Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Snorkel Schmorkel...

Status: I'll give you one guess: I was up all night with the baby, who decided he wanted to "be awake" and moan all night. (He's got a stuffy nose). Sheesh.

So, one of my phobias is dark water. If I can't see what's in it, there is no way in HELL I'm getting into it. It creeps me out. Maybe I had too many run-ins with lake-bottom seaweed when I was younger or something, but I like SHALLOW, CLEAR water. You won't get me in anything else.

So, we're back in Hawaii (see previous post) after we've hiked and biked, it's time for "sail and snorkel." We were transported (a la sardines in the stinky van once more) to a wharf and when we saw our boat, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. It was the grossest boat ever. Sort of like the nasty fishing boat Quint had in "JAWS." (another reason why I don't like swimming in the ocean.) And there were more people packed onto it than it should have held, I think. The two lady captains directed me to a bathroom on the bulk head which was the size of a shower stall (smaller actually), and looked like it had been underwater for a few millennia. (YUCK!) I changed into my tankini suit and sat next to my SIL, who had suited up before me.

After everyone had changed and complained about the nasty toilet room sufficiently, we set off. Now, I am not one to get seasick, so it was actually fun riding the choppy water to Kane`ohe Bay. I pictured it to be this clear pretty water in a pristine cove, with lots of pretty scenery.

NOT. Suddenly, in the MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING OCEAN, the boat stopped, and they announced that we were "here." First of all, we were in the MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. There was nothing but water for miles, and it was raining and dark, and the #$&*^!#!! water was dark and creepy!!!

My blood ran cold. You have no idea how scared I suddenly was. Our guides ran here and there, outfitting us with the right size flippers, and gave us nasty snorkel equipment with MOLD in it. This one older fat lady next to me was talking and talking and TALKING nervously about her grandkids, and I felt bad because clearly she was as afraid as I was.

I've never been snorkeling. Neither had Hubby, or BIL or SIL. BIL was absolutely refusing to go. He was terrified of even being on boats, and was off on the other side of the ship, white knuckled and not speaking to his wife, because the whole thing had been "her idea."

One of the captain ladies gave us a crash course in about 30 seconds, and when I got the mask on, I tried to breathe through my nose and couldn't and I tore it off and looked at the dark water and at my hubby, and mouthed the words "I can't do this!" to him. He said I didn't have to. He looked a little concerned himself.

I was a mess. SIL had her mask and flippers on and seemed unfazed by it all. It was then and there that I decided I was just going to DO IT. Dammit, I needed to conquer this fear, and be able to say I did.

A bunch of people had already gotten off the boat, and were snorkeling around in the dark, creepy water, and so I waddled over to the aft part of the boat and started down the ladder. BRRRRR. Not only was the water dark and creepy, it was freezing cold. SIL and Hubby were behind me. I looked at the water, and put my mouthpiece in, and went in up to my neck.

I was amazed at how fast I could go with was cool. So, now all I had to do was put my face in the water. Logic stopped me. If I put my face in the water and breathe, I will drown. That is what I've known for 30+ years. Kind of hard to suddenly do the opposite. I s-l-o-w-l-y put my face in the water, and suddenly I could! I could see them! and I was breathing! It was the coolest feeling ever! I started swimming with my flippers, and I saw the sea turtles, and the fish, about 12 feet down from me, in the semi-darkness! And I was actually OK with it.

I surprised myself. I lifted up my head to signal to Hubby that I was OK, and he was in the water, choking and nearly drowning because he had his upper lip caught in the snorkel mask. SIL had accidentally tried to snorkel without her tube in and had taken some nice gulps of seawater, so she was a mess like Hubby. I paddled over and helped him with his mask, and gave him a thumbs up, and went off snorkeling around.

It was really neat. Of course there was this tense moment when I came face-to-face with an enormous sea turtle and recoiled violently from shock (I think I scared him too because he went sailing to the bottom afterwards) but I really got the hang of it almost immediately and found Can you believe it? Until a big swell caught me and water went into my tube and I nearly drowned. Yeah. That was fun. I gulped a huge gulp of ocean water and can I say it is the SALTIEST nastiest stuff? I immediately felt sick, and once we were finished, I almost got seasick on the way home.

And I was teased relentlessly by Hubby & Co. later at dinner, after we'd showered and dressed up. They said on the boat I was this terrified wreck, and 30 seconds later I was snorkeling like I'd done it for years, better than any of them. For some reason, they thought that was very funny. And Poor Hubby regaled us with the tale of how the Nervous-Talking-Grandma had panicked in the water and tried to cling to Hubby like he was her own personal Floatie. Poor lady. She didn't fare as well as me.

So, among my other names, I was dubbed the Snorkeling Queen.

Hey, it is better than Indiana Lara Poopy Pants!



Lowa said...

Good for you! We went snorkeling on our own, in shallow water that we could walk in and out of. Even then I was scared, because I can't swim and the idea of just floating along in water seemed odd to me and I was sure I wouldn't be able to do it!

But I did the same as you. I just did it right away and LOVED IT! Neither hubby nor I had done it before either. I have a scar on my leg from getting it sliced open on coral though! LOL Other than that and bleeding all over the beach from it, it was GREAT!

And just FYI for next time. If water gets in there, just blow out really fast and it flushes it all out. You don't even need to bring your face out of the water, and can keep enjoying them fishies. The dude we rented our stuff from told us never to touch the turtles, they have some kind of bacteria or something. So it is a good thing you guys frightened each other:)

Any more stories?? I am LOVING THEM!

Anonymous said...

Good for you getting over your fear. I couldn't do it. I would have stayed on the boat with BIL.

Michelle Miles said...

HA! See you can do it? I've never been snorkeling myself, but I hear it's greatness. Congrats on conquering that fear! YOU GO!

Anonymous said...

I had to make a comment on your entry because it reminded me of a gross experience we had in Hawaii. We were out scuba diving (not snorkeling) in about 15 feet of water. One woman on our tour had had a stomach bug and wasn't sure how her body would take the rocking of the boat, seeing that she was already a bit a queasy. The dive instructor told us that no matter what happens, we shouldn't take our mouth pieces out. The woman said, but what if I feel sick to my stomach. He replied, "fish food." Sure enough, it happened. The fish loved it!