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9/15/2003

 
| Sink or Swim, or Moby Dick is My Muse



Whale Watching is a tough sport.

Very tough.

In fact, it is enough to make you sick.

Last week my wife and I vacationed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was highly recommended to us that we travel to Provincetown (a wonderful place at the very tip of Cape Cod) and take a whale watching excursion in the Atlantic Ocean.

Having never seen a whale outside of captivity before, my wife and I jumped at the chance and made the reservations to take the trip.

On the day of our excursion we spent the day looking at the various lighthouses along the Cape Cod shore and took in the sights of Provincetown. We had a a couple of hours to kill before we had to board our boat so we decided to have lunch.

During lunch we struck up a conversation with the people sitting next to us. I casually mentioned that we were just about to go on a whale watch.

"Oh, I wouldn't do that if I were you," said the woman sitting next to us.

"Why not?," I replied.

"Very rough out there today -- you'll get sick. I wouldn't do it," she answered.

"I normally don't get motion sickness," says I.

The woman gives a knowing smile -- the kind that said "How cute -- you are going to puke your guts out, but you think you aren't; how charming."

The women ends our conversation by saying, "Oh, I shouldn't have said anything. I am sure you will LOVE the whale watch."

I am now officially concerned.

As we board the boat at the pier which will take my wife and I on the three hour whale watch, the tour guide states to the 40 of us on the boat:

"I want to warn all of you that it is very rough out there today. If you are prone to sea sickness we sell motion sickness tablets at the food counter."

My wife and I buy the motion sickness tablets and take them. As I take my tablet I state that I probably won't need this pill, but it's better to be safe than sorry. The food counter clerk who sold us our medicine bursts out laughing when I say this. . .
My wife and I are the only ones who take the pills.

I turn to my wife and inquire if we are making a wise choice. The boat hasn't left the pier yet. I notice on the way to our seats there are only two small bathrooms on our boat. And three hours is a long time. . .

My wife assures me that we have nothing to worry about as the boats pulls out of the harbor.

I am pleased to say that the boat ride wasn't as bad as people said it was going to be.

In fact, it was far worse.

It takes an hour to get to the whale site. It was the roughest boat ride I have ever been on. The boat violently rocked back and forth, up and down the entire time.

Then it happened:


People turned pale.

Then they turned green.

Then they sat down.

Then they threw up.


Fathers where puking in trash cans, mother were passed out on benches and their children were screaming hysterically at the terrible condition their parents were in. Some were puking in paper bags. One person took up permanent residence in the bathrooms.

It was bad.

But something odd happened.

My wife and I did not get sick. In fact, we felt great! As the masses of people around us were getting violently ill we sat at our table, drinks and food in hand, waiting for our turn to get sick.

But it did not happen!

Finally the boat stopped at the whale site and my wife and I spent the next forty five minutes watching the incredible site of 20-30 feet humpback whales bursting out of the water. Out of the 40 people who took the trip with us only about 5 others joined us in watching the whales; everyone else was too sick and stayed indoors resting their heads on tables and throwing up.

On the way back to port, my wife and I shared a bag of potato chips and discussed that night's dinner plans while the people next to us sat in a strange haze, vomit on their clothes with a pale complexion.

Why didn't my wife and I get sick? For one thing, we were wise enough to take the motion sickness pill. Those things really do work. Second, my wife are roller coaster junkies -- use to crazy violent motions. Third, plain luck.

I am so glad we did not get intimidated and cancel our whale watching trip -- it was an incredible experience.

I think to myself how many times I have been warned not to do something in life because it "is too difficult." Many times that advice is true. Whatever it is I am planning to do is difficult; sometimes impossible. More often than not, I end up the worse for wear in even trying to attempt what I was trying to do.

I fail most of the time. I get discouraged, dejected.

But every once in a while the hard thing I am attempting to do works out and pays off an incredible dividend -- making all the risks I take in life worthwhile. And reminding me that getting off the boat is the safest choice, but is always the least rewarding.


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