Flippered feet already hanging precariously over the edge, I leap down below and the saltwater hugs me like an old friend. This trip – the first holiday I have ever embarked on purely to relax – has been more stressful than any other travel I have taken, but the saltwater dissolves the worries and stresses and selfish dramas like sugar clouds in water. I adjust my mask, fit the snorkel to my mouth and attempt a wide smile at the local guide. I’m sure I look ridiculous but it doesn’t matter in the slightest. He smiles back, and off we go.
The coral below is bleached but still intricate, and angel fish, parrot fish, dory, and hundreds of species that I don’t recognise make up for the lack of colour. I attempt a duck dive or two as I find my rhythm again – it’s been too long since my skin met the sea – and then paddle along of my own accord, distracted by colourful fish and tiny reverent patches of pink, yellow, orange coral.
It suddenly occurs to me that I should not stray too far from the guide, so I poke my mask above and search for him amongst the moored wooden boats. I can’t help but to laugh at my friend, who has given up paddling himself through the water, and is instead holding on to the guide’s orange lifesaver ring.
I roll around lazily in the water and watch my flippers kicking me through the clear blue water, stomach towards the surface. Bubbles float from my hands and my feet to the sky, and I breathe in through the plastic stem of the snorkel. I am home.
Pentax K1000 | Ektar 100
Location of note:
[Updated 26 July 2017]