Thursday on St Maarten, wherein I attempted to snorkel

One thing we didn't do when we went to Florida Keys back in 2013 is go boating or snorkeling. I take that back, we did travel on the catamaran to Fort Jackson, Dry Tortugas. But we didn't snorkel, and while we were at Fort Jackson, I was sort of jealous of the people I saw snorkeling. They said it was great fun and they saw all sorts of neat (and even keen) things.

Well, dangit, while on the island, we were going to snorkel, even if it killed me, and I was worried that it would. I do love being in the water, but I wasn't sure I could handle the mask and snorkel; that I would feel claustrophobic, or that it would bug me not to breathe with my nose. But I thought I wanted to try anyway. Jim, who doesn't much like being in large bodies of water, said he would try it too, even though I gave him an out by saying I wouldn't be offended or think anything of him staying in the boat.

Jen and Mike recommended a day trip that included snorkeling with Soualiga Tours and we signed up.

And it turned out to be the best day ever.

See that little speed boat on the left? That was our vehicle for the day. One captain, and three other couples besides ourselves. Despite the free all you can drink beer on board, no one got drunk. Yay!

Jim and I sat in the back of the boat and since the water was choppy and the front of the boat went up and down a heckuva lot more than the back, I was glad we sat in the back. On the other hand, the back of the boat was subject to large sprays of seawater. So we were soaked and my eyes stung from the saltwater.  I was determined to have a good time, so I didn't let myself care about getting wet--we were going snorkeling later and we would be getting wet then anyway. As for the stinging eyes, eventually, that went away.

(I just went through all the pictures we took during the boat trip and I'm going to have to break it up into several posts)

We finally got to Tintamarre Island where our first snorkel adventure would be. I was afraid to jump into the water, which surprised me a little. But this snorkeling adventure was about doing something fun that I hadn't done before, and if I was going to do it, I had to get over myself and jump in. So I did, and I lived. Yay for me!  Jim also lived! Yay for Jim!

Putting my face in the water and breathing through the snorkel tube sent me into a bit of a panic (complete with thrashing arms and flailing finned feet) at first, but I found that concentrating on breathing for a few seconds made the panic go away. Then I could enjoy myself.

It was so peaceful staring into the world under the waves. We saw a sea turtle and many fish. All the noise was deadened while my head was underwater, so unless I was staring at the halves of people under the water, I kind of forgot they were there. I managed two decent pictures with my underwater camera (and many more sucky ones). Actually these are pretty sucky too, but at least you can tell what I was pointing the camera at.

The second place we snorkeled at was Creole Rock. We only had half an hour at each place, not nearly enough time as I would have liked to spend (but there were other things to do and they were fun too). I took one fairly decent picture here (and as before, many more terrible ones):
I like that fishy. I think I will name him Ralph.
And here is one of Creole Rock:

I have decided that I want snorkel gear for my birthday or Christmas. And I plan to go on a snorkeling vacation (doesn't have to be St. Maarten, I would settle for the Keys again) someday. I could spend all day paddling about with a pool noodle tucked under my arms (that's what Jim and I did so we didn't have to pay attention to not sinking), a snorkel mask on my face, and my face pointed down in the water.


Jen said…
I hadn't realized you were borderline fearful of snorkeling when I "suggested" (or physically forced) you to set up the trip. I'm glad you and Jim gave it a go and had such an exhilarating experience. I love doing it, too and always want my future trips to incorporate snorkel or scuba. I'm still jealous that you guys got to go!