Tuesday, February 15, 2011


20 years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So... sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Mark Twin, Author

Well, we’re back from the lovely Cayman Islands. We had a super wonderful vacation and had a chance to rest, relax, contemplate and knit (I tried crochet-and switched back to knitting.) We heard that the Caymans were the perfect place “to do nothing” and that was what we planned to do. But, on the first full day there....we found Bravery and changed our plans!

It took one simple act of Bravery to change the course of our vacation and our lives. Our vacation planners, Doug and Susan from Virginia and their daughter Elizabeth, arranged for a private island boat trip with Capt’n Chris. He would take us out on his boat from Rum Point and show us the beauty of the island and places to swim with Sting Rays and snorkel the reefs. Janet and I were excited to go and planned to knit and watch the others. We made a pact that getting into the water was not in our plans. 

When we docked in the middle of the Sting Ray area, Capt’n Chris gave us the dos and don’ts of swimming with sting rays- there were more don’ts than dos. Janet and I were convinced that Sting Rays were not something that we wanted to swim with and spending the day in a wet bathing suit was not appealing.

I don’t know exactly what happened but when the others went overboard. I felt that if I didn’t go too I would really be missing something. I announced to Janet, “I’m going in!” Next thing you know, I’m having a back massage from a very large female sting ray. Janet joined us but was more reluctant to touch the sea monsters. Eventually, we both petted them, held them, swam with swarms of them and even feed ‘em. We really felt energized by the experience and our new found bravery. (It was a great adventure until Capt’n Chris decided to hold me like a sting ray and give me a back massage-but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.)

We pulled up anchor and went to a nearby coral reef area for snorkeling. Janet and I made a pact to sit out this activity and knit. We feared that we would get lost, confused and unable to see anything with the scuba masks and our “over-forty eyes” without eyeglasses. I must have feared being left on the boat with Capt’n Chris more because next thing you know, I’m gearing up and telling Janet that “I’m just going to stick my mask into the water ”. When I saw what was underneath the surface of the water an instant calm came over me and I was totally amazed by the underwater world. I eventually surfaced and yelled to Janet, “You gotta see this!” To actually experience the sights and sounds of the turquoise water, plantlife and colorful fish was amazing and I’m glad we didn’t miss it!

The rest of the boat trip was more of the same. The beautiful blue water held an unexpected world of excitement, color and amazement as did the marinated conch that Capt’n Chris concocted (conch-octed) for the ride home. It is very difficult to eat marinated conch on stale saltines while riding on a bumpy boat in gale force winds.

From our Cayman house, the ocean was 60 feet away and the beach was littered with shells, sea glass, hermit crabs and other sea treasures. We spent a great deal of time on the beach and in the water. We walked the beach every morning and collected “Brain”- washed up coral that looked like brains. I snorkeled ever chance I had and never got over the amazement of the sights. With our newfound bravery, Janet and I decided that it was time to stop talking about the things we want to do and start doing them. First up on our list was to start writing our “Knitwits Book.” With macbooks, ipads, iphone and intermittent internet service, we stopped talking and started writing. Stay tuned....

We practiced Bravery for the remainder of our Island life. Janet even drove our rental car which is amazing because on day one, she couldn’t even sit in the car with her daughter, Sarah, driving from the right seat on the left side of the road. I was brave during a moment of wi-fi connectivity and emailed a very nice man with the message, “Will you be my Valentine?” ( and “No”, it was not Capt’n Chris.)

Well, the trip home was bittersweet. It is hard to leave paradise (especially when traveling “non-revenue”-that’s airline talk for standby). I was subject to additional security screening at the Grand Cayman Airport. When the inspector opened my suitcase and saw more yarn than clothing, she had to ask “What’s up with that?”  I told her about Knitwits and she told me than she was a crocheter but getting yarn on the island was very difficult. I asked her if I could give her a skein of Comfort from my aborted crochet project and she said that because there were witnesses and my search was complete, she was able to accept the yarn. The other inspector chimed in and mentioned that she was a knitter. So, it was lovely parting gifts of Berroco Yarn Company Comfort for everyone in the additional security room. Janet had a layover in Miami, which is now similar to being in a foreign country. With paradise behind us, we were returning to our lives but we were returning with our Bravery Awards and a bag of Brain.

I’ll now attempt to wrap up this rather lengthy blog post.
Since returning to the 41017, we no longer have to practice Bravery-it is now a way of life. I’ve been driving on the highways (although, I still don’t know which one is 75 or 275) instead of navigating circuitous routes that require only right hand turns, I’ve returned all of phone messages from the shop, and I’ve been working on the Knitwits book.

During one of our intermittent island wi-fi connections, I received the following e-mail response from the very nice man: “Absolutely  :)”. No Singles Awareness Day this year!
Yesterday was Valentines Day and my Valentine showed up on time and with a bouquet of white tulips and a card. The very nice man took me to Virgils in Bellevue, a cozy little place that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The menu is fantastic and the food is even better! Who knew that paradise existed in Bellevue?

I think paradise can be found everywhere-sometimes you just need to leave your comfort zone and experience it with good company.

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