Published: October 19th 2007October 19th 2007 10/11/2007 4:54 P.M.
Don't have a cow
I know we have cows...but it's not often they take up an entire lane.
Nothing like the feeling of stomach acid in your nostrils, eh? numerous people asked me before the trip if I get motion sickness and I said I wasn't sure. Almost all of the responses were, "How well do you ride in the car? Can you read in the car?". For the record - THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE READING IN A MOVING CAR. Enormous waves crashing on our boat for the 30+ hour ride to the island. A few times the "to much water in the boat"
alarm came on...we fell into walls...it was awful. AWFUL!
Let me back up...
We went white water rafting and THAT was a ton o' fun. I can't even describe how ridiculously fun that was. Before we hit the river we stopped in a small town to get a drink and use the bathroom. Rudy, our tour guide, warned us that this a pretty rough rest stop and to brace ourselves before going in. I expected it to be unclean....I did not expect it to be a utility closet without even a toilet seat on the toilet and no sink to wash your hands. We were doing a low
level 4 and I think an average 4 or 5 might be on my "things to do"
list now. They divided us into three different raft groups. Within the first 10 minutes, Eric, the biggest, strongest guy out of all of us, fell out of the raft. My raft (with Alex, Matt, and two pros) headed toward him and we thought we'd be able to pull him in our raft, but instead we crushed him - literally. Went right over Eric, a large rock being on his other side. He was banged up pretty bad when the emergency canoe finally caught him. He's doing well though, other then bruising and scraping up his legs. We made a rest stop to swim and eat fresh pineapple and watermelon. I'm not a pineapple person, but decided to give it a whirl. I can't stop eating it now...it is the most mouth watering, sweetest, best tasting pineapple I've ever experienced. I'm sure most of the credit for that goes to the fact of it didn't come from a can. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever tried fresh pineapple before this trip.
After the raft ride we went
to a place for lunch that has a Forrest area with Poison Dart Frogs. They're hard to find...super small and quick to hop out of viewing. I think I got a couple decent shots though - I hope. We made one potty stop along the way at a place that had an open viewing porch to see Toucans, Humming Birds, and a tarantula. We all got to hold the spider if we wanted. A parakeet was roaming about and attacked my camera - gnawed on my flash - when I tried to take it's picture.
We stayed at a fancy hotel our last night on Costa Rica main land - Hotel Alta. The rest of our live aboard group met us there. The new expanded group is now made up of our large Michigan group, several from Germany, and a couple from Spain. There is a girl from Germany that met her, I'm assuming, boyfriend, in Spain during a period of time that she lived there. They moved to Mexico and met another guy that is here with them on this trip. She's a dive master and shoots videos for tourists as her profession. What an incredible life she
must have. She speaks German, Spanish and English fluently. I'd like to learn another language. Patience would help. I can tell someone they have beautiful eyes and ask for their phone number in German...but that doesn't get me very far.
We made our way to the boat for lunch. As we sat down to eat, the boat started it's journey across to the island. Our 30+ hour trip began. It was okay for the first few hours. Once the boat was actually out in the wide open ocean - it got ugly. I started to feel a bit woozy so Alex and I went up to get fresh air at the back of the boat. Matt, Mike, and Kim were all bent over the side of the boat cleaning out their insides. Several more sat around waiting to see if they were next. We took the motion sickness pills before we left, then a second dose 6 hours into it. We munched on crackers...but nothing really worked. I've never felt like that in my life.
It was like the gravitational pull of an elevator, or the graviton ride at the fair, your head not moving in sync with
your stomach...it's the worst ride and you can't get off...it doesn't stop. It continues for another TWENTY EIGHT HOURS. It was my turn.
Everything I had eaten previously was now being fed to the fish. I cry when I throw up. Alex came over and asked me why I was crying....that it was okay...everyone else was puking too. I was crying because I didn't have the option to stop the motion and not only that, now I had vomit in my hair, snot on my face, and salt water in my eyes.
After getting cleaned up and returning to the bench, I noticed Matt stumble to the bathroom. He was by far the worst off. Could hardly keep his eyes open. Just as soon as he made it over to the bathroom, we heard him screaming...things went from bad - to worse. He lost his balance and grabbed the wall to stable himself...then the big metal door slammed on his hand and it was now gushing blood. Luckily one of the passengers is a paramedic...they debated turning around, they debated stitches, they at least got him cleaned up with something to numb the pain. It was decided that
his thumb wasn't broken because he could move it, his thumb being what got most of the blow. His nail broke open and his skin was coming up through it. There is nothing to stitch and either way, now he can't dive.
After the party on the back of the boat with a lot of people getting sick, a handful of people were afraid to return downstairs to their room and took to sleeping on the couch/bench in the hangout/dining room. I felt better when my body was laying down level and not moving in different directions. I missed dinner, breakfast, and then lunch. I made it upstairs for dinner that night, but quickly went back down to the room to lay down. I'm not sure how many hours I slept. I think around 28 probably...waking up here and there to use the restroom. That's how most of us coped. I don't even know what time we finally made it to the island - maybe around 10 p.m.?
Matt and his wife, Val, sat around here all day while the rest of us went on three dives and now they're off to make the 30+ hour trip back
to go to the hospital, a night at Hotel Alta, then Michigan. I feel awful for him.
There's a 50/50 chance of his thumb getting infected. He said that if his stay or go decision only affected him, he'd stay and dive, but if it did get infected it meant all of us turning back to go home. This was his only window of opportunity of hitching a ride with a returning boat to the mainland and not taking the rest of us with him.
We were up at 5:30 this morning, breakfast at 6 a.m. then our first dive sometime after 7 a.m. The moment I walked out onto the back deck the last thirty hours were well worth it. It was the most breath taking view, with the sun peaking out of the clouds, the forest covered island, the rock islands off to either side. I took pictures, but they don't do it justice. Not a bit.
I'm still having a lot of trouble clearing my ears. When you go down you have to plug your nose and blow out to get air out of your ears. You can also swallow, move your jaw back
and fourth, or combine techniques. If you don't get your ears to equalize you have painful pressure and risk blowing your ear drum.
During our first dive we saw big sting ray, white tip sharks, a sea turtle, and of course - thousands of beautiful fish. Our second dive I saw a teeny tiny star fish. Our group is divided into two when we dive because there are two pangas that only fit so many. There's the Michigan group - then everyone else. Alex and I lost our group under water and started to follow the other one not realizing who they were. It's hard to tell when everyone is wearing scuba gear. We were out of time and air so we surfaced to find that our boat was on the other side of the smaller rock island we were diving off of. We floated in the ocean, watching birds swarm in front of us. The water reminds me of Listerine...it's that shade of blue.
While we were getting our gear on for the third dive an enormous Manta came up by our boat. Three guys grabbed their goggles and fins then jumped off to swim with it.
Alex ran into a shelf at a souvenir store.
THIS dive I finally saw a Hammerhead shark!
We'll sleep good tonight...sucking all of that air during the dive results in peaceful sleep. 8:33 p.m.
I'm sure the wine at dinner will be a nice night cap for my compadres on top of the whipped from diving, sucking down air, drift off to sleep any minute feeling. The wine looks very tempting, but I'm being faithful to my doctors right now. Hear me Dr. Leventer and Dr. Axelson? Far to faithful. Well, Axelson did grant me one glass of wine over dinner as Alex and I sit with a view of the Sydney, Australia bridge. And I will...
It was 7 o'clock earlier and I was waiting for the night divers to come in so we could have dinner. The five of us that skipped it were ready to call it a night if it weren't for our rumbling tummies. 7 p.m. and we're ready for bed?! That's the holiday for divers. Alex almost...ALMOST...has my arm twisted far enough to try another night dive. I'm 22 and I'm afraid of the dark. I'll admit it. I'm afraid of the dark. There's nothing
more freaky then being in the ocean with large creatures coming out to feed and the only thing you can see is what's in the light ahead of you. The people around you look like aliens with their gear and one solid beam of light darting around. The one and only night dive I tried in Roatan, my dive computer battery died. THAT meant that I had no idea if I was going up or down or how to equalize my ears (it's different depending on what direction you're going.) Maybe...just maybe...I'll suck it up for this trip...
There are more photos below