I had a glorious morning. I woke up around 6 am, got my bathing suit on, and headed for the beach. It’s directly in front of the hotel that I’m staying in, so I left my shoes in my room.
No one was in the water. I had brought my snorkeling gear with me. The ocean was calm and smooth, unlike the previous afternoon. I had been buffeted around by the waves, and couldn’t see much. Those kinds of conditions make me nervous.
I stepped sideways into the cold water. I learned that with flippers it’s much less awkward to walk in that way. I put on my mask, and I started kicking.
There’s a small reef that extends out about half a block into the ocean here. I am always a bit scared that something will start nibbling at my flippers. Something large, with sharp teeth.
The morning light was shooting through the water in straight lines, like arrows. No one else was out there but me. Everything was silent. There were many different types of fish-I don’t know their names, but all brightly colored, and ranging hugely in size and shape.
It was feeling like a mystical experience. The way the light played off of the reef and the fish was beyond beautiful. Then, I saw something large swimming towards me. I swallowed hard.
It turned out to be harmless, but incredible. It was a sea turtle. The first I’ve ever seen while snorkeling. The Hawaiians call them Holas. It came quite close and stayed in the vicinity for what felt like a very long time. I was transfixed. I wondered how old it was, and whether it was female or male. Just thinking about the experience makes me shiver.
It felt like a gift from the universe, to be there alone, in the presence of this magnificent creature, and the schools of fish. I felt so alive, and so blessed. I wanted to cry from a sense of joy and gratitude.
I wish that my ability to recount this episode in words was stronger. It’s not easy translating profound happenings into writing. This encounter was so rooted in being, not in thinking. That is what made it so powerful.