Swimming in the salty ocean at Buck Island, I glance around and saw a bunch of turtles coming up for air. They come so close to you, you feel like they are trying to say, “Pet me!” Diving back down, the turtles feast on some of the plants. Bite after bite, mouthful after mouthful, the turtles peacefully munch. I just glide around watching every turtle stretch their little turtle necks out and snatch a plant, then munch. One particular turtle caught my attention, Little Stubs [Shane – I call him Lucky ;)]. He is a turtle who is missing one rear flipper. He was snapped at by other turtles. I felt bad for him. He was cute though. Turtles were so awesome, and I’m glad Captain Shane brought us there. Oh, turtles are so cute!!
The shipwreck was amazing! There are so many fish, and by many, I mean schools. Captain Shane went down to the shipwreck and picked up a short spine sea urchin. My mom and dad held it, but I did not! It did not look friendly at first. Shane held it out to me, but I just backed away. I didn’t hold it at all.
The beach was one of my favorite destinations. I got to collect shells with another girl who was on the boat. It was so fun. Shane found us sand dollars and a sea biscuit. I found a lot of tiny shells. Some of them had tiny little animals in them so I had to throw them back into the ocean. The sand was different at every beach we went to. One beach had really smooth sand that felt really good on my skin, but the others were really just crushed up shells, not really sand. Another beach had giant clumps of coral, that was cool, but every time a wave would hit, the coral would hit you and that HURT!
Fishing was another one of my favorite things. We only caught one fish, but that’s ok. We caught a fish that wasn’t supposed to be that good to eat so we threw it back in. Shane thought it was a barracuda at first because it was silver and shiny, but it wasn’t. The funny thing is that the hook went through the fish’s eyeball!! Ewww!
We got to walk on a reef! Yes on a reef. It was pretty cool, except for the mushy sea grass part that sucked your feet in. There were short spine sea urchins and this time I held it. It was pretty cool. When I put it underwater it sucked onto my hand! I peeled it off, and that felt strange. Captain Shane also found us some brittle starfish and we got to hold those too. On the way back to the Guiding Light, Captain Shane found an upside-down jellyfish. He was able to capture it into a little glass jar so we could look at it closely before we put it back into the sea.
At Culebra we were on a beach and then we started to walk up to an old light house. While I was walking with the other two people that were staying with us on the boat, I heard a noise sounding like someone was walking through some dry leaves. I asked, “What is that?” “Land Hermit Crabs.” was the response I got. I was not expecting the answer to be land hermit crabs. There were very interesting. They would cross the little path like people crossing the street. They were neat to hold too.
Monkey Island was monkey-tacular!! We went in the dingy and got to see Rhesus Monkeys!! A baby monkey climbed up the metal pole at the feeding pen and sat there. It was so adorable! It’s cute little face, oh, so cute.
The wrestling mat was so fun to play with. Shane, Zoe (another girl that was on the boat with us), and I pushed each other off of it. It was so fun. I clung on a lot to the Captain. He was hard to push off; in fact we never ended up pushing him off of it.
One of the days when we were sailing, and I was hanging off the bow, enjoying the breeze in my hair, I saw something white in the water. I wondered what it was. At first I thought it was a shark following us, so I started to back away from the bow. All of a sudden I see it leap out of the air. It wasn’t a shark at all. It was a dolphin that had zipped past the boat and jumped in front of my face before disappearing and swimming away. My jaw was hanging wide open. My eyes became as big as dinner platters. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, “Dolphin! Wild dolphin!” with Zoe. We both were excited.
On the last day of my trip we went to El Yunque National Rainforest. It was awesome. We climbed up a tower and got to see the awesome view. It was high up, that’s for sure. Then we went to a waterfall and climbed up to the water. It was pretty cool.
After the rainforest it was time to go to the airport to get on a plane to Denver, Colorado. I was sad I had to leave. I had so much fun with everyone. But maybe, just maybe, we might go back again. I also said to myself, “This is a trip to remember forever.”
[Shane – this was written by Bella, who is one of my “nieces”. She is 11 years old and she came down for a week and a half with her mom, whom has been one of my closest friends for over 15 years, and her step dad. I am so glad they were able to come down and see a bit of paradise!!!!]