April 23, 2010

Unrequited Adventure

 If you read the guide books for this area the entries for aquatic adventures list snorkeling with whale sharks and sea lions as the big ticket items, every time. The guide books tell of whale shark encounters just outside of La Paz—here swimmers can dive with these gentle giants, marveling at their very existence. And a little further north you can snorkel at a sea lion rookery—where the young are as eager to frolic with you as puppies...
We planned to do both this week.
The thing about natural encounters is there are no pools or fences keeping the animals in a convenient location. And after four months of hanging out in roughly the same spot, the whale sharks chose the day before our planned visit to migrate. We may, if we're lucky, find them further north (they apparently hang out in a bay we'll frequent later in the summer). But we may not...
At least, I thought, we still had the sea lions to visit. But the problem with seeing animals in the wild is well, it can get too wild sometimes. And the rookery had strong winds and four foot waves running steeply around it, both days we planned to go—making it impossible. It reminded me, in a rather humbling way, that we are guests in their territory and they are not on display.
 With the two biggies crossed off our list, and I realized there would be no 'chance of a lifetime' experiences to photograph and brag about, it was time to get back to living in the moment. It's easy in this lifestyle to get addicted to the big experiences, sometimes at the expense of the smaller ones. I get this urge to do everything, to fill every moment with extreme wonder. But I've found when I do that I sometimes miss those other moments of magic—the quiet ones.
So when I realized my Bucket List wasn't going to get anything crossed off, I decided to slow down and savour. It may not sound blog-worthy but: We danced on deck under the moonlight, in a Coromuel wind and the boat danced too; I watched Maia master freediving less than a week after she learned to snorkel; we saw turtles, and whales, and sea lions, and dolphins as we sailed past red hued cliffs; I walked alone through the desert counting lizards as I went and found a cave where I startled some bats; we pumped up the water totter (a gift?! From Totem) and giggled ourselves silly as Maia and Allison played; we met a fisherman who we traded with for fish, which we ate with old-new friends in a in an old-new place.

1 comment:

Diane, Evan, Maia and Charlie the cat said...

For those who wrote and asked, the little diver in the top picture is Maia.