By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.
It is Wednesday, or should I write WEDNESDAY! We woke up leisurely and got a good breakfast at the Jasmine beach inn restaurant then went back to the room to get our gear for some early morning snorkeling.
This time Christie and I teamed up for some unbelievable underwater viewing. There were three types of jellyfish – one with tentacles about 3 feet in length and completely transparent with 50 tentacles trailing behind. The other was so unusual I couldn’t believe my eyes. The large jelly was light blue color perfectly matching many of the fan-like coral and was positioned to invite the retreating fish.
Coral heads were has big as an automobile. With their slow growth rate, I was told that they might be 10,000 years old. Mushroom and shelf fungus types were common. A flat brain coral pattern was the largest of the forms. One very colorful pattern was of the stag horn variety having tips a vivid hue and the rest gray in color.
Angel fish of the most beautiful patterns and colors were seen along with parrotfish (just like those in the Grand Caymans). Fly fish, triggerfish and one neon blue on blue most lovely colored specimen plus a whitefish with black circles all over him that reminded me of a fish with a rash of circles or checkers or a carom man. Even the shallow water of the beach had baby fish, puffers, fly fish and blue chromis.
We saw a 2-pound spotted grouper even though it was well camouflaged on the bottom 15 feet below next to a coral head.
I got to share my mask and snorkel with six people (and some of my knowledge as well).
My homesickness was soothed a bit with the long distance call to Linda which was clear as next door and had no delay (how do they do it?) I was thrilled that she had a good conference with the bird man and can now identify the song of a worm eating warbler. I’ll have to find out the other birds she learned when I get home. I also found the two-sentence note she put in my suitcase and I’ll save it for future mood adjustment.
I have been impressed with the church workers here. They have prepared meals, worship services, moved bags, set up clinics and 1,000 other things I don’t even know about. If they follow up on the clinic patients who need all types of help, they will have enough contacts to last for years.
After the two-hour snorkel trip on our day off, I read a couple of chapters in my book and then decided to get another water excursion in before the lunch prepared for us on the pavilion. This time Lauren who had never been snorkeling before this grip, joined me for another amazing outing. We snorkel right through lunch but luckily Bernie saved me a plate which I consumed in a room full of karaoke howlers. I don’t know what was in the food, but after eating I decided to join in the foolishness and to everyone’s delight got up on the stage. The problem up to then was that they had not been playing my music. When I got to pick out a few tunes like “Annie’s Song” and “Blue Suede Shoes” I felt the old teenager moves surfacing and before I could suppress them I found myself dancing with the mike in my hand.
After a little basketball on a sand court with a hoop the size of a class ring and a volley ball, we opted for a ride into town which was to the site of our next clinic. The kids performed for us by jumping 20 feet into the ocean off the highway bridge.
When I returned to the hotel, there was still an hour’s worth of daylight left and just enough time to explore the east side of the beach with my snorkel.
Thursday at 5 in the morning the sun sneaked a reflective peek into my west-facing window. I’m wide awake just in time to welcome in a new day with thanksgiving and praise to its Creator. Still in my pajamas and a long T-shirt I make my way over the sandy beach to the pier where I can take in all of the happenings. The new moon and Venus are first to catch my attention as they pierce the thin cloud layer just above in a pink-painted sky. Several layers of clouds give different colors and depth of field to the east. The grayness in the lower layer gives way to a soft paint which reddens just as the other cloud layers are taking up the first colors of morning. Suddenly the wispy bands and their air currents have created a pattern in the clouds almost like a secret code from God that I can try to decipher. What is He writing to tell me in the clouds today?
A deep blue avenue shoots across the whitening clouds as the sun apparently has free access to this narrow section of the sky. I look from behind the gazebo covering to the west and the blue lane widens and reaches the far distant cumulus cloud tops that are taking on the red rays of the early sun that have now left the eastern sky.
The sky gets more blue and the clouds whiten so that the new Moon and Venus fade from the picture leaving a new awakening to the day – the bird songs. The gentle lapping of a small wave gets my attention as I hear the distant putt-putt of a fishing boat making its way to the secret spot where the fisherman can drop his net with optimism for a better catch.
Editor’s Note: Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.