While in San Juan del Sur , I decided to try snorkeling along with my travel buddies.
Yes, I know. I cannot swim, but I was given a life jacket.
The scariest part for a non-swimmer when snorkeling is swimming past the waves and into the deeper waters.
Because as you swim farther away from the shore, you realize:
“Wow, this could really be it.”
“What the hell am I doing, I can’t swim.”
“By the time someone swims out to rescue me, I will have already drowned.”
After ample words of encouragement and hand-holding, I found myself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I felt at peace… until I heard.
“I just saw a sting ray.”
Now, I am not a marine biologist. The little that I know about sting rays has been through the death of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Being informed that a fish with a barbed stinger capable of puncturing human flesh is swimming in close proximity caused me to panic.
My friend Karen quickly tried to ease my anxiety.
“Just be calm. It will leave you alone if you don’t bother it.”
Alright. Sounds good.
I continue my underwater exploration.
About ten minutes later. I heard something frantically kicking and splashing water.
It was Karen trying to swim back to shore.
(Please, excuse her language)
“What the f***?”
“It’s a f***ing sting ray!”
“A sting ray is swimming right underneath us!”
Now keep in mind, Karen was the same person who told me that if I was to ever spot a sting ray, ” I need to be calm.”
After seeing Karen freak out, I lost all hope in her advice. I was confused. I did not know what was the proper reaction to this news.
I was stone cold still. The waves drifted past me. I was too afraid to look down into the water. I did not want any confirmation of Karen’s sighting. I desperately wanted her to have mistaken a goldfish for a sting ray.
After five minutes, I finally got the courage to move and begin to swim back to the shore.
As you could imagine, Karen had already made it back and was removing her snorkeling gear.
I proceeded to do the same. My underwater adventures had come to an end.
We sat on the shore and relived the whole incident. By the end of the story we keeled over in laughter.
Sometimes your worst most terrifying moments make the best stories.