But onto the post.....
Today I went to the beach. But not just any beach. I went to a deserted island. Well, sort of. It's a small island in the Pacific called Isla Bolanos. As I was there I pondered whether a deserted island is one that was once inhabited or if any island where no one is living can be deserted. What do you think?
I've been getting some serious hiking in while I've been in Boquete and I have only gone to the beach one other time since I arrived here in September. This was a few weeks ago and, as lovely as it was to be by the ocean, it was a chilly, rainy day with no chance of sun or tan. Great to be at the beach, but not the greatest beach day. Today however, was a little slice of magnificence. A boat took us from the mainland to the island. It was slightly choppy and I managed to choose the one seat on the boat that was the magnet for water. I was drenched by the time we arrived on the island.
There were these crabs. Having spent a good chunk of time by the beach in the past few months, I have grown fond of watching crabs. They are simply really awkward and silly looking. The ones in Puerto Viejo didn't live in shells like the ones on this island. I was never able to capture a good photo of the crabs in Puerto Viejo but I do remember one day hearing a strange munching sound near me. I turned around to see a big crab close by eating an insect. I watched, completely mesmerized by its mechanical chewing and loud crunching sound. It might as well have been a person sitting behind me eating tortilla chips it was so loud. It held the insect in its two pinchers juxtaposed its mouth, methodically chewing and then swallowing (although I didn't witness the swallowing as crabs don't really have necks, this is just what I assume took place after a thorough mastication of the insect), then pushing the next tiny bit of insect into its mouth. I remember thinking how that might have been one of the strangest things I have ever witnessed on a beach.
There was also one night where I walked along the shore in Puerto Viejo to catch the sunset. I was fiddling with some drift wood and threw a tiny piece, perhaps an inch long, a few feet away from me. Upon the drift wood hitting the sand, several crabs scurried out of their holes and ran towards the piece of wood. The bravest would charge forward and grab the stick while the others stood around and watched with their oblong eyes. Fascinated, I threw tiny pieces of wood for the remainder of the sunset watching the crabs run to and fro, one always beating out all the rest for the wooded prize. What the heck they wanted the drift wood for was beyond me. I wondered if they thought it was food.
The crabs here take their homes in shells much like I take my home in a hostel. Whereas the crabs can retreat and hide in their shells at the slightest disturbance, I don't have this freedom. I suppose hanging a sarong on the bunk bed above me and having my bunk against the wall, thus creating a cave-like enclosure, is as close as I'll get to living like a crab. There were thousands on Isla Bolanos, going about their day, scurrying along and eating loudly, gluttons who don't know how to chew quietly. I walked over to some rocks to investigate the landscape and also because I could hear a clicking noise which I assumed was coming from an animal. I quickly realized the clicking noise was hundreds of crabs congregating on a coconut, their shells and little staunch crab legs clamoring against one another. They were either eating or having an orgy, either way it was interesting to observe.
Later on, I watched two crabs interact as if they were having a lovers quarrel. They would butt up against each other, their little pinchers either giving high fives or what would be the equivalent of punching each other. Then the smaller of the two would walk away. The other would chase it and they would start again. They did this little crab dance three or four times before the bigger one got bored of chasing the smaller one each time their little high five/punching match would end.
Just like I never thought I'd be the owner of my own website domain, I also never thought I'd dedicate an entire blog post to crabs. On that note, I never thought I'd use the words "crab" and "orgy" in the same sentence.