I've mentioned Matt's blog before but today's post was inspired by his recent post so I thought I would mention him again. Matt's beautiful daughter Madeline was born last March. His beautiful wife Liz died suddenly 27 hours later. Before she ever held her baby girl. It breaks my heart. And even though I've never met them, I think about them a lot. About how it should be. Whenever I visit the blog, I find myself crying, sometimes sobbing. But Matt has a way of working in a little humor into nearly every post. So last night as I sat sobbing, thinking about how Liz should be there with them right now, a few brief sentences about Matt's snorkeling experience made me laugh out loud. He is a talented writer and is an inspiration.
Matt's description of snorkeling reminded me of my own Mexican snorkeling adventure. Puerto Vallarta. March 2005. 3 months pregnant with Big One. Lots of free alcohol and drunk friends. Virgin daiquiris for me.
Most of our time was spent enjoying the resort, but we decided to go snorkeling one day. Have I mentioned I can't swim? How I arrived at the decision to board a boat, bound for the OCEAN, and jump off the boat into the ocean, I'll never understand. But I did and lived to tell about it.
The weather in Puerto Vallarta was beautiful. And then we boarded the boat. We all nearly froze on the way to the snorkeling spot. We finally arrived and our fearless leaders gave us some important snorkeling information. This is what stuck out the most:
There was an unusually high number of jelly fish in the area that day. But no worries. They had a topical cream available should we be stung.
What?!?!? I'm going to jump off of perfectly safe boat in water cold enough to make polar bears happy when I don't know how to swim AND I may get stung by a jellyfish? At this point I knew I was insane. But I didn't spend $150 to sit on the boat and watch others snorkel.
Obviously, swimming skills are not required for snorkeling. But severe humiliation may result if you don't know how to swim. On our trip, we were divided into 2 groups: swimmers and non swimmers. I, of course, joined the latter. Along with a bunch of kids under the age of 10. While the swimmers sported the little inflatable snorkeling life vests, the non swimmers securely strapped giant orange life vests around our waist. You know the ones. Wearing it around your neck while snorkeling will apparently prevent you from sticking your face in the water. So waists it was.
One other member of our group (who was above the age of 10) was supposed to join me in the non swimmer group. She chickened out and stayed on the boat. She may have been the wisest of us all.
All of the swimmers jumped off the boat first (I suppose they didn't want the slow non swimmers holding them back as we embarked upon the snorkeling expedition). It was finally my turn. I jumped into the frigid water and had to catch my breath from the cold. I clung to my orange life vest for dear life. Yes, it was strapped to my waist. But I wasn't taking any chances. Not only was the water full of jelly fish, it was choppy as heck. I bobbed along in the ocean, clutching my orange life vest, trying to avoid crashing into the 10 year olds next to me.
I did put my face in the water once or twice. Once I stopped hyperventilating, it was actually kind of cool. We didn't see a lot of colorful fish or anything but it was still a fun experience. I wish we had pictures. I know we took a bus to this Mexican Walmart to buy an underwater disposable camera...
... but I don't remember if we ever had the film developed.
So would I snorkel again? Most likely yes. It was a fun experience. You know, outside of the orange life vest, frigid waters, and jelly fish dodging. But, for the most part, I like to keep my feet securely in the sand...
And enjoying a beautiful sunset.