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!


  1. Dear Niki,
    how can you possibly live here and not enjoy diving in our waters? It's probably about time I came out and took you and Poppy out by boat, maybe her and Noodle (my son) could lure you into diving! I was actually tempted to invite you day before yesterday when I saw you walking on the beach with Poppy happily swimming before you but then I thought...this anonymous blog thing is gotten into day I'll come out but for now I like it this way, readin gyour htoughts about our town, our people, our everything...and sharing your childhood, your knowledge, your thoughts. It's so interesting.
    By the way, thumb sup to Carlo...maybe people can't realize how darn far Salerno is by canoe...but I do!!!

  2. niki fear no more! all those insidents you mention were in the Atlantic ocean, the North sea and the carribean! the soft Mediterranean waters harbor NON of these monsters!!!! feel at liberty to enter the waters! - you're welcome!

  3. I am so sorry, like I said I am totally new to blogs and definitely did not mean to harm. So from now on I'll be Dollyna and you'll know it's "me".
    thanks a lot for the suggestion!
    Did you enjoy the storm?
    I did a LOT

  4. I enjoyed the storm from the Banchina, as you can see! Thanks for leaving a name, very much appreciated!

  5. I am afraid of what is in the water too! And so was one of the guys in one of my classes this semester. I love to snorkel and skin dive. he is a lifeguard. It is a fear! It slowly crept up on us too! So for this reason, I cannot go beyond my knees UNLESS I am wearing a mask! When I can see, then suddenly that really helps.

    (BTW linked to you through Judith :)

  6. Hi Niki,
    I've only just recently started reading your blogs. Love them! Talking about sea creatures, I have a house in Positano which overlooks Fornillo beach and waters. In July two years ago at around 8.30am, in the crystal clear water as it is only at that hour, I saw to my amazement,a stingray flying underwater from the depths towards the shore. It reach level with the rescue boat from the main 'Stabilimento' then explored the sea at that level. I waited for commotion from the sun bathers or the bar at the beach but it seems that no one noticed it as there was no one in the water at the time. It returned the next day at the same hour only this time there were children hanging off a matress in the shallows towards the free part of the beach. The stingray swam towards them (from the back) and once it saw them it took off in a hurry and I never saw it return.
    Jelly fish are the most annoying part of swimming at Positano. Everyone got stung regularly that year. This year it was much better in July/August. Only a few about occasionally!

    From something fishy

  7. I don't feel too comfortable in the Med Sea neither. Back in 1955 or so, a man was killed by a shark in Malta. That guy was my teacher so it was kind of too close.

    That was the only incident we have of fish victims in Malta.


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