A travel moment in Dominican Republic

In Dominican Republic, the locals were friendly, helpful, anxious to earn the tourist dollar.

My sister and I decided to explore the surrounding island waters. We opted for the half-day glass-bottom boat tour, including snorkel and swim adventure, plus rum cocktails.

We excitedly aimed for the mooring to board the notoriously fun glass-bottom boat. Upon arrival, we noticed no boat or passengers, so we inquired with activity staff regarding the tour boat's status.

They advised that the tour boat departed many minutes prior. One offered to honor the activity coupon as he pointed to an old metal skiff on the beach, suggesting to capture the tour boat in order to snorkel and swim with the others. My sister and I nodded at each other with hesitant concerns.

We waded thigh-deep into breaking waves and crawled over the low sides of the skiff and flailed into the bottom like freshly caught fish. Once upright and seated on metal benches lining the boat, we were whisked away.

The skiff provided minimal surfaces to clutch. As the small boat revved its engine, gained speed, and vigorously slammed against the waves, our airborne bodies raised and dropped to painfully meet the metal boat just it arose with the next wave. Our necks, backs, and butts compressed and
crunched with each wave.

Finally, the glass-bottom boat appeared in view. The skiff crew shouted to the tour boat captain as we neared, alerting him of our desire to board. We continued to approach the tour boat at high speed, abruptly stopping once reaching the boat's side.

It is no simple feat to exchange between two boats in motion. Just realizing this, I graciously suggested that my sister first board.

While the crew stabilized her lunges, my sister eventually gained footing on the narrow wood rail of the tour boat. As she stepped into the deck, the next wave unbalanced her unexpectedly. She groped for the security of the nearest object, unfortunately another seated tourist, and grabbed a handful of his crotch. Now half-vertical, she embarrassingly fell into a seated position as her rear side landed on
the bench seat.

I stood fearfully ready to attempt the daring leap. The crew maneuvered me to the edge of the skiff and thrust me toward the tour boat, inaccurately calculating the distance as the waves further separated the two boats. With another push, I landed on the wood rail, however my death grip on the roof support spiraled me around to teeter on the boat's edge. In a slight panic, I grasped for the crew just as several crew reached for me. My sharp fingernail accidentally sliced the eyeball of the ill-fated crew member nearest me, rendering him temporarily blind. After many odd apologies, I also embarrassingly slunk into the seat next to my sister.

After demonstration of such family grace, the remainder of the afternoon adventure followed uneventfully, snorkeling with seemingly unsanitary gear, swimming in a waist-deep tidal pool, and enjoying a drink of weakened local Caribbean rum.

P Eubank

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