Well, it's shark week, so I thought what better way to celebrate than by telling you all the fun things you can do at the beach in the water! Besides, by the time Jen and I get back from our next European jaunt, Labor Day will have come and gone, and frankly that is just depressing, so let's savor summer while it lasts, shall we?
Savor it like a big bad shark looking for a Peiking duck appetizer.
I wouldn't say I'm an adrenaline junkie per se, but as we've established, I do have a little need for speed and I'll try most things at least once. My family really likes Caribbean cruises, which is funny since I am the only member of our family who actually likes the beach. And exotic Baltimore is a cruise port, so a number of pretty affordable cruises leave out of here. The end result is I've been on a bunch of cruises, both with family and friends, and I've spend a decent chunk of time in the Caribbean and in Bermuda (I still am unclear if Bermuda counts as part of the Caribbean; I am very smart).
If you haven't been on a cruise, you might think it is just for old people. In fact...if you have been on a cruise, you might think it is just for old people. And there are, well...a lot of old people. But I like cruises because all your shit stays in one place while you hop to a different port and see new things every day or have new adventures every day. Yes, long gone are the days of being satisfied by boogie boarding along a flesh eating bacteria-riddled shoreline occupied by hoards of white trash. Onto bigger and better activities in bluer, cleaner water.
Don't get me wrong. I looooove parking my ass on the beach, listening to music, reading books, and doing absolutely nothing but getting tan (translation: getting second-degree burns despite dousing myself repeatedly with SPF 8,000). But if you're on a cruise, or if you go to an all-inclusive resort, you probably won't mind sparing one or two days at the beach to go on an "excursion." You can find most of these activities on your own, but to avoid getting ripped off, it's probably best to go on one of the excursions organized through the resort or through the ship. And most of the time, you'll get wherever you're going by boat, so get your flippy floppies ready.
I've done some really cool shit this way, not just in the water sports arena (in case you really are scared of sharks). I've climbed a waterfall in Jamaica, been off-roading in Aruba. It's a cool way to see these places.
To be honest, the majority of the water sports I've done are not particularly athletic. Surfing is a top wish list item for me, but I haven't been anywhere with any real waves with the exception of California, but I was like 15 at the time. I would like to try water skiing and someday when I grow a set, scuba diving. But the point is, you don't have to be particularly adventurous to do some of these things. In fact, on my first trip to Bermuda with Rhi and our homegirls Emily and Sabrina, they discovered that I have never peed in the ocean. And I discovered that I can't, no matter how hard I try. So if a girl who is too uptight to pee in the ocean can go paddle boarding, I'm sure you can as well.
Without further adieu, here is what I have tried (and you can too!)...
This is actually probably one of the scariest things I've tried. You don't have to do very much and you're not actually IN the water, so I would say it is a loose example of a water sport. Basically, you get strapped into a harness and flung off the back of a speedboat. And if you go with Emily, you won't be envisioning the cables snapping, because you'll be too busy picturing a shark leaping up out of the water to gobble you up mid-air. The girl has been obsessed with sharks since before shark week became popular and wouldn't shut up about them in Bermuda. Despite the fact that I unnecessarily maintained my death grip on the handles the whole time, parasailing is actually very exhilarating, especially if you do it over a place as beautiful as Bermuda. And if you're not worried about worst-case scenarios like I am, you might actually find it calming, because once you're that high up, you just glide along and watch the sea below.
I've been snorkeling a bunch of times, and I guess it is kind of punking out on something cooler like scuba diving. If you don't have a good mask, it can be really unpleasant, because you'll probably get water up your nose or in your eyes. But if it fits right, it's really fun to just bob along at the top of the water and check out the fish below. In Grand Cayman, I did this with sting rays, and they're creepy as hell but that kicked ass. I also went snorkeling with sharks off another one of the Caribbean islands. Yes, sharks. JK, they were vegan sharks, doesn't count. And the last time I did this in Bermuda, one of the Bermudians told us to listen for clicking noises. This was the sound of tiny fish eating coral and shitting it back out to make sand. I don't know if this is true, but now I look at sand in a whole new way.
It's crazy guys. I've been jetskiing three times and have managed to NOT fall off a la Will Smith and Eva Mendes in "Hitch." We've established I like being on fast-moving objects, so jetskiing really hits the spot for me. It's such a rush flying through the water and bumping up and down. I basically laugh like a maniac the whole time, the same way I do on rollercoasters. Not to sound cheesy, but the last time I went jetskiing in Jamaica, all I kept thinking about was how lucky I am.
Paddle boarding is probably the most athletic of the water sports I've tried. It requires a lot of core strength and balance to stay upright, which I did alright with (thank you, yoga!). It also requires some arm strength to keep yourself moving with the paddle, but if you do it in calm waters like I did, it's not too difficult at all. In fact, the most difficult part of it is getting up on the board itself. As it floats there, you have to hoist yourself up onto it, lay on your belly, and push yourself up to standing from there. Truthfully, there's no graceful way to do this. I probably looked like a spastic seal getting myself up there, and once I was on my belly, there's just no other way to describe it -- I am sure I resembled a beached whale. Pro tip: If you must wear a bikini, wear one with good coverage and reliable staying ability.
I suppose if you're scared of sharks and the water, you're probably not much for a beach vacation anyway. Personally, I think jellyfish are way scarier, but you won't see that keeping me out of the water. Still, if you're on a cruise or at a resort, there is one activity everyone can partake in...
DRANK. (Cue "Swimming Pools" by Kendrick Lamar.)
But you and I both know that if I can do it, you can do it. Happy sailing!