The Big Blue - My Family Travels
Swimming with sharks and stingrays

I have visited thousands of places, dozens of countries, lived through marvelous adventures, but nothing will ever compare the amazing experience I had in Polynesia. I was sixteen, I loved swimming and I got to realize one of my biggest dreams; diving, and finally being one with the ocean.

My family, composed of both my parents, my two little sisters and I, was travelling around the world on a 10 months journey. We had already seen and experienced so much, and lived incredible adventures which I, unfortunately, haven’t got the time nor the space to write here. It was November 2014, and we had reached Polynesia, a bunch of little islands lost in the Pacific, only surrounded by the ocean that stretched as far as the eye could see.

I had no idea, arriving in this paradise, that I was going to experience something even more magnificent ad beautiful than these post-card like landscapes of beaches, palm trees and blue seas.

Ever since my youngest age, I had always loved swimming, and unlike other kids, or even some adults, I had never been afraid of it. In fact, it felt to me like a relief to be surrounded by water, enveloped by its reassuring blue, away from any trouble that could happened at the surface, away from all of my problems.

Being in Polynesia, on the island of Moorea soon turned out to be an incredible experience for me. I would spend at least half of my days in the salty water, armed of my mask and snorkel, swimming among colorful fish and coral, eyes wide open, trying to see everything. Oh I didn’t need to go very far, nor very deep to be transported to this other world, all I had to do was to put my head underwater, and look around.

After visiting Moorea, we then went to Raiatea were we chased crabs and kayaked to a faraway island (but this, too, is another story), and, finally, we arrived to what turned out to be the stage of the most important part of this trip; Rangiroa. This beautiful island where I had an experience that I will never forget; diving for the first time in my life.

It was a hot and sunny day, and my heart was pounding with excitement; I was on my way to the diving center with my family. Of course, I was not going to dive alone, my dad was coming with me, as well as a monitor. The equipement felt so heavy on my back, and the suit was so tight I was wondering how I would actually be able to swim and move around with it!  But when we jumped from the boat into the blue, I felt as light as a feather, and at peace again.  Sharks, stingrays, clown fish, sea snakes and millions of fish were at the rendezvous, and, not startled by us, they kept on swimming, sometimes brushing us.

Nothing can accurately compare to how it felt to be deep underwater, surrounded by sea creatures, and feeling like one of them, hearing a silence like no other. I will admit it, this immensity did scare me, too, but its limitless beauty soon took hold of me. I have no concept of how long we stayed under, following fish after fish, as if time itself had stopped to admire.  

The world we know, at the surface, is beautiful and full of surprises, but nothing compares to the feeling of being underwater, in this quiet and colorful, yet so mysterious universe. It is an experience I will never forget.

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