May 16, 2012

One very surprising thing and one completely unsurprising thing

surprising thing: i went to get a massage this weekend... and - wait for it - it was COMPLETELY NORMAL! perfectly acceptable / reasonable levels of nudity! no 2-person naked yoga! no buckets of oil being rubbed into my special places! just... a massage. it was lovely. i recommend these relaxing "massage" doohickeys! 

and now, the completely unsurprising thing: i managed to injure myself in the most unreasonable way possible while on that delightful cruise last month.

it was while we were in roatan, honduras, home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and hence some of the best snorkeling available. we finagled our way to a local beach bar - literally just an open air bar under a thatched tiki-style roof - that also rented out water sport equipment.  

both photos taken from their facebook page 

it was basically heaven. crazy gorgeous & peaceful.  we opted to start the day with snorkeling, so our friendly bar-owner-slash-sports-rental guy handed us each some flippers and a mask, pointed at the water, and told us to paddle out a ways and we'd be right on top of the reef.  

so in we splashed, and out we swam. lo and behold, within about 10 minutes, we were floating over the most incredible reef i've ever seen.

it was just... stunningly brilliant. SO colorful, so vibrant - so full of fish! - that it seems most reefs i've visited before must have been half dead.  there were hundreds of fish: from tiny iridescent blue ones darting through the coral and around our fingers, to shockingly large 18" ones that i have no idea how to identify. 

the reef itself was awesome - you'd be paddling over it, about 5 feet below you, and suddenly it would drop away 20 feet to reveal a circle of seagrass waving up from the bottom.  or sometimes we'd be floating along, and come across a ridge that came waaaay up close to the surface - so close you'd hold your breath and float over the top trying not to kick, because it seemed like you'd certainly hit your knees or feet if you tried.

(you know i wasn't going to be able to resist mspaint in a post about injuring myself, right?)

here's a lovely approximation of me snorkeling on top of the reef:

(i did not draw the coral or the ocean. just so we're clear.)

but when the reef would get all shallow, it was more like this:

it was actually pretty stressful when it would get that shallow, because like every kid ever, i was taught that coral reefs are really fragile ecosystems and whatever you do, you MUST NOT TOUCH THEM!!! so fragile!! BE KIND TO THE CORAL!! so i'd get a little panicky that all i could do was float by, waggling my fingers to try and get some forward movement, because i was about 2" from smashing the delicate coral to bits.

but, we'd always clear the ridge of shallow reef, and be able to relax in a much deeper area, and all was well.

until the time when we floated into a shallow area, and could. not. get. out.  

this shallow spot apparently went on FOR. EVER. and when i say shallow, imagine this:

...but with no space between the coral and my face. we're talking stomach-sucking-in-levels of closeness.

and then! we realized the reason it was so shallow was because the reef actually BROKE THE SURFACE right where we were. as in WAVES were breaking on it.  and we were trapped in the 2" of water right above it, unable to maneuver or swim away.

and while i'm sure reefs are indeed all fragile delicate flowers and crap, a more realistic rendering of them is something like this:

(those are pointy knives. fyi.)

sooo you can imagine how well it went when i was thrown into the reef by the waves that were crashing into it.  it went about as well as being thrown into a bunch of kitchen knives that were all sticking blade-up. from a reef. 

the part that makes this story extra ridiculous is that both chris and my friend jenn were in the exact same spot that i was, and both also got knocked into the reef before a local dude took pity on us and showed us the way out of the shallows.  except do you want to guess who the only person dripping blood was once we straggled up onto the beach?  

(also, might i add, one of the places from which i was dripping blood? MAH BOOB.)

it was.. um.  unfortunate. and painful.  but i'll tell you what, it's hard to focus on your bleeding reef wounds when you've got a giant frozen monkey la la in hand, sitting on the beach, looking out at half moon bay.  so you know. not all bad. 


  1. Owwwwwwwwww! So how did you manage to get out?

    Other than the pointy knives, it sounds like it was an amazing snorkeling adventure!

  2. Oh how I love your illustrations. But bloody booby? YOWCH!! Only you.

  3. Boob injuries are the worst! If that were me, I'm pretty sure I'd just stand up on the coral and wave a white flag, waiting for someone to come rescue me. =)

  4. I so love your MS Paint posts. They're the best.

    I was so stressed out for you as I was reading along. Such spiky reefs! But the story ended nicely and all is good in the world so YAY!

    And hopefully your boob is okay now.

  5. Ohh...I've had a boob injury before (but that's also because I tried to store my keys in my sports bra during a run). Either way, not fun.

    But it does sound like quite the adventure!

  6. That IS quite surprising there were no shenanigans at the massage place.

    So sorry to hear about your injuries! Glad a tasty tropical beverage was able to help you take your mind off things!

  7. Haaaa your paint drawings are just the best. Also? I would have totally freaked out, stood up, and waived a white flag like Nilsa suggested.

  8. I have had similar problems with trying not to get to close to reefs. It's really hard to swim in reverse or turn around if you don't have room to maneuver! Glad you made it out with minimal stabbery.

  9. I think the real surprising thing is that your friends continue to let you do things. Like, anything. Harsh but fair, my friend.


  10. Can't tell if we're supportive, or enabling.

  11. I'd be disappointed if you didn't use mspaint. I'll stop short of saying I LIVE for it (because that would imply I need you to injure yourself in order to keep me alive) but I did just laugh out loud when I read MAH BOOB.
    Only you, Alice, could make injuries this hilarious.

    Also, I really, really want a monkey la la right now. I didn't know that until 2 minutes ago.
    I promise I won't touch the coral!!

  12. Yeouch! Those reefs are definitely sharp! The bar guy should have given some heads up or something!
    Still, it looks really awesome, besides the knives...

  13. Your injury-prone-ness is good blog fodder at least?

    If it helps, I once burned my nipple.

  14. How do these things never occur when I'm around?

    Wait a minute....I'M YOUR GOOD LUCK TINY FAIRY!!!

  15. I love the picture with the knives. Perfection!

    Also, so glad I got to hear this story in person! Thanks for meeting with me.

  16. I LOVE the illustrations. Makes me feel like I was right there getting stabbed in da boob with you. That sounds horrifically painful, though. :( But other than that, and based on your other pictures, it looks/sounds like you had a nice trip, which is awesome!