This photo is far from my “Instagram standards“, but it will stay in my memory for much longer than many “staged” ones with thousands of likes. It was taken spontaneously, with a phone, just before my last snorkeling in Maldives. And almost as if the photo knew what was coming next, it reflects exactly what I want to tell you in this short post.
I went snorkeling without a camera …
My brand-new sports camera, that shitty little bastard, failed on a day one, after its first use. The disappointment was huge, but since I had no other choice, I faced my destiny fiercely and quickly. After all, I did catch some pretty good shots while snorkeling in Maldives before. Especially the ones with reef sharks, which I am obsessed with. Hence, no pressure with “social media content”. Just The old woman and the sea, like Ernest(ine) would say.
Our water bungalow had direct access to the house reef and after just a few swings, I was surrounded by a school of beautiful colorful fish. Hundreds of them. From mini blue models, including Nemo’s cousins, and a bit larger yellow and green-red ones, to thin arrows and fat devils with funny horns.
The sunlight penetrated the emerald sand surface below me and partially illuminated the beginning of the deep blue sea. The feeling was almost like in a fairy tale. It was completely quiet, but I felt as if all those fish, seashells and corals were singing me a sea serenade. As if they had surrounded me on purpose to reward me for visiting them without a camera. I’ve done snorkeling in Maldives many times, but this time it was really special.
… And my wish came true
After about 30 minutes I turned around and swam back to our bungalow. Suddenly, my inner voice told me to look to the right again, into the deep blue sea. And there he was. Magnificent and self-confident, yet very shy. He swam by quite fast. The shark was a bit over two meters long. He was no giant, but he was no reef shark either, that’s for sure. He was dark-grey and elegant, with sharp lines, a real ocean model. And for about 10 seconds he was all mine.
Tears of joy
My heart rate was up, and I held my breath as if I couldn’t decide whether I was scared or happy. Now I know it was a mix of both. When I came out and stepped on our terrace, my legs were shaking, and tears welled up in my eyes. They were true child tears of joy and happiness. My great wish to see a real shark while snorkeling in Maldives finally came true. And I swear I didn’t regret catching him on camera, even for a second. The video would have been just one of millions on the Internet, and I would have been left without a priceless experience.
With a camera in hand and a mid-budget mask, you can’t see much while snorkeling. While you try to keep the camera still during the swings, you observe the surroundings with one eye, and occasionally peak at the screen with another, hoping the battery won’t die. So, the question is, would I have noticed the shark at all? Could I have captured him properly, as he was quite fast? Would he have even come so close to me if he had seen the reflection of the lens in the water?
Luckily, I don’t need to answer these questions. My big wish came true and the rest is history.
Note to myself
This post is primarily a “note to myself” that I need to be spontaneous more often. And, even more important: life is not about chasing moments for social media. Unfortunately, this has been happening to me too often lately. Sunrises and sunsets, beautiful beaches and divine views mostly happen behind the lens instead in front of my eyes and heart. And the saddest part is that the memories fade away quickly, while the photos are piling up in folders that I don’t even have time to open.
Perhaps my minute of self-reflection will touch someone among you as well. Since you found this post, it’s very likely that you are part of the “social media community” and have at least a rough idea of what I’m talking about. And if you shuddered even for a moment, then I guess I did something good today. You can thank me in the comments below or on Instagram. 😉
And let’s not forget: we only have one Life, let’s enjoy every minute of it!