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Travel Flashback: The Song of the Sea

I admit it: I’ve been craving large quantities of cool, clear, sparkling water. Not to drink; to dunk myself in.

July was a brutally hot month in Washington, with humidity so high that the air could be described as “almost breathable.” And when it’s that gross outside, all I want is to throw myself bodily into a large body of water. Unfortunately, DC suffers from a shortage of swimming pools (there have been no less than two articles in the Washington Post suggesting solutions to this problem), and to date, I have yet to satisfy my craving. So naturally, I can’t stop thinking about the beautiful waters of my past vacations.

Although I love the water, I rarely take vacations that revolve around water activities. And when it comes to swimming, I am, as a rule, a pool person. I prefer to see the bottom of the water, as well as any other living things that may be sharing the water with me. And I think I got knocked over by a wave once too often in my childhood to be entirely comfortable in the open sea. But once – just once – I spent a blissfully happy afternoon in the crystalline turquoise waters of Bermuda.

After several rainy days on the Britishy Bermuda, the skies had finally cleared and my friend and I were ready for the beach. We crossed the island to a public beach that was supposed to be particularly nice. The wide-open expanse of pink sand was beautiful, as all beaches in Bermuda are, but full of people. Instead of stopping there, we followed a narrow, barely-there path over dunes and around rocks to a small hidden cove. Surrounded on two sides by tall rocks, and occupied by only half a dozen other people, we had found our ocean paradise.

The water was the perfect temperature, absolutely velvety on the skin, and so clear that I could see the white sand below me even at six feet deep. The ocean waves broke just beyond the entrance to the cove, so the water rose and fell gently, keeping us buoyant without threatening to inundate us. It was entirely too easy just to float and paddle around a bit and let the time pass slowly. So easy, that I forgot about the limits of my sunscreen and would later discover that the exposed scalp where my hair parted on the top of my head was pinker than the Bermuda sand.

Since then, I’ve only been back in the ocean a few times, and only for some snorkeling excursions (the last of which led me to conclude that I am not a “snorkeling person” – but that’s another story). It is, frankly, just too hard to match the perfection of that Bermudian sea.

Then again, when water’s siren song becomes impossible to ignore, I may be willing to compromise.

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