I’ve put the jug on, closed the fly screen to keep the cheeky sparrows out of the kitchen, and after I make my pot of green tea will write my blog. That is after I put some more aloe on my itchy tummy which is driving me insane with the sweaty heat and high humidity here today. I’ve noticed my neighbour has been checking the water tank, but as there’s no reports of it being low yet, we’re trying not to worry about the lack of rain. We are always careful with water regardless, with quickest showers, and only flushing for number two’s, and a tub in the sink for washing up. It is a constant battle though between deterring cockroaches and ants, and trying not to wash up too many times a day. A lady told me once that she thought her first boyfriend was crazy because he kept his dirty dishes in the fridge. That was so the bugs didn’t get to them and he only needed one bowl full of water. Smart really, but you would wonder what you had come across when looking for the milk!
So because it’s been so hot, we’ve been frantically snorkeling. I have two things to tell you about that. Firstly I got some new water resistant for two hours thirty plus UBV/UVA or what ever it is super sport sunscreen. It was really expensive. It doesn’t work. I put it on before going in the water, and got fried to a crisp. Coming from New Zealand we know all about the ozone layer, burn times and UV factor ratings, when to go and when not to go and all of that because we had a hole in our ozone layer for quite a while. It has apparently healed itself somewhat, but the message we got was be careful or we’ll pay for it in our old age. I had some sun damage on my face detected while living in Wales and the doctor was all doom and gloom about my unfortunate past living in such a highly skin cancer inducing climate for fifty years! Oh, but put this stuff on called ‘Sun-erase’ and all will be good, and wear a hat. Hmmph! I got the hat, I have three hats actually, and I have tried to wear them, honestly, but I really detest wearing hats no matter how nice and practical they may be. Instead I have insisted to my lovely husband that we cannot go snorkeling at the hottest time between eleven a.m. and three p.m. even if the tide is out. After being asked to put aloe on me for two weeks while I slowly turned from angry red to a fantastic deep golden brown, I think he was in full agreement of the new time frame. I however never endorse getting sunburned as a tanning objective, it’s just not worth it.
On Saturday we went to a little bay we’ve been wanting to explore for ages. It really was quite small with lots of moored boats, so we had to be careful in case they were being moved. It was so nice and we found a bit of a rubbish dump which was really exciting with lots of broken bottle bits. I know I have the bug real bad, and even though I seemed to get a bit of coral sand in between my bathing suit and my skin, which itched a little, I persevered. My reward was finding a Northrop and Lyman, Canadian Healing Oil bottle. A lovely blue one identical to the one I had already found, but in much better condition. As we were swimming some life forms that looked a bit like frilly snowflakes were on the bottom of the bay, pulsing away, obviously quite happy. My lovely husband thought they might be jelly fish, but because they were just lying around, we didn’t think much of it. I was mindful to keep an eye out though in case they floated to the surface, then I’d be like an egg whisk out of there. There were lots of them.
Now snorkeling is so much fun. You don’t need much gear: a mask, a snorkel with an automatic shut off valve is good, something for your feet like surf shoes or fins, and really that’s it. I also have a little trowel to dig with, a net bag to carry my loot in, Johnson and Johnson’s no more tears baby shampoo, and my water bottle propped up on the rocks somewhere because it’s thirsty work in the very salty ocean. It’s so salty in fact that it’s nearly impossible not to float, in fact if I’m diving down to explore the bottom, it’s really difficult to stay there. I’m like a cork and ‘pop’ up I come. In case you’re wondering what the baby shampoo is for, its to pop on the inside glass of your mask to help stop it from steaming up. One of our best mates who was a diving instructor told us that trick and it works much better than spit! Sometimes if I really want to stay down longer, I anchor myself to a rock by holding on tight. This is not without it’s problems, grabbing sea anemones which make my fingers go numb, slicing my fingers open on the sharp volcanic rock, and panicking my lovely husband if I push it just a little too far and he’s decided I’m not coming up! Recently I went to grab a rock and realised just in time it was a puffer fish frantically spinning out trying to get away. I’m thinking don’t puff – do not puff! It was okay, it didn’t. I have often slipped getting in. There’s a transition between walking on the slippery rocks, in surf shoes or jandals, then transferring to my fins. I have already slipped several times at the last minute and sliced the sole of my foot open on those sharp rocks. One time I’m sure it must have been a sharp shard of glass that got me, it was so deep. That took two weeks before I could walk properly with my weight on it. I have learnt not to tell my lovely husband about this until later, so the snorkeling can continue as planned. Then he’s a bit cross with me, but I didn’t attract any sharks!
Now sharks are not really a problem for Bermuda because it is protected by the reef which extends around most of the island sometimes very close to shore and at the maximum six miles out, where the North Rock beacon is. A shark did get in recently but it was a small hammer head one so not really a huge concern. However if I saw one I’d be doing a Hussein Bolt impression and be out of there. I’d probably do that if I saw a dolphin too. I hear you laugh, but a little bit of fear can be healthy, or so they say.
We finished snorkeling and my tummy was quite irritated when I got changed. On getting home I made delicious pizza for dinner, but only ate a little because I felt really queasy. We had been in the water a total of three hours and maybe I was a little dehydrated. That happens really quick here, especially to me. I went off to bed early, and slept over nine hours even with the heat.
On Sunday morning all was revealed. My tummy had spots all over it like I had been attacked by mosquitos during the night, a few on my back and one in a place that I’m not going to mention, all insanely itchy. And all exactly where my bathing suit had been but no where else! After a peruse of the internet we discovered that the jelly fish we were swimming over are called ‘cassiopea’ that lie upside down on the floor of shallow bays busy photosynthesizing. They are fairly harmless but if they are disturbed send out a mucous with venom in it. Now my lovely husband wasn’t affected because he had sandals on, I had my fins on which were fanning the jellyfish and they were passively aggressively getting me back for it. When the Venom gets trapped between the layers of your swim suit and skin, some people react. Well of course I do. I am the woman who any biting stinging itch provoking insect has their bib on and knives and forks a ready to feast on me. I’m just so tasty. I also swallowed a little sea water so I possibly ingested the venom too which accounts for feeling so unwell on Saturday night.
After a few days, absolutely no scratching, aloe vera treatment when ever I need it, my ferocious appetite returned. I am quite pleased to say I’m on the mend. But next time we snorkel, if I see one of those, I’m gone!
More soon – Sally
Link to Wikipedia for information about the Cassiopea jellyfish:
Link to the Hammerhead Shark sighting Royal Gazette news article: http://www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20180404/family-get-close-to-hammerhead