I meant to write yesterday, but since we left for a tour at 6:30 a.m., I didn’t quite make it.
We snorkeled on Sunday afternoon. I’ll admit sometimes not knowing much Spanish can prove challenging. We met our tour coordinator, Arturo, outside the hotel.
“You will get your own snorkel tubes. Much more hygiene,” he said with a smile.
We got some towels just as the skies opened up. It’s the rainy season here. It rained hard, a warm downpour, for about 10 minutes. It felt strange.
We got on the boat with a half dozen strangers a few minutes later. The small craft rocked back and forth in the swells. I wondered if it would be safe. Storms were in the forecast later in the day. I’d hate to get struck by lightning while floating in the sea.
We motored out on the teal-colored waves.
“You want a life jacket?” the Captain, Jose, asked us.
We both said no. Then we passed groups of people snorkeling. They were face down in the water, tubes poking up, held aloft by life jackets. I could see the appeal. I felt a fissure of worry. I prayed that we’d get the hang of it this time. I didn’t want to be frustrated like we were 5 years ago at a Maui black sand beach.
Captain cut the motor. He turned around to face us. He gave instructions in English and Spanish.
“Okay. You will stay with Luis.”
He pointed out a red-shirted young man in the back of the boat, who waved.
“He will guide you.”
“You ready?” he asked me.
“Yes,” I said.
I received a life vest. The captain put it on me and secured it around my waist. I hoped for the best as I shoved my mask over my unruly hair. Truly, my hair created a whole other time zone for this trip, due to the humidity. I watched others jump over the side, cognizant of the boat’s shifting weight.
Then I went in. The water was warm. Nothing like the water at home. The waves pushed against me as I looked for Luis. Luis, turns out, was dragging a life ring on a rope. He pulled it, and everyone held onto it. I couldn’t find a space to hold on, so I swam alongside. I’m a decent swimmer, and with flippers plus a life jacket, it would be fine.
It took a minute to get the mask airtight. Then, getting my lips around the mouth guard in the snorkel tube proved a bit challenging. But once I put my face into the water, I was hooked. I peered into a new blue dimension. The quiet under water world of marine life opened up to me. Jonathon swam alongside me. We pointed out the sights. A sense of awe at God’s creation, the intricacies of our world, overwhelmed me.
Note: none of these are our photos, only indicative of what we saw.
Luis continued to pull us along. As he swam at a leisurely pace, schools of fish followed him. He was the Pied Piper of sea life.
I sputtered up to the surface, spitting salt water.
“You okay, lady?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” I said. Still trying to master the breathing thing.
Luis dove down deeper. His gear allowed him to dive down 10-15 feet. He brushed his hands against the plants. He petted a parrot fish, which swam away. I laughed.
The second place we viewed was deeper.
“Here,” the captain said, “the water is 30, 40 feet deep.”
He grinned around his mustache.
“Remember to stay with Luis.”
I couldn’t decide if he hoped to have less passengers for the return trip or not.
Luis swam ahead of us. The water felt cooler here. I could see the ocean floor. A few plants sprouted up. Not really any fish in the area. Then I saw a long, dark shape.
Luis shot down to the bottom. He tried to touch the fish, which swam away.
He floated back up. Our fellow snorkelers asked him what got his attention.
As we rode back to the hotel’s dock, the water changed color from lapis to turquoise to cobalt and back again. I thought about the day’s adventure, and the easy camaraderie on the boat. None of us had snorkeled before, or at least, not well. The fact that it took someone essentially holding our hands to understand snorkeling was a bit humbling. But it was so worth it. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s okay to get help. It’s alright to stay teachable. You just might have a great time, and learn something along the way.