What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Snorkeling Sickness March 11, 2017

My husband and I aren’t usually seasick people. We’ve ridden on boats from canoes to cruise ships and neither of us has ever gotten ill. Until we went snorkeling a few weeks ago.

It was our first double day off since September, so we treated ourselves to a little trip to Key West. We rode the catamaran down. That was great! I read the whole way, my husband played his video game. We spent the evening exploring and woke up the next morning ready for a snorkeling adventure!

That’s where the problems began. We left to hotel too early for their breakfast and had to find food on the docks. My husband, feeling adventurous, chose a Cuban breakfast sandwich with pulled pork and chorizo. Then we got on the boat. Everything was still fine, but since it was a little choppy, they decided to take us to the soft coral instead of the actual barrier reef. Still super cool. I’d never snorkeled with soft coral before.

Then we got into the water, and I learned something very important: soft coral doesn’t hold down sand. It was like trying to swim through a sand storm. You couldn’t see anything. Not the ocean floor, not fish, nothing. And it was wavy, like we were ice cubes being tossed around in a martini shaker wavy.

There’s something about not having a steady point of reference that makes being sloshed around a hundred times worse. After about twenty minutes we swam back to the boat, and we were by no means the first ones back.

We both felt awful, and they helpfully told us that if we were going to vomit we should “Aim for the back of the boat.” So we hung out back there, trying not to puke, until my husband did puke right off the back corner.

The captain comes by and says, “Move a little farther back and go for distance.”

My husband, being an overachiever, did both and hurtled that vomit very far from the boat as the captain used the fire bucket to wash the sick from the side of the ship. I, being supportive, laughed the whole time, and somehow didn’t feel the need to puke myself anymore!

The moral of the story: seasick and snorkel sick do not always go hand in hand. We are not rough water swimmers!


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