Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snorkel Fever and Sexy Turtles

Most important thing first.  My girl -- Camille, Coco, the Paris baby -- turned three years old over the weekend.  Three years.  Conceived thanks to a gorgeous bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.  Almost born in a taxi.  And according to the French -- always cold.

We sure are happy to have you around, Ms. Cokes.  You are a giggly, goofy, pink-loving (much to my chagrin) perfect little girl.  You also refuse to potty train and give a swift kick to your potty chair every time you pass it but let's not focus on that part, you're THREE!

Lucien was Coco's current age when we moved to Paris.  It seems impossible.  He turned three our first month in Paris while still living in our temporary apartment.  We were so confused and disoriented by the move, we celebrated his 3rd birthday on the wrong dayAnd we didn't even do it well.  Not our best parenting moment.

I think Coco's 3rd birthday went a little better because Seattle family came over and -- OH MY GOSH butterfly wings...

I sure do love that little girl but I've got more material about Hawaii now.  Sit tight, tiresome vacation tales will be over soon.

Alex and I signed up for a six-hour snorkel tour off the Napali coast, the cliff-strewn Western coast of Kauai accessible only by hike or by boat.  I love snorkeling off a boat except boats make me seasick and snorkel masks make me intensely claustrophobic.  Six hours on a nausea machine with a strangulation device attached to my face?  The snorkel tour was my idea, which makes me wonder if I've ever even met myself before.

While waiting with our fellow bleary-eyed coffee-drinking snorkelers for the 7:30 a.m. departure time, many people hummed the Gilligan's Island theme song and elbowed their partners in the ribs to make sure their partner noticed they were being funny.  Handfuls of people were doing this exact same thing yet every single one thought they were being original and irresistibly hilarious.  I'm sure the same thing happens in the waiting area of every boat tour, anywhere, ever.

I rolled my eyes at the lot of them just as Alex elbowed me in the ribs and bellowed "A THREE HOUR TOUR...  A THREE HOUR TOUR."  He was wearing his eager Fozzie Bear expression, waiting for laughs that were never gonna come.  Then he said, "You know, normally I think you're a Mary Ann type but at this hour of the morning you really look more like Gilligan."  It was mean but at least it was original.

Our snorkel tour took place on a catamaran.  Beautiful boat.  The guide told us people were allowed to sit up front on the two trampolines but those who did so were idiots  People who sit on the trampolines get drenched.  As in drenched, drenched.

This reminds me of one of Lucien's logic homework problems: is the last sentence in this series likely true or false?

A.) You have to be an idiot to sit on the trampolines.
B.)  Alex and I eagerly boarded the boat and pushed many people aside to be the first people to sit on the trampolines. 
C.)  Alex and I are the biggest idiots of them all.

They weren't lying about the trampolines.  Drenched drenched.  Compounding the problem was the extremely choppy water we encountered.  Plowing through those whitecaps -- up, down, splash, up, down, splash -- was really something.

It's true.  Drenched drenched.

When  you're prone to seasickness, there is one thing you do NOT want your captain to say as he eyes the waves in front of him.  You do not want him to say  --

"Hang on, everybody, the boat's about to do the hula!"  

But our captain did say that.  And our boat did do the hula.  It didn't take long for greenish-faced people to start hurling.  Alex witnessed one woman stumble into the main cabin and vomit many times into a garbage can.  She then clung to the garbage can like it was her best friend and she had an intense fear of abandonment.  The crew scrambled to get bags in front of pale faces before the boat was covered in a wave of a different kind.

In happy news, it turns out I HAVE met myself before.  I knew myself well enough to prepare for that boat.  I wore motion sickness bracelets, took Dramamine for 24 hours before boarding, chewed ginger gum and had those patches behind my ears.  Maybe it was overkill but glory be, I didn't get seasick.  It was therefore a whole lot of fun riding those waves, bordering on a truly intense high.

Alex "Lieutenant Dan'd" it for awhile (you know the scene I'm talking about?  Forrest Gump?  Anybody?) by white-knuckling onto the trampoline ropes as we hit some big waves.  He got slammed in the face repeatedly by water.  The crewman standing next to me cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled into the wind towards Al, "DO.  NOT.  LET.  GO.  EVEN IF YOUR BATHING SUIT COMES OFF.  WE'LL CATCH IT.  JUST.  DO.  NOT.  LET.  GO."  He had a point, too.  Sometimes the water was so forceful Al's ass nearly made a cameo appearance.

I didn't take many pictures of the boat ride, primarily because of hula boat but also because I wanted to experience the spectacular moment for real and not behind a camera lens.  It's not something I do often.  I'll admit, it was liberating.

What do you mean, I'm supposed to actually "look" at something?  Doesn't the canyon only exist in my camera?

We passed a couple sea turtles copulating in the water.  Everybody loves sexy turtles.  The crew members wolf whistled and hooted and hollered until the boy turtle looked at them like, "Shut UP, you are TOTALLY going to ruin this for me, assholes."  FYI, sexy turtles look like a spooning turtle sandwich rolling around in the water.

We also passed through spinner dolphins.  Hundreds.  Spinner dolphins love playing in front of catamarans so we passed through group after group of happy jumping dolphins.  We trampoline people may have been drenched up front but we also had a front row view -- so who's the idiot now, people inside the cabin vomiting in garbage cans and thinking, "F*cking dolphins, who gives a f*ck just get me off this f*cking boat!?"

The snorkeling part was OK.  It's not the best snorkeling location I've been to but Alex saw a sea turtle and followed it for awhile so that's something.  The snorkeling mask lived up to its expectation; it absolutely made me feel like I couldn't breathe and was going to die floating on my stomach looking at pretty fishies.

I just cannot get used to breathing through my mouth, and not just in snorkeling situations.  When I have a cold and my nose gets stuffed up, I'm likely to sit up all night crying, "I'M NOT GONNA MAKE IT THROUGH THIS."

Anyway, we all snorkeled and had some laughs and when we climbed back onto the boat the crew served us lunch and many beers.


The water on the way back wasn't as choppy but several more people still succumbed to the seasickness.

Like the hottie on his honeymoon there in the shorts.  Yeah... he didn't do so well.

Those ladies under the towels weren't so good either.

But me and Al?  It was all over. Six hours. And we felt incredible.  

I have still more Hawaii tales but I'm crazy over here.  It's been a busy week.  Thankfully it's almost over.  And best part -- my best friend from high school arrives tomorrow to stay with us for the weekend.  I haven't seen her in years, not since me-n-Al's wedding.  She wore a really ugly bridesmaid dress for me, a sign of eternal friendship, as it should be.

It's unacceptable it's been so long since we've seen each other. 

Come to me, Ohio Mom!


  1. Happy Birthday Paris girl!!

    have a great weekend with Ohio Mom....

    and I think you may have put me off snorkling..

  2. Happy birthday, Cokes!:) Wow! Three years already?! Time sure flies!;)

    Still not potty-trained, eh? It's really "my way or the highway" with that one, isn't it? My mom had a daycare and she used smarties/m&m's as an incentive. Worked very well. A friend of mine had a daughter who was toilet-trained for number ones when she was 14 months old but who suddenly decided to balk at 17 months... It took another 17 months for her to be fully toilet-trained... My friend tried everything... until opportunity for bribery knocked: her mother had given her granddaughter some type of kiddy computer the little one was crazy about. My friend confiscated it and told her daughter that she would get it back once she did EVERYTHING in the toilet. Well, would you know it, the kid was fully toilet-trained the next day!;)

    (Hi Debs!:)

    Loved the Gilligan jokes... reminded me of all those people who think they're really original and funny when they answer "I wish!" to the customs' officers when they ask them if they're carrying $10,000 in cash... how sick do you think customs officers are of hearing that one?!;)

    I love me a good vomit post. Well done!:)

    Today, I kept thinking of the time Alex ordered a gorgeous cheese plate in a chichi Parisian restaurant and went right for the butter... timeless:)

    Enjoy the weekend with Ohio Mom:)

  3. That wasn't a HULA boat... it was a HURL-a boat! (Yeah, I know: bad joke.) Looks like Al got to keep his bathing suit, though, so that's something.

    My mom and I once went out on a whale-watching boat that set off from Boston Harbor... after chowing down on Mexican food for lunch. Then we found out the outbound trip was EXTREMELY choppy and that boat captain seemed determine to get 25 miles out at sea to those damn whales. There was a group of Catholic school girls on board from Quebec, with their priest and some other chaperones, and all the girls started hurling.

    Me and Mom? Apparently we're better sailors than we thought. Not a single moment of nausea. We saw the most sublime whales EVER, and the trip back was totally calm.

    Now though? I get motion sick riding the city buses around Paris. Not a whale in sight, either.

    Bon fête to Coco!

  4. A good vomit post IS always good! When I went snorkeling in Maui I was already hungover (don't schedule the luau the night before the snorkeling) but still managed not to hurl. My whole family was hungover, since we even gave the under age (19) kid a mai tai! great parenting here too!

  5. Coco is absolutely adorable! wonderful pictures!

  6. Coco has the BEST face...Bonne Fete Coco!

  7. Everything okay out there in Seattle? Seems like a long time since you've posted, we miss hearing about your exploits.