Fiji: Me vs. Beetlejuice Snake, Part One
The first time I went snorkeling was in Fiji. I think this was God’s way of trying to apologize for my middle school years.
Not only was I in Fiji, but I was on the same beach that was used in the movie Blue Lagoon. I’ve never seen the film, but I’m pretty sure it’s about a young Brooke Shields and how much she hates wearing clothes. My friends and I had arrived on that white, sandy beach after spending two horrible days in our hostel on the island of Tavewa. Two days of getting bit by mosquitoes and peeing in dirt holes and getting sun rashes all over our bodies and hearing “BULA!!!” about twenty times too many. Needless to say, we needed a vacation from our vacation.
As I tend to do with most things, I jumped head-first into snorkeling without much hesitation or preparation. I had barely gotten my flippers on before flopping into the water, my mask crooked and fogging up rapidly. I flailed about awkwardly, spit flying from my mouth like a rabid dog in an attempt to clean my mask properly. With the style and grace of a gazelle, I dove into that lagoon without a freakin’ clue as to what I was doing.
After a few seconds, I decided that snorkeling and I were made for each other. Clad only in a teeny-weeny bikini, I glided effortlessly above the skeletal coral and skittish fish, sublimely humming “Part of This World” from The Little Mermaid to myself as I went (doesn’t everyone?). The hypnotic rhythm of my breath was the only thing I could hear, and I was completely at peace. Before I knew it, I found myself floating much farther out than the rest of my friends, but I didn’t worry. I was a professional.
Suddenly, my underwater heaven was interrupted by this guy:
When I tell this story at parties (who’s the cool kid?), I usually refer to this creature as the Beetlejuice Snake, or Satan. Surprisingly, neither of those names are as scientifically accurate as they sound. His real name is the Banded Sea Krait and he’s a feisty little thing. I wouldn’t learn this until much, much later in my life, but this particular sea snake produces neurotoxic venom at an average amount of 10-15 mg. They only need to use 1.5 of those milligrams to kill a redheaded novice snorkeler who’s cramping their style. In case you need more convincing that this dude is a BAMF, Beetlejuice Snake’s venom is 10x more lethal than Africa’s Black Mamba.
And as we all know from Kill Bill (Volumes 1 and 2), you don’t ever want to mess with a Black Mamba.
Find out what happened next when I write Part Two next week! (SPOILER: I’m still alive)