Thursday, May 28, 2009

Man vs. Wild

As you may have expected, I occasionally leave the confines of the United States for various international destinations frequented by the rich, powerful and jet set of the world. This weekend I headed to the clear waters of the Caribbean for the wedding of my dear, old friend Kim. The wedding also served as a wonderful cover for me to get to the islands to set up some secret accounts with which to launder my myriad sources of illegal income.

Once business and the wedding were in the books, it was time to cut loose and enjoy all the Bahamas had to offer, including conch, which I ate in massive quantities. I can’t tell you how much conch I had in my mouth over the weekend.

One of the group’s excursions was a snorkeling trip, which is the sort of thing nobles like myself enjoy doing when there are no foxhunts or falconry establishments to be found. On this particular trip, we visited a coral reef where I literally off of the boat and into a school of fish, as well as an underwater plane wreck and well-known shark feeding area.

We started out with wonderful weather at the reef but it quickly went south on us as a storm moved in. Now you think this would put a damper on the trip but the foul weather was actually a lot of fun. We entered the water at the plane wreck under rainy skies with thunder and lightning in the distance. The choppy water and rain actually added to the fun as it reminded me of my days as a Navy SEAL. The weather did stir up some of the local species of sea life, all of who attempted to put a damper on my good time.

As near as we can figure, a sea wasp, or box jellyfish attacked me. These creatures are noted as being the most poisonous of all jellyfish species. The merciless attack was witnessed by my swim buddy Xani, who confirmed the offender as it swam away. The sensation provided by the sting was akin to being stuck with a stickpin and then having the stickpin hooked up to a car battery. I let out a great, manly yell of surprise and then tried to find the creature to kill it, but was stymied by the decreasing visibility. After this, 

I got back onto the boat and we proceeded to the third and final snorkeling stop after off-loading half of our more squeamish associates, who I assume were paralyzed with fear after witnessing the attack in the water.

At the next stop, the party was to enter the water and view the sharks as they swam beneath us. Normally, the entire ship slides into the water and holds onto a buoy line, making sure not to move their hands as this is shark body language for “I have some fish” and all but ensures you will have a sweet pirate hook in place of the lost hand. This time was different though. After a quick scout swim, out brave captain Clee-J (I love that name) came out and informed us “because of the way the sharks are” we would be going in three at a time.

When my turn came, I was the first one in the water and looked beneath me as the sharks swam closer and closer. They got about two feet away before our time was up and I returned to the boat. Soon after I toweled off, I heard that the sharks were getting far too close and aggressive and that no other parties would be allowed to enter the water. I can only assume that this behavior is a direct result of my being in the water. Its foolish to think that you can put an apex predator like myself into a foreign ecological system and there not be any consequences. My guess is that the sharks were swimming closer to me as a sign of respect and worship and became agitated when their new god left them. I am apparently a king of the seas as well as the land.

But I digress. The rest of the trip went off without a hitch and I bought two totally boss t-shirts (Xani bought this weird cupcake box thing at the dive shop. Seriously.) before heading back to the resort for a shower and another meal of conch.

If I can backtrack for a second, I would like to address the personal affront that I received while in the water. I’m sure you’re all stunned at the temerity of the jellyfish for assaulting me. I was too, at the time. But if my regal upbringing has taught me anything, it is that quiet reflection is a necessity of life.

After filling my belly with banana daiquiris and guava cake, I put myself in the super-deadly creature’s shoes and realized it was just doing what came natural. I think we’ve all shot home intruders before and the jellyfish was just doing the same. My rage was soothed by the fact that my Wolverine-like healing ability had reduced the wound to little more than a scratch.

I will add that I still have not ruled out an Ahab-like quest to eradicate all Cnidarian life on the planet just on principal. I mean, if I give jellyfish a pass what else gets one? Grizzly bears? Dragons? Yetis? I can’t go soft now.

If this story has a moral, it’s don’t F with me. I took Mother Nature’s best shot and responded by laying a steamer right on her face. Nice try. Matt: 1, Earth: 0.


  1. please only refer to me by my Devilfish name when recounting our aquatic adventures.

    -Cherry Crystal