Thursday- April 6- Day 11 of adventure.
Day 6 of cruise.
It’s been a fun and interesting few days on the ship. April 4 we made it to Bermuda. Katie had been super sea sick for two days so I went to the Burn the Floor dance production and admired all the beautiful men on stage alone.
We got off the ship in Bermuda at 9. I was immediately greeted with this sign:
Then we took a very, very crowded bus (great for my claustrophobia and anxiety!) to this pink sand beach right next to the famous Horseshoe Bay, as it was under construction. The water and sand were absolutely breathtaking. The sand was not as pink as I pictured, but the top layer looked like someone has shook Himalayan Salt right over it. It made me a little hungry.
We hopped a much less crowded bus back so I could make it in time for my 1:30 snorkeling shipwreck tour. That’s when the party really began.
On the walk to the boat (I left katie on land because we figured that was best), I friended a mom and daughter (Gabriella), who works on the ship in the dance room entertainment. I got a lot of insider scoop about the attractive dancers from the night before (who is gay and who isn’t).
Then I just talked with Gabby about her very intriguing life. She graduated last May with a degree in something like fashion but an emphasis in Entertainment design. She said she got into cruising business because when it came time to sign a lease for an apartment her anxiety picked up about committing to stay somewhere that long. I could completely relate. She started working on this ship in December and has a 6 month contract. She’s already visited some countries in the Middle East on their last tour and told me the media has lied to us. She said she would marry every single man she saw in Israel and they “aren’t all terrorist looking as we’ve been led to believe.” I loved her instantly from her lack of concern on politically correct statements and her appreciation for life’s natural beauty. She told me about her cruising life, how small her room is, the relationships that go on on-stage, and the places she’s been and seen. It was awesome and I would be lying it I said I wasn’t completely envious. She was definitely my kind of person.
Anyway, on our snorkeling tour we had two stops to jump in and explore in Bermuda’s steaming 67 degree water. I silently apologized to my nipples for the pain we were about to feel, but promised them I’d be right there with them the entire time. The first stop I forced myself in, tried to pee to warm the place up but my bladder was in shock mode and wouldn’t relax, and I had to give that up. I meandered out with my personal floatation device (see: pink noodle), flippers and mask. I saw some gigantic Rainbow looking fish and brain corral, mostly. Both were things our captain had told us about along with things to avoid- like fire corral and Portuguese Man O Wars.
I was swimming along the water line minding my own business when I felt a little pain in my shoulder, then moved to a burning sensation like someone just lit a match to a gas line that was across my shoulders. And then I felt it on my ass. One cheek. Then the other. FIRE. ON. MY. BODY.
I panicked. I frantically looked around and couldn’t see anything yet one by one my body parts were burning even though I was completely submerged in freezing water. WHAT IS GOING ON?! I started swimming as fast as I could towards the boat and away from whatever the fuck was trying to cook me alive.
About the time I was a few feet from the boat I was tossing off my mask, gulping salt water trying to breathe through the pain, and was still on fire. The captain asked if I was okay because apparently every distress signal I was giving of panic, hyperventilating and obvious thrashing in the water made him wonder. I was still feeling something on my body.
I couldn’t say words in the water, so I shook my head hoping he would read my language of “fuck nope.” He pulled me up and I could finally tell him I was on fire. My shoulders and ass, specifically. He inspected me and said he didn’t see anything so maybe I had hit some fire corral. I didn’t have an ounce of energy to tell him I was in the middle of fucking no where when I was ignited. I climbed to the bow of the ship, shivering from a very cold outside, mixed with my very sunburned skin from two days earlier, mixed with an overwhelming pain. He brought me an ice pack. I sat on it. A few tears may have been shed.
We moved the 15-minute ride to the next location where the shipwrecks were. Gabby and I decided despite the nipple-freezing water temperatures, we had to see what we came here to see. I stood on the ledge of the stern, stripping off my long sleeve and towel. And behind me I hear the captain utter “Oh shit. Babe, you got stung by a Portuguese Man O’ War.” The marks, which may look meek in pictures but I promise were not, were starting to show.
“You’re going back in!?!” He asked.
“You only live once” I told him. “And at least I know now I can handle it if I get stung again.” *insert my bad ass exit to such a cool reply where I pull my super big face mask over my eyes and nose and step off the ledge into the ice cold water with my giant ass flippers and pink noodle under my arm*
*splashes and choking follow as I hadn’t put the breathing tube in my mouth before dismount*
The waves were pretty heavy and powerful as we were very near the ocean edge drop off. The captain said he’d be watching out for me, but I remember that exact same promise about Man O Wars so I wasn’t gonna hold my breath (pun intended). I started to swim out to the shipwreck.
And in some of the clearest waters I’ve ever seen, about 30-40 feet down, I saw the Constellation wreckage. Her outline was undeniable, even some 65+ years later. From the bow of the boat all the way to the boiler room where fish made their homes, lie what used to float above. A bit morbid and equally amazing all at the same time.
Last I swam to the other side of our boat to see the Montana wreckage. Sacks and blocks of whatever they were carrying lined the sea floor, covered in a light film of ocean floor dust and fish poop, probably.
About that time, some massive wave came over my entire body and mask and I decided I had definitely drank enough salt water (and fish poop) for the day. I made my way back to the boat in a much more graceful fashion than the first time.
As I climbed in, the captain and first mate stood there. The captain started “Girl, I was just telling Baxter what a bad ass you are. I’m so sorry. I didn’t think it was a Man O War because your reaction. The only other person I had stung by one made such a panic of it we had to cancel the rest of the trip, get back to shore to the ambulance since she insisted on medical attention. We even had to get our boss to give everyone refunds. And you.. just sat there. With an ice pack. AND THEN GOT BACK IN. Shoot. I got stung once and cried like a little girl.”
“Yeah, well I’m not a little bitch” I told him. Then I thanked him and he offered me all the rum swizzles I wanted. He then added “uhh.. I don’t have any vinegar on board. I already looked. And uh.. not to be weird, but there is another option to take the sting out.. it’s uh….”
“Pee. You’re going to tell me it’s pee, aren’t you?”
“Ugh. Well, I’m not acrobatic enough to pee on my own shoulders, and it’d be moving just a little too fast to ask any of you for a golden shower this early so I guess I’ll just tough it out. Thanks though.”
“Totally understand. Rum swizzle? Or.. just rum?”
The Floating Terror aftermath:
We headed back to the Dockyard and I went and bought a pair of shorts I’d later find out don’t even kind of fit me. I cursed the 24 hour buffet aboard. Then headed that way for a snack.
Well friends, that’s all for now. This Internet post was brought to you courtesy of my new friend, Jim.