It rained. And it rained and it rained and it rained.
We arrived on Thursday in a haze of warm weather and misty rains. The opening night beach party was hastily rescheduled indoors, and it was phenomenal to see some of the people we've been on the trip with for 7 years. In particular the organizers of the trip, an amazing couple who have followed me through times when I wasn't a very happy mother, traveling with an obviously messed up child, to now - what I feel is a happy person.
I could be wrong about that. Don't tell me. I like living in Pleasantville.
Doesn't this picture look amazing? This was the view from our room part of Thursday and Friday and part of Saturday.
So we did what every person on vacation does when they are rained in. (No, I'm not talking about that. You have a dirty mind.) We ate. We had great meals and drinks and took cover under the pool between raindrops. We sat out by the beach for the 45 minutes that it wasn't raining. And we looked at this.
Saturday morning it stormed more severely and we decided that the plan to Swim with the Stingrays was certainly canceled. But it cleared up - somewhat - by which I mean it was no longer stormy. The sky was bipolar - if it went one way it was a certain disaster, but the other way it could, almost, be pretty. We went downstairs to tell the organizer that we weren't going, though. I have a tendency to get seasick and I was really concerned that I'd get out there on the Catamaran, it would start storming, and I'd upchuck. But the organizer told us that the trip was on.
"You HAVE to go!" she said. "You will LOVE it. I promise. You really will love it."
So, ok, we went. We boarded an enormous sailboat and road out into the ocean for about 45 minutes and listened to a speech about the Stingrays. "This is not a harmful thing," we were told. "They won't sting you, they aren't aggressive, and you can hold them. If you get scared, just stand still and they will swim away. They kind of feel like a wet portabella mushroom." That description did NOTHING for me, and so I elected to stay behind the shadow of the camera lens and, more importantly, ON THE BOAT. Seeing things like this made me more certain than ever that I made the right choice - I don't even like DOGS or CATS - so there is no way in hell I'd let a Stingray crawl up my chest and get comfy.
Everyone was having such a good time. I could hear laughter and shrieks of happiness and no one seemed at all bothered. You are a wuss, I thought to myself. You should just get out there and swim. Let go of your fear, already. Wimp. And then my husband was holding one, and it nudged him and he lost his balance and fell backwards.
ON TO THE STINGER OF A STINGRAY. WHO THEN STUNG HIM IN THE HAND.
He said it felt like being pierced by a dart. He stayed in the water for a few minutes, squeezing the hand, and calling up to me that it was quite painful. Finally, after I yelled at him about a dozen times, he agreed that maybe he should check with someone. When he told the guys in charge of the group, it was an immediate flurry of not quite panic but let's be really clear, this is a bad thing. It was so much of a worry for them that I couldn't get near him - despite the fact that I did see the entire thing and even took pictures of it.
I took the picture because, you can't see it here, but there was one directly behind him- the one he was stung by - and I thought it was SO FUNNY that he was being tripped by a stingray. I had NO idea he was stung until after I took the shot. NONE. I'm not THAT evil.
Almost right after this shot, his hand began to turn red and streaky, (even though he did do something to his hand that a person on the boat recommended and he would be mortified if I told you what it was, but you can guess, right?) so after multiple radio calls to the mainland - we were sent to the ambulance.
The (very cute) paramedics (with British accents, FTW!) wanted to take him to the Emergency, but hello, NO.
So we signed AMA and went to the hotel with strict instructions to soak the hand in hot-as-you-can-stand water and vinegar.
At which point he reacted to the venom by breaking out in large white spots all over his hand, and we BOTH freaked the hell out. We checked with the hotel environmentalist, who had been on the Catamaran with us, and she called the doctor, who said that, hell to the YES, he needed to be seen. One $250 doctor visit later, paid for by his job, thank you VERY VERY much - and he was given ONE antibiotic pill and ONE antihistamine.
5 days later and you can just barely see where he was stung. His hand is a bit puffy still and hurts a bit, but it's better.
It was only AFTER this that I remembered Steve Irwin DIED from a sting ray sting in the heart.
And I've been told this week that more than a few people have developed a shellfish allergy after this kind of sting. Luckily, I DO know how to handle allergic reactions.