Tropical Vay-Kay Day Six - Land Hermit Crabs


Having prematurely accomplished my vacation adventure goal of seeing a wild manatee in the wild, and getting bonus points for an up close and personal encounter with a dolphin, I'm toying with the idea of adding an extension goal: to find an elusive land hermit crab before we leave Sanibel Island. This is not as easy as it sounds, unless it sounds not very easy to you. They are called hermit crabs for a reason. I am not sure what that reason is, but if they are anything like human hermits, they probably hide themselves to avoid being found.

Land hermit crabs live in empty snail shells that they find. So when they are on a beach littered with empty snail shells, I imagine it's the perfect camouflage. The key to finding a land hermit crab, me thinks, is to look for snail shells that appear to be moving. That may require some stealth on my part, because hermit crabs have the ability to retract into their rental mobile shell homes and when they do, they appear as still as all the empty snail shells around them. My hope is that I can find a land hermit crab under a rock or a stump, but I need to consult the Giant Internet Brain on what is optimal hermit crab habitat.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to enjoy the tropical fun in the sun here on Sanibel Island FL.

Phase 1

8 AM. Mark and I took a 5k walk on the beach this morning and I collected a few good sea shells. We talked a little bit about the Cambrian Explosion, the evolutionary epoch in geological history that gave rise to many of the calciferous shelled creatures whose discarded carapaces we found so aesthetically pleasing.

2 PM. I'm currently reposed on a poolside recliner chair grappling with a major dilemma. I am exposed to direct sunlight and the sunscreen I put on earlier today is long gone. I should move to the shade or put on more sunscreen, but both of these options necessitate expending some effort. The shade option probably is the most parsimonious. To put on more sunscreen, I either have to borrow some or else go back up to the condo to score mine and Deborah's.

Me: "Do we have sunscreen down here?"

Deborah (on the poolside recliner beside me): "No, I put it on before we came down."

I actually ended up choosing the more difficult option and went back up to the condo to grab the 30 SPF in the yellow aerosol spray bottle. Returning to poolside, I angled my recliner chair more toward the sun, reclined, and administered sunscreen to my more vulnerable surfaces.

"I'm going to get rid of these tan lines," I told Deborah, revealing my pasty white upper quadriceps beneath my bathing suit and applying sunscreen to them.

I had finished reading my library book, "John Dies at the End" (actually, he doesn't), so I read my own book, "The Circle" by Dave Eggers, while Deborah and her family debated where to go to dinner. I didn't add anything to the conversation because A. I did not want to add variables to an already potentially complicated conversation, B. I didn't really care where we ate dinner as long as there were some healthy options for Deborah and me (she knows our dietary guidelines and was perfectly capable of handling the conversation without my input), and C. I knew that Deborah's dad, Howie, wanted to go to a place called Doc Ford's, and so that's probably what we'd end up doing. There is an open mic night at some establishment on Sanibel Island tonight, and I wouldn't mind checking it out and perhaps even performing, but not enough to complicate the plans of the rest of the group, so we'll see what happens there.

Phase 2

We went to Doc Ford's for dinner. It was a decent place and had healthy options for Deborah and me. There didn't seem to be much interest from the group in going to the open mic night, so I didn't press the issue. I'll just inwardly resent everyone for not wanting to go, except for Mark; he totally endorsed us going, even though he and Michelle were heading back to Sarasota and would miss it anyway.

"What songs are you going to play?" Mark asked me in the men's room at Doc Ford's.

"It sounds like we probably aren't going," I replied.

"Oh, really? I think you should totally go."

"Well, if we do, I'll probably rip two or three original songs."

After we bid Mark and Michelle safe travels on their trip back to Sarasota, Deborah and I climbed into the back seat of her dad's car.

"Are we going to the open mic?" I asked Deborah quietly.

"No," Deborah replied. "Is that OK?"

"OK. Fine. No problem," I said. "I'll just resent you all for the rest of the night and into tomorrow." She knew I was kidding.

Honestly, I don't resent anyone wanting to sit in the hot tub back at the condo vs suffering through a couple hours of amateur songsmithing just to hear me play two, or maybe three, of my spectacular original songs. The chances of some record label producer being there and realizing how ridiculously ahead of their time my songs are and signing me to a billion dollar record deal on the spot at the conclusion of my short set seem pretty slim. So hot tub it is...guaranteed to warm the cockles.

Phase 3

We spent a while in the hot tub chatting with a family from Rochester MN, also vacationing here at the Sanibel Beach Club condos. Eventually, I got out and walked down the paved path from the pool area toward the beach, letting the sea breeze cool and dry me.

Returning to the hot tub patio area, I asked Deborah if she wanted to go down and sit on the moonlit beach for a while.

"It's chilly," Deborah said. Chilly by Florida standards is 65 Fahrenheit degrees, especially when you are clad only in a bathing suit, so she wasn't wrong.

"We can go up and change into warmer clothes," I said. "I need to grab a couple beach chairs anyway."

We did this. Once on the beach, we discussed our increasingly less hypothetical future plan to move to Sarasota FL. Most of Deborah's family endorses this idea every time we bring it up. We have a few minor details to sort out, but I am liking the scenario more and more. I'm at a great point in my life to make this sort of a change, but I am also at a great point in my life to make any kind of change I want. Life is too short to waste time dicking around in Wisconsin when I can be dicking around in Florida instead. Anyway, this is what we spent our time on the beach batting around.

Now Deborah and I are back up at the condo, sitting on the balcony (she calls it a lanai) listening to the sea. I suppose we'll retire to our bed chambers soon. I am not sure what the plan is for tomorrow. There was some talk of a boat tour around the island, but I'm not too keen on that, so I am hoping I can dissuade the group from this idea. Deborah's stomach is bothering her, so I asked her to exploit that condition to help neutralize the threat of a boat tour. We are trying to be frugal with our money on this trip.

"We should go to Pube Licks tomorrow and get some groceries so we can make food here," I said. "I don't want to be eating out all the time; that could get expensive."

"Oh we definitely will eat here," Deborah said.

"Let's go shopping first thing tomorrow so we don't get sucked into going out somewhere," I said.

"Totally," Deborah said. She's so great. That's why we are perfect for each other.

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