Stranded and alone for a couple days until I returned to the mainland I took a bus to the North Shore. There I checked into a hostel. In several days I had gone from the lap of luxury at my sister’s wedding to a dingy, dirty dormitory I would share with strangers. Still it was hard to beat the location.
I crossed a street toward a beach. It was roped off by caution tape because the day before there were massive man eating waves. This day though the water was calm. I stepped into the ocean and was amazed by what I saw. There is a ton of sea life off of the shores of Key Biscayne, but this was beyond belief. There were fish of every hue swimming through coral and massive rocks you had to dodge as you tried to shadow them. I swam with the fish until I could swim no more, but there were still hours of daylight left.
I learned up the road there was a temple. I walked up the mountain which was kind of treacherous because it was narrow and curved and there was no sidewalk. Fortunately a car stopped and offered me a ride. I got in the back seat where two forty year old guys and a pair of crutches were in the front seat. They asked where I was going. I told them the temple. They said good words about it and then went back into their conversation. The guy in the passenger seat pointed off the road and said, “That’s where they come from. I don’t know if they’re living in caves or what.” I didn’t hear much else because a moment later they dropped me off. I thanked them profusely and the driver said, “God Bless You” even though I had not sneezed.
I walked toward the temple which I had imagined to be a Buddhist Japanese type thing, but instead it was stone relics of an ancient temple. It overlooked a beautiful beach. At one point it began drizzling and a rainbow came out. I thought perhaps I could tap into mystical energies by climbing over the rocks and into what was once the grounds of the temple. Perhaps I was gifted when I entered the realm and my life will never be the same again.
But later when I returned to the hostel I told a Brazilian guy who said he gave 110 percent of himself to boogieboarding that I went to the Temple. He asked if I brought a banana leaf up there. I said no. He shook his head. “If you don’t bring the Gods a banana leaf you will never come back to this island.” When I mentioned that I entered the boundaries of the temple he got very worried. “Oh no, you are not a Kahuna. That is very bad luck for you to do that.”
At that point I was not worried about luck. The next morning though I was. I was wakened by the crowing roosters. I surrendered to them at 8 am. Another of the hostlers, a German guy who was travelling the world asked if I had been to Waimea Bay. I had not. There was a giant rock there that protruded into the water that people jumped off of. From far away it looked very imposing. I said, “There’s no way I’m jumping off that.”
But as we got closer it did not look so bad. I joined him in climbing it, but said I would make a decision when I got to the top. “You can’t do that.” he said. “If you climb and don’t jump, it is bad luck.” Was there nothing on this island that could not curse you?
We climbed it and the German immediately jumped into the sea. It did not look so bad. It was maybe 25 feet. The waves were big and it did not look too difficult to avoid landing on the other jagged rocks. But as I got close to the edge my heart started beating and would not stop. My body would not let me get any closer. I had jumped off bridges and piers in Miami that were higher than this, but something was not letting me tempt fate with this height. I was having something close to a panic attack. Then two sixteen year old local kids jumped off the rock. The boy started calling me a pussy. This was not motivating me any further. At this point in my life I was completely comfortable with my vaginal ways.
But finally my heart stopped beating. If the Gods were mad this would be their chance to punish me. I took a step toward the mossy ledge and pushed off. It wasn’t bad. The water was warm and cushioned my fall as my feet descended to the floor of the sea. I lived to see the shore. The teenagers asked if I was going to do it again.