Thursday, 8 March 2012

Altoon Lagoon play date

 The other day another home schooling mom and I were talking about how we wanted our kids to get out and do MORE exercise.  Don’t get me wrong; both of our children are active. A swims 4-5 days a week, plays in the bush, participates in all the kids biking, running, swimming races, etc; but I just don’t feel that she gets out there and is active enough.  Apparently, my friend feels the same so we decided that we would get together once a week and let the kids, bike, run, or whatever as long as they were outside and DOING.  During this time, we get visit and C has a friend over to play.  We decided to meet at Altoona Lagoon because it is between both our homes, it is flat, and where they hold most of the kids’ races.

Altoona Lagoon is another one of our undiscovered St. Croix areas for many reasons.  There is a whole fishing community of old time Crucians who grew up swimming in the inlet to the lagoon, jumping off the bridges, fishing, and generally having a good time there.  It is a great place for walking, running, biking, limin’, and generally just enjoying the views of Christiansted from a different angle. Altoona Lagoon also has a GREAT playground and fun exploring beach for little ones.

Our day started early with us in the car, the trike in the trunk, and the bike(new big 26” bike) racked on the back of the red SUV. Water, and snacks were packed in the reusable shopping bag, and I had had at least 2 cups of tea by 7:30! We were set. Once at Altoona, and unloaded – I really do think we are related to Gypsys since we cannot seem to go anywhere without the entire contents of the house and the kitchen sink ---- Oh wait! It’s because I’m a Mom not related to Gyspsys!!!  ANYWAY…. A got con her bike and as soon as her friend showed up away they went. The two kids did about 10 loops, which I think translates to just about 2 miles! Then they took a break to go explore the beach, whereupon they stuck their heads together and decided that they needed to go fishing! Crazy kids!

The two kids, my wonderful mom friend and her equally wonderful hubby walked down with C to the inlet by the bridge. Once I got there, which was about 15 minutes later – I had to re-rack the bike, put stuff away, etc. I found both kids wading through the inlet, with fishing nets in hand, HUGE self satisfied grins on their faces and COMPLETELY, soaking wet.  During the course of the day, they caught Lizardfish, Coral Banded shrimp, regular shrimp, and Blue Crabs. We saw Blue Herons, a Great Snowy Egret, fishermen coming in with their catch and then it happened… the kids spotted a Lionfish! Turns out there wasn’t 1 Lionfish, but 3.  They were hiding in the Mangroves.  My friend’s hubby shucked down to his shorts and got in the water and caught 2 of the three. At first we though maybe we could eat them, but they were too little. What actually scared us was that the Lionfish were in the Mangroves, which are breeding grounds for other fish, and we all know Lionfish eat EVERYTHING so they were in the worst place possible for our native fish. Not, that having Lionfish anywhere in the Caribbean is good, but in a breeding ground it’s like an A bomb ready to go off at any moment. 
Photo by Jill Updyke.

One of the things I really liked about this day, was that both kids ended up wading around in only their shorts and never even batted an eye. They are the same age, and look exactly the same chest wise and for them it was super natural and not embarrassing to be that way. I love that our island still allows our kids to be kids and doesn’t make them aware of the opposite sex until later.  We are able to keep our children innocent of the societal pressures that other children face elsewhere in the world. 

We decided that the kids had such a good time – even C, that we are going to make this a weekly occurrence. We hope to go kayaking into the Lagoon next week. I’ll keep you updated J Sorry for the lack of personal photos but we were so busy having a good time that I didn’t think of taking pictures until the end.

I’ll leave you with a word from our kids: "Lionfish.. they taste like Chicken."

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