This is probably a good thing, but there isn’t too much to write about these two days. I’m not sick anymore, but I’m eating a fraction of my normal daily intake. I loathe my bed, which has a noticeable dip in my side of it.

We went to Orient Bay in St. Maarten, which was still as nice as it was 10 months ago when we were there. The whole island had a cool feeling of familiarity, and everyone we encountered was friendly.

The next stop was St. Thomas, which we saw only from a ferry over to St. John’s on our last excursion. St. John’s is awesome, it’s by far the greenest island we’ve been to. After a taxi ride through the mountains (stopping to take some great pictures) we ended up at Trunk Bay, which was ranked as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Understandably so; the beach was gorgeous. We took a ton of pictures there, which Meg should be posting soon in the gallery.

Like I said, not much worth mention, but a really good end to the trip.

I was feeling a bit better, but Meg and I decided I should see the doctor anyway. As we waited in the once again packed waiting room, we got to talking to another couple next to us. Both of them had the exact same problem I did, as did 2 of their friends. All of us ate at about the same time in the same cafe. I take a small comfort in the fact that there isn’t necessarily something wrong with me so much as a bad batch of something at breakfast.

I finally get to see the doctor and realize why he’s working on a cruise ship instead of, say, a real practice. He has the bedside manners of Hannibal Lecter. He prescribes some stuff for me. That’s the “good news”. The bad news is that I have to be in isolation for 24 hours to prevent any possible spread, where isolation simply meant not to leave my room.

I really didn’t plan on honoring it. If they are allowed to distribute shit eggs freely, I was sure as hell gonna walk around. It was a day at sea, which made it a much smaller deal since I didn’t miss any excursions. But in the end, I slept most of the day and couldn’t muster the energy to be rebellious anyway.

I see the nurse on the way out, who is also dripping with personality. She gives me a shot – in my ass – and some pills to take. She tells me to come back the next morning to get cleared from isolation, which would re-enable my boarding pass and let me leave the ship again.

All in all, it could be much worse. There were people there with broken bones. The sunburn I got on spring break in Aruba was significantly more difficult to live with, since I couldn’t even sleep. And there is something relaxing about spending an entire day in bed watching TV. Meg still got to go up to the pool and stuff, so while she was a little bored it wasn’t an entire waste for her.

I got food poison this morning.


We went to the Windjammer Cafe, like normal, for their buffet breakfast. I didn’t eat anything out of the ordinary; in fact, I probably ate less than usual.

Soon after, I had a crazy stomach ache. We were supposed to leave for our Beach X-Press Tour of Curacao not too long after lunch. Never having been to Curacao, and assuming my stomach problems were a hangover symptom after drinking away Meg’s near death experience, we went anyway.

The bus ride was about 30 minutes, during which Curacao looked pretty nice. We ended up at the beach, where I promptly made for the bathroom to begin a long series of, well, getting sick. I wandered back to our beach chairs and passed out for pretty much the duration of our time at the beach.

Miraculously, I survived the bus ride back to the ship, but I didn’t make it much past that. I ended up back in the room where I proceeded to expunge breakfast, dinner the previous night, last Thanksgiving dinner, and my shoes. A quick shower to get the sun tan lotion off and it was to bed for me.

I’ll save the gory details. But I will make reference to the South Park episode where Kenny was trying to keep his parents from getting pregnant. I was Kenny’s dad.

I decided to go to the doctor around 4:30, at which time I was pretty much told to go away by the nurse, being informed the doctor worked from 9-11am, and again from 3-5pm. The waiting room was packed, and I probably wouldn’t make it in to see the doctor. Great code of ethics. “Oops, 5pm, time to get to the Sunset Bar because the band is starting.”

I went back to the room and basically slept out the night, waking occasionally to take a sip of water, only to regret it 10 minutes later as I steamrolled Meg out of the way to the bathroom.

By now, many people have heard me make reference to a snorkeling adventure in St. Maarten where I almost died. Many of you have also pointed out that Meg stands to gain quite a bit this time around if I were to die, so thanks for that.

In typical Dobies fashion, the near death experience on the cruise was maintained this go round. And once again, it was on a snorkel expedition. Last time we were in St. Maarten, but this time the trip found us in Aruba. Different location, same net effect: near death.

But realize that this time around, while Meg stands to gain quite a bit in the event of my death, part of that deal is that she is now, in fact, a Dobies. And it was her who had the near death experience.

If anyone out there is just now feeling a sense of dread or concern, you can kiss my ass.

The excursion was named Sail, Swim, Snorkel, and Swing. We arrived at the dock to be greeted not by the normal catamaran cruiser we have become accustomed to on these trips, but rather a schooner, which is apparently loosely translated into “pirate ship.” After being ferried out to the ship on a transport (which, incidentally, looks like it came straight out of the invasion on Normandy), we set off to our first snorkel destination.

It was actually the best snorkeling trip we’ve been on. We saw literally thousands of fish, and many were interesting. Not only did I not die, but I was also rather proficient with the stupid fins we’re forced to wear.

Enough of that, let’s get to the meat of the story. We’ve covered the sail, swim, and snorkel portions of the story, but many of you are probably wondering what the hell swing has to do with anything. It’s literally just that. The ship came equipped complete with its own Tarzan rope swing from which the guests could hurl themselves into the water. Afterwards, the skilled crew would make us look ridiculous by putting on an impressive, albeit well-rehearsed, show.

It’s going to be hard to describe what the setup was, but trust me when I say its relevant. Jettisoning out from about 15 feet over the ship’s deck, slightly in front of the midway between the stern and aft, was an arm that extended a solid 10 feet perpendicular to the boat. From the end, a long rope was attached with a handle on the free end. The handle was pulled to the very front tip of the boat. Riders would grab the rope at that point and swing on a diagonal from the front of the ship to about midway towards the back of the ship, but away from the ship (as the rope connection extended past the right edge of the boat).

Everyone got that?

The swing portion was initiated by the crew cornering Meg as she came out of the bathroom. After harassing her for a bit, she was nominated to be the first rider of the swing, even before the crew themselves. Ironic, as it were, since she had no intention at all of swinging.

So there she stands, at the very tip of the ship. Because of the drunken 60 yr old sorority girls on the ship, everyone knew her name and were now chanting it.

The crew instructed her to step off the left side of the ledge and swing out. Meg, unfortunately, interpreted this to mean jump to the left.

For you non-physics majors, let me explain the difference. In merely stepping off to the left, the natural direction of where the rope was anchored would have taken her on a diagonal, towards the back of the ship and away from the side. Jumping out to the left, however, sent her into more of a circular motion. This circular motion cannot be undone mid air, leaving her on a trajectory to sail around the rope anchor and right back into the side of the ship.

I’m not sure if Meg froze, or if she didn’t realize where she was, but her path was taking just that trajectory. The guest cheers, which had migrated from “Meg… Meg…” into a general roar had quickly died into silence and audible gasps. One such gasp emitted from the crew member no more than two feet to my right.

She decided to let go with about three feet to spare from smacking clear into both the side of the boat and the ladder to exit from the water. As she bobbed to safety, the guests began to cheer and form a line for their turn.

The crew member next to me, who had disappeared momentarily once my wife resurfaced, came running back to me with a (very strong) rum and punch in hand. He gave me a pat on the shoulder that told me that he had feared the worst as well.

And so, me and my pendulum of a wife survived yet another snorkeling excursion.