Swim with the Fishes

Swim with the Fishes
Day One

After fifteen minutes watching this ridiculous posse of cats try to catch a dog-sized iguana, we realize our taxi is not coming. We call the excursion guy and he says that, now, we won’t make it in time and they cannot wait. I am annoyed, disappointed, and somewhat relieved.

Night snorkeling?! I was intrigued but leery. I come to this island because I can see the bottom of the ocean when I am in it. But we’ve done it all and this is something new. I was assured it was safe and the word around town is that it isn’t that exciting. My days of zip-lining, and deep sea scuba adventures are on hold. I am a mom. I have three kids and I can’t risk the sprained wrist or the inner ear problems.

Safe and unexciting sounded good to me.

This trip has been tough. We booked it when I was pregnant with Megababy because I knew that if we didn’t, another 5 years would pass before we did anything for ourselves. Getting the three kids locked and loaded for our absence was another full time job and I arrived here with a head cold only to feel guilty as hell for leaving my baby.

But, in this ocean, I feel right.

It’s been the best snorkeling I have ever experienced. These fish are huge. We spotted an octopus! And then watched it…do nothing for about 15 minutes. I think it was sleeping.

Every day we swim with fish floating like blown glass, catching the hidden colors of the sun. Under the water a type of silence exists that keeps you chaos free, muting your senses and letting you hyper-focus only on what is just right in front of you. You are connected. Something in the water binds you together as you and the fish dance in a warm salty world that sways in the light current above. Of course, I am always afraid the fish may decide to come and bite my face off. But that never happens.

Chaos free. I can’t wait to get back and hit the ground running with a refreshed and renewed version of myself. The girls deserve it. It was a long pregnancy.

I’d chosen the night snorkel because after dark, wearing headlamps, you are exposed to a whole different world of creatures. A girl on the ferry mentioned that if you all turn off your lights and slowly move around there are tiny phosphorescent algae that will glow. And, make you glow. How exciting it would have been to tell the girls that I floated in pixie dust! Not a fan of big scary fish but – tiny glowing algae – I can handle. I am bummed. Oh well, at least I won’t be bitten in the dark by a barracuda. Not tonight.

We head back to the pool and watch the sun set on this day. Like a dream.

Prepping to prep to get motivated to go back to the room (aka, sitting at the pool bar) we are starving and deciding what other taxi company we will call to take us to dinner. Just then, our “vacation parents” arrive back from their day-long snorkel trip to the next island. They want to hit that great restaurant in the town. Will we go?

Sure! It’s late, but she is a no-nonsense riot and, though he’s short on words, in that red Angry Birds T-shirt his resemblance to Santa Claus is uncanny. I consider and decide this will be fun, plus Christmas is right around the corner and I don’t want to chance upsetting the “big guy.” And, they…have a car!

Used to A/C around these parts, the restaurant is open air and it feels good. We arrive at a nice booth in the corner. I open my hand to the table allowing our friends to choose their seats first. We open menus and chat about what looks good while we listen to the tiny waves slosh between the boats tied and the dock just beyond the window.

Diane is more than happy to talk about my kids (love that) and share her experiences with hers. Married over 40 years, she gives her hubs a hard time and he loves it. It’s a realationship I can get behind. We are similar and I love imagine travelling when we are at their stage in life, meeting young people, looking back.

She’s been very supportive about my commitment to my baby that has me pumping breast milk every three hours like a lunatic and dragging this breast pump from beach to pristine beach. She’s always yelling to me across the pool, in front of everyone, as I walk away, “Going to feed the baby?!” I share with her that I laugh when I am looking over at some young couple snoogling quietly in the sand and then, here I go, cranking this electric baby up “rah-ruh, rah-ruh, rah-ruh…”

Actually, she nursed her children when they were young, back when it was not “in fashion,” as she says. She does what she likes because she knows what’s right for her. Love it. We are alike in many ways. So alike, that after the server reads the specials we announce we are having the same thing! We laugh. We order. We dine.

The meal wasn’t bad but nothing to write home about. I think the server oversold it.
It is now really muggy and hot in this place. Santa Henry orders dessert. Ugh, finish up your Christmas cookie, man, I need to get out of here. I am freakin’ hot!

Back at the room. I call my mom and check in with the kids. The woman takes her time with a story, and I feel bad, but after an hour I cut her off and I go to take a shower. I am on fire! I turn down the A/C and I pump milk. It’s Election Day and I think, after, I could sit and have a glass of wine while I watch the president get re-elected. But, I cannot. I cut my session short and go to bed.

Why am I awake? I was just up at 2am to express milk! It’s 4am. Why am I up now?
Ooh, I have to go to the bathroom.

Whoa. Um, that is not good. Something is not right in my stomach. I finish up and go to pump but, no…again, back to the bathroom. Christ! I am up and down more tonight than I am at home with the baby! I am in and out of there 5 more times before daylight hits. D is sleeping away under a bazillion blankets. He is so bizarre. I am dripping in sweat. It’s like a sauna in here! I think the A/C is on fan, or something. Is warm air coming out of it? I can’t believe that I started the vacation with a cold and now I’m ending it with a stupid GI bug (eye roll). It’s only a five day trip! That is some bad luck.

I down the final bottle of water and count the hours until the front desk opens. I need more water. I search the main room for any bottles, unfinished, from earlier. I find one, it tastes disgusting. I don’t care. I don’t want to dehydrate. God knows what the clinic is like here?! I drink it all. Something is weird. I have to get myself right. I doze off and dream of home and my babies.

Virus: a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of an organism.

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