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Sunday, June 16th, 2002
Iles des Saintes

Today just seemed to slip away. Somehow on my way to have a shower, I decided instead we should have a snorkel. Curt acquiesced. We saw a moray eel, parrot fish, red snappers, and tons of jelly fish! Those little buggers are everywhere! I can't understand how we weren't stung a million times? And- we also saw several of Curt's elusive Goblin Fish.

He first saw them when diving to look at our anchor in Montserrat. He came up rattling off about this freaky looking thing he saw eating stuff off our anchor. Said it was the creepiest thing he's seen. I took a peak from the surface of the water, but the fish were 30 feet below. I saw just enough to know I didn't want to get any closer. But by now I'd worked my courage up and went in for a closer look when we saw them here in the Saints. They're perhaps a foot or so long with a blocky-head and big bulbous eyes. They're white with brown spots. They have these great wing type fins, that remind me of those Japanese ribbon dancers, the way that they flutter in the water. But then… they have these creepy little arm things- like a Tyrannosaurs Rex! It's like they got stuck somewhere along the evolutionary chain… just one step short of being able to pull themselves up onto land, and yet they have these little squirmy arm things that don't appear to be of any use to them. We looked them up in a fish book that Jeff and Kate got us, and discovered that they're officially called, Flying Gurnards. Somehow knowing that they have been cited by a scientist somewhere made them a little less scary. If you have a chance to look them up somewhere, you should. They're quite a trip.

After our adventures under the sea, Curt skillfully steered the dinghy through the parade of a regatta to the only town in the Saints, Bourg de Saintes. Because these islands were never strong agriculturally (the islands are too small and too steep), slaves were never imported, therefore explaining a nearly entirely Caucasian population. The town itself is adorable- though definitely honed into tourism. It seems all there is to do there is shop, or have a rest from shopping with a drink and bite to eat. And one could certainly work up an appetite here, as walking down the little winding streets is an exercise in dodging teems of motor scooters.

You know what they say, "when in Rome…"? So I did as the Romans, and did a little shopping. We'd been looking for a backpack and we found one that suited us. The challenge however became the purchase, as the salesgirl didn't speak a lick of English, and we don't speak a lick of French. Step one: Determining the price. The bag wasn't marked and she stared at us smiling and nodding her head when we asked. I don't know why I thought if I spoke more slowly and more loudly, she would all of a sudden understand what I was saying- but nonetheless, that's what I found myself doing. When she finally understood, she responded with the price in French- smiling and nodding. It was with much effort (but lots of smiles and nods), that she finally wrote the price down and we agreed to buy the bag (thus proceeding to step two). But when I handed her my Visa card, her smile waned and she just stared at the credit card machine looking worried. In a fluster, she left us standing in the shop as she scurried down the street. Curt and I just looked at each other and laughed. What was happening? We figured she'd certainly return, and she did- with another girl. Together, they pushed enough buttons to get the transaction through. When it was over, the four of us were all just laughing and nodding at each other as we waved good bye. Note to self: learn some basic French.

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