Wow. A chance to see part of a coral reef. I couldn’t wait. I was attending the Fun in the Sun Cruise Conference, sponsored by the Florida Romance Writers as a speaker.
I’d prepared my speech on How to Write More and Faster, so the only thing I was nervous about was using the snorkel mask. Keeping up with my roommates on the long walk down the main hall to reach classes made me breathe a little harder–I have high blood pressure in my lungs–but as soon as I reached the classroom and caught my breath, I was fine. I’d swum across a lake and gone snorkeling about ten years ago, so I should be able to handle this.
I made the long trek along the dock from the ship to the meeting place in Cozumel and slathered on sun screen along with others waiting to go. With my camera, hat, and towel, I followed others onto the boat and sat while we cruised the shoreline. The water rippled in patches of blue, green, and aqua as we passed a canal and a large hotel.
I listened to the instructions for the mask and put on the flippers. Breathing with the mask took getting used to. I had to remember to breathe through my mouth and not my nose. Walking with those huge flippers was tricky, but I followed other swimmers to the edge of the boat and jumped off.
After surfacing, I swam about twenty yards toward the swimmers. I’d put my mask on when I reached them, but I was getting tired already. Suddenly, I remembered the last time I swam in a pool. I’d have to stop and rest after doing each lap. Now, it dawned on me. I was out of shape and not able to handle this. Damn. I was not going to see any coral reef. I turned and headed back toward the boat. One of the guides showed up beside me with a life-preserver ring, which I held on to conserve my strength as I swam back to the boat. All the black dots you see in the water in front of the hotel are swimmers’ heads.
Once on board, I relinquished my mask and flippers. I sat in the boat and watched the bobbing heads of the crowd of swimmers as they looked at the reef. After they returned to the boat, I asked a boy what he’d seen. He said he’d watched a lot of fish swimming.
After returning to the cruise ship, I had several consolations. Dinners with fellow writers were delicious, and my speech went fine. I learned a lot from the classes on marketing and received a request for two chapters of my novel, Double Jeopardy, from an agent. Best of all, I was able to visit my brother and his wife at their home in Jensen Beach and see his pictures of fish and coral he’d taken while deep sea diving.
Now, I’m back to polishing my chapters and finalizing the versions of the three novels I am republishing as a serial. The Royals of Cordillera will include Royal Pretender, Royal Wedding Scoop, and Holiday with a Royal. I have received preliminary covers for all three and will soon release Royal Pretender with Royal Wedding Scoop coming a month later.