A landlubber rides the ferry


(San Isidro, Costa Rica) If you read this blog with any regularity, you may well be aware of the fact that I cannot swim. On the list of the many things that I am capable of doing, swimming is not included. Interestingly, over the years when I have mentioned this simple fact, people don’t want to believe it. For some reason they refuse to, choosing instead to claim that perhaps I am a weak swimmer. Nope, I cannot swim.

My father was a grand swimmer, possibly due to having served in the navy during the Second World War. One of my brothers is also a fine swimmer, while the other shares my shortcoming. Given this, I have come to view bodies of water not as potential cooling lakes, surfable oceans or Marco Polo venues. Rather I see them for what they are; varying-sized vats of slow, panic-imbued death. When they coined the term landlubber they were looking at me.

Given this,  I have come to view bodies of water not as potential cooling lakes, surfable oceans or Marco Polo venues. Rather I see them for what they are; varying sized vats of slow, panic imbued death.

With this in mind, I’m sure it is understandable that floating things, from inner tubes to yachts to cruise ships are not on my list of welcomed transport. The term pleasure craft to refer to a boat is, for me, an oxymoron. For decades this has caused me absolutely no problem. Until, that is, my current trip to Costa Rica. In my last post I explained how my in-laws are very proud Ticos. In particular, my brother-in-law is always showing me the many wonders of his country. This time he planned a trip to a resort on the Pacific coast, Samara Beach. The most direct route involves a 90-minute ferry ride.

Aboard the Tambor II

In fairness he checked with my wife beforehand, she in turn checked with me, and I decided to through caution to the wind, or the water, and go for it. Mind you, I first asked about the size of said ferry. Once I learned that it held several hundred vehicles I felt much more at ease. When I learned that they sell beer onboard I was sold!

As we arrived we were just in time to board the ferry. This was great as it eliminated the fight or flight I may have experienced waiting.

On the way to the ferry we encountered significant traffic, not at all uncommon in Costa Rica. Tension was rising as we had a booking on the 2:30 PM departure. I was not aware of this concern as it took place in Spanish. As we arrived we were just in time to board the ferry. This was great as it eliminated the fight or flight I may have experienced waiting. This reminded me of when I had my wisdom teeth removed. All four were impacted and I, coward that I am, put the removal off until it absolutely had to be done. Two days after my 50th birthday. When discussing my trepidation over the process with my dental surgeon, he assured me I would be well sedated and would feel nothing. I did not doubt him for a moment, but explained that my concern was getting up the three steps to his front door. He understood perfectly and prescribed Ativan for the morning of the surgery. But I digress.

Once aboard the ferry I started to relax. We moved up to the third level that, being in Latin America, featured loud Latino dance music. I looked around and figured if these folks can make a party out of this, the least I can do is quell my impending panic attack with prayer and pints.

I looked around and figured if these folks can make a party out of this, the least I can do is quell my impending panic attack with prayer and pints.

So there I was, landlubber at sea, well actually the Gulf of Nicoya. The first twenty minutes were a bit dodgy as the water was choppy. I learned that when on a boat, much like when on a plane, I don’t like the movement. Nice and smooth, please. No up and down no banking in the sky. Drinking cans of Imperial Light while imagining I was sitting in my favourite bar. Before I knew it we were hopping off the ferry and I was quickly able to regain my land legs, having never really lost them.

So non-traumatic was the experience, that I feared not the return voyage. And sure enough, it was smooth sailing. Great stuff that Imperial beer!

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