Sun and sea – just what the doctor ordered, except this tourist didn’t want to go. How strange. The vague unease of nausea told me to hang out at the hotel, rather than lie on the netting of the catamaran. But I went anyway, determined to stay out of the sun.
I put on sunscreen in the lobby and boarded a double-decker bus. Wanting to experience the freedom of the air, I went up top, open to the sky. I hadn’t anticipated trips to other hotels to pick up seafaring types, nor the lineup of buses at some places. I didn’t want to blister again.
I don’t understand me. It never entered my mind to put on more sunscreen. I am a queer duck … but basically likeable. What I really enjoyed on the bus ride was leaning way over to my right, watching the branches fly just inches by. A few times I had to jerk my head back as the leaves brushed the railing. It was fun.
As we walked the pier towards our boat, all I could think of was shade. I squinted ahead, searching for some horizontal awning. Happily, a blue one was in place. I sat down under it and only then proceeded to lather on the SPF. My t-shirt was unremoved, and it stayed that way for the rest of the voyage. Wow, that’s just about sacrilege on a catamaran trip. No Speedo put in an appearance either. My shorts would do nicely.
Another fellow and I watched in awe during our first anchorage as huge pelicans hovered in the breeze. They were his favourite bird and he had never seen one. Looking at him, I thought of a California friend who stood with me decades ago in the Rockies as he saw snow falling for the first time. The same wonder. Connor was so determined to see a pelican dive straight down to catch a fish, but he was even more attuned to snorkeling with his girlfriend. He never did witness the dive. But he and Jordan were clearly in love, cuddling as we floated over the waves, laughing and smiling. I talked to them about Jody some, and at the end of the trip told them to hold each other close because you don’t know how long you’ll have your beloved beside you. I believe they heard me.
I grappled with choosing cover-up clothes and mostly keeping to myself in the shade. Didn’t fit my pictures. Again and again, I returned to letting it be, to live in each moment. I saw lots of boisterous conversations around me, some of them fueled by alcohol. I didn’t want that. I saw most of the passengers walking on a sand bar up to their thighs. I didn’t want that either. I sat at the back of the boat, with green islands to my left and right. Straight ahead was the infinity of ocean – the lightest turquoise over the sandbar, medium where the water was deeper. Wisps of clouds painted darker patches on the sea. On the horizon, I saw waves breaking, little flashes of white that would come and go. Other than the laughter overboard, there was silence. It’s a very big world.
During the last hour, as we sailed back to the dock, peace descended. No, I’m not behaving as I thought I would. I’m not being drawn to my usuals. I’m quieter than normal. But there is no loss, nothing wrong with my current way of being in the world. Float on, Bruce.