nycmermaid: (scubagirl)
(c/o Monterey Bay Aquarium)

The gray whales are migrating south past Monterey now, and the humpback whales are wintering in the Hawaiian islands, where I'm going in 2 weeks! I've wanted to go to Hawaii to see the whales ever since I got involved with the Sierra Club because they run service trips every February to see them. I hope to go on a whale watch while I'm there, or, even cooler, somehow encounter them while diving. I'm not holding my breath for the latter (ha ha) but even hearing a whale while I'm underwater would be too amazing for words. I still don't know if I'm going to do my advanced open water there or not...I change my mind every other day! I'll decide one way or the other by tomorrow, I don't want to put it off anymore.

I've been pretty obsessed with scuba diving lately. Last week I went to one scuba meetup (NY Sea Gypsies), where I met some divers who got me started on Scuba Board, and this week I went to a different scuba meetup, Oceanblue Divers. Oceanblue seemed to have more young people, but people were very friendly at both events. I even ran into my friend Andrea from the zoo at the one this week, as well as a guy Marsha and I hung out with this summer.

Last week I posted to SB looking for information about the NY Aquarium volunteer dive team. Not too many people knew much about it. Well, a guy who was at Sea Gypsies last week remembered me, saw my post, and then came up to me at Oceanblue and introduced me to a guy who is on the team. This guy, Avra, has been diving at the aquarium for 6 years and loves it. In fact, it seems everyone on the dive team loves it. He said it's a great way to get involved at the aquarium, practice diving, learn about marine environment issues, and meet other people passionate about marine life. They do expect you to have your own equipment, but apparently they do have extra things they can lend you until you get all your own stuff (scuba equipment is not cheap!). According to Avra, they ask you to commit 2 weekend days a month, just like at the Central Park Zoo.

Now, there are many things in the way of me just joining this dive team. One is the commute (over an hour each way by public transit); one is the cost of gear; and one is the time commitment. I'm already committed to volunteering at the zoo for another year since I got this animal handling gig. But the more I learn about the aquarium dive team, the more it feels like something I need to get involved with. Definitely something to consider for next year if not this one!
nycmermaid: (bowling for nipples)
So, as I mentioned here and about a billion times on Facebook, I got my open water scuba certification this weekend. :) It's something I thought I was unable to do for years until I got the courage to give it another try this summer, and thanks to the encouragement of 2 lovely scuba instructors, I am now fully PADI certified for general open water dives. I can only imagine what would have been had that first instructor I had in college encouraged me to keep trying despite my sinus squeeze issues. Well, the fact is it is an expensive sport and I couldn't have afforded the expenses then anyway. But now at 31 I am certified!

I did my certification dives with Empire Divers, a shop on the upper east side, and my instructor's name was Debbie. Debbie is what I imagine Madonna would be like were she a scuba diver instead of a singer. Sassy, self-confident, physically fit, fashionable, wise, and warm. Needless to say, I like her a whole lot and that was a huge part of why it was such a good experience. Don't get me wrong, I liked my pool instructor, Peter, too, but I was much more comfortable with a female instructor for some reason. The dives were done in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at a dive park called Dutch Springs. It's a quarry that was used until the miners hit water, then it was allowed to fill up and turned into a diving/adventure park. There are several platforms and wrecks inside at different depths. We did a total of 6 dives all weekend; the first 4 were for our certification. Basically those involved going down 27 feet to a platform and doing different skills, like mask removal and clearing, buddy breathing, and compass navigation. Since I was diving with a new mask, I initially freaked out that it was filling with water and panicked during my first descent. Debbie calmed me down, told me my mask was fine, and helped me slowly descend to the platform. (She later told me she at first thought I wasn't going to make it, and when we got out of the water she was really excited I had made it and gave me a huge hug.) On our first dive we swam around for a bit, including around a fire engine that was sitting at about 15 feet beneath the surface. There wasn't much to see in the water itself, some bass about 8 inches long, and the water was like swimming in an uncleaned fish tank. The quarry is also covered with zebra mussels, an invasive species that cover and corrode every surface, but do help keep the water cleaner by filtering it. We did 3 dives like that the first day. I didn't get dizzy or queasy once and handled it just fine. I think it helped that the weather was cool and it was drizzling all day.

I should also mention that there were 4 in our group of open water students, 3 guys and myself. There was also another instructor and a woman there to do her dives for her advanced certification. Her name was Cathy and we shared a hotel room. Her boyfriend is in Hawaii right now doing his divemaster training. I really got along with everyone on the trip. My dive buddy was named Alexei, and at first he looked like a scraggly little guy but then I realized he had ridiculous strength and he was very helpful getting me into my equipment. That stuff is HEAVY. The tank alone is about 20 pounds. Then I had 16-18 pounds of weights in my buoyancy vest. Carrying that to and from the water, along with fins, while dressed in head-to-toe neoprene, is no easy feat! Of course, once you get into the water you feel light as a feather. One of the other guys was British, from Leeds, and he was cute, but also seemed rather full of himself and didn't seem impressed at all with the fact that I've been to Leeds on several occasions. Whatever dude!

Saturday night we all went out to dinner at a restaurant called Bocca di Beppo, which was a gaudily decorated, family-style Italian place, where we sat in the "Pope room" at a large table with a bust of Pope John Paul II on it, and ordered a ridiculous amount of food, and PJPII stared at us every time the lazy Susan spun around. My friend Karen, who recently started her doctorate program at Lehigh, joined us, and she and I went out afterwards to a local bar. I had 2 glasses of wine with dinner and Debbie told me as I was leaving that I was not to drink any more alcohol or she would not let me dive the next day. Yes scuba mom! I met Karen's new boyfriend and we had a fine time even though I wasn't drinking at all. Yes, scuba diving does not go along with my alcoholic lifestyle, but anything that makes me drink less is a good thing.

On Sunday we only had one dive to go before certification. It was our compass navigation dive, and it was easy! We surfaced and Debbie said "What we have here are 4 newly certified open water divers!" Yay! Then she let us dive down again and swim back to shore underwater. Every dive you make gets recorded in a log book and basically counts as a record of your experience, so the more dives you have under your belt, the better. After lunch we went for our deepest dive yet, to a sunken helicopter. I was nervous about how I would do, since I do have still have some equalization issues, but I have found that if I go slowly I do just fine. After about 25 feet, I found that further depth didn't bother my ears at all, and I made it down to the helicopter, and swam through it, and around it, and under it! It was without a doubt one of the coolest things I have ever experienced in my life. Generally, my interest is more in wildlife than in diving wrecks, but I just loved it. Scuba diving is, in a way, like flying -- you can go over, under, through, up, down, wherever you want. I kept checking my depth gauge because I couldn't get over the fact of how deep I was. We went down to 56 feet. It was cold, but I was really comfortable in my wetsuit. That's another thing that made the experience great -- the wetsuit I rented from Empire Divers was in great condition, fit well, and was not smelly.

All in all the whole experience was great. My ears however are kind of clogged still, which worries me a little. I'm going to Empire Divers tonight because Debbie said she would get me a better mask and would take back my old one even though I didn't buy it through her. I'm going to ask her what she thinks about my ear situation. I really don't have time for another damn doctor's appointment so I really hope it goes away on its own soon.

So, now here I am, the first day of my last week of work before my trip. I am now trying to figure out what to do with my time in Cairns. A 2-day live-aboard snorkel/dive boat would be my best option, but they are expensive, and I want to know that the boat I choose is eco-friendly and well reviewed. There's so much to consider, but I feel so accomplished and excited! Now I'm probably going to want to go on dive trips in addition to all the other vacations I already want to take. :b Apparently, Eilat, Israel, is a hot scuba diving destination. Wouldn't it be funny if scuba is the thing that ultimately gets me to the Holy Land?

I did it!

Sep. 13th, 2009 10:22 pm
nycmermaid: (Default)
I got my PADI open water certification! And then I dove 55 feet to a wrecked helicopter! And I had a great time! And I am EXHAUSTED.

Will write more tomorrow. For now, a couple of silly pics...


Apr. 22nd, 2009 09:48 am
nycmermaid: (Default)
My tree is budding! Yay!

nycmermaid: (HK)
I spent this beautiful sunny day on the beach. Okay, so it was below freezing temperatures. It was lovely. I went on an excursion with a hiking group to see seals in the "wild" (ie, not the zoo). We went to a beach in Westhampton and heard a lecture by a professor who is studying the seals. He is the president of an organization called CRESLI, Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island. His is the kind of job that wish I could do. I have never wanted to be a teacher, but you know, if I could be the kind of teacher that shows their kids amazing stuff like this, maybe I could do it. I still mean to track down my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Nieves, and thank her for taking us beach camping. It takes a pretty awesome lady to take a bunch of 11-year-olds camping.

Speaking of topics that make me quiver with an internal "I am supposed to be doing *this*" feeling, CRESLI also runs an annual overnight whale watching cruise in the summer, which I would be all over if not for the fact that it's during the week! Argh! Argh for having no more vacation days because I'm using them all to go to Australia. I want ALL THE CAKE DAMMIT. So.awesome!!! Oh well, I will be going whale watching in California, and that will just have to be good enough.

Anyway, the beach was beautiful. I wasn't even that cold. Patagonia thermals + legwarmers = rock.


Yes, this is about as close as we were able to get. I had binoculars, but not a telephoto lens.

More pics )
nycmermaid: (Default)
Early Sunday morning I left the warmth of my nice cozy apartment and went for a walk in the cold and the wet. Am I insane? Maybe. Truth is my friend Karina and I signed up for the hike a week earlier, when we didn't know the weather. Well, it turns out we were the only people who signed up at all. The trip leader, Eugene, would have let us back out and go on another hike another time. But we decided that since we had already trekked to the Upper West Side (Karina all the way from Bay Ridge too), and we had a van, and we had a willing (and cute) leader, what the heck. I would have considered it a success if we had hiked for 2 hours. Somehow we hiked for 4 hours. It was a true test of our love of the outdoors, and of our gear. Pictures under the cut. )

We turned back after the lake after realizing it would be dark in only a couple of hours. Just as well because by then we were officially drenched. It was a true test of our gear -- raincoats, wool hats, hiking pants, longjohns. Everything held up pretty well for the first 3 hours except for my wool convertible mittens, which are not made to withstand 4 hours of rain. But Eugene nicely lent us his alpaca-lined vinyl gloves and a couple of hand warmers. Afterwards we went to a diner where I had some hot tea and pancakes. :) I have to admit I was not excited about this hike at all. But I'm really glad I went. Definitely a great end to the weekend.
nycmermaid: (Default)

Look at me rock scramble! Woohoo! In all my fancy knitwear, too. Next to me is Lucy, who was on the Peru trip with me as well.

View from the top. This picture's from my cameraphone, it's not very good. I took one or two regular camera shots and my friend Karina did too, but I was too eager to post this to wait till I had them.
nycmermaid: (HK)
Just to close the loop, yes I made it to the top of Mt Marcy and back. I posted pics to Facebook but since I posted about it here before I left, here are a couple:

I hiked a total of 15 miles in just under 9 hours. Whew! It was rough, and the downhill was brutal for me, as usual. But I had a great time. Even though there were sections of the hike where I was vowing never to hike down a mountain again and never wanted to see another rock. But I look forward to my next 8-mile day hike. Should be a piece of cake!
nycmermaid: (peru)
Has anyone renewed their US passport lately? The instructions are so damn confusing. Is it $75 or is it $100? If you're supposed to staple your photo to the application, and they want 2, why is there only space for 1? Do you staple them on top of each other? I know I won't need it till December, I just want to get it done so I don't have to worry about it.

Of course, my trip to Scotland this winter is contingent upon my surviving this weekend. Tomorrow at this time, I will be hiking up Mt. Marcy (unless I'm already on my way down), the highest peak in New York State. Not that that's saying much (it's a third of the size of Mt Whitney, highest peak in the lower 48, and a quarter the height of Mt McKinley in Alaska, and a sixth of Mt Everest). But when you consider that the Empire State Building is 1250 feet high, and Mt Marcy is 5344 feet, it's by far the highest point in the state. And I will be there tomorrow, dammit! Funny how hiking pain is the kind of pain I forget. :b
nycmermaid: (Default)
Oh my gods, so want to go here:

Greece - Kíthira Island
Mythical characters dwell everywhere on Kíthira, just eight miles off the tip of the Peloponnesian peninsula. Here's the pool where Aphrodite bathed. Over there, you can see the cave where Helen and Paris are believed to have sought refuge. Except for the six weeks starting in mid-July, Kíthira is a sleepy place with compact medieval villages that are home to ancient grain mills, Byzantine chapels, and cheerful wooden beehives that are painted yellow, blue, or white. (Kíthira's thyme-scented honey is so coveted that the annual production sells out within weeks.) Lodging on the island consists of small hotels and inns. In the whitewashed capital of Chora, the 12-room Hotel Margarita faces the sea. An even better base for exploring is one of the villages in the center, such as Mitata, where a beekeeper has opened Aplinori, an inn where guests can learn how to make honey and cheese. One-hour Olympic Airlines flights to Kíthira depart daily from Athens.

I suppose that Yahoo doing a story of little-known island destinations is bad if it increases tourism and therefore makes them more crowded. But this just sounds so awesome. Onto the list it goes. :b

So, after a summer of not hiking at all (I haven't even put my hiking boots back on since the Inka Trail), I have signed up for a trip to hike Mt. Marcy, the tallest mountain in New York State, in 2 weeks. I'll also be camping. It should be peak foliage time in the Adirondacks (so soon, I know!). It feels a little bit crazy, but I'm excited! Now I absolutely must gym it and probably do a day hike or 2 before then.
nycmermaid: (Default)
...the gist of it is:

-I am sunburned from drifting down the Delaware River in an inner tube all day. Met a cool chick though (isn't that how it always goes at these singles events :p). Not very burned, but certainly toasted.
-My right eye is sore for like the fourth time this summer, wtf.
-I have several hours of Olympics footage on my DVR, and at this point pretty much nothing else.
-I finished the major(ly boring) freelance project I was working on about library management.
-I am going to the Mets game tomorrow.
-I hung out with a longtime LJ friend for the first time yesterday ([ profile] abbagirl) and she is cool. :D
-I am making an eggplant/tomato/fontina cheese bake right now. I might add zucchini, maybe mushrooms. I ate nothing but junk food today so some vegetables are really in order. I suppose smothering them in cheese doesn't help, though. :b
-Squirrel under my window is making noise. He's up to sum'in...
nycmermaid: (Default)
I woke up at 6:15 this morning and went on the Downtown Boathouse's weekend/holiday 3-hour kayak trip in the Hudson River. Except it was more like 5 hours. We paddled from 56th Street to just after the GW Bridge. For all my experience kayaking, I had a pretty hard time. Getting there was slow but not bad (we stopped for an hour at a riverside park) but on the way back, the water was choppy and we were going against the current, and I got seasick and had to be towed the rest of the way. Pretty embarrassing. I am so wiped out right now. Paddling wide rivers is not the same as paddling creeks and small rivers, where the current does a lot of the work. And since it was overcast I wasn't as careful applying sunblock as I should have been, and the tops of my lower legs are sunburned. Tingly.

But feeling fuxausted is no excuse to not bake a pie to bring to my aunt and uncle's tonight. I made a peach pie using the recipe from my pie class. It's in the oven right now. I'm pretty proud of myself considering that I still feel like I'm swaying. :b

I really want to be a good kayaker and the only way to do that is to keep trying. But today was so hard, I don't want to think about doing it again. Maybe I should check out the Long Island City Boathouse again; at least their boats are all tandems, which means I'd be sharing the paddling. I'm going to Delaware Water Gap next weekend with Dyanamic Outdoors. I did that same trip last year and remember it being pretty leisurely and not too hard.

Tomorrow is zoo day. Oy, when do I let me take a break?
nycmermaid: (Default)
Cookies. )

Cure. )

Zoo. )

Andy. )

Kayaking. )

And I still managed to get home before sunset. I love these long days. Happy summer! Happy Solstice!
nycmermaid: (Default)
I didn't have any plans for today, aside from [ profile] albauk's party tonight. I also have a brand new freelance project that needs a heavy edit. And an apartment that desperately needs cleaning. So when one of my zoo colleagues forwarded a link about the Adventures NYC fair in Central Park today, I decided to check it out. There was a water slide, so I wore a bathing suit, quick-dry clothes, and only brought valuables that could fit in my pockets.

I got there just as the fair was starting and immediately got on line for the water slide. It was a bunch of kids, their parents, and me. :b At first they said we needed to show state ID for liability reasons, but enough people balked at that (including me, who did not bring a wallet) for them to change their minds. So I signed a waiver and got my tube. It was one of those blow-up slides, not very steep, and you went down on an inner tube. How dangerous could it be?

At the top of the slide the woman told me to pick a lane and that it's really fun, have a blast! I got in my tube and started to slide, not very fast. So I picked up my feet to go faster. The tube turned, I was facing away from the bottom, and then when I hit the pool the tube flipped and I, feet over head, executed a completely unintended perfect backward somersault. I was also wearing a big hairclip that got pounded into the back of my skull. I sat up, soaking wet (wearing all my clothes), holding my neck, trying to determine the extent of my injuries. No one came over to help. I established that I was not paralyzed, and very wet, and thought, hey, mission accomplished. At least I don't feel the need to get back on the line for another go. Turns out no one noticed what happened since they were all trying to keep the water from spilling out of the blow-up pool, which was collapsing. It was okay, I was okay. I went to go get my shoes and bag and as I was getting my stuff together, [ profile] sarahsez00 called. She was going to Vampire Weekend at Summerstage, which was right near where I was. We made plans to meet up later.

I spent the next hour wandering around the various kiosks, signing up for contests, and getting coupons and free stuff including a bike helmet, a water bottle, yogurt and juice. There was free kayaking on the pond by Bethesda Fountain (which was on, the first time I've seen it on, and looked gorgeous). I had a very nice little paddle around the pond, and was pleased that I still remember how to paddle. When I was coming in to shore I was able to steer and stop my boat from crashing into someone else's, and that person was very impressed with my mad paddlin' skillz.

Then Sarah called me and I went to meet her. The line for the Vampire Weekend show was completely ridiculous. I had no idea the band was that popular. Every hipster and college kid in the tri-state area must have shown up. Sarah and her friend had been on line, but it was hot and so we just decided to picnic in the shade where you could hear the band, just not see them. (That is the secret to enjoying Summerstage, I think. Picnic outside and don't bother with the line.) We had a nice little picnic, were joined by some more of Sarah's friends, the first band started, and the thunder started to rumble. So Sarah and her friend and I called it a day. And good thing we did too -- as soon as I got on the bus, it started to pour.

So now I'm home, and dry, and had a fun day. But also have a sore neck. I wonder if I should be more concerned about this. :b Can you get whiplash doing a backward somersault off a water slide?
nycmermaid: (Default)
I have hundreds of pictures from Peru, way too many to post here. They're all up on Snapfish, and I've uploaded many of them to Facebook. If you're interested in seeing them, send me your e-mail address and I'll forward you the link.

Many other people in my group also took some great photos. Here are a few: Read more... )
nycmermaid: (HK)
I didn't take any pictures from the hike today, though in the morning it was very beautiful. It wasn't even that difficult for most of the day. After lunch we had to navigate a lot of rocks and streams and ponds, and I always get slow when it comes to tedious stuff like that. Of course everyone else confidently bounds over the boulders and slippery logs while I slowly lag further and further behind. The hike leader (Igor) told me I need to work on my confidence and learn to trust my feet more. It was truly embarrassing how far behind I got. At around 1, toward the end of the hike, the rain started coming down. The last part of the hike involved walking along a road. It was just a regular paved road and even then the 2 people who had waited for me zoomed on ahead, leaving me walking along on a sore knee, getting soaked in the rain, singing whatever songs I could think of to keep my spirits up. It's hard walking in the rain when you have no idea how much farther it is to the van, and everyone else is walking faster than you. And yeah, my right knee is sore. I really hope I just came down on it funny and that it isn't the beginning of a chronic knee problem. My left hip hurts too. That pain had mostly gone away up until a couple weeks ago. Maybe all the consecutive days on the Stairmaster weren't so good for it.

Three other girls on the hike today are also going to Machu Picchu, though apparently they are taking a different trail than I am (I was never given an option; who knows). We talked to Igor some about the trip and I asked him what he wished he had known the first time he went. He told me not to stress out this week. He said people who are stressed before the trip are more likely to get sick. Well then I guess I'm taking it easy the next 5 days.

For all the preparation I've done, I still feel like I have no idea what I'm walking into with this trip. It will be the biggest adventure I have ever undertaken. I am going to a place where I will not speak the language, where the water can make me sick, and where there is a fraction of the oxygen that I am used to breathing. And in the midst of that I'll be hiking and camping for 4 days straight. Am I crazy?
nycmermaid: (HK)
I just figured out how to use Bluetooth to transfer files from my phone to my computer! So now I can post photos from yesterday's hike. It was supposed to be a hike to Breakneck Ridge, but the hike leader never showed, and so everyone who was waiting decided to hike the Washburn trail on Mt. Taurus instead. Even though the weather forecast in NYC wasn't for rain, when I got up to Cold Spring it was alternately misting/drizzling. I'm a bit glad we decided against climbing the face of Breakneck because the rocks might have been slippery and, well..! It was a great day for hiking though. All morning it was like hiking in a cloud forest.
Pics )

It was a good hike, but it was hard, especially the uphill parts. I am worried that I have not trained enough. I really should have gone hiking more this past month. Three times a week on the stairmaster at the gym is nothing like the full-body exertion that is hiking.
nycmermaid: (HK)
Wow, nothing makes you post on LJ like procrastination. Now that I have freelance work to do, I'd even rather do dishes than do work. And I hate doing dishes. It's my least favorite chore.

Instead, here is a photo post with some animals from the Central Park Zoo that I photographed last Saturday. Read more... )

I am having a blast so far with my zoo volunteer training. I'm so glad I discovered this. It really fills a hole I feel like I had in my life. I know that sounds cheesey but I love learning all this stuff about the different animals, and about conservation, and I can't wait to lead tours and chats and regale people with my knowledge. It's like it takes care of the love of performance and public speaking that I used to have when I was on the speech team in school, as well as the part of me that wishes I had majored in ecology or biology.
nycmermaid: (HK)
I decided I was going to get out and get some exercise this weekend, so on Saturday I went rock scrambling in the Palisades with Dynamic Outdoors. I've never been rock scrambling before and always avoided it because it sounded, well, hard. And it was. At least it was for me. There were only 9 of us and I was by far the slowest, hugging each rock like Gollum while everyone seemed to be skipping along easily. The trip leaders were both very patient with me and tried to be helpful, though I still am not very confident. It's one of those situations where I want to say "I'll never do that again!" but know that doing it again and again is the only way to get better at it.

And as if the rock scrambling/boulder climbing/walking sideways on a steep cliff covered with slush and slippery leaves wasn't enough, the hike ended with a steep climb up a path with steps set into the side of the cliff. Which of course everyone else made it up without much effort. I, on the other hand, huffed and puffed up each step, angry all the way at myself for being so out of shape, wondering how everyone else could be in so much better shape, and trying to decide if I should (a) collapse on the ground dramatically upon reaching the top or (b) act like it was nothing. I chose b. :b I don't think anybody was fooled but a positive attitude and sense of humor is always appreciated.

I took pictures. )

I'm glad I went, even though each of these hikes tends to be an exercise in humiliation for me. I have to get in better shape if I want my trip to Machu Picchu to be anything but miserable. A girl on the hike on Saturday told me that when she went to Machu Picchu, the altitude gave her the worst headache of her life and made her nauseous. And this girl barely seemed to break a sweat on our hike. So, lovely. I will have to prep myself with Pepto, painkillers, and drink lots of coca tea. I hope I don't get too sick. But hey, it's all an adventure, right? You gotta take chances.

My whole body aches today but that's no surprise. I wish I could say I was going to make myself go hiking more this winter but it's just so damn slippery out there...I'm going to have to join a gym if I want to get in shape.
nycmermaid: (Default)
First, before I talk about my weekend, I would like to express my massive disgust and disappointment with last night's Six Feet Under. I would like to start a petition to Alan Ball for an apology for making us watch such complete and utter pulp fiction crap (and I mean the genre, not the movie). Why must every character in this show be so damn gullible and stupid? Claire and her taste in men, Rico the sugardaddy, Ruth marrying a man she's known for a week - when NATE is the smartest person in that house, you know we have a problem. Last night's episode just really upset me. I mean, what the hell was the point of any of it? I'm mad at myself for continuing to watch it as long as I did. But this post is supposed to be about my weekend, so I will not dwell on this any longer.

Friday night I stayed over at [ profile] cynima's, where she played a very good wifey, making me dinner (okay, reheating the take-out). But she was a very good hostess. On Saturday night I went to King's Park where [ profile] em_kraz's boyfriend John lives. My Sierra Club canoe trip was right near his house on Sunday and they were interesting in going too, plus there was a block party going on, so I spent the night there. John and his housemate, Rob, made us a fabulous barbecue. I don't even really like steak and I must say the steak was pretty damn good. The roasted corn, too. Then we watched School of Rock, which I've already seen a few times but it's a great movie.

The next day we went canoeing on the Nissequogue River, and sadly I discovered that my boat-sickness is not limited to kayaks or the Hudson River. It wasn't the motion of the boat, because there were no waves, but by the middle of the trip I was feeling weak and nauseous and really overheated. The air was heavy and it was really humid, maybe that had something to do with it. I was sharing a boat with a 60-something woman named Mary Ann who did most of the rowing. We should all hope to be that fit at 60! When we got to the turnaround point, I knew I was done. So we didn't do the row back, but no one really seemed to mind. It was threatening to storm anyway (even though it never did) so we took the shuttle bus back to the car. We went back to John and Rob's house and played black jack (just with chips, no real money) and it was really fun. I learned a lot about the game, which is cool, cause now maybe I can play it in a casino (for actual money) someday.

So while I had a really good time hanging out this weekend, it's clear that a week-long kayak trip in southern Georgia is NOT for me. I'm kind of worried about myself. Why do I get sick every time I'm in a boat these days? I feel healthy and energetic otherwise. I wonder if it's some kind of vertigo. But the good side of this is, if I'm not doing that trip in October, I can go on another trip! Not sure yet whether I'll save my money and vacation days for a winter vacation or if I should go on a Green Tortoise tour in September. All decisions will be put off till after I get back from Tracy's wedding at the end of this month (in case 4 days of camping exhausts my willingness to "rough it").
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