So much rum; before, during, and after snorkeling on a coral reef for hours upon hours surrounded by beautiful tropical fish.
There were three Americans, several Dutch, a lone German and then myself. Two and a half hours in the back seat of a van en route to the reef can make a man thirsty. We disembark for our boat ride in a small fishing village of around one hundred people. I walk into the nearest bar and order a beer for the boat.
Quesero una cervesa, por favor.
We haggle over the price for a moment; they open my beer and I leave with the group. Three US Dollars for a forty-ounce bottle of Presidente; not bad, I guess.
I finish it by the time we get to Paradise Island; that’s when Ramon (our tour guide) takes a large bottle of Brugal rum from his bag and starts pouring drinks.
“Rum makes the fish bigger.” he says.
It makes the fish something, I thought. Not sure what. Perhaps it just lowers our inhibitions enough that we’re indifferent to the fact that a shark could tear our fucking legs off. With this, the rum helped. I’ve never been a fan of dark and deep water. Not because I can’t swim; but because I’m hyper-aware of the unknown creatures that lurk beneath.
Some of them are beautiful; but realistically, some of them are deadly.