Yesterday I posted about our narrowly missed twin appointments with death and stupidity when I fainted, causing everyone on an NCL shore excursion to collectively change their minds and decide not to ride down the side of an 10,000 foot volcano on bicycles at 20 mph in the fog and rain.
Today I will tell you about the other very stupid shore excursion we booked on our 2005 NCL Hawaiian cruise.
Kona Ocean Kayak & Snorkel (from the NCL Shore Excursion Catalog):
Kayak along four miles of the scenic Kona coastline and black lava sea cliffs to Kuamoo Bay. Along the way, see great sea caves and giant lava tubes; you may even spot a playful dolphin or a green sea turtle! Then, jump into the waters of a protected cove to snorkel and see some of Hawaii's marine life up-close. Don't worry beginners, a friendly and knowledgeable guide will greet you and provide you with basic paddling and snorkeling instructions and safety information. Note: Participants must be at least 10 years of age. We recommend you wear a swimsuit and bring a towel. This tour is not recommended for those with back problems or heart conditions.
This shore excursion was a much smaller group than the Maui Downhill adventure and we rode to the beach in a normal van, rather than the extendo 15 passenger crash mobile I described yesterday. Our tour guide didn't say much, but he looked like he belonged in one of those 1960's surfer movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. He even wore a floppy woven straw hat and threadbare khaki pants cut off at the knee like some kind of castaway. Like our mountain bike guide in Maui a few days before, he also called everyone "Bra" and "Cousin".
We arrived at the beach where life vests were passed out and kayaks assigned to us in pairs. MDH insisted on sitting in the back of our assigned kayak. In other aspects of our lives together he seems to prefer letting me be in front of him also. He says it's because he likes to watch my ass, but I'm pretty sure it's so he can keep a protective eye on me and catch all of the shit that I'm constantly knocking over in stores with my big giant purse without realizing it.
We got into the boat where we flailed around for about 10 minutes while our guide was giving instructions on how to move around, steer and right the boat should we tip over.
MDH and I missed this entirely.
Our guide didn't seem to notice, but we were about 20 feet away from the rest of the group paddling wildly around in circles further and further away, arguing.
By the time we pulled the oars out of our asses and paddled up to the rest of the group the guide shouted cheerfully, "OK, off we go!" and he and the rest of the groups glided out of the shallow, protected cove toward the big giant, very deep sea. I didn't know how deep it was until I heard someone shout out the question and the guide shouted back that it was somewhere between 200 and I don't remember, but it might have been 10,000 feet deep.
It was deep.
It was very deep and we were floating around in crazy circles on it in a tiny plastic piece of shit.
I didn't start to panic for real until we had paddled out of the bay into the deeper water and 3 things happened:
1. I looked back at MDH and he wasn't wearing his life vest. When I asked him where it was he said he had taken it off to use as a seat cushion.
I screeched back to him, "Are you outta your goddamn mind!?" as just then...
2. a swell about 6 feet high rocked our kayak and temporarily blocked my view of the boats in front of us. When the swell had passed...
3. The boat in front of us that had been carrying an older woman (about 50 or so) and her grown son (about 25 or so) had tipped over and both of them were flapping around, spitting and helpless while I watched their oars float away in the next 6 foot swell.
I had 3 epiphanies:
1. If our boat tipped over MDH were too out of shape to ever be able to get back into it and we would drown or a shark would come and eat my legs off, which would only draw the attention of more sharks and we would both die in a horrible blood bath feeding frenzy while the rest of the group kept paddling off without noticing.
2. I was having a gargantuan panic attack that included hyperventilation and if our boat tipped over I was too frightened and freaked out to make safe decisions and would probably drown and/or be eaten by sharks as described in epiphany #1.
3. Fuck it. I realized that we weren't that far out of the bay and that we didn't have to do this. We could turn around and go back. Just fuck it. (How's that for an athletic shoe slogan?)
I screamed back to MDH without taking my eyes off the next oncoming wave, "We don't have to do this!!!", to which he replied, "Good, 'cause I don't want to do this anymore either!" Great minds think alike. Great cowardly, scared shitless minds.
We hailed Moondoggie over and explained our decision and he paddled along side us until we were safely back to the shore where we thanked him and apologized profusely for any inconvenience we had caused. He was really nice about it and reassured us that lots of other people did the same thing. He also explained that we were going to be stranded there until the tour ended 4 hours later, because in addition to being our guide, he was also our driver. We told him we'd find our own way back, thanked him and apologized again.
After Moondoggie paddled out of site I cried like a big giant baby into the crook of MDH's arm. It was that bad kind of crying too with dripping snot and uncontrollable moaning. He held me tight until I was all done and let me blow my nose into the extra t-shirt he had brought along.
Then we began the long walk back into Kona town.
We must have looked pretty bedraggled because we didn't get further than a mile up the road before we got picked up by 2 golfer guys in a shiny red Mustang convertable who gave us a lift back into town. It's the only time in my life I have ever accepted a ride from a stanger. It shocked me to my core when they asked and MDH immediately said "Yes!"
It was an eye opening experience, way more so than the volcano mountain bike thing. I have nothing more to say about it except that we spent the rest of the day in Kona town, drinking coffee and eating pizza by the slice. We had a waterproof camera with us that day, but we didn't take any pictures. I do however, have this business card. It's a little dog eared because I keep it in my wallet to remind myself of what is the better way to spend my time.