Hi , Nicholas here. I have a really crazy story to tell you about what happened last week. (We’re a bit behind, it’s been hectic)
After eight nights in Ubud, Bali, we had done a bunch of cool stuff, but we were ready for a change. We had the opportunity to go on an old wooden Indonesian sailboat called a Phinisi, where we sailed across the Flores Sea. We wanted to see Komodo dragons, go snorkeling to see sharks and manta rays, and make videos about our travels. We were leaving civilization. No restaurants, no cozy hotels, and certainly no Starbucks. Oh yeah, and no wifi, no Instagram, no Facebook, and no more news about the new iPhone. The iPhone part was the worst for me.
On a smallish boat, you learn to get along with the people around you, and in certain situations drastic measures may be necessary.
Late the day of departure, we set off and anchored for the night near a beautiful remote beach. Surrounding the island, was a shallow colorful reef. The island looked like a good place towards which to swim, and walk around on, and play. After morning class, we were hot and sweaty, and ready to go swimming. I nervously climbed the sail rigging and leapt off the boat into the water. When I came to the surface, I felt as if I was getting poked repeatedly with really tiny needles, all over my body. It didn’t hurt so much as it was very uncomfortable. Out of curiosity, I asked the crew if they recognized the sting marks. They informed me that the stings were from tiny invisible jellyfish.
I continued jumping off the boat, as the smaller jellyfish stings, although uncomfortable, weren’t very painful. After I had leapt off the boat five or six more times, I had minute red marks all over my body from the mini-jellyfish.
My dad decided to swim the 300-ish yards to the beach to play soccer with the crew. Alex and Annika chose to join him on the beach. I decided I would wait for my mom, and we would swim over to the shore together. Alex, Annika, and my dad were almost to the shore when my mom and I began swimming over as well.
For the first 50 yards or so, my mom and I evaded the stings of the tiny jellyfish. After that, however, the stings began again and continued to worsen until we were like hay in a needle stack. When my mom and I were about halfway to the beach, the crew “seized” the motorboat from the Carpe Diem and headed toward the beach.
About two thirds of the way to the shore, I suddenly got an unbelievably excruciating sting in the crease of my right arm. It felt like all the needles in the needle-stack had been combined and jammed into my arm at once. I screamed in agony and begged the crew to let me onto the motor boat. When I showed them my arm they hurriedly said,” yes,” and assisted my mom on board as well. We quickly climbed in the boat and I showed my arm to my mom. She looked as if she was experiencing the pain with me. The crease of my arm was bright red and extremely swollen. The line where the jellyfish stung me looked like the veins in my arm had been ripped out, and taped back onto the outside of my skin. My arm felt like someone had cut it open and poured molten lava into my blood.
I needed something to lessen the pain, so I asked Cécile, our steward, if she had anything to reduce the pain. Apparently, one normally uses vinegar to counteract the effects of jellyfish venom, but the nearest grocery store was an hour flight away.
Cecile then told me of another solution. She asked, “Nicholas, do you need to pee?”
“Huh?”, I replied.
The ammonia in pee counteracts the venom temporarily until we could gain access to vinegar.
My sister Annika giggled and happily volunteered to provide me a pee specimen. Annika, mom and I walked away from the group. Annika preferred to pee in a large shell she found, and pour it onto my arm. Unfortunately, she got stage fright, and was too shy to produce. Thankfully, Ali volunteered instead. He peed in the shell and my mom emptied it onto my arm. Instantly the pain disappeared. I felt like the fire had been doused with a huge bucket of ice cold water.
Finally, I could think again, I felt relieved, I never thought I would be glad to have pee poured on my arm. Then the pain returned and I needed more pee, ha ha. Luckily Annika peed this time and poured it onto my arm. Shortly after, Cécile brought over the vinegar. The vinegar completely relieved the pain. Cecile specifically told me not to scratch it or it would get worse. I couldn’t imagine it could get any worse than it already was, but I decided to leave that investigation for another day. About 10 minutes later it started to itch. When I say itch, I mean really itch. Thankfully, my mom being a forward thinking mom, had some anti-itch cream on the boat, so I paddle boarded back to keep myself from scratching it and having that experience all over again. Here’s some video from the Sea. Unfortunately, the video of the pee medicine incident got deleted from the Go pro. Oops.