Sunday, March 21, 2010
Chapter 15 in the continuing saga of an unfittie's travels
CHAPTER 15 –
FOR UNFITTIES TO DO
You’re right if you’re thinking I wouldn’t be writing this if I had never found anything fun to do during one of Dick’s adventure tours. I found two things, and I go on, in hope of finding them again.
Everyone knows hydrotherapy means movement in water, providing exercise without impact, thereby strengthening the muscles without causing them any pain.
If you’re an unfittie who can swim, I’ve got the hydrotherapy idea of a lifetime for you. Snorkeling. It’s so easy!
The most difficult part is putting the swim fins on without getting them full of sand. A spouse or friend might help you with this. My spouse didn’t, so I swam without fins, but I wore my water shoes in case of coral, and a shirt to avoid a sunburnt back. A long-sleeved shirt is best, I discovered. Photosensitivity, you know.
You don’t even have to put a lot of effort into swimming. In order to find the greatest number of colorful fish per gallon of snorkel-worthy water, you’ll probably practice this therapeutic pastime in a warm ocean, and anyone can float in salt water. Even my husband can float, although his bones are so strong and so dense he has to keep moving in order to remain afloat in fresh water.
I didn’t get up much speed, but that didn’t matter. All I had to do was hang effortlessly on the top of the water, watching exotically-colored tropical fish swim beneath me, while sea lions swam beside me, and everyone else in our group swam past me.
Snorkeling, by definition, includes a snorkel: a tube that fits into your mouth at one end and is open to the air (one hopes) at the other end. It can be a little disconcerting if waves wash over the open end of the tube. Swallowing salt water involves gagging and coughing and other unpleasantries, all of which interfere with smooth swimming, and interfere even more with enjoyment.
Eventually, one either learns how to blow the mouthful of seawater back up the tube before swallowing, or gives up snorkeling entirely.
Don’t give up.
If I could learn to do it, so can you.
I loved snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands but I understand less remote locations can offer equally exotic underwater wonderlands.
My husband, however, loves remote locations. Therefore, somewhere in Costa Rica, in a location requiring us to leave the bus for a few days (yay!) and travel by boat to an extremely rickety dock some distance away, I discovered sea kayaking.
Gone were all my previous notions of kayaking – notions involving solitary sealskin boats in seas full of ice floes – the moment I saw two-person sea kayaks on the silky soft sand of a warm-water south sea beach.
Sigh. Very happy sigh.
I, of course, was a passenger in this enterprise. I happily let one of the local guides do all the work while I watched Dick and all those other energetic souls paddling their own lone selves to yet another area of soft sand and warm water. There, we (and I use the pronoun loosely, because I was no help whatsoever) beached the kayaks and ran back into the water to swim and cavort like a busload of children. As we laughed, and swam, and splashed, and laughed some more, our guides waded out to offer us freshly-cut pineapple, sweeter than honey, as much of it as we could eat.
I wholeheartedly recommend passenging in a sea kayak for all water-loving unfitties. The inning and the outing of the craft may be a problem and, again, a helpful husband, solicitous spouse or (in my case) a good-natured guide can make the process easier.
My husband can’t help it, I’ve decided (no pun intended). He may have voluntarily married an unfit female, but he really doesn’t know what to do with one once he’s got her, just like a small child receiving a Christmas puppy from well-meaning but uninformed friends or relations.
Still, to return evangelically to the moral of my story, it is better to go than not go.
It really is.
Dick will help when he can, if he happens to notice I’m in distress; if he isn’t 20 feet ahead of me looking at some guy’s hat; or if he knows what I want him to do. This means I have to tell him, in point form, step form, or alphabetically. He can’t intuit solutions to problems outside the grade 5 or 6 curriculum, which he taught for almost 30 years. I tell him he spent entirely too long in elementary school, and I try to remember not to yell at him. Sometimes I succeed in not yelling, and sometimes I don’t, but we’re working on it.
In the meantime, instead of staying home alone, playing computer solitaire (another solitary sport) and doing laundry (also a lonesome pursuit), I get to see bits and pieces of places I’ve never seen before and, if I’m lucky, I get to spend some time in warm salt water.