Personal essays about island adventures
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An island is a place to be alone or to experience intimate community. Islands can be an escape from the bonds of normal life and an embrace with a local culture far different from your own. Escape to an island may be a singular jewel of experience.
I wanted to experience islands more deeply than that of tourist. I explored the islands described in this anthology as a traveler with an attitude of curiosity and adventure.
The personal essays and stories in this book reflect some of what I have gained and what I have dreamed of islands as a spiritual seeker and adventure traveler.
The three of us dove in with fins kicking as hard and fast as we could. Anjo told us splashing bothers whales, so we kicked with our fins below the surface and didn’t stroke with our arms to minimize splashing.
The mother and calf didn’t dive this time. They swam just below the surface staying about twenty yards ahead of us. Tashio, the Japanese guy, tired from the fifteen times we had already swam after the whales, gave up the chase after about fifty yards. Kevin, the Floridian, broke off after one hundred yards. I kept kicking. After another fifty yards of pursuit, the whales stopped.
The mother let me swim up beside her, but kept her baby on her other side away from me. I swam up beside her huge eye, turned on my side and looked through my snorkel mask into her eye, which was as big as my head. She looked back at me. Our eyes locked. Time stopped. It was if we were looking into each other’s souls.
She rolled and nudged her calf with her flipper to encourage the calf to swim over to me. The baby whale swam up to me, swam under me, then circled around me, and let me caress its tail. It was surprisingly smooth to my touch. The calf returned to its mother’s side.
They began to swim off slowly. I swam with them for about one hundred yards, but then another whale-watching boat approached. The mother gave one great flick of her tail and they vanished deep into the dark water below me.
I stroked back to the speedboat and clambered up the ladder and dropped over the gunwale. I could barely stand. My legs were vibrating and shaking. Electric current (or adrenaline) was coursing through me from the thrill and power of the encounter.