A Wonder Down Under

Really, I don’t like flying. I accidentally peed my pants once in elementary school and for years could not stand being in confined places where I couldn’t easily access a restroom. Nowadays, this only tends to affect me in that short window of time when you are seated on an airplane until the captain turns off the seat belt sign.

To combat these feelings, I created a ritual where I use the restroom right before boarding the flight, and again once I board the flight maybe ten minutes before the plane takes off. Also, I won’t eat or drink anything more than a sip of water before flying.

After cruising altitude and moving about the cabin, I’m golden.

The company I used to work for would occasionally send the corporate office employees and our spouses on a four-day weekend to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. The company was growing and this particular year we weren’t all able to be on the same flight. 

Delilah had been on these trips before and is not a fan of the all-inclusive experience and didn’t want to leave our son with someone, so she elected not to go. So I was on my own.

When you leave the airport in Cancun there is a little bar a few steps from the exit. They have this thing called “the yardstick” which is a tall beaker they fill with frozen margarita or piña colada. You can get one and drink it on the shuttle to your hotel.

I had one of those, a welcome drink at the hotel, and was told the rooms aren’t ready but everyone was at the swim bar so I started pounding drinks with the crew. All on an empty stomach due to my preflight ritual.

The next morning my alarm went off and I woke up incredibly hungover. The worst hangover I have had before or since. It had been years since I had drunk so much. Instead of taking the morning off and relaxing though, a few co-workers and I had scheduled swimming with the whale sharks. Something I had always wanted to do.

Painfully, I started to amble around my hotel room dizzy and shaking. Donning a pair of sunglasses, I stumbled through the halls of the resort looking for something to eat. Not wanting to, but thinking it would help sop up some of the alcohol in my gut. I wanted to cry because I hurt so bad. I had no idea how I would be boarding a boat in an hour.

Meeting up with the crew in the lobby, I started to really explore the idea of canceling but then it was time to get on a van and go to the port. The guide assured me everything was going to be okay. He gave me a banana to eat, a ginger tea to drink, told me to stay on the back of the boat where it was less choppy, and handed me a pressure point bracelet to wear that he claimed helped with seasickness.

After sipping scalding hot tea, scarfing down the banana, giving a feeble gaze to my bracelet, and doubting cruising the backseat of the boat would help, we were off. 

Surprisingly I felt better. By the time we arrived at where the whale sharks were, I was much improved. 

The water was teaming with the whale shark’s dorsal fins. We were told that to swim with them, we get on the edge of the boat two at a time, and as the boat pulls up in front of them, we jump off and swim for all our might to stay beside them.

As we neared the sharks, my buddy and I were at the ready, seeing the fin approaching we were told to dive in. Once in the water, my partner was a little close and I had to skirt out of the way to avoid his fins. The whale shark swims at a pretty good clip so I trailed behind pretty quickly. Even with my own fins, with the shark’s speed, my still slight hangover, and having to move out of the way to not get kicked by the other guy, I couldn’t catch up. 

But this put me in the best position to view what has been one of the most thrilling spectacles I have witnessed.

Behind the whale shark burst this bright neon green cloud! The whale shark had pooped and I was far enough behind to get the best view of it. Then the whale shark flicked his tail and he was gone. I thought they had been moving fast before, but that was nothing compared to the whale shark that doesn’t want to be swimming in his own excrement. 

I started screaming and laughing underwater. My snorkel fell out of my mouth. I popped up to the surface and I swam to the boat, the guide helped me up the ladder and I kept saying, “It pooped! It was crazy, it pooped! It was beautiful!”

Thinking about all this now, I could have been upset about any number of the bad things that happened. I was hungover and did not want to even move. My jump buddy had edged too close to me so I trailed behind. Even though a whale shark pooped in my face, I try to never let a shitty situation get the best of me.

This isn’t my video, but here is an example of a whale shark pooping.

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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Aunt Martha
Aunt Martha
1 year ago

I think the whale shark pooping and fanning it towards you is pretty funny! Maybe somehow, he knew you are a comedian?!

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