Most amazing things are always close
What is the most beautiful and unusual date you ever had? The date you would remember for ever?
“I want to show you Bermuda from the ocean's point of view,” Bill told me when we met for our first date.
I watched as he docked his small white boat with its bright blue canopy and varnished wood at the marina in Dockyard.
“I love boating! In Siberia, my grandfather had a boat, and in the summer my whole family would boat on the Angara River!” I breathlessly told Bill, who nodded and smiled.
Bill started the engine and we cruised slowly off the coast. We hardly talked. I watched the houses in front of us. They were scattered on the green grass like vibrant Easter eggs in bright pastels: yellow, blue, orange, and pink. With their white roofs, they looked elegant and festive.
I stared a long time at the crystal-clear, turquoise water. I had never seen such a stunning and unusual colour. Bill asked me if I wanted to snorkel.
“Of course!” I exclaimed.
“The only problem is I have never snorkelled before.”
“I'll teach you. It's easy, easier than swimming,” he said.
“You can trust me, I've been a diving instructor since I was a teenager.”
We cruised quite far from the shore of the island, and Bill dropped the anchor. He helped me put on my mask and explained how to breathe with the snorkel. I pulled the fins on and jumped into the cool and transparent water.
At that instant, I realised that this was for ever; my love of the ocean and its underwater magnificence. I immediately floated into another stunning, fantasy world, a completely different and beautiful dimension. I had no idea that this world existed, and that it could be so breathtaking. I did not understand how I could have lived without it for so many years.
I felt so incredibly happy that I laughed like a child. Pretty, curious little fish with blue and yellow stripes came straight to me. Then an even more bold looking group of big grey fish joined them. They accompanied me on my journey. Sometimes we were so close that I could touch them.
They instantly became my friends and when they opened their mouths I imagined they were saying, “We are with you, do not be afraid, everything will be fine!”
The sun shone through the water in shimmering rays. I could not see enough of the coral reefs. Sea fans, full of bright violet colour, gently and gracefully waved as I swam by. Others, round and yellow, were covered in intricate rings, remarkably similar to the human brain. There were brown, soft corals like candelabras that were pleasant to the touch. They looked like thick, furry fingers which waved to me as I floated above them.
I looked down at the bottom of the ocean and saw the shipwreck. Bill swam up to me, took my hand and we drifted slowly above the ship. It was so romantic, beautiful, mysterious, magnificent and unusual.
A date that did not resemble any other; we were alone together in the huge ocean. A date where we did not say a word to each other, and it turned out that words are not always necessary. Bill made me the best gift in the world, he presented to me a new reality; the underwater world in which he was so happy, content and calm. I too, felt I belonged in it.
Six years later, we snorkel almost every day in the summer. Both my confidence and skills have grown over the years. We think nothing of snorkelling from shore to the far-breaking reefs of Elbow, Coral or Church Bay beaches. I learnt that there are virtually no sharks, except on the distant fishing banks, and currents are strong mostly in the surf near shore. Bermuda has one of the most benign underwater environments in the world.
Snorkelling is one of the best forms of exercise, and far more exciting than going to the gym or swimming in a pool. When we swim back to the beach, we often shake our heads and say, “If those people relaxing in the sun only knew the incredible things we have just seen right here in front of them, they would all be doing this.”
It's often that way in life. Sometimes the most amazing things are so close, we just need to make one small step into something new for it to change our lives.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com
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