|Christ of the Abyss (photo from the web)|
I tried to learn scuba diving when I was in my forties. Took a class at a local YMCA. Unfortunately, I was the oldest “girl” in the class. Most of the females were in their twenties. You can imagine how much attention I got from a twenty-five year old instructor. We all sat at the side of pool as he told us what to do.
He smiled brilliantly. “Now remember, if you need help that's why I'm here. Okay, let's get in the pool.”
That was the last I saw of him. All those beautiful young woman. What did I expect!
I struggled getting the mask on, turned on the oxygen and jumped into the water. I immediately sank to the bottom and panicked because I couldn't seem to breathe. I struggled to the surface, yelled for help, and still got none. I was so aggravated I left in a huff, called the YMCA and promptly got a refund. That began and ended my scuba diving dreams. Ah, but snorkeling was something I could handle. Bob was away on business so I took the kids down to Key Largo, Florida. We splurged and stayed at a luxurious hotel. The kids spent the evening swimming in a jungle like pool. I stretched out on a deck chair and drank pinacoladas.
The next morning we signed up for a cruise to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. There were both snorkelers and scuba divers on board. We were a happy group ready for anything.
The kids dove off the boat immediately. I was a little more cautious. I eased into the water and adjusted my mask. What I saw below almost took my breath away.
There was Christ of the Abyss, an eight and a half foot, four thousand pound bronze sculpture that stands in twenty-five feet of water. His arms were raised as though bidding us to come to him. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Scuba divers could get close to the statue. I was content to take in the amazing sight around me. Thousands of fish swam, their colors intensified by the sun above. I felt I was looking through a kaleidoscope that encompassed all the colors of the universe. I could have floated above that scene forever mesmerized.
Unfortunately, it was time to head back to the hotel. We stayed the night, then started our journey home. Along the road I spotted a small bay and slammed on the brakes to take a look. The water was crystal clear, harboring a small reef. It wasn't like the state park but it looked interesting.
“Lets try snorkeling here,” I suggested to the kids.
“You bet,” they answered together.
Although it was a small reef, there were some interesting fish and beautiful coral. At one point, six small angelfish swam right up to my face, stared at me, then darted away. I reached out and barely touched the coral. I just wanted to see how it felt. It was sharp and I cut one finger. Well, enough of that. It was only a small cut so I thought nothing more about it.
At home the next morning, my hands were swollen red and itched. I headed to the doctor, expecting some sympathy for my plight.
He sat back in his chair, twining his fingers together, and began laughing.
“Audrey, you've got the worst case of coral poisoning I've seen in years.”
He gave me a shot for the pain, a medicated lotion to apply every few hours and told me to keep my hands out of any water until he checked me out in two weeks. As I left, he hugged me, still laughing softly.
Thinking back, some good came out of my suffering. The girls had to do the cooking, wash the dishes, and clean up the kitchen. I got to relax...
|photo from the web|