the dance of the ink riddled fingers

snorkel biting [the description]

Posted in heroes of mine, how was your day?, pin the tail on the love by enisea on 08/01/2011

Today I fit snugly into my “kid size 14”, $35 cheap springsuit and spat into my kmart kid’s $15 snorkel set, waddled unsteadily in Don’s short flippers and snorkeled for the first time in my life. Suffice to say, I spent the first fifteen minutes remembering to breathe through my mouth and not hyperventilate as I almost wet myself being afraid. (FYI, apparently peeing in your wetsuit is good for keeping warm. I did not pee in my suit…oh goodness, that’s gross, even if approved by experienced diver, Don)

What scared me the most was my imagination.  Why? Because the excessive meters of dark and mysterious swaying seaweed made it too easy to imagine grotesque creatures of a shallow sort of deep emerging dangerously smoothly and staring me square in the face before consuming me whole, OR dragging me by my weakened right foot into the abyss of knotted, natural rubber without affording me the luxury of knowing my attacker.  Exactly. You’d be biting your snorkel with only-just-composed heavily heaved breaths too.  Haha, every 5-10 seconds I had to make sure somebody I knew was close to me, so I could at least take them down too.  So D and I would “swim” a bit then stop somewhere and allow our heads to bob above the surface with short conversation while we readjusted snorkels, masks or tried to relax, only to feel the spooky caress of tall seaweed to realise I was too close to death-by-imagination to stay where I was.  The most at ease I felt during the first snorkel (I did three in total) was stopping over an expanse of sand, only for my stupid imagination to ponder why this 4 square meters of sand was empty and how it was probably a trap. I was an absolute girl and exited the ocean mildly shaking, confessing to the beach dwellers how overdramatic I was.

The second snorkel was a mission to retrieve the waterproof camera from B (fellow newbie snorkeler) by request of Karen, which I did a little more bravely and very promptly – that gave me less time to imagine peril and more time to well in pitiful amounts of achievement.  After this second wide-eyed visit, I realised how hard I was biting onto my snorkel, as my back teeth were feeling a little numb and consciously made the effort not to afterwards.

The third snorkel was the longest. I wadded out with the two I had just met, Jordan and Bryan, looking for a lost snorkel (which was found within a minute) and paddled out into the beginning of the ocean to meet Don (our avid diver), Chloe, Hong, Nate, and Yau Ming  who were marked with an orange buoy which kept our scavenged treasures afloat (that’s right, they retrieved chunky, gross, live abalone – legally).  The temperature dropped about 3 degrees instantly between the shallow waters and the ten-metre-deeps.  Now although 13 degrees doesn’t sound very cold…coupled with a tinge of fright, and equip with only a springsuit – it’s like trying to feel comfortable in a giant esky of ice water.

It was incredibly breathtaking.  You can’t not marvel at the slightly clouded blue depth, carpeted at any give time by either seaweed, (or further out:) coral, but mostly both.  Having relaxed my tense imagination for the most part, I spent my snorkel time trying to accustom my eyes to the reoccurring same-same-but-different view for intentions of sea creature spotting.  Firstly, imagine magic-eye, but 3D and enormous; secondly, the seaweed worshipped the current in a hypnotic sway which made the ocean floor look like it was moving…making orientation a little trickier. Which way is up and which way am I swimming and what am I looking for? On the swim out to Don, et al., I saw a tiny purple thing. It looked about the size of my thumbnail and fluttered like a round butterfly which informed me it was not just a purple leaf.  It was alone and against the darker (slightly foreboding) scenery, looked like hope in a messed up world. It was incredible and I wished I had the waterproof camera then and there. It made me forget fear, stare and smile (as much as smiling is possible with a snorkel). You would’ve smiled too, had you saw it.  I watched it for a moment, then met the others.  After reunion with the snorkelers of deeper waters, Jordan realises that as brave as he was to swim out without his wetsuit, it was unwise to risk hypothermia and heads back with Chloe, Yau Ming and Hong – who I assume were sufficiently chilled to be satisfied. Bryan stays on the rough coral/weed covered rock surface (while it was a reasonably low tide, probably thinking they others might return) while I slip into the chilly waters to join Donny and Nate.  So gliding the surface of the cold blue, the expanse is “thicker” and you notice little bits floating about…I presumed this place was thick with plankton and almost completely decomposed ancestor fish.  Don was off in his own little world, dunking deep as he could with his spear gun and enthusiasm to catch crayfish – alas, the closest he got was touching one, which was too deep and protected by rock.  He’s so inspiring to watch! Nate and I came across a local school of those triangularish fish (between a half hand-span to full hand span) which were everywhere for a little.  They were gutsy enough to come very close to nibble some of the little decomposits in the sea but fast enough to evade contact when I tried to dart my numb hand to jab em. Haha, I remember turning around after watching fish on one side only to be faced with about 10 little fish looking at me – which was kind of freaky so I winced… especially because my imagination mused that they were still hungry and even though they were probably no match for my greater surface area, if they were all in fact carniverous piranhas, I probably wouldn’t be able to survive if I was dessert. So I swam away from the little fish… just in case.

Anyway, I feel my heart start to shivel and inform Don of my weakening state – which, in truth, was me getting a little unnerved more and more while loosing heat.  After allowing him his last ten minutes of blissful adventure, we head back – including swimming through a curtain of seaweed – where I may have panicked for the three seconds it lasted for and flippered Nate in the face…I can’t remember. Despite this, we return to the shore unharmed and I sigh relief to be walking on sand – though shivering almost convulsively, or so I felt.  Within five minutes in the gracious sun (she was not too harsh by this time of the day) I am recovered and feeling refreshed.

We left shortly after but I enjoyed the tug-o-war conversation with Chloe where we didn’t run out of things to say and got along brilliantly for the second time meeting each other.  She’s an exciting person to be around! She’s got a good repertoire of stories to amuse acquaintances.

Well, most of the ride home was sleeping (thanks for driving Addy), and the next half hour was spent lying on the hot concrete at the empty church carpark with D talking about 2010 and 2011 in between unawkward silences of soaking up warmth.

Then home again, home again, gigerdigig. Leftover bolognaise. Mum bakes double choc-chip cookies. Gracey, Sam, Sleev and Trung watch “She’s The Man” with me. Microwave popcorn + icing sugar.

Sleep. Church tomorrow, morning and evening. I went to the beach yesterday too with people I hardly see/don’t know but enjoyed it anyway. The weekend’s been wonderful. I love 2011. I love my life. I love my friends. I love these opportunities in life that make life so rich and diverse. I love God and all He’s done and given me… namely everything.  Haha, I cannot believe how blessed I am to be this blessed. My life is abundant – as it should be.

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