Saturday, December 15, 2007
Laughing Through Tears
Recently, I heard from my sister that my brother, Butch, and his wife, Karan, had gone on a trip to Puerto Rico. I was shocked, not only because my brother is not a 'travelin' man, but Puerto Rico? The man rarely travels ten miles from home. The next time I talked to my sister, she told me my brother was having a hard time getting back into the states because he didn't have a picture ID. She gave me all the details, but I think this email I got from Butch sums things up much better than I can:
I guess you heard the whole ugly story of the kayak ride from Hell. The way I was guilted into even doing the trip. I can still hear the tears in her voice,” We always do what you want to do but you never do anything I want to do.”
Well was I surprised when I thought I was going for a boat ride only to find out I was to be the skipper of a two man kayak with a two left handed crew. After we circled around the bay a couple of times to get to a ship where we to rendezvous with the rest of the Kayakers, we headed towards the opening of the mangroves, which is a code name for swamp, I should have known something was rotten in Denmark when they suggested we douse ourselves in the Kirkland brand of insect repellent they had on hand. Little did I know that we really didn’t need it due to the Tropical rain storm that kept the mosquitoes grounded.
Keep in mind that this once in a lifetime adventure can only take place at night in order to see these wondrous little glowing sea creatures. Yes It started to pour down about the time one of the guides decided to tow us after we grounded into the first available shoreline. I thought to myself, “thank God I’m so f***ing tired I don’t think I’ll have the strength to kill seaman 2nd class Karan, if and when we get back”
We started out in tow with what I thought would be an event less final paddle into the mangroves, (swamp). Everything was going OK, if you call a downpour in the dark without windshield wipers on my glasses OK, when about 100 yards into the mangroves,(swamp) the guide says we have to pull over to the side to allow a motor boat to go through. I immediately said to myself and Karan, “ Are you f***ing kidding me?! We f***ing could have taken a f***ing boat?” To which she says “I didn’t know!” At this point I thanked her profusely for doing such extensive research on this excursion. But then I realized she probably thought that a nearly 60 yr. old obese asthmatic trooper like myself could handle a mere 1.6 mile paddle through a swamp, excuse me... mangrove.
Well on with the story. Yes there’s more. We pull over into the tree line to allow the boat to go through. While we are getting gouged by dead tree limbs I decide to straighten the the kayak out so when we depart we will be heading in the correct direction. As I am leaning to my left to paddle, Karan is trying to keep the limbs off her head. At this point the guide tells Karan to lean, so she promptly does lean to her left causing the craft to flip over into what they told us was suppose to be 3’ of water. It turned out to be about 8’ deep slimy nasty salt water in which I lost my glasses and wallet. Since they don’t carry flashlights as it would detract from the wondrous sea creatures, A cursory search for my wallet containing my only ID to board the plane and a newly-ATM-acquired $200.00 in cash was not performed. But I probably couldn’t see it any way since I lost my glasses.
After spraining my left wrist hauling my fat, slimy body into the uprighted kayak I was asked if I would like to continue on the trek. Well you can imagine what my response was. It was not pretty. And I am just now starting to talk to Karan again.
Love you, Captain Butch
Ginger here again...I do know that he got home because sis scavenged around and found an old passport and faxed his picture. I can't wait to hear more about his adventure. His luck sounds a lot like mine has been recently. :)