Friday, July 7
scary sea creatures
I admire anyone who swims in the sea. How brave you are! I wish I was like you, but alas, it will never be. I am a strong swimmer and my talent is completely wasted. Hello, my name is Nicki and I am afraid of sea monsters!
When I was small, paddling on the shores of St Pete beach in sunny Florida, I was warned against the dangers of sharks, stingrays and jellyfish. But I wasn't scared, no, not I. I was fascinated, watching the sharks circling out in the bay. I would wriggle my toes at the sting rays that glided up to the shore, listening in fascination as my Dad told me tales of giant rays 40 feet wide that he had seen, while working as a steward. I would swim out to the far off sand-bars and dive underwater digging for sand-dollars, with not a thought for the swimmy things that lived in the sea.
Over the years something changed. No specific event made me scared of swimming in the sea, it just slowly crept up on me. Maybe swimming across a large English lake with large trout nibbling at my toes didn't help. But what puts me off the most is the mere thought of diving into the sea and bumping face first into a jellyfish. I don't know anyone who has done this, but the thought of it leaves me shivering in horror.
There are jellyfish in the sea here and they vary in size and colour. I have canoed into great masses of them, football sized orange and brown pulsating things, surrounding the canoe and sliding down the oar towards me. I have narrowly avoided jumping off a boat onto an enormous white and violet one with long floaty tentacles that was drifting towards a gathering of like creatures. Recently I have only seen little brown ones that leave a nasty sting or gelatinous transparent ones that are harmless.
The scariest thing that happened to me was while I was on holiday in Jamaica. I went paragliding, with a parachute pulled along by a speedboat, out in Montego Bay. The wind was strong and started twisting the ropes round and round. I started rocking, then spinning and the whole parachute folded and collapsed. As I fell down to the sea I was more concerned about landing on a scary creature than the speed of impact or whether it would hurt. And as I rose back up to the surface, covered by folds of sodden parachute silk my only concern was to get back into the boat as soon as possible, before something 'got' me! The horror of floating alone in the deep sea far outweighed the fact that I had just fallen out of the sky with a tangled parachute!
So, if you notice me hovering knee deep in the sea, while everyone else is swimming, do not try to make me go in. Once out of my depth I will try to scramble onto the back of the nearest person, to get away from the 'scary monsters' and half drown the person I have climbed onto. It is best to let me paddle in peace with the toddlers!
at 2:49 PM