“We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.” ~ Helen Keller
Venturing outside of the parameters of the standard lifestyle for a quadriplegic. I will not use the term normal lifestyle, or normal expectations because normal is a setting on a washing machine. I chose not to limit myself or my family of experiences because of the majority chatter saying it can't be done. Rather I say let's do it, just I do it differently and I have no apologies for the necessary accommodations only sincere gratitude.
The Green Flash
The green flash, introduced by Jules Vern in 1889 when the heroin of his book, "The Green Flash" was in pursuit of this experience. It is when the sun sets and dips below the horizon and the color spectrum disappears one at a time, starting with the longest wavelength, orange to those with the shortest, green. The atmosphere acts as a weak prism, which separates light into their various colors. When the sun is above the horizon, the different colors of light rays overlap and the individual colors can't be seen by the naked eye. The green flash, is the last spectrum of the light in a sunset, it having the shortest wavelength.
I made it my mission to see a green flash which was only going to occur with mass frequency of observing sunsets. Fortunately, there were no shortages of spectacular sunsets on Grand Cayman Island. I had the opportunity every evening to try my luck at seeing a green flash.
The best way to view a sunset is on the open water. To be surrounded by the glowing colors of orange which are bleeding into red regardless of which direction you look. Never disappointed even without achieving my mission, each evening's display produced a long "aw" followed by a moment of silence. These lights have traveled through the atmosphere for their rays to unfold before you and inspire you. Mother nature's canvas is filled with brilliant colors and is never the same night after night. It's like a snowflake, each one is an individual, outstanding design which will never be duplicated.
Getting on Board
Getting me to open water was a bit tricky. It required two robust men to lift me seated and securely strapped in my manual wheelchair from the dock onto the back of the boat, the cockpit. Once here I could safely be positioned and locked down to watch a sunset. The transfer was extremely unnerving. Leaving the dock there was a good 12 inches of open space created by the tenders, which kept the boat from crashing into the dock. This void offered the opportunity for me to go swimming. Strapped to my wheelchair, I would have just sunk straight to the bottom, and quickly. An uneasy feeling when looking straight down into the water and knowing that one wrong step by the robust men would result with me being dumped into the water. Complete trust with the dock volunteers was a prerequisite, as was smooth water conditions. I don't do waves!
I became fully engaged in the sunset as I floated into the horizon and become part of this magnificent event as seen from shore. I rationalized that the closer I got to the elusive horizon that this would increase my chance of seeing the green flash. I tried to stack the odds in my favor.
I probably watched over 600 sunsets, 18,000 hours of mother nature displaying her majestic beauty and only saw the green flash once. The flash lasted three seconds. I invested 750 days, 1,080,000 seconds for this 3 second phenomena. Mission accomplished and time well spent!
“Be audacious and cunning in your plans, firm and persevering in their execution, determined to find a glorious end.” ~ Karl von Clausewitz