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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sea Snakes - Really?

"There are some 50 different species of sea snakes, and all of them are venomous. They thrive in abundance along the coast from the Persian Gulf to Japan and around Australia and Melanesia. Their venom is 10 times as virulent as that of the cobra. Humans bitten by them have died within 24 hours."

This from a friend's post on Facebook. As if I need yet another reason to avoid setting foot in the ocean. Sharks, jellyfish, stingrays, depth, salt and the movies "Castaway" and "A Perfect Storm" apparently aren't enough - now I have to worry about poisonous snakes, which are bad enough on land and almost certainly more nimble in the water.

It seems that there is always another surprising tidbit that comes across the wire that brings my fear of the sea to new heights - or depths, as it were. The ocean is nothing but trouble. Its tides, controlled by the moon, are as unpredictable as... well, as the tides. Its depths holds monsters, man-eaters and things that sting, yet we are drawn there by the shimmering of its waves in the sun and the pretty coral beneath the surface. Suckers, I say - immediately the lowest fruit on the food chain once we have entered its confines. We cannot breath beneath the waves, we are not equipped to swim quickly and we are bleeders - all of which define our place in the grand sea-scheme.

Now, we have snakes that inhabit the sea. Perfect.

Poisonous sea snakes - snakes even more poisonous than their landlubbing brethren. Lots more poisonous. I make it a point not to trust reptiles in general and even less those which have no legs or feet. Anything that slithers on the earth or in the sea should be avoided at all costs - time will bear me out on this one. It even states in the bible that serpents can't be trusted. I don't even believe in that book of fairy tales, but this particular piece of information makes perfect sense to me.

The ultimate irony here is that I have been awarded a trip to St. Thomas - apparently an island resort in the Caribbean, surrounded by ocean. I not only have my particular strain of skin cancer to deal with, but also my unconquerable fear of the sea to contend with on my trip. Will this stop me from going - I think not. I will be the one in the bar, slathered in 198 SPF sunscreen, wearing a beekeeper's suit, attempting to coax a mai-tai through one of those big straws.

I will also be the one keeping a tally on my peers who have been bitten, stung and devoured by the creatures of the deep - it's the least I can do.

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