It’s true, sometimes it’s what you don’t know that should be kept a secret! I’m not saying we should go around with our heads in the sand, but honestly, there are few things my brain does not need to keep as memories …
Several weeks back I was with my fiancée Kim (now wife), and my fourteen-year-old son Danny—as well as fifteen or so other vacationing adventurers. We were halfway through our Kauai zip-lining adventure, which by the way, is a blast and highly recommended. Anyway, we had just completed a monumental 200-yard zip line across a beautiful emerald green chasm—spectacular and exhilarating. It was time for lunch, and for the highly celebrated (by the two zip-line guides) natural pond swim. Great—we were all hot, sweaty, and very hungry. We proceeded to climb down a fairly sheer hillside to get to the natural pond. We needed to take extra care with Danny, since he had earlier nearly killed himself slipping down a cliff (more on that experience in a later blog).
Arrival at the natural pond was anticlimactic to say the least. We were at the bottom of a valley of sorts where the slopes of the surrounding hills sort of converge into a pit. And since it rains in Kauai almost daily, our natural pond was made from the drainage runoff . What I had pictured as a clear sparkling lake was more of a smelly, black, pool of unknown origins. Kim and I traded leery glances, and were all set to sit this swim out—hell, I can easily wait for my shower back at the resort. But at that point the gang was quickly led over to the stack of awaiting inner tubes “Jump in guys, we’ll start lunch,” shouted one of the guides. Danny was second in line right after a pretty teenage girl about his same age. “Hey Dad, last one in …” and off he jumped into the mystery pond—showoff! Every one of my fellow tourists’ heads turned in unison towards me in anticipation of my own daring jump into the abyss—“Jump in Dad.” Well I did end up jumping in (what choice did I have?), and so did Kim and most of the rest of the gang.
It’s amazing what peer pressure will do to motivate you. The water was cool and all in all we had a fairly nice time floating around. I was a little concerned that the smell of the pond would never come off of my skin though. Soon “lunch” was called and we all scampered back onto solid ground and converged around a makeshift table with handmade falafel sandwiches symmetrically laid out for us.
The sandwiches tasted great—that or we were starving—not sure which. That’s when things started going down hill. Halfway through my sandwich, I saw movement from the corner of my right eye … somewhere in the pond something was moving. Derek, one of the guides, saw my scowling expression and happily said with a smile, “Crawdads man, there’s hundreds of them in there.” This got everyone’s attention, especially Danny’s, who has a fear of anything that crawls. Looking closer through the murky water, we could now see a blanket of marching, black creatures, some at least a foot long—pincher’s all raised in unison. At this point Derek (not sure what the other guide’s name was), said “This is my favorite part of the lunch festivities,” and at that point he flopped a big piece of lunchmeat (I think it was a turkey slice), into the pond. One of the larger crawdads was apparently ready for it and was onto the lunch meat in seconds, pulling it away with its claws and disappearing into the dark depth to enjoy his own lunch feast. A stillness came over the crowd as Derek and his partner, proceeded to fling all the uneaten lunchmeat into the water.
It was really quite a sight seeing all these floating pieces of lunchmeat being plucked from the surface of the water like shark bait in a Jaws movie. As we all watched in a dumb stupor, we came to the same realization, that this was far from the first time this fun lunch activity had taken place—how many unsuspecting others had spent their afternoons swimming around in this disgusting pool of half-eaten lunch meat and overfed crawdads???
Needless to say, lunch was over. We all survived the rest of the zip lining adventure and all in all it was a good experience. Thinking back at this now, I can honestly say, please, “Look before you leap!”