Seize the Moment

After a month (or two, I guess), I finally had a chance to take a day off.

I decided to go for a snorkeling trip with some guests and colleagues as the weather was really great.

I have snorkeled a lot of times before but this snorkeling trip was really special. A trip that I will always remember.

A boat took us to an area where, they said, we can see nice corals. We jumped from the boat, into the deep.

Honestly, I would never jump from the boat if not for the life jacket. I usually snorkel, in the shallow, just near the beach area. This experience was new to me. The jumping off the boat I mean.

There were 7 of us who jumped from the boat – four hotel guests and one guide, me and my colleague Crystal.

Crystal said she can’t swim but she took the lead as if she knew where exactly should we go. I followed. The guests and the guide were far behind.

I was behind Crystal. Not too close as I don’t want to get hit by her flippers. Not too far, as I always want some company in the water, specially this deep, when you can’t see the seabed.

The area has a shallow part with lots of corals and fish playing around, followed by a deep slope, that’s where one can only see, the endless dark shade of blue.

I was enjoying my time, finding so many Nemos when I saw Crystal, swimming without her life jacket.

I asked her why she removed her life jacket.

She answered, remove it. You will feel free.

I thought of removing it, but then I saw the endless dark blue again. Plus the fact that water kept on entering my snorkeling mask, panic suddenly attacked.

I just kept on swimming with my life jacket on, this time taking the lead.

And then something beautiful caught my eye.

A Green Sea Turtle. This was my first time to be really close to a swimming turtle. I swam a little bit closer then he looked at me.

I will never forget that moment. That connection when our eyes met.

It did not take long before the rest caught sight of this marvelous creature. The guide shouted, a turtle! A turtle!

They all swam quickly and they tried touching the turtle’s shell but the guide prohibited them from doing so and thankfully they stopped.

The turtle did not run swim away. He was just chillin’ out with us. I felt like he was so comfortable swimming with us and getting photos of him taken. He was playing with us, and this was a rare thing. They usually run swim away as soon as they see human beings.

I felt something that I can’t really explain. But one thing’s for sure, I felt happy seeing a turtle, swimming freely with us, humans. I felt so happy seeing a turtle, not in a cage or tiny aquarium for people’s sight and delight. They are also alive and breathing, just like us. They are not man made items, meant to be displayed in a Museum. They are meant to be free too, just like how we, humans have always fought for our freedom.

I was happy to see that he did not feel the need to run for his life. I hope the world, can come even a bit closer to this scenario.

The turtle then, after playing with us, swam away, gently, freely.

We moved on. The guide, asked me to remove my life jacket. I was still hesitating. But then, I thought, I can swim anyway, why was I scared of removing it?

Then I finally removed it. Crystal was right. It was, somehow, liberating.

I knew how to swim, but I kept clinging on to that life jacket, just to be safe. So I asked myself, if I have always been this way all along? Playing safe. Not using my skills to its fullest. Not moving out of my comfort zone.

I have always been a risk taker, or maybe, I just thought so. Maybe, I’m still not daring enough.

They said, if your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.

By playing safe, maybe, I have missed a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances. Maybe, the ship that was meant for me have passed by long ago just because I waited for it come in and never tried swimming out to it.

But lesson learned. Who knows? Maybe later on,  I’ll still get other opportunities and hope that by the time my ship arrives, I’ll be able to swim to it, bravely, freely.

For now, let me just then wait for my next day off. Go for another snorkeling trip. Jump off the boat without a life jacket and seize the moment should I see a playful Green Sea Turtle once again.