Having rediscovered and fixed up these photos, I though it was worth a quick revisit 🙂 :
The heat of the Mexican sun beats down on my flesh, sizzling like bacon on a lazy Sunday morning. The rush to remove my dress and thrust my water shoes upon my feet is a hasty one and I find myself stumbling over myself.
Despite racing to the crystal clear ocean, I take the time to drink in my surroundings: the postcard-perfect pure white sands, too soft to even build a sandcastle; the golden orb, so bright that it makes everything glow and shimmer; the sapphire sky, dotted with rare candy-floss clouds that occasionally collide, creating shapes that reflect our innermost thoughts.
Meeting the cool water, I plunge myself into its embrace, revelling in the relief from the sun’s harsh rays. I lower my goggles over my eyes and place the snorkel into my mouth, desperate to enter my soothing underwater world. As soon as my face meets the surface, I notice life swirling around my legs: magnolia fish, blending effortlessly with the colour of the sand that radiates in the beams that shine down and fragment through the liquid.
Leisurely flexing my feet, I glide through this seemingly undiscovered world. As the sand falls away beneath me and the shades turn from soft, untainted creams infused with sunshine to darker blues spattered with crystals that move and dance with the waves, the wildlife intensifies surrounding me with marine creatures of every shape and colour: cobalt Tangs, tiger-striped Sergeant Majors, horrifying yet minute needle-fish. Reaching the coral, we find the fish too shy to venture from their stony castles, lapping and swaying in time with the waves. Moving in unison, as one, as if puppets connected by an invisible string.
And then we finally stumble across one.
A mighty, stoic, giant.
The movement of this incredible beast mesmerises me and I feel tears spring up beneath the constricting plastic that has enabled me to enter this incredible world.
This creature, that I have longed to swim alongside for so many years, drifts along the ground, chomping on the aqua-marine foliage that juts out of the golden sand so unnaturally. Its mouth, a vice grip, tears at the grass before peacefully swooping up to the surface for a lung full of fresh air. I want to reach out, want to touch the mottled shell, the leathery flippers, the silky underbelly. But I resist.
He’s right beside me now; we’re both peeking our faces out over the precipice of the underwater world: breathing deeply, eye to eye. The vivid shades of turquoise contrast starkly against the deep browns and blacks that mark the turtle’s face and back. The horizon line, dotted with the emerald green palm trees, blends into the natural blue of the sky: a sky like any other. The stark juxtaposition of these natural sights and colours, conflicting with the inexplicably magical cerulean glitter that surrounded me and the phenomenal experience that I was witnessing was almost too much to bear.
As one, our faces hit the water and once more I am transported into a world tinged with every shade of blue imaginable and spotted with darting flashes of scarlet and tangerine. The ombre shades of Tiffany suffuse my senses, momentarily distracting me from the focus of my visit.
As quickly as he had arrived, our comrade departed, elegantly sweeping his fins from side to side, as if dancing or a bird in flight. His speed surprised me and despite my desire to follow I drifted back towards the shore, knowing that as much as I loved this world, I would only ever be a guest within its borders.