Monday, June 24, 2013

Thrill of it All Blogfest, And Congrats to Nancy LaRonda Johnson

The Thrill of It All Blogfest, hosted by Tara Tyler and Heather M. Gardner!

I almost forgot this fest, and I'm thankful for Tara Tyler' timely email that helped me remember. I'm not sure  really hit this fest the "right" way . . . and this time, it wasn't even on purpose . . . sigh. Here goes.

I'm still mostly on blogging hiatus (other than plans for visiting), so I'm re-posting an old post, from the most thrilling experience I've ever had (other than watching my youngest cliff jump last year from 25-30 ft up with her cousins - that nearly gave me a mom heart attack).

So, this is "as-is" and says "last night" when in reality this post is from two years ago in April 2011.

We swam with Manta Rays off the Kona coast last night. With no previous experience snorkeling for my daughters or for me, we slid off a Snorkel and Dive boat, The Manta, with my husband, two professional divers, and 16 other newbies. The sun had just dipped below the horizon before we put on our snorkel gear, and were handed flashlights that strapped to our wrists. My oldest daughter was nervous about getting off the boat. My youngest had trouble with her snorkel mask a few times on the swim over to the dive and snorkel site from the boat. I’ve had panic attacks in open water before, and felt myself shivering, but I stayed brave for my daughters.

Sound totally crazy? It probably was. The water was completely dark, except for the bobbing lights attached to our snorkel masks.

When we reached the snorkel and dive site, we floated, keeping our legs and bodies straight out around the circle of floats, and our lights pointed down into the center of the ring. Divers below us had lights set up on the shallow (at least 40 feet) shelf beneath us. We saw a ray swooping in circles over by another group. We could hear their shouts of excitement. We waited, and waited, just seeing the edges of the rays outside our circle. Then one swam up to eat the krill attracted by our lights.

The rays do this swooping circle to feed, with their bellies flashing white just below the surface. We were floating right above them. At least 6 different rays visited our circle, coming up right underneath us. One came less than a foot away from me, belly to belly, and I just tried to stay as still as I possibly could. I was scared, but elated, amazed, awed, shivering from excitement and a little cold. I made everyone laugh by shouting into my snorkel, “Holy Cow! That’s close enough. That’s good. Close enough!” as the ray circled again and again, getting closer every time. 

The smallest rays that was saw last night were 6ft across, and the largest was 14ft. Thankfully, "Chloe" stayed down with the divers. I wasn't sure I wanted a 14 ft ray next to me. Maybe if I did it again, I would be braver.

The Kona Manta Rays are the only rays that are safe to swim with in the wild. They have no stingers. They have no teeth. They are very shy, and will swim away if people try to approach them or touch them. However, if they come to feed next to you, and you stay still, you can swim “with” them close.

My youngest daughter, aged nine, said it was the best night of her life. My oldest said it was awesome, definitely one of the coolest things she has ever done. My husband loved it, and surprisingly, I did too. Take that, fear of water!

AND
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Nancy LaRonda Johnson for her new book, Salted with Fire!


The Blurb in her words:

Black magic, murder, insanity, humor, honor and devotion. Salted With Fire is a journey of flash fiction and poetry that shows my (Nancy's) writing transformation from worldly to wanting to please God.
 
Flash fiction is my (Nancy's) passion; poetry is my release. I love creating a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end, with twists, humor, drama, compassion and horror, all under 1000 words. Salted With Fire isn’t just a book of stories and poetry, it is my journey as a writer, from writing only for the mere joy of it regardless of the message, to writing stories that highlight God’s will for people, even if the stories themselves are not religious in nature.
 
Inside are fifteen flash fiction pieces and twelve poems with full-color pictures, and short Biblical discussions after each story.
 
Find it here:  Amazon, Smashwords, and CreateSpace.
 
Oh, and my short story and poetry collection, Dragonfold and Other Adventures is out today at Createspace and Amazon (soon in ebook). Plus there's a Goodreads Giveaway for it! For a mini preview, go here!

30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, what an adventure! I would've been nervous had a big one swam close as well.
And congratulations, Nancy.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - yes, it was definitely exciting!

J. A. Bennett said...

I love snorkeling! It's been way too long since I've done it!

Tyrean Martinson said...

JA - it's a lot of fun - more fun than I imagined it would be!

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

What an amazing adventure to share with your family.

LD Masterson said...

A very cool experience.

And congratulations to Nancy.

Tyrean Martinson said...

LD - Thanks!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'd love to swim with manta rays! I bet I could even talk my husband into joining me.

Julie Luek said...

Snorkeling is on the bucket list-- I would love that kind of thrill!

Mark Means said...

Sounds like a magical event. Too bad you didn't take any pictures! :)

Congrats to you both on the releases!

Al Diaz said...

I say rays one day but not nearly as close. I think I would have been nervous too. I just snorkeled once and it was such an exciting experience for me I wanted to swim after the colorful fish. :D
Geez! I knew I was forgetting someone last night. I forgot Nancy's book. I'll include her next Friday. Dragon Hugs!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Congrats on the latest release! I'm still trying to finish off last year's list which includes Champion.

I used to go snorkeling when I was a kid. Never really got the hang of not going to far under water and breathing.

michelle said...

Manta Rays? Ooooo.
What a thrilling adventure, filled with tension...
Congrats to Nancy LaRonda!

Maurice Mitchell said...

What an amazing experience. I can't swim, but love snorkling. When I scuba dive I'll try this.

Carrie-Anne said...

That sounds like a really fun adventure. I'd love to snorkel and swim with sharks and mantas someday, though I'm really nervous about swimming in uniformly deep water. I don't mind swimming through or out of water over my head, but I've always avoided swimming only in the deep end.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Diane - It's definitely a great experience!

Julie - it's pretty exciting!

Mark - we had an underwater camera, and the pictures are hysterically bad - we didn't really know how to use the camera, and we were all really excited so we have some magnificent blurs. My husband did buy the video by the professional dive videographer. . I'll see if I can find a clip and post it on Wed.

Al - Hugs Back! Snorkeling is pretty amazing!

Elizabeth - Thanks! I just stayed on the surface, but my youngest and my husband learned how to go under and breathe without getting water in their snorkels.

Michelle -glad you liked it :)

Maurice - you should! It's pretty amazing!

(I can't scuba dive, my ears can't handle it, but it looks really cool)

Catherine Stine said...

Yipes, swimming with Rays! I swam with dolphins once and that was very cool.

M Pax said...

Loved reading about your experience with the rays. That'd be wonderful. Congrats on the short story collection! Woo hoo!

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

Very exciting and good for you for conquering your fears!

Stephen Tremp said...

I qould.never cliff dive. Too much of a chicken.

Good luck with Dragonfold! I will make you my Author of the Week qhen I get home later.

Tara Tyler said...

i've read a lot of thrilling adventures on your blog! way to conquer that fear! you are braver than me! but it was definitely a thrilling story!

and congrats to nancy!

Jack said...

I reviewed your book. I really had a lot of fun reading it, it was really well done! I loved it!

Jack said...

Oops...I forgot to leave the link. http://missjacklewisbaillot.blogspot.com/2013/06/you-should-really-announce-your-weapons.html

Heather Holden said...

Wow, amazing! I don't think I'd ever be brave enough to go snorkeling like that...

Misha Gericke said...

That sounds like an amazing experience. :-)

Heather M. Gardner said...

That is amazing. Incredible! Thanks for sharing that story with us!
Thanks for participating.
Heather

Nicki Elson said...

Oh my gosh - how terrifying and totally cool all at once! I admire you & your family for getting in the water and I hope the memory of the experience is just as thrilling now as it was then.

Congrats to both LaRonda and you!

Rena said...

That sounds like spectacular fun. I really enjoy getting to see wildlife in its natural habitat, and I imagine the rays were amazing.

Morgan said...

Beautiful writing, Tyrean! And so wonderful for Nancy. :D

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

Thanks Tyrean. I never knew you posted this. How cool you are for this wonderful post. Great for your adventures too! Writer’s Mark