20 Mar 2017
- By BC Cook
I HAVE talked with brides who told stories of rainy afternoons, crushed cakes and flat tires on limousines. Husbands complain of cancelled airplane reservations and bands that play too loud. But I am sure you will agree that the following story is the worst honeymoon ever.
Mark and Nancy just married in a storybook wedding. They chose Hawaii as their honeymoon spot, and it went well for the first few days. They swam in the ocean and sunned on the beach. Then they wanted to try the new sport of sea kayaking. It looked like a fun and safe way to explore the ocean.
The man who rented them the kayaks told them of the dangers: stay near the shore and avoid areas where the wind blows. Try to stay on the kayak, rather than swim in the ocean. Watch out for currents that could sweep you out to sea. Mark and Nancy ignored all of these rules and paid a high price.
They kayaked out away from the beach but kept an eye on the currents. When they grew tired they headed back to shore for a rest. Mark decided he had enjoyed the kayak enough for one day but Nancy wanted to go out one more time before dark.
As the sun went down they knew they were in trouble. The harder they paddled toward shore the further they drifted. Terror struck when they realized the current was sweeping them out to sea. Rather than exhaust themselves by continued paddling they decided to save their energy until the morning. After all, no one would be looking for them at night.
The water felt warmer than the air so when they got chilly they slid off their kayaks into the water. They figured the chances would be slim that a shark was around, but actually there was one nearby.
Nancy wasn’t sure what happened. She toppled over and sank under the waves. When she popped back up she had trouble swimming. She said her arm hurt and she might be bleeding. When Mark swam over to her he found her entire arm was gone, bitten off near the shoulder.
Nancy was losing blood fast and they had no way of getting back to shore. She obviously could not paddle her kayak and Mark could not get them both back to the island. She screamed from the intense pain. She thought her arm was still there because she could feel her fingers, a sensation many shark attack victims experience. Mark tried to stop his wife from bleeding but couldn’t. She died in his arms and he released her body into the deep, still not believing the nightmare he was living.
The next day Mark reached a deserted island and was stranded until picked up by a rescue boat, all the while mourning the loss of Nancy. He thought about their life together that now would never be. They had such great plans, so much potential, but now his world was shattered, his bride lost to a tiger shark that took an opportunity for a meal. This was, without a doubt, the worst honeymoon ever.
BC Cook, PhD lived on Saipan and has taught history for 20 years. He travels the Pacific but currently resides on the mainland U.S.