"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Butandings

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea." ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The quote above pretty much summed up my whale shark adventure this past weekend.

There was a lot of waiting. Very similar to when we were spotting dolphins in Bohol a few years back. This time, I was more willing to wait. I felt that swimming with the whale sharks would be akin to grace - something awe-inspiring certainly, but undeserved. A kismet encounter.

My Singaporean friends were not so patient, but we kept our spirits up and we remained hopeful. I kept telling them when we had gone over an hour trying to spot the butandings that we only need one rendezvous with the world's biggest fish. That one would be more than enough.

Then, on our third attempt, the guide tells us to go dive into the water now and I surprised myself by being the first to jump in and swim like crazy towards where the guide was leading us. There was at first, only the sound of the current and my splashing. And then, silence. I suddenly found myself swimming half a meter above the spotted creature. It was massive. It took all my vision space. And it was so close I could just reach out and touch it. I remember catching my breath and holding it. I watched the length of it swim below me and dive deep. Then I raised my head above water, removed my goggles and exclaimed "Oh my God! That was amazing!"

And it was. Amazing grace, it was.

(Photo credit: WOW Philippines)

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