Monday, June 07, 2010

Vacationing with a disability - day 3

Did you ever wonder why there are so few, if any, wheelchairs on the beach?  No, of course you haven't.  Unless you use one, you seldom think of wheelchairs at all, let alone at the beach.  Same goes for walkers or mobility scooters.  Well, today I discovered the answer and in the process had one of those life changing experiences you're not sure you want to write home about.

This morning after listening to the concierge talk about all the things to see and do around the time share complex and Kauai, Carolyn and I decided to sign up for a snorkeling cruise for Tuesday morning which would give us a chance to try out the snorkeling sets we bought at Sam's Club before coming here.  

First, we got on our swimming suits and went to one of the pools in the complex.  With mask, snorkel, and fins in place we swam randomly around the pool.  The last time we were in Hawaii we had some snorkels with defectively installed valves and I wanted to find out if that was the case this time.  Everything was in perfect working condition.  With the ocean just a couple hundred feet from the pool, we decided to try out the equipment there.

According to the concierge, one of the best places in Kauai to snorkel was a rocky sand bar just 300 feet east of the hotel beachfront.  We knew we couldn't get there with my scooter and walking unassisted was out of the question.  We tried my rolling walker but it too sank into the sand even when we tried the wet sand down by the water line.  Carolyn then suggested that we rent boogie boards and swim over to the bar.  I had done so well swimming in the pool that it made sense to swim over and the boards would let us rest a little if necessary.  I could also use the board as a cane or crutch walking over the sand and through the shallow water.

All was working well as we entered the water but when I tried to ride the board, it slipped out of my left hand, the hand affected by significant bursitis.  I tried again and again.  My mask, which I hadn't pulled down on my face slipped off and now I was fighting to put it back on while keeping the boogie board on a tether and treading water.  The ocean floor drops quickly from the beach.  Finally, I realized I was tiring and told Carolyn I wasn't having fun anymore.  About then, I lost hold of my mask and snorkel and stubbed my toe on a rock.  I was tired and frustrated.  Of course, as soon as I hit the sand I remembered that I can't walk unassisted.  The crashing surf twisted me around and rolled me over to remind me how much  less control one has sitting on the beach versus standing.  By the time Carolyn reached me I couldn't even stand with her help.  Fortunately, a young woman realized my plight and came over to help.  In other circumstances, I would have really enjoyed having a lovely woman on each arm but at this time I was just glad to be led off the beach.

Once assured I was okay, Carolyn thanked the young woman then headed back out to see if my mask and snorkel were anywhere in sight.  She tried for 15 or 20 minutes without success.  She had no problem with the equipment or the boogie board.  My sense of independence just continues to be eaten away and Carolyn has to be wondering if taking this vacation at this time was a smart idea.

By the time we had cleaned off all the sand and become presentable again, we were starving.  The  concierge had recommended Bubba's Burgers, only a short drive from the time-share.  In contrast to Burger King, Bubba's motto is "Have it our way, right away; your way, some delay."  "their way" is a plain patty in a sesame seed bun with mustard, relish, and diced onions.  It isn't bad but it could never compete with In and Out Burgers.

This evening we attended what we thought was going to be a professional hula performance but turned out to be a student recital for the largest hula dance school on the island.  Like other dance recitals we have attended, each class is given a chance to showcase their accomplishments so parents can ooh and aah appropriately.  They also had some of the moms strut their stuff.  

We were impressed that the costumes were all so modest.  

At least until they came to the Tahiti portion of the program, then the dresses got really skimpy.  But throughout the entire program the emphasis was on smooth, graceful movements.


  1. Sorry to hear that your first try snorkeling in the ocean went so badly. See any chickens yet?

  2. See any chickens?!!! You can't look in any direction for more than a few minutes without seeing chickens. I am so amazed at the varied coloring and beautiful plumage.

  3. I admire your tenacity! And I never did see what was so great about In N Out. The surf has a way of taking things away and out to sea. I have lost many items. Have a great adventure!

  4. I think your hotel needs to look into some all terrain wheelchairs. There appear to be quite a variety available. There is a sign next to Libby and Perry's sailing class saying that they are available for beach access. Unfortunately, it isn't clear where they are avaiable, but I assume they are somewhere near.