27 December 2018 | St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Hi everyone, Be sure to read this story to your kids. We went snorkeling after a week of working on various projects on the boat. The cove we chose was nearby our marina in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Lots of tourists from the cruise ships thronged the beach at Honeymoon Cove, but there was nothing but sand on the bottom inside the cove, so probably not many fish who like rocks and coral to hide around. Another boater pointed us to an area nearly outside the cove where rocks jutted out into the bay. There was an abandoned dock near where we set down our little anchor for the dinghy. We slipped into the water and headed over to this dock in the shallows. The water was crystal clear, a lovely pale blue color on this sunny, warm day. George suddenly called me over towards the rocky shoreline. "There's an octopus!" Wow! "It's right behind the can of pop under the ledge." I couldn't see anything except the pop can. "I saw all eight arms, and they were as big as my arm," George exclaimed. So I looked closer and saw an arm, very still, brown and spotted, tentacles tucked down out of sight. It was holding the can of pop tightly against its body at the entrance to its little cave so no one could see him. Then we saw an eye looking out from under the ledge, protruding above a big brown blob. Then another eye came out. We began to see its whole head as it emerged from its cave, probably to take a look at us just as we lay there in the water, not moving, watching. Then the octopus slowly went back into its little cave, still clutching its pop can. :) We figured this was a medium-sized octopus, certainly not as big as the ones we see in the Seattle Aquarium. It was amazing how curious it was about us, safely hidden about a quarter mile away from the throngs of swimmers. We saw the whole body, but his arms were retracted under his body, holding onto that can, not a large octopus. A short while later George called me back to take a look at something else. This time the creatures were 3 siblings, probably some kind of squid. But certainly nothing like anything we had ever seen before except in picture books. These 8-10" squid had heads that drooped down at an angle with big silvery eyes that stared at us for quite a long time, their fins along the sides of their bodies dancing as they moved backwards and forwards, looking fervently at us for a couple of minutes. They were dark brown with grey on their heads and a lovely almost florescent stripe the full length of their backs. And yes, we did see Dora, but not Nemo. We will have to be snorkeling over a coral reef with anemones for the Clown Fish to hide in and swim around. This was the first snorkeling we have done for a long time, the water along the Atlantic coast not really suitable as the water is dark brown with no visibility. There has been so much damage to the coral due to the hurricanes that we really need to go out with a guide to find the reefs that are still alive. But in this little cove where most of the bottom was mostly dead but beginning to recover we found these amazing creatures who didn't appear to be afraid of us at all. We know plankton is plentiful as we can actually hear them, crackling from inside our boat. Octopus eat other shellfish, so it must have been finding food somewhere. Squid have a strong beak for biting, cutting, and swallowing prey. These guys were not hungery, just curious.