Who Am I?

My photo
A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

25 January 2007

Swimming With The Fishies

Ed. Note: So much to blog about, so little time to blog. I know: Weak excuse. But we have a larger-than-usual group of guests visiting our island this week, and the staff, of which I am one have all been quite busy. Among the guests is a certain Mathew E. Speed, a great guy and...not to sound like a junior high-school kid, but my bestest friend in the whole wide world. We've known each other forever, or so it seems. We both enjoy camping, hiking, biking, canoeing - all that outdoor crap. We've travelled a lot, and done a lot, and there's no one who's spent more time flying with me than he.

Michael's Rock

So, I grew up in New York City. We didn't go in the water a lot there. In the summertime, we'd trek out to Rockaway Beach for the seashore, or up to Harriman State Park if we wanted the "picnic in the country/swim in a lake" experience. I did not snorkel and, as I've mentioned I never even drove a boat until I was 50 years old. Fish was something that came in a package of battered sticks or out of a little round can. Sometimes we'd go to a pet store and I'd see a display of "tropical" fish. Down here they're just called...well, fish.
Ever since I arrived in Guanaja back in August, people have been telling me...urging, imploring and cajoling me to go snorkeling at a place called Michael's Rock. It's over on the north side of the island, along a pretty stretch just west of a place called Bo's (itself the subject of a future post). It is ringed with coral, and supposedly the snorkeling there is unparalleled. Me, being the jaded dummy that I am, yawned and said words to the effect of, "Yeah, right...someday." Me, the big Outdoor Guy, the one who always lived above the water.

More Michael's Rock

That day came this past Tuesday. Our big group of guests sure enough wanted go snorkeling, of course to Michael's Rock. I went only because they needed someone to drive the boat. My friend Matt wanted to go, so we brought along masks and fins.

All I can say is, "Ay, Carumba!" Holy cow, it was amazing! The coral, the fish, the shapes, the colors...! It was unbelievable. I saw fish of more different varieties and color patterns than I ever knew existed. The coral was...simply indescribable. Any words that I could come up with to describe it would be lame and inadequate. If you've snorkeled in a really beautiful place then you already know what I'm talking about. If you've never done it, then don't be stupid like me. Don't turn down opportunities - go do it!

View From Michael's Rock

It was so good in fact, so much fun that Matt and I decided to go back the next day. The boat was busy so we had to find alternate transportation. Heh-heh, I just happen to have something along those lines...

Our Alternate Transportation

It was one of those awesome, magical, picture-perfect days. I mean, it's one thing to land a helicopter on a deserted beach in the middle of nowhere. But going there and snorkeling in one of the prettiest areas on earth is even better! Matt and I swam around, marveling at what we were seeing, and how different the two sides of the island were. (Well, to be correct, Michael's Rock is not technically an island; it's sort of a peninsula...an almost-an-island.) Oddly, the fish were bigger - much bigger on the side of the rock that was grassier and had less coral. We got spooked right out of the water by a barracuda that must have been, no lie, four feet long. (It was only later when we looked it up that we learned barracudas usually don't attack humans. Usually.)

Matt and Me

I was going to try to end this post with something profound about how "We grow, we learn, we change, sometimes incrementally, and sometimes very slowly." Yeah, yeah. Okay, I'm into snorkeling now; maybe I'll even learn to scuba dive. What's next: Kite-surfing? Who knows. Whatever, I'm ready, willing and able. And eager. And one lucky sonovabitch.


Anonymous said...

Pilot Bob:
Did not have a clue that you had never snorkeled. If I had known, I would have thrown you into the water far sooner! Now, you must really experience a great view and go snorkeling off SouthWest Cay. When you are ready, Mike and I will take you out there. Reefs, fish and a great 80 foot drop off to swim above and really see some great colors!
Glad you were indoctrinated! Welcome to the world of the Sea!

Bob Barbanes said...

Sharon, my foremen keep threatening to throw me out of the boat and into the water - almost daily! You too now?

I haven't exactly lived a sheltered life, but there are many things I have not done. And as a pilot, I've always lived above the land, where I'm comfortable.

Funny you should mention Southwest Cay. None of the guests were able to get out there this week (jam-packed schedule). But just this morning, as I was shuttling them to the airport I circled over it. Looks inviting!

La Gringa said...

Beautiful photos. It definitely looks like a "deserted island."