Thursday July 7 – Maybe I spoke too soon about how to have the perfect sleep. The earplugs worked again this morning but overall I woke up a lot last night. It’s just me, no noise to speak of. I got out of bed at 6:30 and went to breakfast at 7am.
After breakfast, I stayed in for a bit catching up with email and planning to do some more work for the Camino when I read an email from the airline to Spain, Lufthansa. It was an email to inform me that they had canceled my flight from Basel to Munich, the first leg of my trip, and did I want to keep the rest, cancel or postpone? Um, what? When do they cancel the first leg and not offer you the replacement? Do I want to keep the flight from Munich? Not without a way to Munich, thanks. So it looks like I will cancel the Camino this time around. I’m disappointed, but find I am also a bit relieved. I haven’t prepared well enough and that was eating into this trip as well. Some things are more fly by the seat of your pants whereas some things
take a little more planning when under a time constraint and wanting your own room due to Covid. I’m hoping now to have a week at home, a couple weeks away (but where?), and then another week at home before work starts up again. Seems like a good mix if I can sort it out.
Since low tide was in the late morning today and my walk would have to wait, I decided to be brave and go snorkeling first. You can snorkel from the shore here, but the water just has so much sand turned up in it that I wasn’t sure it would be worth it. I was also nervous to go alone since no one would see me die. Jeroen agreed. He thought getting eaten by a shark was likely. Once we ended the call, it took me about 5 minutes to decide to give it a try anyway and get ready. I dropped my key off at the reception since it didn’t seem right to leave it on the beach with my hotel and room number on it and then headed to the beach.
It was still on the early side, and no one
was snorkeling which made me a little tentative. Where did one snorkel here exactly? I started out in shallow water and freaked myself out because with all the sand, I could basically see nothing and then my mind could invent all kinds of possibilities of what was directly in front of me. Then a Russian family got in and started to head over to what turned out to be a good spot. (There are a lot of Russians here.) I casually migrated over there, and it was a much different world. All of a sudden I could see! And I could see fish, lots of fish. Walls of fish sometimes. There was even a sea turtle that the kid of the couple proceeded to touch as it swam away. Douche. But it was great to look around. It was right where it starts to get a bit deep, like going off a cliff. But you know, swimming, so no cliff for me! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many fish pooping sand before. All the reef fish that eat algae off rocks or coral tend to end up digesting parts of the calcium carbonate from the coral and then
poop it out as sand. It’s pretty cool actually. I even saw a small shark a few times. The sea turtle was seen again by me, the mom and the daughter and was a calmer experience. The turtle came to the surface for air and it was just a cool experience to see it. Then later, when they were much further away, I saw it again. It was very relaxing. At least until I was surrounded by a bunch of barracuda. Or were they needlefish? The mind does weird things and I can’t quite be sure. But it was cool. Where are the pictures, you ask? Well, lucky for you I brought my underwater camera. Unfortunately, when I tried to take a picture of the turtle, I realized I had charged the battery after the Manta snorkeling and then promptly left it in the charger. Boo. I will try to go again tomorrow morning to see what I can see.
After the snorkel I came back long enough to change gear and pick up my book and a granola bar and then head to my favorite beach spot in a different part of the island. I’ve had the same
chair with no one nearby for three days in a row. Not sure why but I dig it. It was cloudy again today and I spent a couple more hours reading my book and watching crabs. Today the mosquitos were out so I had to put on some repellent. Not my favorite but better than the alternative.
I came back to the room around 4pm and checked my students' scores from their IB exams in May. They’ve just been released and teachers had access today. I was pleased with them in the end. It was also my first year as an examiner, and I marked 210 exams for the environmental class. Quite an interesting process.
I headed out again at 5:15pm to make the evening rounds of the port area, where everyone who’s anyone would be. That reminds me – the men here seem to spend a lot of time on their hair. I find this such a double standard as the women must cover their hair. I didn’t spend a lot of time watching bats tonight but focused more on the port. For the first time I actually looked into the water and noticed that several of
the types of fish I’d seen were right there and could be seen from the shore. Pretty wild. When I was watching the fishermen I also noticed a tourist looking into the water. It seems right from our vantage point was a little shark nursery! There were maybe 20 little sharks cruising around. Very cute actually. I think they were black-tipped reef sharks like the ones I had seen snorkeling.
Back in my room I had about 20 minutes to start packing and then headed to dinner. Tonight I had mixed vegetable salad, grilled fish, and the dessert was some weird kind of fruits-in-a-crème-sauce dish. Tasted ok though.
Tomorrow my boat to Male airport leaves at 2pm and then I have a flight that arrives in Abu Dhabi at 11:30 pm and another that leaves at 3:15am. Not great for getting sleep but I’ll see what I can do.
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Richard Sean Burton
Great pics! But curse you! I now have that "Baby Shark" song in my head!
Home and Away
It is probably best that you delay your walk. Both you and I are planners, which allows us to visualize the pending experience, and prepare ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually in order to get the most out of what can be the most fulfilling journey of a lifetime.