Piranha alert23 September, 2020
Lavinia, Wednesday 23 September 2020
Because it is very quiet here -of course- we finally managed to go snorkelling last week. This had been on my wish list for weeks, and we had tried several times to go, but until last week we had never succeeded. Because August in Spain is the main holiday month for many Spaniards, the nearest nudist beach where you can snorkel was too crowded for us. There were also a lot of dressed up people, which made it busier than normal. We really couldn’t afford to catch corona ourselves, because then we could close down right away.
The road to the bay itself is a bit adventurous. It is a very narrow lane, just wide enough for one car, that winds itself up to the high rocks, and offers exceptionally beautifull views of nature. That in itself is of course worth the effort.
But, I had a mission, a goal, and because of that I forgot to enjoy it. Yet that first time. The Guardia Civil held post at the beginning of the road, checking everyone. What is a mystery to me; in my opinion they just let everyone drive on. In any case, it was a show of strength, because there were at least three police cars. You have to know that here in Spain you are not messing with the police, really not! A very good friend of ours experienced this once when he was caught red-handed in a traffic offence. He had to leave his daughter ‘as collateral’ with the police, on the public highway, to collect cash at an ATM, to pay the fine in cash. Fortunately, his daughter was already an adult, but it left him with a hangover.
Anyway, when we reached the highest point on the narrow road with its many sharp bends, after a climb – fortunately with the car – we already saw that it was not going to be alright; there were a lot of cars parked there. We wondered what the function of the police would be if all those cars were parked here. Against our better judgment, because I want to see everything with my own eyes to believe it, we went to the rocky beach, caught and dropped. For a moment I hoped it would be possible, but it was just too crowded, especially in the light of corona. Unhappy to death, because I had been so looking forward to it, we dropped off at Villajoyosa to have a bite to eat on a terrace. For the umpteenth time it was an eventful and short trip.
We seem to have a patent on obstructive excursions. I can hardly remember, on the few occasions when the two of us go out, not encountering any unexpected obstacles that thwarted our plans. For example, we had once planned to take a day trip in combination with a small repair to the car, and suddenly it turned out that we would miss the car for a full day. Another time I suddenly got a bladder infection and had to go to the emergency room, another time a phone call came in from the bookkeeper and Wim was able to work all day with figures, another time it suddenly turned out that somewhere that day a big delivery was arriving that we had to take in person. In short, it is a feat to organise a highly successful day trip. But perhaps it is also partly up to us. Because often we are not even prepared and decide to drive ‘somewhere’. Somewhere’ then turns out to be closed, like the salt lakes of Torrevieja, which can only be entered during the season. Or we don’t find our destination because we haven’t figured everything out in advance.
But, last week, to make a long story short, we were going snorkelling. The high season was over, and the weather was still lovely with 30 degrees in the shade. So what could go wrong? Full of enthusiasm we went back to the same ‘Cala’ or ‘bay’, the car loaded with flippers, snorkel and goggles. This time the car park was only a third full, so, that turned out to be all right. We descended to the cobbled beach in good spirits, looking for a nice spot to sunbathe. Luckily someone just went home, that was a lucky shot. I couldn’t wait to go into the sea, while Wim wanted to wait and see. It didn’t seem that easy to get into the sea with flippers, so at first I went into the lovely water with my water shoes. As soon as I looked under the water, I immediately saw, very close to the beach, a lot of beautiful fish; this was what I wanted.
I enjoyed the beauty under the clear water, and exhorted Wim to come too. He had brought an underwater camera with him to shoot some nice pictures, and came to join me as well. Because the bay was a bit limited for snorkeling, I wanted to swim past the rock, to discover more fish. And, yes, this time we were prepared. We had bought our flippers a few weeks before, as well as a sort of ‘barrel’ for water sports enthusiasts, where you could – waterproof – take your valuables with you. You could then hang the barrel on a cable around your wrist or foot and float behind you in the water.
Wim didn’t feel comfortable in it, and for the first time he only wanted to put 1 mobile phone and wallet in it. But, impatient and bold as I am, I stuffed our two mobile phones, our two wallets and the car keys into it. I screwed them, and one last check by Wim, and we could go into the water. With flippers on this time. Of course I fell over again and hurt my knee on the rocks. A bar of skin out, but who cares, I thought, I can finally snorkel! It turned out to be very pleasant, and we could go a bit further out to sea, because we were reassured that our valuables would not be stolen. Wim could film and take pictures under water to his heart’s content, so everything went according to plan.
Until the moment that Wim started to get a bit worried about the watertightness of ‘the barrel’. He thought it was heavy anyway, and he was convinced that water had penetrated into it. I still wasn’t really worried, tried to shake it, and thought it sounded okay. A bit against my better judgement, because I had to, and would, snorkel. A few minutes later Wim had a look at it, because he was convinced that it was NOT waterproof. Reluctantly I went with him out of the water, because Wim looked worried. Once back on the beach, we opened the barrel. And, no, we weren’t well prepared, because we hadn’t tested it beforehand. The sight of it was to scream out. Wim’s smartphone was at the very bottom, with his wallet on top, swimming in the salty water. Mine were on top of it, not completely underwater, but really soaking wet. Once again I had been stubborn and impatient. I was able to sink through the ground, because this was entirely my fault. And it was also the fault of the saleswoman, because she claimed that it was completely watertight. I decided to stay calm, and I felt the same way. Unlike a few years ago, I was not in panic mode. We would calmly see what the damage was. So we took everything out of the – meanwhile ‘water barrel’ – and put it out to dry in the sun. It didn’t look like it, especially the portfolios suddenly weighed lead, unfortunately not from the lots of money 😉.
We let ourselves dry up a bit in the sun, and discussed how we would go about it. Because we were particularly worried about the car key. A new one soon cost EUR 500, and it was doubtful whether we would get away with it at all. While I was watching the stuff, enjoying the sunshine of course, Wim would do the ultimate test with the car key. In the meantime it turned out that Wim’s phone was still working! And even though it had been under water for at least fifteen minutes! Nice! That was already a windfall. While Wim went out to try the car, I enjoyed the warm rays of the sun, and even tried to read a bit. Of course, it was difficult to concentrate, because I anxiously watched to see if he wouldn’t come back yet. We had agreed that he would stick his thumb up or down depending on the news. When I saw him coming, I didn’t see a single thumb, not good, not bad. Damn it, I thought, we had agreed something, hadn’t we? And suddenly I saw a thumb up. Unbelievable! I couldn’t be happier! We got away, and at no cost. Now all that was left was to get my smartphone working.
I wanted to go in the water for a while, because now we were reassured, weren’t we? The swim was very short, because I felt the fish gnawing at my broken knee several times. The fun was gone, I thought it was a terribly scary feeling, and in my imagination I saw whole schools of Piranhas crushing my knee. I have quite a vivid imagination, I have to admit, but still, suddenly I didn’t like the idea very much any more, and with a slight sense of panic I ran -yesay, run- out of the water.
After enjoying the sun that disappeared behind the rust, we went home to put my mobile phone in cat litter. Because this would help, at least 24 hours everything in it had to dry, while the cat pellets – which could absorb an extreme amount of moisture – pulled the moisture out. At least, that is what we had read on the internet. So our two wallets and my mobile phone were drying brotherly side by side.
The morning after it remained exciting, but, there was no life to be had in it. My mobile phone was completely dead, dead as a spill. And no matter how terrible it is to have to establish this; you can’t live without it anymore. Not me, not for two days. So all I had to do was buy me a new mobile phone. But, I keep thinking positively; it could have cost us a lot more. Two new mobile phones and a car key… Make your own bill…
I have also discovered that copper rusts, because the compartment containing my coins now also colours rust. Even the notes look watery, even if they are dry. I find it a bit exciting to pay with them, and then fidget them a bit clumsy and especially doing-as-if-I-if-not-make them, soon in the hands of the recipients.
But all’s well that ends well. Episode x of yet another obstacle on our outings… But admit it, it has brought me a blog story. 😉