Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Swimming to the ocean

I wanted to do this from the first time we saw Tres Rios three years ago. Today we kayaked up First River to the cenote where it originates, and then I swam all the way back to the ocean. Last time I swam downstream here, I left Alla and some friends at the cenote. After going about half-way downstream, I turned to swim back to the group. Those figures of speech about swimming upstream really mean what they imply. I struggled with the current, and where the river narrowed I had to grab the mangrove roots and crawl hand-over-hand against the flow.

It's not so difficult to paddle upstream in a kayak, and we've done it several times already. Today I brought my swim goggles and left the boat with Alla, who wanted to paddle back down. I enjoyed the scenery as I floated over crazy tangles of mangrove roots, underwater caverns, big schools of fish in a variety of sizes, crabs, stabs of sunlight, and even patches of white river bottom.

I couldn't dive down to see what made those white spots on the river bottom because I wore a life jacket, both for security and to stay a little warmer. I suppose I saw ocean sand that washed upstream during a big storm. Anyway, I was in a big hurry because I had a macho problem. Early in my voyage, I passed a kayak while the paddlers were goofing off. Not wanting to hold them up and certainly not wanting to be passed, I stayed pretty focused on my swimming. I reached the ocean with a comfortable gap between myself and the boat.

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