I jumped out of the boat into the water in the deep sea, I was asked to keep my hands to my side, just use my legs to swim and crawl as smoothly as I possibly could. I kept looking back at the boat every minute or so, because our marine biologist plus tour guide was steering me from behind me, pointing in the direction I should move.
The deep sea has always been a fascinating place for me, not having to tackle the waves, having a vast expanse of water around me stimulates me like nothing else. So, I was prepared to just settle for the swim, the snorkels were making me a bit uncomfortable, I don’t really like snorkeling, and I almost always land up gasping for air and coughing with salt water in my throat. But, that hadn’t started to happen as yet on this beautiful day in July while swimming in the ocean more than 25 miles off the coast of Honolulu in the Oahu island.
As I turned back to look at my guide for direction one more time, I recognized the excitement in his face, and his hands were gesturing me to move with some urgency. I looked down into the water again, and kept kicking fast and hard, crawling forward. Now, as I tilted my head to my left, it wasn’t just all water, there was a pod of dolphins, must have been at least 15 of them, swimming in layers one above the other, spaced equally from each other, gliding through the water so effortlessly, like the sea was playing accordion with dolphins. I gasped at their beauty, I stopped kicking my legs for a few seconds, and quickly realized they were moving on, I craved to stay with them, and I started to kick my legs harder and faster. I think I was pleading to them “please slow down, please, stay for a little bit, please don’t leave me behind”. Obviously oblivious to my hankering and yearning, they glided on, into their own world, with their own families, completely ignoring me. I wasn’t befitting of the clan, there’s nothing I could do except watch and follow as long as I could, striving to keep an eye on them as they continued their path.
Nothing could have prepared me for that experience, and nothing else ever came close. I’ve tried describing the experience in different ways – stunning, ethereal, spiritual, sublime…scant words indeed!
(I wrote this some five years ago, it has stayed within my computer for this long. I re-read it recently, and realize it still remains the most stunning experience of my life. I have not changed a word since the first draft, just glad to have captured it while it was fresh in my senses!)