In April of 2001, Nate and I decided to go to Hawaii, kind of as a last hurrah before Jake was born. I was seven months pregnant, and Maui seemed perfect. And for the most part, it was. We laid around by the pool, drank (virgin, in my case) mai tais, and drove around to see the sites. But then we decided to take a day-trip snorkeling.
We were supposed to go out to Molokini, which is a partially submerged volcanic crater off the coast of Maui. I had been there before, and the snorkeling is really amazing. However, the water was exceptionally rough that day, so the ride out was really choppy, and once we got there, they decided it wasn’t safe to snorkel, and we would go to a different location that was shielded from the wind.
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I get seasick. Easily. Like I’m feeling queasy right now just thinking about being on a boat. I usually take medication if I’m going to be on a boat, but because I was pregnant, I was unwilling to medicate, and so I purchased some seabands at the drugstore and hoped for the best. Wishful thinking. By the time we turned around to go to the other location, I was standing at the side of the boat praying that if I threw up it would make it all the way to the water without splashing anyone on the way down.
So we finally got there, and I hadn’t thrown up. I was the first person into the water, and quickly swam away from the boat so that I could hurl in private. And hurl I did. Copiously. Luckily, when you’re pregnant you have your own built-in floatation device, because otherwise I hurled so much I might have drowned.
Here’s the dirty little secret about vomiting while you’re snorkeling. Best snorkeling ever. The fish swarmed around me and couldn’t get enough. I saw more fish on this snorkeling trip than in all my previous snorkeling trips combined. It was really amazing, and as much fun as you can have while you’re puking your guts out.
Eventually my stomach calmed down, and I swam over to Nate and we paddled around for awhile, saw some sea turtles, laughed about the puke. My goal was to be the very last person back on the boat. Boat bad. Water good. So we’re swimming around while everyone else is climbing back onto the boat. Suddenly, Nate looks at me with a look of absolute horror on his face. My first thought was, “SHARK!” But no, he was frantically pointing to his hand and trying to shout something at me through his snorkel gear.
I finally realize that he’s pointing to where his wedding ring should be. He sees that I understand what he’s getting at, and he points down to the floor of the ocean. It’s crystal clear, but the bottom is 20 feet away. We swim around searching the bottom, but see no glint of gold winking back up at us, and the boat is issuing its last call, and it’s time to go. So we say goodbye to Nate’s wedding band, and swim back to the boat.
We’ve never replaced Nate’s band. The fact is, he had lost about 30 pounds in the year leading up to this moment, and it was bound to happen at some point. And if you’re going to lose your wedding band, shouldn’t it be in the beautiful, puke-filled waters off the coast of Maui?