Thursday, October 17, 2013

Before you die

Ever read one of those lists of things to do before you die? Usually I don't bother, because the concept is somehow bizarre, like ticking boxes on a checklist or maybe assuming everyone should experience the same things. A really common one on the list is "Swim with dolphins", also quite bizarre. Why not any other wildlife encounter? What if you're terrified of water? However, last weekend this was one of those on the list of things "before you die" which I actually achieved. 
I went down to Kisite with the current marine volunteers for a snorkelling road trip along the coast all the way down to the Tanzanian border and on the Sunday we jumped off the boat into a pod of dolphins. There were no other boats around and these dolphins had no problems with us at all. The four of us swam and played with the dolphins for about an hour. It was certainly a unique experience, as they are really interested in you and want to play. In the moment I think I probably also said, "it's ok, now I can die, I got to swim with dolphins" Ha ha.
Later that day after a spectacular snorkel on the coral reef in this particular section of crystal clear warm Indian Ocean, we stopped by one of the uninhabited little islands of shore for a final dip before heading back to the mainland and our drive back to Watamu. I swam around the rocky cliffs at high tide with the jungle pouring down the sculpted limestone overhangs which are typical of the East African coastline. Small fish swam around the rocks and the occasional submerged rock pool was a treasure trove of interesting little things to look at. I sat on the beach of a tiny cove, listening to the silence and sparkling water hushing against the sand. 
It was one of those lovely completely contented moments where everything is right in life. No stress, no noise, no conflict or angst in your heart. It felt like I could have quite happily camped on that little island and swam around discovering all the secret little worlds in the sea there for ever. Its good to know what you like and what you don't. I really like the sea, and isolated natural beauty and exploring. Seems simple, but how often do people really find what makes them content through all the other noise and clamour? I think this is really what is most important to do before you die, find what makes you happy and try and do it as much as possible between all the other parts of living.