Posts from the ‘Honduras’ Category
No, that isn’t what we mean! We know what you’re thinking and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Blonde and Brunette both learned to swim when we were young (during the Civil War) and have always loved water activities that don’t require prowess or balance – think water skiing, kite surfing, serious kayaking (we do the go in circles kind) or scuba diving (there’s a math test). Many years ago we each became enamored of snorkeling and that has gone from enamored to obsessed. (For another example of this process see the evolution of the relationship between Paula Broadwell and General Petraeus.)
If you can float or put a flotation device on and breathe you can snorkel – that’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to invest a lot of money on gear or take any classes (or math tests). So if you have an interest in active travel that isn’t too active try snorkeling. Here is a primer on what you need to do to get started:
- Make peace with looking like a total dork (while you’re snorkeling). We will provide photographic evidence to help prepare you for the fact that no one in real life emerges from snorkeling with their eye make-up intact and their hair sleeked back from their glowing skin. If you wear flippers you will fall over, when you get out of the water you may have Oceanic Snot Syndrome (OSS) and you will have suction marks from your mask on your face.
- Even if you’re just trying out snorkeling buy your own snorkel at Dick’s Sporting Goods (it was just thrillingly lucky they had the cheapest one in the search results) or somewhere else cheap but don’t use a rental one. You don’t know whose mouth it’s been in, where that mouth has been or how the tube was cleaned or stored – gross! If you want to try an organized snorkel trip (which can be a good idea) feel free to use the masks and flippers they provide. Once you’re a convert you’ll most likely want to get your own face mask to save yourself from the hell of a mask that doesn’t fit right and leaks.
- To save yourself a lot of hopping on one foot and thumping the side of your head after snorkeling it’s a good idea to use gel ear blobs that you can get at any drugstore (but drug dealers rarely have them). They’re gooey and stick in your hair but they keep the water out and, as you already look dorky, go for it!
- Flippers are a hassle to travel with so you will have to factor that in if you want to end up getting your own. After years of traveling with them Brunette – who is an aquatic demon – no longer uses them at all and Blonde either uses the “free” ones or none. If you do use flippers, walk into the water backwards with them and make sure you don’t end up with a sea urchin stuck in your fleshy bum as may have possibly happened to an unidentified person.
- Go somewhere you can snorkel from shore. Often the best snorkeling requires that you go out on a boat trip to get to the reefs. That’s a lot of fun and a plus once you know you enjoy it, but for starters make it easy on yourself. Some lovely places you can go from the shore are St. John in the USVI, Bonaire, Curacao (at least on the northeastern coast) and Grand Cayman. St. John is ideal for a beginning snorkeler because there are a lot of different spots and they’re all free and easy to get to (with a car).
- If you do want to go from a boat we saw amazing things off of Belize, Kura Kura island in Indonesia, Roatan, Honduras and Ningaloo Reef, Australia.
- Before you plan a trip around snorkeling go to a travel forum such as Fodor’s or Trip Advisor or wherever and ask for up-to-date info on the condition of the reefs. Mexico used to have fabulous snorkeling off of Akumal but reckless development ruined it. Once a wadable aquarium, Hanauma Bay on Hawaii has been ruined by people feeding fish and proving that Darwin was right – the big fat guys win and the cute little ones disappear. (That was his theory wasn’t it?) Too many places have had reefs destroyed by hurricanes and reefs around the world are bleaching and dying for a reason no one has definitively figured out yet. So snorkel while you can!
- Do realize that even though your face is in the water your back is getting burned like bacon left on the grill too long. Either slather on waterproof sunscreen or wear a shirt made of Rashguard with a high SPF protection number. (Links are to show you what we’re talking about, not because we are secretly backed by retailers who pay us for referrals – as much as we wish that were the case.)
- Either buy some water shoes or select a pair of shoes you already have and want to destroy by wearing them into seawater. Often the best snorkeling requires entering from a very rocky beach. In that case wear your shoes to the water and leave them somewhere the next tide won’t take them away. (And, yes ladies, those shoes will make your thighs look dreadful.) Do not ever stand on a reef. It kills the reef. Even if you’re German don’t do this. Not that we’re profiling based on experience or anything…
- Get in the water, put your face in, breathe in a non-frenetic way and start enjoying all kinds of things – fish, reef life, hungry sharks looking specifically for you, stingrays, eels, starfish, tortoises and if you’re really lucky maybe an octopus.
And like people who participate in all manner of sports, tell your friends lies about your aquatic accomplishments. How a whale you took you on a ride to meet a dolphin. How you fought off a shark (they don’t need to know you were in college and it was a loan shark). And don’t forget that when you got hungry you easily scooped some of the freshest sushi ever right into your mouth!
Rinse and repeat.
B&B wanted so desperately to go in large part because you can swim with dolphins in a manner that makes you think you aren’t doing something appalling like swimming with them in a pool at a hotel (which Blonde confesses to doing once in Hawaii). You swim with them in a large netted section of the sea and it’s more fun than getting away with a fake tax deduction. Almost.
Perhaps swimming with the dolphins and our twice daily snorkeling outings gave us the idea that we’re more adventurous than we really are (right now Blonde is grumbling that we’re going to be staying in a 4, not 5, star hotel in Spain). Whatever our thinking, or lack thereof, we signed up for a zip line outing. Blonde has seen the lining of a lot of zippers so may have been confused as to what she signed up for and Brunette is scared of heights so all in all it was the usual well thought out decision.
The zip line was over a jungle canopy. If you read this blog frequently (and you should) you will expect this story to be about Blonde falling off the line and into the jungle. But it isn’t. It’s about Brunette getting a taxi on the zip line in Honduras.
As is customary when it comes to doing stupid things, Blonde went first. Preparations involved an explanation of how to move along and not die or, if you did die, how to do so in a way that did not inconvenience the zippees behind you. Then you were tied up by hot young jungle boys. (Others might refer to this as being helped into a special harness by the staff but where’s the fun in that?)
Blonde required a heavy duty strap to keep her ass suspended then took a breath, emitted a shriek and zipped away. There were 13 “stations” along the line where you would land (thud) and then be reattached to a new line. We were warned that a rather hostile monkey hung out at one of the stations so we shouldn’t try to pet him. Seriously, someone would want to pet a pissy wild monkey in a jungle?
Blonde got to the first station, was reattached, and so it went. Unfortunately, although it was reasonably enjoyable, it wasn’t as much fun as anticipated. It was more like the kind of thing you do so you can tell other people and sound cool. At least to yourself.
As she zipped along Blonde pondered how Brunette would fare. A fear of heights and wimpy upper body strength didn’t seem to be the tickets to success but stopping to check on someone is not exactly encouraged or possible (or in Blonde’s nature).
Blonde got to the end of the line (love that!) and was unattached (preferred state) and waiting to take Brunette’s picture as she sailed to the finish line. And waiting. The others from our group arrived one by one and no Brunette. Blonde began to worry that Brunette had been assaulted by the pesky monkey (that’s how she ended up with 4 kids so it was possible) or that she was now a snack in the jungle food chain.
When it got to the point of no longer merely being a mystery but was classified as an actual concern, Blonde suddenly heard giggles approaching and knew Brunette couldn’t be far behind. And she wasn’t. But she had someone behind her – her “taxi” driver.
Brunette had managed to get to a couple stations on her own and then decided that she wasn’t going to do this scary shit and wouldn’t budge. You may know how dauntingly stubborn small people can be. One of the staff at the station where she announced her intention to no longer proceed called for a taxi for her.
Turns out that in this case the “taxi” was one of the hot young men who tied us up earlier. Pint-sized Brunette was hurtling to the finish line with a handsome, muscular, grinning Black man wrapped around her. You go girl!
That’s the back-up plan for people who are too scared to continue or smart enough to know it’s the back-up plan. Brunette has wanted to take taxis ever since but none of the subsequent experiences have given her the same joy.
Perhaps that explains why she thinks her sister should get a job as a taxi dispatcher in the jungle and direct all taxis to Brunette.
Or at least get a job doing something.