Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Curse of Corsica (part 2)

Today I have been tidying my room and sorting my junk out. If you do not throw away at least one bin liner of rubbish, you haven't done it properly. As a break I have decided to update my blog. So here is the eagerly awaited (by three people) second instalment of the Curse of Corsica trilogy.

Tuesday was one of two exceptionally long walks. There is an area of Corsica that is preserved, and can only be accessed by foot or boat (and presumably plane/helicopter in emergencies). So my dad thought it was a good idea to walk to a village in this reserve, and we did. The first part to a beach was fine, but the next bit was difficult. Bear in mind that the weather was HOT, and the terrain was up (at first). This was one of two routes, the one that went up and over the ridge, the other being along the cliffside. So we finally got to the village of Girolata and had paninis. This was the first attack of a rogue tomato.* Tomatoes in paninis are hot and slippery and well, they burn. So Kath was attacked by hers.

On the way back to the car we walked the coastal path owing to less up and down terrain. However, this way was even harder as the path was made of loose rocks and was bordered by a precipitous drop. My mother was wearing sandals, so didn't have the best grip on the terrain so she slipped. I heard a scream and through my mind went a scene like this (not that my mum would ever swing on a vine).

However, she just rolled down the path and emerged caked in dust and with two cuts to her elbow. We went home exhausted and had a barbecue.

As the rest of my family had had their incidents, it was turn for mine. I was somewhat anxious about it as Stephen, Sarah and I were due to go SCUBA diving and I had watched my brother nearly drown earlier in the week. So we went to the SCUBA school (or école plongée), and got changed. I never appreciated how difficult it was to get changed into wetsuits. Still, on reflection, I bet divers were glad when neoprene was invented.
So we went out on this boat to a rock on the Corsican coast and waited to go diving. As we were beginners we had 1-1 instruction, so had to wait our turn. Sarah went pretty much first, I was the last to go in. I was sitting in this boat in a full wetsuit (aptly known as a steamer) under the baking Mediterranean sun for about half an hour. I was getting more and more dehydrated and overheated and then it was my turn.

I went into the sea, donned my SCUBA gear and set off diving. The initial bit my ears really hurt as I hadn't quite mastered the equalisation process. We stuck close to the rock and being a beginner I had not quite mastered my decent and accent yet. To stop me plowing straight into the stone edifice of underwater Corsica I had to push of it with my hand, and I put it straight on an urchin. They looked a lot like this, but these are from the Caribbean.
The sudden shock with the stabbing pain coupled with the aforementioned dehydration resulted in nothing. Nill. Luckily it was only a minor scratch and it didn't even bleed. But the blood was to come later... It came for me to return to the boat, just as I was getting use to this diving malarkey. I surfaced and then suddenly my instructor's face looked worried. In broken English he asked 'Ears okay?'. At this point my wetsuit was covering my still waterlogged ears so I couldn't hear. I just signalled the internationally recognised okay sign and got onto the boat. As I was the last one out into the water I was the last one back and everyone was waiting for me. People were looking at me and Stephen asked, 'What happened?'. I was puzzled and slightly concerned at this point. 'Would someone tell me what was supposed to have happened?' I thought. I took my mask off, wiped my face and there was blood on my hands. Simply, I was having a nosebleed. Apparently it's quite common. So Wednesday was a day of firsts, SCUBA diving and my first ever nosebleed.

For Thursday to Sunday's adventures, see part 3. They're not quite as exciting, so will be abounding in pretty pictures. Everyone loves pretty pictures.

*See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36NgK-vJc1M


  1. Yay!! I'm glad the sea urchin didn't win, I stood on one whilst in Jamaica. It REALLY hurt for a split second, but then was fine, and it didn't bleed either. Also very glad your mum only rolled a little down the cliff, and bizzarly comforted by the fact that she doesn't tree swing, Anyway...bring on the pretty pictures!! :D

  2. How difficult did you find it putting on a wetsuit? Its easy, there again I've been doing it since I was about 6. Jealous you got to go SCUBA diving I really want to go. Stephen doesn't look impressed in that photo either :p