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size is relative

Pulling wet suits from the rack for this evening’s tours, I pause to survey the pile on table and flash to the scene ahead.

This group will likely have a hard time in the water. Some may not be able to swim. They will wrestle with their pool noodles, splashing, ejecting them in all directions for me to fetch, apologizing. They may tire easily, resting their elbows on the light board, tipping it to one side and cupping their bodies around it while I struggle to tow them through the bay, drag plus weight against my efforts. They will exhaust themselves trying to relax and float. Their fatigue will scare them and they will breathe heavily, sucking water into their snorkels, snorting and coughing.

Or not — and if they see a manta ray tonight it will all be worth it. I am a little cranky but also amused by the thought of my captain and I, small but mighty women, hard charging through the night, rain or shine.

So with the help of Ben Folds 5, some dancing singing expletives and a small ego boost, I stop thinking unkind things about our guests and start feeling a little admiration for these folks who are stepping so far outside their comfort zone for a chance at the new, radically daring life experience of dropping themselves over the side of a sailing canoe, into the sea, at night, entrusting their lives to the small, strange person bossing and joking and towing them around with the suspect assurance to “Relax! I’ll be your motor!”

After they went home tonight with a new box checked off their bucket list, relieved and revived, I was equally relieved at having gotten them all back in one piece. I am cold, wet and alive, bouncing and singing, salt stinging the deepening gouges in my toes, the itch of a fresh coat of fiberglass on both butt cheeks from God knows where. An excellent night indeed.


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