Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finger-Lickin' Good Time!

When we decided to leave California and everything familiar (location, jobs, family and friends), raise our own support, and move to Guam, we were informed that we needed to start a blog.  Pathetically, at that point, we hadn't even heard of blogging!  We were also instructed that we should never let more than two weeks pass between posts.  Apparently, longer breaks between posts result in readers losing interest and no longer checking the blog.  Well, sadly, we have become remiss in keeping up with this two-week standard.  Mind you, this is NOT because we don't have adequate writing material. On the contrary; but with each passing day, we find ourselves investing further in the college, our church, and the community, and our time seems to evaporate like the ubiquitous rain on the sizzling Guam asphalt.  Furthermore, since this blog is public domain, we try to be sensitive about what we post.  This can be quite frustrating when we are dealing with something all-consuming but inappropriate for sharing due to confidentiality.  This has been our situation for the past three weeks.  So, although it would not be appropriate to use this forum to describe that monopolizing matter, you can believe that it was with great joy that our family accepted the offer to spend a half-day kayaking and snorkeling with "Uncle Francis," an amazing outdoor enthusiast and a member of our church.


Meeting at "Piti Bomb Holes" with our snorkeling equipment in hand, Uncle Francis already had two kayaks ready to launch into the cerulean Philippine Sea.  We paddled toward the reef near Camel Rock.  Efficiently, Uncle Francis tied the two kayaks together and hooked them to himself with rope, and we all donned our snorkeling equipment and jumped into the tropical water (approximately 82 degrees F).  Immediately, upon hitting the water, the current began pushing us along.  This was definitely what you'd call "drift snorkeling."  We observed the usual incredible underwater sea life as we drifted south.  At one point, it became overcast and we experienced a heavy rain.  I had to chuckle that I now live in a place where, three weeks before Christmas, in the middle of a storm,  
Our daughter in the storm with Fish Eye "Tower" in background
I could be warmly swimming in the ocean!  Eventually, our drift snorkeling brought us to the underwater tower at Fish Eye, a popular place for tourists to catch a glimpse of the exquisite underwater world without getting wet. (Notice Fish Eye tower in the background of storm picture.)  Excitedly, eagle-eyed Uncle Francis motioned us to his location.  As we scanned about 20 feet beneath us, to our delight, we observed a beautiful spotted eagle ray.  This majestic creature was in no hurry to get to another destination.  Instead, it gracefully glided back and forth in the same area for more than 15 minutes.  I marvelled at how much it looked like a flying bat moving in slow motion.  The clarity of the water added to the illusion of flying.  I did a Google search on the spotted eagle ray and I have copied and pasted the following comments from: 

‎"Generally a shy species, spotted eagle rays are wary of divers and are difficult to approach. However, it is considered potentially dangerous to humans due to the venomous tail spines that can inflict serious wounds."

Picture from:

"The spotted eagle ray reaches a maximum length of 8.2 feet (2.5 m) not including the tail, with the total length including an unbroken tail reaching close to 16.4 feet (5 m). The maximum disc width is 9.8 feet (3 m) and maximum published weight is 507 pounds (230 kg)." (I was shocked by how long its tail was!)

Apparently, people rarely eat spotted eagle rays because their flesh is of poor quality; however, the shark, its primary predator, appears not to be so picky!

Reluctantly, we left the spotted eagle ray and drift snorkeled back to shore.  Dragging the kayaks onto the land, we were met with the succulent aroma of barbecuing meat.  Groaning with hunger, I jokingly asked Uncle Francis if he always faced this torture when he washed down his equipment at the spigots located next to the barbecue pit.  Soon, we were loading everything back into our vehicles to head for home.  As we packed the last of our belongings, a couple of the Chamorro men from the barbecue pit approached us with a huge plastic storage tub filled with freshly barbecued chicken.  "Here," they warmly declared, "we want to share with you.  That's the way we do things around here."  Once again, our family was deeply impressed with this beautiful aspect of Chamorro culture.  And, let me tell you, that chicken was finger-lickin' good! :-)

Thanks to God for the wonder of His creation, and to Uncle Francis who gave of himself to provide us with a spectacular and refreshing time.  :-) 

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