Third Time’s A Charm!

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Despite my first two ill fated attempts at snorkeling, I was willing to try again.  I figured if there was anywhere in the world where I might have a good snorkeling experience, it was Hawaii.

Just FYI:  if you’re searching for snorkeling in Hawaii, there are a plethora of options.  We chose one that included more than just a boat ride to the snorkeling spot and back.  Instead, it included a boat trip up to the Nā Pali Coast.  April wasn’t interested in the snorkeling–just the boat ride, but promised to take lots of pictures of any shark attacks us snorkeling.

This extended tour was definitely the right decision!

The snorkeling was fun.  I saw lots of fish, I didn’t have a panic attack, and I missed seeing the shark Christi saw.  YAY me!

After snorkeling, we continued north up along the western coast. Along the way, we were joined by a curious tortoise and later by a pod of dolphins, who swam along with and played around the boat for quite awhile.

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As the boat sped along, we were treated with some of the most spectacular coastline views of the famed Nā Pali Coast.  As I mentioned before, some of the cliffs are over 2500ft high!


All too soon, it was time to turn around and head back–giving us one last good look at the coast on one side and the expanse of nothingness on the other.

 


It was a great excursion and I highly recommend that if you’re going to take a snorkeling tour, opt for one that includes a bit of sightseeing around the island–it does take up a bigger chunk of your day, but trust me, you won’t regret it.

Aloha!

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Fear.

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I like to pretend that I’m fearless, which, of course, is absurd because everyone is fearful of something.  I mean, c’mon…google “phobias” and you’ll get 8.2million results in 0.49 seconds (depending on the speed of your interwebs).

One of my biggest fears is drowning, which to anyone who knows me, might sound strange because I loooooove the water.  Love it.  It is soothing and relaxing, but it is also dangerous and very unpredictable, especially when you’re talking about big bodies of water, like the ocean–not just in terms of what animals lie beneath (please don’t get me started on sharks and snakes and eels–that can be fodder for another post!), but in riptides and waves and tons and tons of pressure.

Of course, I’m not one to back down and let my fears get the best of me.  Okay, okay, I will admit to needing a nudge or ten to get  onto roller coasters, but when push comes to shove, I (being of semi-sound mind and an adult capable of saying no) will get on and try to enjoy the ride.  It was in that spirit that when I was asked if I wanted to go snorkeling, I said yes.

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Naturally, the night before our snorkeling adventure there was a storm and the waters were a bit choppy, but out we went into the Florida Straits heading toward Cuba.  We parked (yeah, yeah, I know it’s not actually parking) the boat–I’m sorry, catamaran, along the edge of the Florida Reef (3rd largest in the world) and were given our instructions for putting on masks and jumping in and oh by the way, look! there’s jellyfish.

what the what?

JELLYFISH. Lots and lots of jellyfish.  We were assured if we didn’t panic we could easily avoid them.  The problem was, I was already panicking and I was still in the boat!

But I was determined, even though apparently I looked like I was about to pass out.  One of the crew members, who I’m sure had visions of having to rescue me, told me to take my time and go slowly, but I knew that would just make things worse.  So I just jumped in.  I would like to tell you that it was a graceful jump and everyone applauded my efforts.  Alas, it was more like I slipped, flopped into the water, and sank.  I’m pretty sure everyone held their breath to see if I would actually surface or if someone had to dive to save me.

The good news is that I swam back up, the bad news is that I had water in my mask and when I tried to breathe, it seemed I was breathing in just as much water as I was air.  panic…panic…panic…until finally I couldn’t handle it and had to take off my mask (and by take off, I mean rip off).  I treaded water for a few minutes, summoning my courage to put my mask back on and try again.  With the help of Sissy, I adjusted the mask and lo & behold! the water was staying in the ocean and not in my lungs!

For the record, breathing underwater is NOT natural, but once I could calm myself down enough to look around I saw…a lot of jellyfish.  And some other fish…but mostly jellyfish and a lot of murky water.

After about who-knows-how-long (maybe 30-45 minutes) of avoiding jellyfish and panicking about breathing underwater and fighting the waves and occasionally coming up for “air” (i.e. treading water without my mask on), I noticed people heading back to the boat, so I figured that was the green light that I needed to reboard the boat.

The only thing less graceful than me getting in the water was me trying to get out.  At this point the waves had picked up and I was attempting to use them to push me up on the stairs.  The problem was that rather than gracefully helping me up (like what you might see in The Little Mermaid), the waves more or less smacked me into the steps and the only thing I could think about was trying not to hit my head hard enough to lose consciousness or drop my fins which I managed by some miracle to pull off my feet while in the water, lest I would have to dive down to retrieve them.

Soon we were all back on the boat, enjoying a cold one.  I did it–I can’t believe I snorkeled and lived to tell the tale!  Sure there were a few touch & go “I’m gonna die” moments, but there were some pretty awesome “I’m actually doing it!” moments, as well.

It was a gorgeous day and the boat ride offered some great views–and overall, it was a fun trek.  It certainly was awe-inspiring to be able to face a huge fear and push through it.  And–believe it or not–I’m actually willing to try snorkeling again.  Although, perhaps in calmer, less jellyfish invested waters.

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La Bella Vita

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Happy New Year!

I hope your holidays have been wonderful and bright and all that jazz.

I recently have been playing host to 4 friends from very different parts of the globe.  Now that they have all gone, stillness has quietly crept back into my house (aside from the yelling at the &%*I$(#^&^%$^ football game), which has allowed for some inner reflection of the craziness that was 2014.  I had some pretty spectacular moments; unfortunately they were not all happy spectacular moments, but a few gut-wrenching ones as well.

Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a sappy-Shez-has-had-too-much-champers-and-going-to-make-everyone-cry post.  First of all, I don’t do sappy very well and secondly, I need to get a move on because it’s halftime and I definitely don’t want to be writing/editing when the game comes on again, lest my laptop be accidentally thrown in a fit of screaming “my granny could run faster than that!”

Where was I?  Oh yes: I just wanted to say thank you.  Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who support me and challenge me and make me laugh.  And an even bigger THANK YOU to my amazing family and friends for, well, everything.

I’ve had some very surreal moments this year.  Snorkeling with jelly fish, for example, or watching the Times Square ball drop and being covered in confetti or sitting on a deck in Minnesota, staring at a beautiful sunset looking out over Canada or standing next to my cousin while she solidified her life with a really great guy (although NO ONE tell him that because we’ll never hear the end of it!).

Not too long ago, I was having coffee with my friend Des, who remarked that her favorite thing about me was that it didn’t matter what crazy place she wanted to go or what crazy thing she wanted to do, I had a story about why it would be a great idea.

I realized at that very moment that I had been blessed with a very unique outlook on life that made it unpredictable, but oh-so-beautiful.  It was nothing like I ever imagined it would be when I was growing up smack dab in the middle of Texas and it certainly isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I think–no, I know–that I have spent a lot of time in the past few years obsessing about the negatives and everything that has gone wrong, and so my goal for this year is to focus more on the positives and figure out a way to create even more beauty in my life….starting with reminding the Cowboys they are actually playing today and figuring out how to get them show up and win (what? surely you didn’t expect me to end on a sappy note?!?!).

Best wishes for a happy, prosperous, and beautiful 2015!

xoxo,

Shez and the darling princess pupcicle

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