Last Monday, I returned home from ten days diving across the Banda Sea in Indonesia. When friends and family have asked, “How was your trip?” my standard response has been, “Incredible.” It was, yet that one word doesn’t fully encapsulate how sacred and joyful my journey was. I still can't find the words to describe the inner experience of what I witnessed:
The volcano, Komba, roaring as it exploded throwing molten rocks skyward that tumbled down the side of the crater like a million falling stars.
A full lunar eclipse from start to end lying on the top deck of the boat as we sailed towards our next destination.
At the surface of the sea, a sperm whale, minke whales, dolphins and mobula rays jumping out of the water.
All sorts of weird but wonderful little creatures like squat lobsters and hairy orang-utan crabs.
Free-swimming turtle head snakes and giant rays hanging gracefully in the current at cleaning stations.
I stuck my hands in warm volcanic sand beneath the sea and had to pull them out because it was too hot.
The highlight and absolute privilege was to witness one of the most extraordinary sights I have ever seen in my life:
Schooling hammerhead sharks.
Yes, my dream came true, not once but twice!
There is no way I can fully convey the awe of swimming into a wall of hundreds of these most exquisite and curious creatures.
This type of awe takes away all words, leaving you with only one expression, a primal "ah" that expresses the essence of wonder.
So I return home, not yet able to fully describe the inner experience of this journey but filled with a deep-seated peace and even more love for Mother Earth, this incredible planet that supports our lives, and a strong urge to protect her and her creatures from further destruction by human ignorance and greed.
So without the words to express my experience, I threw myself into another creative passion and made this short video so you have have a taste of what I experienced. Be sure to click on the HD option next to the volume which will take you to Vimeo to watch it in higher quality.
With love and courage,
Filmed on GoPro Hero 3 basic model (on wide angle) and some above water shots from my iPhone 4s. Footage of the Hammerhead haka-rena, schooling hammerheads and final shot of solo hammerhead courtesy of Svein Christoffersen.
We dived with Cedric and the cool cats Anto, Stanny, Mimpi and Nu aboard KM Black Manta. Check out www.whitemanta.com . This was our second trip with them after diving Komodo with them last year. Highly recommend them and can't thank them enough for making this another awesome trip.
Thank you to also to all my dive buddies for the laughs and sharing this incredible experience with me. It is one I will always remember. I'm still dreaming of hammerheads day and night.