Tag Archives: seasons

Sailin’ south for the winter

The campus where I work is on a coastal island adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. Each fall,  starting in October,  we get to watch a migration that is as predictable as the birds flying south for the winter. In this case, the snowbirds drive their yachts south for the season. I can sit in my office and watch a parade of high-priced sailboats and motor yachts cruise on down the waterway. I cross a drawbridge over the ICW coming to work in the morning, and it’s not unusual to see four or five yachts lined up waiting for the bridge to open.

I’ve never owned a boat, and have never been a big “boat person,” although I did some sailing in my younger days. Still, seeing these boats pass by makes you wonder, “wouldn’t it be nice.”

Snap out of it!

Critters in the pool

Part of the “excitement” of owning a pool is to discover what I might find it on any given morning. It is long established that I can tell the time of the year by the plant material there. Pine needles, live oak leaves, pine pollen and oak seed pods all have their seasons.

The big surprises are the animals. One day, Mrs. Poolman looked out to find a family of mallard ducks, complete with the babies. Fortunately, they didn’t stay long because to paraphrase the old saying, “Does the duck s*it in the pool?”

This week I found this little guy. A fiddler crab is no big deal around here, but I am mystified how he got there. It is nearly a mile from any habitat that would support him. That’s a long way to hike for a dip in chlorinated water.

The biggest excitement came several years ago when I walked out on a Saturday morning to find a very large alligator snapping turtle in the pool. This picture is not of MY turtle, but it does represent how attractive he was.

An alligator snapping turtle or Macrochelys temminckii which is Latin for big, nasty, mother f____

If you are not familiar with the species, you should know that they are not nice, cuddly creatures. They are mean.

I took my pool net and chased the sucker all over the pool. He was not interested in being caught. Eventually, I was able to get under him and flip him up onto the pool deck He was a big one, with a carapace (shell) a good 15-18 inches across. My plan was to use a cardboard box to carry him down the road to a pond. I went to pick him up with my hands on either side of the shell. I expected him to just pull back into the shell and let me do it. Wrong! He stuck is VERY long neck out and came back across the back of the shell to get a piece of me.

Mrs. Poolman was watching all this out the kitchen window. I yelled for her to come and help. She shook her head “no” so violently, I think she wrenched her neck.

I eventually got the turtle into a box and down the road to the pond with no further damage. I am certain the turtle did not appreciate the life-saving favor I had done for him. Ingrate!