Me and husband recently (June 18) got back from a dream vacation of a lifetime. 8 days in Bora Bora. 5 days in a bungalow right on the beach, 3 days in an over the water bungalow. It was fabulous! The colors of the water and the clarity of it was just mesmerizing. I could sit all day just looking at it (which says a lot for me). I loved to snorkel, but did get bored of it as it looked the same each time I went in, but I could sit there and look at the water all day. Some times there were more fish, but they were the same fish all the time. The coral wasn’t as bright and colorful like I imagined it would be. The fish weren’t large and colorful, but still it was fabulous. The temp was in the 80’s with a breeze to keep you from getting too warm. The water was in the 70’s and waist deep for a long distance. Of course being a quilter I want to capture the colors and feelings into a quilt, and I even have ideas of how I want to do that. I just uploaded pictures I took with my waterproof camera (804 of them) plus another 147 form my DSLR camera and I don’t know how many from my iPhone. So I have over 1000 pictures and videos to help be design my new quilt.
Last big vacation (April 2014 Panama Canal Cruise) I came home and designed a king size bed quilt to help me remember that vacation. Even though I have lived be beaches for a good part of my life (Fort Walton Beach in Florida and Los Angles in California), I have never really been that fond of the beach. I did like the sand in Fort Walton Beach, it was white and very soft. And come August the water was very warm-but at that time it was full of sea weed and disgusting to go into. In both places and any other time I have been to different beaches I really have not enjoyed it much.
Part of it probably stems from not learning to swim until I was 16 and in High School. I grew up in Pueblo, CO and growing up I remember going to the Mineral Palace park pool every summer with my brother and sister and our friends. I didn’t know how to swim, so I played in the shallow end or clung to the side when I wanted to be close to my friends who did swim so I could watch them going off the diving boards. I can swim, although I really don’t like putting my face under water, but I suppose I could swim if I had to (just like I probably could still drive a stick shift car if I needed to).
When we were stationed in Australia (in Woomera which is a small town in the middle of the outback so nowhere near a beach, but we did have a pool and the most interesting thing I can say about that is we went swimming the day after Christmas because their seasons are reversed from ours (in North America). Anyhow the year before we left Australia, me and my husband took a long awaited honeymoon trip to the Great Barrier reef. I remember being so excited and so nervous about having the chance to go snorkeling there. On the boat ride to the reef they gave us the equipment and showed us how to use it. I was fine on board the boat with putting on my mask and breathing through the snorkel. But the water was a bit choppy that day so not as clear as normal. Anyhow when I got in the water and put my face in I started hyperventilating. That was end of snorkeling for me. I traded in my snorkel gear and joined the others exploring the tide pools (which was very interesting anyhow).
So now about 20 years after that we planned a Panama Canal cruise and I wanted to try snorkeling again. This time I had the internet to do some research and found out that it is quite normal to start hyperventilating when you first snorkel. Also found out that they have new snorkels that if you go under or a wave washes over the top it has a ball valve that will close and you won’t end up breathing in salt water ( a fear I had of course.) SO what did I do. I went out and bought my own mask and snorkel (talking to a salesman at the sporting good store, he recommended I practice in a pool before going). Since I didn’t have a pool and thought it would be really strange to practice at the pool at the gym, I filled the tub with water and tried to practice. While I didn’t have enough water to see if it really would close and keep water out of it (the ball valve really does not work when it is sideways.) I was able to get to where I didn’t hyperventilate when I put my face in the water. On our cruise we ended up at Grand Cayman Island and had some time there to do some snorkeling. It simply was amazing. The water was clear, but since the sun was reflecting off it as it moved you really could not see the fish clearly, until you put your face under water. When I did, I was mesmerized. To see the fish so clearly and so close was absolutely enthralling. I had a great time. And then we went to the Turtle farm and got to hold a baby (or a young) sea turtle, I fell in love. And I loved the green color of the water.
I only had a disposable underwater camera at that time, so I do have some pictures of the fish under water, but they are real pictures not digital so I will see about adding them here. They do have a place out there that they call sting ray city. This is a shallow place around the islands where the sting rays are accustomed to being fed there so there were a lot in that one place (hence the name, the tour operator said that they here the boat motors and come.) They are docile and would come up to you and you could actually touch and feed them if you wanted to (I didn’t but my husband did-they eat by sucking the food out of your closed fist since they could suck your fingers into their mouth you needed to keep your fingers tucked in). This is the quilt I came home and designed in EQ& and made to commemorate that vacation. I didn’t quilt this myself, but sent it to a long armer who put in all sorts of personal touches for me, fish and turtles, waves on the side and back of the boat. It has large blocks because I wanted it to go together fast.
Since I had chosen (with my husbands consent) the last 2 big vacation trips. in 2004 we did an Alaskan Cruise, and then the 2014 Panama Canal cruise, I let him choose and plan the next one. Well he did the choosing, he wanted to go to Bora Bora, and did some of the research, it was going to be expensive, and then I ended up taking over (I am the planner in the family.) He wanted this special trip to be for our 30th anniversary (which is in November), but that is their summer and the UV index was a bit scary for me (I am white and burn very easy). So in my research it turned out that June or July would be better, but June would be a little less expensive and less crowded as they have a big festival and water events and competitions in July (we do not like crowds and big events.) So we decided on June. This time we both had snorkel gear (he borrowed our son’s), I got an underwater digital camera. You know you always see these great photos and think that it will not look like that when you are there, that they knew the ideal time to be there or that they used special filters or photoshopped the pictures after. I am here to tell you that the water looks like that. the pictures have not been photoshopped. We were there and had some stormy weather, but the water still looked wonderful. Here are some pictures.
And here are some fabrics and things I have already gathered for a quilt to commemorate this trip.
This will just be a wallhanging as I want to include special fabrics and objects. I can’t wait to start planning and designing and sharing this process with all of you. Stay tuned…