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Great adventures remembered
Em and Thatcher

GAYS MILLS - I haven’t done too much extensive traveling in my life. I always joke with Chasca, because for someone who doesn’t have a lot of desire to get too far from home, he is far more worldly than me.

Maybe far more is a tad of an exaggeration. However, he has spent three months in the jungles of Brazil, and approximately one week more than me in Mexico.

I am guilty of thinking the first time he told me he was going to Mexico, years ago, that he was stretching the truth. He just didn’t seem like the type of guy to travel out of the country.

He failed to mention though that he was going with his grandparents and sister. When he returned redder than a ripe tomato, I finally believed his tales.

I always dreamed of getting my grubby little paws on a passport and making my way to somewhere exotic or foreign.

I had visited several states on the west coast, and even paraded around in downtown Los Angeles.

By far my favorite away from home spot was the coast in Oregon.

Visiting there was the first time I had ever seen the ocean. It was the summer that I turned 18, and we pulled over somewhere near Gold Beach, Oregon. It was dark, but under the light of the moon it was truly marvelous.

I wanted so desperately to swim in the ocean there. Since it seemed like the thing to do. Alas, the Oregon coast is a cold, choppy, dangerous coast. I did however take my shoes off and stand in the tide.

My companion and I camped in the sand dunes a couple of nights and listened to the waves crash from our tent. His uncle advised us that we had to make it back before high tide the next day, if we wanted to get our stuff back in a high and dry fashion.

Being teenagers though, we lazed around most of the day and explored the beach. We found lots of awesome rocks, sand dollars, washed up sea creatures and even a shack made out of driftwood.

 We did, in fact, not make it back across before high tide and had to carry our belongings on our head as we passed through this side water that separated us from the parking area where our ride awaited. Another adventure in the world of ‘Short People Problems.’

Almost immediately upon getting together with Chasca, he informed me of this opportunity to go to Mexico with him and his family.

Being a more established person than I was at the time, he offered to pay for my ticket. 

I promised I would pay him back every cent of the cost. As it happens though, he is a combination of extremely generous and stifled me shoving money his way every other Friday after the first $100.

I had only flown once before, so I was feeling a bit nervous about the big journey. Luckily for me, the flight was entirely uneventful.

Once in Mexico, I realized how little Spanish I knew. Something I remedied with a vengeance the second time I traveled there.

The very first night we stayed in what we’ve since dubbed, ‘The Pinky.’ A lovely little hotel right on the water. We swam and swam until we couldn’t swim anymore.

Later we migrated to the Mariana, where Chasca’s grandparents were staying. It was there we got the bright idea to try to snorkel.

I was being adventurous and also neglected to mention that I am not a SUPER strong swimmer. I can bob around and doggy paddle, but that’s about it.

I jumped in the kayak anyway and took off. Chasca and his mom were on SUP (stand up paddle) boards.

We swam up an area adjacent to what we thought was the famed underwater museum.

My long skinny fish of a boyfriend threw on his goggles, snorkel, and fins and away he went. I sat aloft in my kayak wishing I had a lifejacket on.

Not wanting to look like a total weenie though, I donned my flippers, goggles and snorkel and attempted to flipper about.

It didn’t go so well. I felt like what a cat must feel like if you were to drop it from the top of your garage roof into a six-foot deep pool. Disoriented, panicky, and flailing about every which way.  I couldn’t seem to get my sea legs with the flippers on, and became deathly afraid at that moment of stepping on a sea urchin.

Chasca’s mom flagged me over to her SUP board invited me aboard. Ever so gracefully, I attempted to crappie flop myself out of the deep, vast ocean and on to the piece of fiberglass.

That didn’t go so well. In my attempt to save myself, I nearly killed us both. Capsizing her raft immediately. Nearly killed us both is a bit of an exaggeration, because she can swim. I did however become even more disoriented. All the while during this calamity, Chasca swam gracefully amongst the sea life, completely unaware of what was happening a few yards away.

I managed to hoist myself back onto my sea kayak and took off for a shallow side water. Figuring I could see some stuff safely from my vessel. And I did, Mother Nature rewarded my struggles with a vertebra from a shark (or so I was told that is what it was) and a viewing of a few sea stars.

I also learned a valuable lesson. You’re never too cool for a lifejacket. Especially, when the only move you got is the doggy paddle.