Sunday, November 28, 2010

Zoo Beach

Our Bahamas, Part 4:

Zoo Beach

This is Gaulding beach. It's on the Caribbean side of the island so generally the water is calm, clear, and as blue as a crayon. The day this picture was taken must have been windy; see the waves?

On our first visit to this beach, we noticed something crunching softly under our feet as we waded through the shallow water.

When we reached under the sand what we found were dozens, hundreds, millions of sand dollars! And not the dried up kind you can buy at a tourist shop, but alive sand dollars of all sizes and colors.

We spent hours upon hours collecting sand dollars and comparing their colors, patterns, and sizes.

"Look at this one, Mommy! It's huge!"

"Ooooh, Dad! This one is kind of purpley with white spots!"

Paige, ever the organizer, would create small tide pools to hold the most interesting sand dollars while we were busy searching for more examples. One thing about sand dollars though is that they have tiny hairs, cilia, on their bottom side that they use to crawl across and down into the sand. We learned that the hard way when Paige's favorite sand dollar buried itself when she left it in a tide pool. We never could find the little sucker.

Maybe they had heard of us from the hermit crabs and so knew to run away from us as quickly as possible.

Sometimes the sand dollar wasn't the most interesting thing we would find when plucked from it's sandy keep.

This crab was alive, though tiny! No bigger than a pinto bean, this crab put up a mighty fight with its immature little pincher's!

I'm not really sure what this freeloading starfish is. It had finger like projections on the front and sides, and on the bottom were really long clear feelers that propelled the star around quite quickly. After this shot was taken, the star pushed itself upside down and had to be rescued with my hand.

After holding the star on my bare skin for a few minutes, I noticed my fingers starting to tingle. After putting it down, er, throwing it as far away from me as possible, my entire hand went numb for about thirty minutes.

I didn't like that ONE BIT!! (Neurotoxin and no doctors or emergency rooms? Yelp!)

Here's the wanderings of a hermit crab through the sand. I love the sunshine shape it made, the beauty of the design in the sand.

Starfish were plentiful in the shallow waters as were the occasional sea cucumber.

(I mistakenly called it a sea "penis" to Jerry as a joke, and unfortunately the kids heard me. We tried to correct them, but the rest of the trip they too called them sea penises. Especially after one "peed" on Josh, the nickname was stuck.)

On Harbor Island, the "fancy" island were the British Royals go and other snooty rich people, there are wild horses that roam the beaches.

One friendly tourist approached this pack of wild horses with his hand outstretched, I'm sure thinking, "Oh, look at the pretty horses! With all of these people around they must be friendly!" When he got about five feet from the white horse, it reared up on it's back legs and would have stomped that nice ignorant man into the sand if he hadn't been quick on his feet!

This little fellow was also on Harbor Island. He's also lucky to be alive after he tried to steal my conch fritters.

I will rip someones legs off if they mess with my fritters!