After what I must confess was THE BEST SLEEP I have ever experienced on a camping trip, we awoke to the sounds of the sea and the golden light just beginning to peek out over the cliffs. As the sun spilled onto to sandy walls of the canyon, they radiated an orangy-red warmth that contrasted with the cool morning air.
The smells of coffee wafting around camp slowly woke the other campers from their tents and we gathered around the “kitchen” filling up cups and talking of the night's rest and the day's plans. After a little down time with everyone in their various morning activities - time in the Word, chatting around the table, walking on the beach, early morning fishing, sitting and watching the waves – breakfast began to take shape. Brent was our cook for the morning and he had been up quite early prepping what would become our breakfast. And now that preparation turned into yummy confections – fresh, piping hot donuts, right there on the beach. Can you say luxurious camping? Ocean waves, morning sunlight, cool salty breezes, more coffee and hot and fresh glazed donuts.
“How were they?”, you ask. Let's just say Sam ate 5.
After breakfast dishes were cleared and washed, people went about getting ready for the day. Some were going to fish, others read or relax around camp, and some suggested getting in the water for some snorkeling. Sam nor I had ever been snorkeling before, and since most of the group had goggles and snorkels and not all were planning go, we would have the chance to try it out. I was excited to try. Sam, who swims fine, but is not a huge fan, was a bit more reluctant, but decided he'd go along to maybe swim or just wade at the edge a bit. We reached the rocky reef area just down the beach and everyone began goggling and snorkeling up. (Can those be verbs?) Anyway, I got a pair and as I looked over to my right, I saw that Sam was being handed a pair too. I could tell there was a moment of decision – politely decline, or give it a try?
“Are you going to try it?”
“Uh, sure. Okay.”
So on we put our gear and got our first simple instructions on how to ease into it, slowly breathing through your mouth and how to clear your snorkel if water got in, etc. And with that, we began – standing at first bending over to get used to the breathing. Sam seemed to get the hang of it quickly. I however, was having issues. It seemed every time I put my face in the water I got water inside my goggles and up my nose. Not pleasant. I tightened them up several times and – the same result – gagging and swallowing a lot of salty sea water. I looked over to see Sam swimming happily about looking like a pro and standing up from time to time to exclaim about how cool it was. Here I had been the one really keen on trying snorkeling and I couldn't do it right! Just as a began to feel really disappointed, someone suggested that I try a different pair of goggles – that perhaps it was the seal that was letting in water. I put on a different pair and tentatively place my face down in the water....and...success! Breathing air not water! It was the goggles! CAN do it! Now it was my turn to finally give it a real try. I pushed off the sandy bottom and placed my face in the clear water and all around there were fish – small, big, dull-looking, brightly colored, striped and spotted. There were big rocky reefs covered with sea urchins. There was the huge squid that Brent said had been chasing him all morning. I looked over at Sam who had just gone to shore to stand up, rest and adjust his goggles. He was beaming. Those of you who know Sam, know that he is not exactly the most emotionally expressive individual.
“How was your day?” “It was ok.”
“How did you do on that exam?” (the one he got nearly a perfect score on) “I did alright.”
“Did you like that new recipe that I slaved over for hours?” “Yeah, it was alright.”
Well, I looked over at Sam and yes, he was beaming. “We have to get some of these!”
Even though the water was absolutely freezing, all of us stayed in the water for more than an hour – swimming around checking out the fish. I am also not the most enthusiastic swimmer, but somehow with all the interesting things to look at, I didn't even realize how long I had been swimming around – not feeling tired, not worried about getting tired or panicked that I couldn't touch the bottom, and not caring about the coldness of the water at all. That morning, not only did we discover a love for snorkeling, but we discovered spear gun fishing! Sam was excited to give it a try and lo and behold, he caught fish on his very first try. From that moment on, he was hooked. (pun not intended). I believe those were even his exact words, “I'm hooked!”
Just look how happy:
Then there were lunch and afternoon naps, more snorkeling and fishing, hiking and sundowners, dinner and the swapping of stories around the campfire. The was morning and there was evening - the second day.