It was an impulse, an urge to escape an overstaying house guest, a desire to be somewhere—anywhere—as the odometer of the millennia rolled over.
I dug the Mountain Travel Sobek brochure out from the piles on my desk and found myself on the phone with a helpful guide. There were three options, she explained: the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro if I could be packed and on a plane in the morning, Machu Picchu if I wasn’t deterred by the season of rain, or sea kayaking and rafting in Costa Rica. I wasn’t climb-a-mountain-tomorrow fit, and there were rumors Peru’s Shining Path might target tourists in Y2K confusion, so less than 10 days before the first day of the year 2000, I paid my deposit, booked a flight to San Jose, and nudged my guest on to his next friend’s couch.
Even gentle waves require relaxing into the rhythm of the sea. Sitting in the sea kayak, paddle resting in my lap, I stopped and breathed—really breathed—inhaling time that couldn’t be hurried.
The group got to know each other as we practiced staying perpendicular to the waves in the expanse of the Nicoya Peninsula. It was the conversations, the connections, that would stay with me longer than the well-curated days of adventure and exploring.
Late in the afternoon, the camp came into view and by the time we navigated to shore, only a minor spill amongst us, the other guides had populated the tents with mattresses and bedding, stocked the kitchen, and were half way up a coconut palm to harvest the last ingredient for bitingly fresh piña coladas.
The next night, as the millennium clock ticked over, we were three days into new friendships, celebrating and silly, with grass skirts and high spirits. We toasted each time zone: London at cocktail hour, Rio de Janeiro at dessert, Nova Scotia for those who wanted to escape early. As the evening waned and I toasted my distant home, I wandered to the water’s edge.
The still sea carried the day’s warmth, and I stripped down and waded in. I floated, buoyant, content. The sky was littered with stars, and another light caught my eye: the bio-luminescent bay flashed with every splash, comets trailing from my fingertips. I dipped below the surface, twisted in a sparkling cloud and swam, suspended between eras, in black liquid and light. And the new millennium began.
Deborah Knuckey, MT Sobek Guest
MT Sobek Trip: Costa Rica Rafting & Kayaking Adventure, 1999/2000