Finding myself on board a boat for destination and duration unknown, would be enough to make those who know me well to simply cover their eyes. I am a land lover, I like to run, exercise, walk in the forest, the proverbial terra firma kind of girl.
On the designated day when I enquired what time our flight was, I was told there was no flight just a taxi drive to the meeting place. I did start to panic, as at the time I was on a rather dirty island with not much beautiful to look at. Well the taxi arrived in due course and we were taken off along rough roads, chickens, goats, children and litter in abundance, with motorcycles weaving in and out at a rapid rate. Not long after I found myself on the shores of a river, a jetty was hanging lopsided and not able to be used and a little speedboat bobbing up and down was all I could see. I was waved towards this little vessel. Imagine this for a second, I had a separate suitcase of just shoes plus a suitcase of clothes assuming I was about to be transported to a beautiful island paradise with evening entertainment. I staggered in my mini heels over the litter infested rocks and managed to throw myself unglamorously into the boat, my heart racing, and trying very hard not to be rude to those around me. Blow me down, the boat spluttered into life and off we went to deeper waters towards a large pirate looking boat, my home for the next 14 or so days. As I ascended the steps to the boat I was advised that no shoes are to be worn on board at all…..
Well as it transpired there were 3 couples on board the vessel. She (the vessel) is beautifully fitted, and quite breathtaking at full sail. However, to be thrown together, a South African couple, an American pair, one of which is of relative fame but who did remind us repeatedly just how famous he is, an Australian couple, a property developer and his very silent wife, the journey was not without cultural angst. I also learnt from the first evening that this was predominantly a diving excursion, so much of the trip was centred around diving spots, conditions, excited chatter about sharks, mantas, octopus ink, turtles and various depths of expertise and the bends.
Suffice it to say, I was very happy to chill on board, loungers at the ready, gin and tonics, wine, bubbles, whatever a girl would want, but the days did become very hot, and while the divers were all missing and the boat was at anchor, the odd dip in the sea was mandatory. Mid chapter, my partner at the time decided he was going for a swim, so of course I jumped up too. Having grown up on the coast, swimming came to me as naturally as crawling. Down the gangplank he went, and I followed suit, grabbing some goggles on the way. In my mind I always knew I would dive off the platform away from the boat, but said partner, leapt into a semi dive come bellyflop right next to the boat and was of course sucked alongside the boat even though we were at anchor. What ensued was, terrified blue eyes, gulping, spluttering, thrashing and eventual clinging onto a rope on the side of the vessel shouting hysterically for saving. The more I urged him to let go, the wider and more engorged his eyes became with panic. The staff were alerted to the shouting and thrashing and after they also realised that he wasn’t going to let go and relax, emergency measures were called for and the orange safety ring was lowered and successfully grabbed onto.
Now, imagine my dilemma…….did I stay onboard and try and hide my guffaws or get out of the way to be gracious?
I decided on the latter, sprung up into the perfect dive over his thrashing legs still steering his orange life ring to the deck and swam out into the beautiful calm, azure blue waters laughing loudly into the deep blue see.
Needless to say, I swam entirely alone for the duration of the trip. This was not to be a match made in heaven.
Sink or swim