Wild Tangerines

Jan 21, 11:03 AM

 tangerinesThis is an excerpt from my journal last Monday.

Monday, January 18, 2010 2:50 p.m.


We went down river to find the tangerines and old indian shell heaps yesterday that a local friend told us about. I finished the paperwork I had to do around noon then the Captain and I took tunafish sandwiches and drinks and took off to the west toward the Gulf. Not too far from our island we beared right and went toward those white colored banks I had seen last year and wondered if it would be a good swimming place. 

Anyway, we went over there and drove around a little in the boat but didn't see any tangerine trees near the shore. We thought we were in the right place. The white bankings were shells and we thought that might be the old indian shell heaps. So, the Captain pointed across the lagoon and said “I'll bet that's it, look there's a path over there.”  We went over and tied the skiff up to a big tree branch that seemed to be there just for that purpose. We walked into a little green clearing with palm trees everywhere and cool, beautiful green grass underfoot.

The Captain said we have to go up to find the tangerines (I hadn't heard what our friend told him, so was at his mercy) I followed him "up." This was like an island but I think it was part of our island maybe. There is a big marsh in between the two for sure. Anyway, we started walking up this path through what was similar to a forest trail in Maine but with a few palms here and there. 

When we got to the top of the rise I realized the entire ground everywhere was shells. The entire piece of land for acres and acres was nothing but shells. Wow. 

At the highest peak we looked to the west and the view over the shell banks and river out toward the gulf was spectacular. 

We started down the other side and the Captain spotted the first tangerine tree. We were giddy, dancing and hugging each other like children, chanting, "We found the tangerine trees." What fun. They were EVERYWHERE. Scattered like an old abandoned orchard, now overgrown and wild like a Costa Rican jungle. I felt just like I was in the thick tropics and expected to see a banana tree and a troop of monkeys at the next turn. It was fantastic. I must have eaten at least eight tangerines even though they were nearly as sour as lemons. 

On the way to pick tangerines to take back to camp we took another path. I was hoping to find the lemon tree our friend had mentioned to the Captain, too. We didn't find any lemons but we did find the the old hand chiseled well that was as smooth and wonderful as one could ever hope to find. Fresh water filled it just about a foot from the brim and I wouldn't have hesitated to drink from it had I needed to. What a lovely island! True treasures do still exist and thank God for the locals sweet enough to give us the heads up to their secret wonderful places they've grown up loving. More later.