The Ocean: Still Not A Petting Zoo

Hi kids!

No I haven’t forgotten you, I just haven’t blogged in a while.  Anyhoo, here’s a fun story.

D and I recently (like, last week) took an awesome vacation.  Seriously – an entire week on the beautiful Carnival Conquest, cruising from Galveston to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.  It effing rocked.  We made friends (awesome ones!), ate tons of ridiculous food, drank spiffy tropical drinks in the sunshine, and took naps.  Naps.

Do you know when I last had a nap?  I fell asleep at my desk for a total of three minutes about five weeks ago.  Before then, I don’t think I’d taken a single nap since I started my job.  They just don’t fit in to my schedule.  BUT, my friends, I love me a good nap.  And last week, I took at least six of them.  It was downright glorious.

Any time D and I take a cruise, the last port day, regardless of where it is (even though it’s always Cozumel) is our designated beach day.  Again, this time it was Cozumel.  We have a favorite beach there, Paradise Beach, which is about a 5 or 6 minute cab ride straight down the main road away from Puerta Maya.  It’s free to get in, they’ve got an awesome bar, they serve good food, and the beach ROCKS.  Unfortunately, a certain part of the beach rocks literally, but more about that in a minute.

Anyhoo, you might not know that I am an avid snorkeler (that’s a noun).  I’ve snorkeled all over the world – the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic – I’m not making this crap up, I seriously, seriously love to snorkel.  So in Cozumel I decided to do a little shore snorkeling.

Paradise Beach has a nice little wooden pier that you can wander out on to into deeper water so you don’t have to spend your time getting pounded by the waves and then trying to avoid the crazy children and drunk adults (and maybe some drunk children, it’s Mexico after all, who knows?) bouncing around on the water trampolines and giant inflatable toys (which are awesome) when you really just want to get your snorkel on.  I got out into the deeper water and kind of floated around for a while, and when I decided to get back to D and our bucket of beer, I noticed I was way closer to the shore than to the pier with the ladder.  No biggie, I’ll just let the waves kind of drag me back to shore.

Oh but wait, there’s some rocks in the water.  Another thing you should probably know about me: I’m super scared of stuff touching me in the water.  I’m pretty sure I am destined to be eaten by a shark at some point in my life (let’s face it, probably near the end of my life…), probably somewhere stupid like a public pool or the duck pond by my house.  Stuff in the water freaks me out.  Fish, seaweed, rocks, whatever, I don’t care, get it off of me.  Odd, I know, for someone who actually spends a great deal of time looking for stuff in the water.  I’m fine when I can see it, I’m even ok when it’s kind of close to me.  But if any of the cast of The Little Mermaid actually comes within an arm’s distance of me, I freak.  Ask anyone I went to college with: I wear shoes in the river.  I’m not ashamed.  I’m smart.  Because there’s crap at the bottom of the river (and lake, and ocean, as I am about to tell you) that you just don’t want to touch your feet.  Or any part of your body, actually, but what are you going to do, wear overalls?

Anyway – back to my story.  The rocks.  I tried to kind of avoid them as I made my way back to the shore, but one bastard wave knocked me down, causing me to kick a pretty good sized rock (about 2 feet tall in about 4 1/2 feet of water), knocking my left fin off of my foot.  Keep in mind, these are rented and the beach guy has my driver’s license as collateral (but really he has my old expired DL with my old address on it so joke’s on him).  Chihuahua.

SO, I embark on a flipper rescue mission.  Luckily they were bright blue, so I was able to see it, kind of wedged oddly between the rock and another rock (God I hope it was just another rock!).  Doing my best to balance on my be-flippered right foot while being relentlessly smacked around by the waves (THANKS, waves), I reached for the flipper.  Success!!  Except now I’ve been knocked off my right foot (again, with the waves).

Annnnd now I’m totally off balance and my choices are two.  1) Do nothing, get knocked the eff over by the waves, possibly lose at least one of my fins permanently, probably lose my snorkel and mask, probably land on my back and/or side up against the big rock, get rolled around under the water, probably swallow a gallon of seawater, and look completely ridiculous in front of a lot of people on the beach.  OR: 2) Voluntarily put my bare left foot on the rock (EW!) and regain my balance.  It may seem like an easy choice, kiddos, but I promise you: it was not.  Unfortunately, reluctantly, I rested my naked little left foot on the rock long enough to let the wave pass without getting completely rolled over.  Ugh.

But wait, isn’t this story about some kind of aquatic petting zoo?  NO.  It’s about the stupid little sea urchin that had decided to make that particular spot on that particular rock it’s little sea urchiny home right at that moment.  Of all of the chance meetings in my life, I’m not really scared to say that this was in my top five suckiest.

Sure enough, I managed to get back to my beach chair (all of my snorkeling gear present and accounted for, thank you very much) and dust off my sandy feet to find – YEP – a lovely little black sea urchin spine RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of my big toe.  Yowza.  And, just for good measure, there were two other spots on my foot that the little guy managed to sink his little spines in to.  Jagweed sea urchin.  What did I ever do to you?!  Aside from entering your ocean home and fee-fie-foe-fumming my way around your rock until I stepped on you, I mean.

I managed to make it back to the ship (let’s face it, a big toe isn’t all that necessary when you’ve got an extra one and have maybe had a few beers) and dug out most of the spine from my toe with a handy sewing needle that happened to be in one of my bags.

And if the story ended there, you’d be done reading now.  But alas, there is the aftermath.  Apparently, this girl is allergic to sea urchins.  And my life got RIDICULOUS.  Perhaps you are familiar with Janice from Electric Mayhem?  That is what I looked like when I woke up on Saturday morning.  Srsly, my lips were like…I don’t know, sausages.  Giant.  Huge.  Out of control.  The rest of my face?  I have no idea, I couldn’t stop staring at my lips.  Bring on the ice and Benadryl!  Ugh.

Over the course of the day, they slowly (sllloooowwwwly) deflated.  I finally felt sort of comfortable leaving the room by about noon (I’d first gotten up about 4:30 or 5:00 AM and had been icing my face since then).  It’s Tuesday now (technically Wednesday, I guess) and they’re still not back to normal.  They’re a little closer to the “right” size but they’re still ridiculous.  And wonderfully scaly.  It’s so sexy.  And I’m on a combo of Benadryl and steroids, which makes me the perfect amount of weird, so there’s that.

But yeah, even given the bizarro ending, that vacation freakin rocked.  FREAKIN.  ROCKED.  We’re cruising again in January (this time with TToA!) and I can’t wait. 🙂


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alice Gray
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 22:29:11

    I can’t believe the one time you put your foot down on ocean floor there’s a freakin sea urchin there! I love your writing. It makes me giggle.


  2. Tanya
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 18:07:49

    I heard about your story on cruise critic but this is the first time that I got to hear about the whole fiasco! We spent that day at Mr. Sanchos…might have to try Paradise Beach next time!!

    Love you writing style, very humorous and vivid!


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