Sunday, March 16, 2008

Do you like swimming in the ocean?

I love the ocean - I grew up in an oceanfront house in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I could swim before I could walk! My family survived several hurricanes, including Hurricane Dora in the early 60s - she took our whole front yard and the majority of our roof with her. Nevertheless, there is nothing more beautiful than the sun rising over the horizon. (The picture above was taken from the front yard, which was actually the back of our house.)

Any time I was stressed, I would sit by the water and within minutes I would be totally relaxed. Most of my good childhood memories involve the ocean and/or the beach, including my first kiss! When I was in high school, I had an awesome party/bonfire on the beach.

But, there are good and bad things regarding the ocean. I've had a few bad experiences with the mighty blue Atlantic. When I was around 8 or 9, I was swimming with a friend when a vicious undertow took me. I was drowning and helpless. Thank goodness, a nearby surfer saw what was happening and came to my rescue. I had to learn the hard way - always swim with the current - never try to fight it.

I've also been bitten, stung, or shocked by everything in the sea. From a big blue crab grabbing my foot (my dad had to rip its claw into pieces) to stepping on a sand shark (thankfully their mouths and teeth are underneath their flat bodies) to being shocked by an electric scape (I thought it was a stingray so I tried to cut its stinger off with a metal knife) to jumping on top of a Portuguese man-o-war (That was some serious pain! Dad again to the rescue - he made a paste of meat tenderizer, baking soda, and ammonia to pack on the spot where the tentacles got me).

To this day, I will not go into the ocean without wearing shoes. It's not that I'm afraid - I just don't like pain!

Needless to say, I prefer a swimming pool!

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