Saturday, December 20, 2014

Iguanas and Lizards, Oh My!

Gretchen's niece, Maggie, and Maggie's friend, Scott, have been visiting us on Bonaire this week.  It is Maggie's first experience of a tropical island, and we think it has been a pleasant one -- for the most part.

We rented a truck, took the pair on a tour of the Bonaire National Park.  This is a very rugged natural area on the north of the island.  The roads are all unpaved, and in very bad shape in some places.  There are a variety of places to stop along the way.  For example, there are several blowholes on the eastern coast, places where waves crash into small inlets sending spray high in the air.

A favorite sight in the park is the ever-present flock of flamingos.

But the "highlight" of the tour was during our lunch stop.  We parked near a little beach named Playa Funchi, which has a couple of simple benches to sit on in the shade. As we got out of the truck we saw a couple of quite big iguanas lurking in the bushes near by.  Maggie had never seen an igauna this close up, and was very interested to see them.

We sat on a bench, and started eating the sandwiches we had brought along.  Suddenly, we were surrounded by lizards (maybe 20) ranging in size from 4-12 inches, plus a big iguana, all of whom wanted our lunch.  They were quite aggressive, running towards us and trying to startle us into dropping food.  This was too close for Maggie, and she walked onto the beach to finish her meal.  An iguana immediately hopped onto the bench where she had been sitting, only a few inches from Scott.  Well, the iguana got his wish:  Scott leaped from the bench and dropped some of his sandwich innards onto the ground.

The iguana didn't benefit in the end, though, because several of the smaller lizards scarfed up the scraps before he could get to them.

For the rest of the meal, it was a war.  Lizards jumping onto our shoes, trying to crawl up our legs.  I had to kick the iguana a couple of times (gently) to get him to back off.  He would move (very quickly) about a foot, and then edge his way back.  Staring intently at me the whole time.  A second, even larger, iguana soon showed up to join in the fun.

It was a very quick meal!  As soon as we could, we jumped back in the truck to continue on our way.

Sorry, no iguana pictures, too busy to take any.

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