Hermit Crab Haven we happened upon.
We could not have predicted this! Hermit Crabs Everywhere! All we were trying to do was get a little bit of liberty before getting underway to head to Australia and in the 2 hours we had, the beach looked like an optimum place to go. It was a 15 minute walk from the ship, right on the base, and the sun was shining, the water was clear. It was time to catch a few rays and go for a quick dip.
To our surprise, we found an entire hermit crab haven. J and I went over together and I am ashamed to say that I came unprepared without my waterproof camera or my Go Pro which was in the shop for repairs. These pictures were taken on J’s phone. She went for a walk along the beach and heard a clicking and a clacking from across the way. As she walked up, she saw hermits of all shapes and sizes running around on the beach, climbing up the rocks, all over the place! This is when we realized we had hit a gold mine.
Unfortunately if you aren’t a military member you can’t get onto White Beach in Okinawa, but I’m sure there are other Hermit Crab Havens for the pickn’s all over the world. If you know of one, share below. After we had made the first discovery, we decided we were in the mood for a swim and there happened to be an island not far away so off we were, fighting the current trying to get there.
2 Things I distinctly remember regretting about our island adventure. 1 is that I didn’t have a camera for you guys to see just how many hermit crabs we happened upon on the island once we got there and 2 that I wasn’t wearing booties or anything to protect my feet. The island was made of a rough rock and I cut and damaged my feet pretty badly. Any time I swim to an island from now on I plan to have a GoPro, snorkel, and booties for the trip.
As we washed up onto the beach (the rocks were too hard on the feet so we had to crawl out of the water) there was a scurry here, a scurry there, and movement all over the place. Once I stood up, all the movement and scurrying stopped as the hermit crabs fell into their shells. We laughed at their shy personalities. We explored the island, scared a flock of birds, tip-toed in between hundreds of hermits, and dabbled in the day wallowing in our good fortune.
FAST FORWARD A COUPLE OF MONTHS:
On our way back from providing disaster relief efforts to the Philippines, we got another 2 hour window to run over to white beach. This time we were prepared for all of the hermit crabs. Unfortunately when we got to the beach it was colder and I believe that the hermits had headed to the hills, went into hibernation, or headed back into the sea for the winter. We still managed to a few guys here and there, including the big Kahuna K is holding in the picture below.
When I wasn’t looking, and swimming to the same island in hopes of finding more hermits, K was secretly sneaking the hermits she found along the way back to our spot on the beach where she planned on taking them to the ship with us all along.
After I trudged back to the beach I noticed all of her snorkel gear sitting in the sand. I asked her why she had taken everything out of the bag when she did not intend to swim. She just smiled. I looked down and there was her mesh case crawling with hermits. She promised to bring only 3 back but she added a few more along the way… 8 more to be exact.
A collection of her hermits, out bathing on a towel. They don’t know yet what they’ve gotten themselves into. We had to sneak them all the way back to the ship and up to our stateroom. Then we had to make them an activity center.
And here it is. The activity center in all her glory. This happens to be an empty ice-cream container from the Philippines. We had a feeling it would come in handy when we took it a few days previously… and we were right.After returning home, the hermits got an upgrade. K found them a clear container and some pink and white rocks to run around on. They are very Happy in their new home!
Finally I will leave you with a few Hermit Crab Facts: (If you have any to add, do not hesitate to fill us in!)
1. Hermits are nocturnal and are the most active during night-time, just like all of the college students.
2. Hermits are a social species, always depending on the company of others to survive.
3. In the wild, hermits are always trading homes or the shells on their back, but if they aren’t careful they sometimes have their homes stolen from them. It’s a hard knock life as a hermit in the wild.
4. Hermits are the scavenging type, especially land -adapted ones. They have to travel around in search of food.
5. Female hermits hatch their babies in open ocean, where they promptly molt into an adult form, and they can then begin the search for their new home.
Help me out, if you give me more facts, I’ll add them below.