Sunday, 18 July 2010

Midnight Snorkelling

As you know, I have been learning to scuba dive. As soon as I had completed my first dive, I immediately enquired as to whether it would be possible to dive at night. After all, think of all the nocturnal creatures that could be seen at night. Think how much more alien an already alien environment would seem.

Sadly, you need a few lessons, and to have completed a few more dives to dive at night. I have only had time for two, plus a skills session in a villa pool.

However, I was determined to have a taster of the night sea, and so I suggested to Alistair that we might go for a night snorkel, armed with diving lights. We went to St George's Bay, which is only up to 5 metres deep at some points, and enclosed by rocks, which form a nice barrier from the crashing waves of the open sea.

It was an experience I highly recommed. We swam under a new moon, and the sea was warm. Slowly, we shone our torches across the sea bed, rocks, and nooks. Hovering throughout the water were thousands of little fry, fast asleep, seemingly to young to be woken or bothered by our lights. The glare from our torches illuminated their transparent bodies, and I thought they looked rather like tiny ghosts. And then down below, in a deeper section of the pool, we saw something I thought I'd never see. There beneath us was a huge conch shell, presumably housing a very large hermit crab. It must have been 8 or 9 inches across, and was the kind of thing most people only ever see decorating people's bathrooms. I also discovered that sea-slugs, or sea-cucumbers come out at night. They really do look like large, fat cucumbers, and though I couldn't, I had a strong desire to squish one in my hands to see what it would feel like. Fire-worms also like the night-time. We saw an astonishling large one. One mustn't touch these. Ouch. However, if you disturb the water a few inches in front of them, they ripple. At one point, we shone our torches towards the surface, whether at day or night, this is often a good idea, as you'd be surprised how many fish lurk near the surface, and are rendered almost invisible because of it. We disturbed a large shoal of fish, old enough to panic, and their bodies darted and flurried in all directions, but I quickly called a stop to this, as I am not in the business of frightening creatures needlessly.

We swam for an hour or so, then made our way up the sandy beach. Our bags had been left beside sunbeds and sunshades that had been deserted for the night. The only noise were the sounds of breaking waves, and the buzzing of crickets in the distance. Alistair reached into our bag, and pulled out the largest towel. As we stood beneath the moon and all the stars, he took the largest towel from our bag, pulled me in, and wrapped it round us both. I nuzzled into his soft neck, still slippery with sea-water. And then he lifted my chin, looked into my eyes, told me how much he loved me, and kissed me. And it was one of those perfect kisses, long, lingering. And it was one of those moments where you feel as if you could almost breathe in the soul of the other person.

Except for one minor detail. When we climbed onto the beach, we made our way to our bags. Alistair pulled out the largest towel and pulled me in close. He asked if I had had a nice swim, and if I thought it had been romantic. I said yes (although that was more in reference to what was to come, rather than the swim itself, because we had been underwater with tubes, and focusing on trying to find interesting animals...) I kissed him, but he ensured it was short, and more like a peck. I kissed his neck, and made my way up to his mouth. I attempted to gently coax the kiss I wanted. I failed. I masked my disappointment and suggested we dress. He asked me why I was so eager to do so, so I told him that he did not seem particularly taken with my kisses, so we should get ready. He said something about snogging being inappropriate in such a public setting. I looked around, but there was no one else in sight, and the distant windows and balconies of hotel rooms were so far away that binoculars would be needed to see us. And what the hell is wrong with one snog in public at the beach under the stars?

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You kiss your mother with that mouth?