Oh Captain, My Captain

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   I would post pictures tomorrow about yesterday’s trip to the beach at Bauang, La Union.  After all, I’m a terrible photographer, and I would be picking some of the best pictures tonight.  But for now, I’d like to rant about the sea.

   Because I’m thalassophobic, I fear open water.  As long as I could still feel that I’m wading on water shallow enough to stand on, the open sea scares the shit out of me.  But then again, there was the boat ride to another beach that purportedly had “white sand.”  That, if anything, was the ultimate scare for me.  Not only can’t I swim: I’m not an adrenaline junkie.  I did rapelling and commando crawls back in high school CAT-I by force.

   Being a full mile away from the shore for a 20-minute motorized banca ride was enough for me to pee in my shorts, but thank heavens I already took a leak.  Sure, the sea was calm, but being in a Frankenstein-ed wood-and-fiberglass skimmer with a generator’s diesel engine and five other people – and my chubby nephew Christian onboard – didn’t help.  I also sat at the very back, clinging on to the wooden frame for dear life.

   “Relax,” said the fisherman who owned the boat, noticing my pale nervousness as we were going to the middle of the sea.  How could you expect me to relax when I’m hallucinating about being encircled by sharks?  How could you expect me to relax when the very shores of Vietnam are visible on the horizon, that I’d be washed away and probably be abducted by Thai pirates when I end up marooned on the delta of the Mekong River?

   Twenty minutes of sheer thalassophobic hell may be OA for some people, but when even the gentlest of waves and the mildest of gales rock your boat, you automatically think of being capsized.  We’re not talking about a gulf here: we’re talking about the South China Sea.  Besides, my uncle Melo told me some grim news about a fisherman who, two months ago, was in a capsized boat and ended up a bloated corpse at the Hundred Islands.  Oh great: if anything happens to this boat, I’d end up washed away in a deserted island talking to a volleyball.

   It’s not that I haven’t been on a rickety boat before: I’ve rowed friends from one end of the Burnham Lake to the other.  But this was different: this was the open sea.  Walt Whitman came to my head: I would probably be implored to wake up from death because we finally saw land.

   Then I got to think about a different Captain altogether… yes, Captain Kirk.

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