**Edit — Em has posted her thoughts on this experience on her blog. I think she was on a different boat. Or in the pool.**
Let me preface this by saying I’m not the best swimmer. I think this is in part due to the way my dad “taught me to swim” – around 8 years old, he simply put floaties around my ankles, tossed me over the side of the boat, and explained “If you keep moving you won’t go under, Anthony!”
I panic if the shower drain clogs.
So we booked a Catamaran “Booze Cruise” which was partly a misnomer from the start. Apparently Sandal’s insurance regulations do not allow dispersal of alcohol aboard the boat… at least not prior to the passengers swimming in the ocean or climbing a couple hundred feet of waterfall for some reason. Hrmm…
First stop was snorkeling. At least, for everyone else in the water. For the smart people, it was “watching people snorkel from the boat.” For the talented people, it was “snorkeling.” And for me, it was “trying not to die.” There was a Beginners Class at the front of the boat — but what the heck would they teach you? How to kick your legs? Which end to breath through? Jeesh, no thanks.
So anyway, I put on my size-too-small fins, my ridiculous safety flotation belt, and my mask and snorkel, and waddled to the back of the boat with the pros. I jumped off and into the deep blue, ready to see the wonders of the majestic ocean…
But no; instead of calm cool waters, I was dropped into a torrent of current + riptide + class IV rapids pushing my body away from the boat at at least a steady 12 knots.
So, I try my best to catch up to everyone, but it’s taking every ounce of my energy to keep up with the “guide” — and he was pulling two fat people behind him on a life-preserver. Each time I’d reach the group and catch my breath enough to don my mask and take a look below the water, the group was on the move again. I swam for 45 minutes straight and only covered 17 feet of ocean floor. And only saw 6 inches of it.
Of course, being a life guard, swim instructor, aquatics director, and secretly one-quarter mermaid, Em was swimming circles around me the entire time. At one point, I looked up at my buddy and in a sigh and told him “Just bury me at se–” but apparently Poseidon has a sense of humor, and the sentence was cut off by a tiny wave slapping me in the face and filling my nose and mouth.
Finally, it was time to go. I shot down the gulf stream current back to the stern of the boat so I could get out of
purgatory the water. However, there were 3,479 other passengers who apparently felt the same as I did; and they were unfortunately better suited than I to tread water and keep their place in line.
I could have done a commercial for the freakin’ Infinity Pool;I swam as hard as I could for another 8 minutes and never got closer nor further away from the ladder that was my freedom. The last thing I remember
was clinging to a splintered door as I felt Jack’s icy grip leave my own a Jamaican deck hand pulling me up and rolling his eyes.
I rolled to the deck and removed the bulky “safety items” that tried to pull me down to Davy Jones’ Locker, and decided if God had intended me to be in the water, He’da given me a boat.
In Closing: Jamaican Snorkeling = Single Worst Experience of my Entire Life.