Friday, May 25th., three days before Memorial Day. God bless all of our veterans.
There are many different ways to arrive on Peanut Island. I usually hop a ride on Captain Joe’s ferry, the Buccaneer. Ten bucks for a round trip ticket.
Peanut Island - Bringing the family
Some people motor their own boat and tie up at the docks or drop anchor in ankle deep water close to the beach. Some come by canoe or kayak and beach their vessel on the sand. Today, I saw a first. A couple came by paddle board. No, that wasn’t that unusual, but strapping a life vest onto the family dogs, sticking them into a plastic box, that is. And this is before the craziness begins. Each to their own.
Peanut Island - Sergeant Majors
When the sergeant majors swim in, they don’t do it in onesies and twosies, they come in mass. At first, they give you a wide berth, then after 10 or 15 minutes, they no longer care. Some will flirt in front of your mask, others will form bands and swim underneath you. It’s quite a startle if you’re not expecting them. Their lips look like they are kissing the water as they dash by. Most of the time these pan-size fish hang out over the open sand, free of the rocks, gliding back and forth flashing their yellow with black bar bodies in the overhead sunlight.
Peanut Island - Barracuda
Of course, anytime you have this many fish swimming out in the open, enjoying life, a predator will come lurking. With his mouth being close to 1/4 of his body length, and his jaws lined with teeth designed for slicing flesh, the barracuda can be very intimidating. This fish loves to engage in a staring contest. His mouth slowly opening and closing. He wants to be king.
In reality, this fish is timid. His behavior of swimming close to people is one mostly out of curiosity. If you swim towards him, he dashes off in the opposite direction to hide in the hazy blue. But still, each time a six-footer comes in to inspect me, I do get a chill down by back.
Peanut Island - French Grunt
One thing nice about the fish of Peanut Island, there is always a school of fish to make you feel welcome. The french grunts gather in groups of 15 to 18, sometimes swimming in tight circles or scooting from one rock cropping to the next. If you don’t follow, they’ll wait, pausing for you to catch up, seemingly saying, “Come on, let’s play”. Their yellow striped bodies catch the light and give a relaxing feeling as they sway back and forth with the current. Life’s good.
Until next time.
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