In 1999, I spent a week on the western shore of Jamaica.
How dim-witted I was to think that I would sleep on the red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Jamaica. Everyone on board was eager for their vacation to commence. The rum flowed and the cabin was energized with laughter and spirited voices.
Even Kurt cut loose once we arrived at our beach resort in Negril. He paid a guy he met on the beach to take him on a motorcycle ride into the mountains to see where the weed was grown.
“No problem, man,” was the response each time we declined to buy some of the marijuana relentlessly peddled on the beach. But a motorcycle adventure was too enthralling an offer for Kurt to refuse.
Meanwhile, I stayed at our resort birdwatching and viewing the tragic Columbine School massacre reported on CNN. I drank virgin pina coladas and worried about the stray cats that clustered around us when we had breakfast on the terrace. My vacation mode was not doing the beautiful Caribbean isle any justice.
That is, not until we rented a glass-bottomed boat to take us snorkeling among the coral reefs. Confession #1 – I’m a poor swimmer. But with a snorkel and swim fins, I am transformed into a creature of the sea, confidently gliding through the crystal clear water. Confession #2 - my desire to get up close and personal with wildlife shoves my fears aside. I leapt off the boat and launched into the Caribbean vacation I craved.
For me, there is no more exhilarating an experience than being suspended in a warm sea with sparkling visibility. In this weightless realm, voices and terrestrial sounds vanish while other senses are intensified. All my attention is on the flamboyant fish and intricate coral. The tepid water soothes my body in a way the chilly ocean in California never will. I hold my breath and dive down for shells. I chase colorfully-stripped fish. I feel boundless.
In Jamaica, there are abundant options for finding bliss. Rum, marijuana, motorcycling with a stranger. Confession #3 – snorkeling is my nirvana.