara Manor

Getting the fire started was a challenge. I don't know what kind of wood it was but it was hard and smelled fabulous. I watched and fanned the fire then barbecued our pork chops while C-- cooked up the potatoes, onions and corn. In the middle I had Joel take over for a few minutes while I made a pitcher of rum punch. C-- and I had a great time cooking after that. The gnats that were gnawing on my ankles didn't feel as bad either. Just before the pork chops were done, I had an idea, barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce is great with pork. I gave my spatula to Joel and ran in and mixed together some ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, black pepper and garlic. I mirowaved it for a minute and smeared it onto some the chops. Yum! Thank goodness someone had left all the ingredients in the house, all but ketchup that is.

Joel drove back to the beach and picked up our kids and Scott. And we all feasted. It was quite good. The wood they use here to barbecue is simply wonderful. It imparts a perfect flavor to the meat.

The sun was going down, so out we went to watch the sunset. Unfortunately the gnats hadn't eaten their evening meal yet so they had us for dinner. The sunset was gorgeous. We braved the gnats until it was totally down then ran back inside. Many of us (but not me) took Benadryl to ease their bites.

Beth had trouble washing the dishes because she itched so much. Joel and I pooped out early, not long before nine.

Gould Home Page | Travel Index

Text and images © Copyright 2000 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.