Snorkelling simply is life at its simplest, purest. No questions, no doubts, not even dreams and expectations.
I just swim out to the edge of the reef right after breakfast, and Turtle is already there waiting for me. At about three feet, it must be a well respected elder of the reef turtle community – all of them friendly and letting me tag along. Some days it would just take me floating over the reef, as if showing me around its home, peeking back and waiting for me to catch up if I happen to get distracted and left behind. Another day it would only just acknowledge my presence, and graciously allow me to observe how huge chunks of dead coral are gently pulled free and gobbled up. So much trust in me while its neck is all under the rocks and cannot keep an eye on me. Yet another day it is quite distracted, seems to be swimming around in circles looking for something or someone.
I wonder where Turtle sleeps, where it is now. Was it missing me when I left? 🙂 All the sharks, grownups and babies, amazing coral, lionfish, blue spotted rays, starfish, crocodilefish, schools of tiny little fish….but Turtle is my favourite.
I think I spent the happiest time of my life in Flores, and Turtle is one of the most beautiful things that have ever happened to me. Maybe there is some kind of closure now, a year and a month after the accident. I saw the place where it happened, the yacht that saved us, and some of the people who were there on that day. And I have new memories about those waters, that sunset, that rain, plunging into the Flores sea from a boat. I wish I could sleep in that blue hammock tonight, under a billion stars, right at the edge of the water in the cool breeze, and go look for Turtle right after sunrise.
Life at its simplest.
But in my heart, I am always there.
(Originally posted somewhere in the blogosphere back in 2012. I went back and met Turtle in 2013… or I think it was Turtle. Now I don’t dream about going there anymore.)