Snorkeling with a Parachute
Stephanie Morrison
September 24, 1997
Revised October 22, 1997
Pace 111, Writing 1
Snorkeling with a Parachute
Snorkeling is usually described as serene and beautiful. Nevertheless, due to my inadequate swimming skills, my experience with snorkeling progressed from a serene and beautiful experience, to being as frightening as jumping out of an airplane without a parachute! But just as a pilot would not let someone jump out of an airplane with out first supplying a parachute, my snorkeling instructor gave me my parachute..
While on a cruise to the Bahamas, I was handed a brochure about a snorkeling excursion on the Island of Nassau. The excursion was limited to fifteen people and included all supplies such as face masks, snorkels, fins, transportation and a qualified instructor. The brochure explained that the excursion group would be transported to a secluded beach on the Island of Nassau. There we would receive our equipment and walk into the water. The reef we would be snorkeling on was just off the beach area and the water was no deeper than six feet. This was the hook! I did not know how to swim very well. Nevertheless, I knew that I could be in six feet of water and not be frightened of drowning, so I signed up for the excursion.
The night before the cruise liner docked in Nassau, we encountered a storm. Slowly, the waves of the ocean grew higher and higher as the sky darkened. The stabbing of the lightening was the only light I could see in the blackness of the night. The wind blew the waves so high, no one was allowed out onto the decks. I sat at dinner and watched the waves sweep over the wooden floors of the decks. I watched the tiny paper umbrellas from the fancy alcoholic drinks, left on the floor by the passengers, being swept away with the waves. I wondered how this storm would effect the snorkeling excursion as I was rocked gently back and forth as the ship rode the waves up and down, up and down.
The morning of the excursion was beautiful. The sky was so clear that not a cloud was in sight. A slight cool breeze carried the smells of the dock to my nose. Chicken, pineapple, and other scents made me hungry. The dock in Nassau was crowded with food vendors and people selling their wares. I could hear them talking. On one end of the pier was a small band playing music, I couldn't help but move to the beat of the rhythmic music as I walked to the loading area for the excursion.
As I stepped off the pier I surveyed the small excursion boat. It looked sturdy, but was needing a paint job. Small chips of paint were missing and the remnants of previous paint jobs peered through the openings. The boat had what looked like an awning over part of the deck. I stepped onto the boat with the assistance of a solid built man about six feet tall. His hands were calloused and firm as he helped me onto the boat. In the area where the controls for the boat were, was a long box containing the snorkeling equipment. In the center of the passenger seating area was a large barrel full of rum punch.
As our excursion boat left the dock and traveled along the shoreline; I could see the lavish and expensive looking homes along the shoreline. These homes gave a sense that this really was an exclusive stretch of beach. I looked around the boat. The group that had signed up for this excursion seemed varied, and lively. Three middle-aged couples seemed to know each other and were talking among themselves; a couple of college students were setting next to me laughing and pouring rum punch.
After what seemed like forever, the boat stopped. I looked up, excited and ready to get out of the boat and feel the sand beneath my feet. "What! Where is the beach," I asked? They stopped the boat at least a mile away from the shore. To me it might as well have been in the middle of the ocean. "Ladies and gentleman, we have a small change of plans," the instructor said. These words cut