the sea, the sea
On the boat leaving Puerto Galera, 17 May 2010. A sad day.
I don't really have enough words to recount the exhilarating drift dives where I watched the dazzling coral reef fly by before my eyes; the thousands of colourful fish flitting in all directions around you like confetti; the tug on my heart when I first saw a tiny pygmy seahorse smaller than my fingernail; the flash of an octopus tentacle I glimpsed when its owner sleepily shifted in its hole; the thrill of fear when a current hits so hard it's like someone picked you up and threw you hard as far as possible; the shimmering schools of barracuda; watching the light from the sun dappling across fantastic reef formations through crystal-clear water; looking at a majestic turtle leisurely picking its way through the coral; the brightly-coloured nudibranches delicately scattered throughout the reef that come in combinations of stripes and colours beyond counting; the spooky night dives in inky blackness, almost like being in space, with luminous shrimp, loud orange crabs and lobsters, and shy translucent cuttlefish illuminated by your torch.
There were bad moments - when I was suddenly hit by a current that slammed me against a reef wall, no doubt leaving damage to the reef that will take decades to repair; finding rubbish even in the most pristine reefs; the sex tourism so rampant in my part of the world; the inevitable sand fly bites I get (though less severe this time).
But I love the sea, the sea.