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“darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter…”

11 August 2012

the classic disney movie, the little mermaid, depicts marine life (“under the sea”) as a magical land full of colorful, exotic creatures in a fanciful, vibrant habitat. as a child, i pretty much had to take sebastian’s word for it. i grew up in central illinois, a land of murky ponds and a lake next to a nuclear power plant. now, i’m living on an island in tropical southeast asia, just minutes from tranquil secluded beaches and world-class surf spots. my husband and i help lead small groups of young people on tours throughout the region, visiting a number of beautiful beaches & waterfalls, giving them opportunities to surf, snorkel, swim, dive, and spearfish. the seaside truly is a magical place.

i find myself, however, lacking enthusiasm for the ocean. my landlocked childhood has led me to an i-can-live-without-it attitude towards the beach & even a fear of the waves. my love of comfort and relaxation drives me to avoid the effort it takes to subdue snorkel gear into submission or paddle past the pounding whitewater. also, my lack of knowledge leads me to look right past hundreds of  fascinating creatures every time i plod past the shoreline to sit with a book in the shade.

i’ve long since decided that choosing a hobby or form of recreation is rarely a moral issue. i’m not a bad person for disliking water sports or choosing to stay at home. but i don’t want that decision to be out of fear, laziness, or ungratefulness for one of God’s many good gifts to his children – the ocean. so, over the last seven months that i’ve been living here, i’ve tried to push myself to try the activities i would normally avoid, and i’ve figured out a few that i enjoy:

+ wading & floating close to shore on sandy (not rocky) beaches
+ snorkelling briefly while there are no waves to speak of
+ sitting on the beach watching people surf & watching the tide rush in
+ playing frisbee or soccer on the beach
+ visiting the beach at low tide & hunting for sea creatures in tide pools

sitting on a rock, looking for sea treasures. not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

even better with good company!

this last activity is my favorite – one that dan and i do frequently. a little friendly competition makes it even more fun! it’s slightly more exhilarating than looking for shells, because the creatures can hide and run away from you, or possibly sting you. but you can also possibly eat them, as i’ve discovered…

tomorrow i’ll share more about how locals here have raised the bar for eating seafood!

One Comment leave one →
  1. jenny messier permalink
    13 August 2012 05:27

    so my favorite thing to do when i am at the ocean: walk along the shore in the wet sand & having the tide come in & rush over your feet as you walk.

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