During my first month on “the Island” I decided I needed to get my captain’s license. This meant that I would learn to drive a boat and could then rent them from the marina. I imagined myself sailing elegantly thru the waters, the wind whipping my Afro gently around my bronzed face, my sunglasses making me look expensive and diva-like. Well—NOT that. But I did learn to back a boat up to the dock and tie it. I did spin around a little circle on moderate speed.
And a couple weeks ago, I did go on a kayaking tour. A small group of us met up at the marina at the crack of dawn, like right after the National Anthem finished playing over the loudspeakers. (On military posts, this is played after sunrise and after sunset, during which time most people stand quietly at attention if they are outdoors, and if they are driving, they will pull over.) It was still cool, and our group pushed our kayaks out into the calm waters confidently. My boat partner and I had just met right before stepping gingerly into our canoe, but we synced our oars and moved ahead of the pack, sliding smoothly over sea grass that held treasures of orange star fish, sea anemones, and jellyfish.
The sun was just beginning to sprinkle its bright lighting on us as we were guided thru a narrow passageway partially obstructed by thick green foliage and vine-like branches that held clusters of shells. One of the ladies fell out as she attempted to avoid the low hanging branches, but found she was only up to her thighs in water. She got back in her kayak laughingly and continued on. We explored a few inlets and finally saw the island’s fabled banana rats. They were huge! They looked like little white headed kangaroos as they perched, climbed trees, and squealed danger to one another. One of the men in the group stated that he had eaten banana rat stew before and that they tasted like rabbit. No thank you!
We made it safely back to shore after a couple hours, feeling strong and accomplished, but ready for nap time. (The “island”-Guantanamo Bay, Cuba)