Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sea Turtle Savin'

Tonight, as I walked out of the university after my evening class, I almost stepped on a baby sea turtle.

Let me explain. The university is literally across the street from a beach. And apparently there was a nest which had hatched, and a group of babies were crawling towards the lights of the university, rather than the moonlight (it's cloudy tonight).

So when I nearly tripped over my flip flop to not squash the little guy, and I stared down at him, flippers desperately swimming across brick, it took me a second to register. Then I called to the night watchman and the few local university students who were sitting on the front steps, lost in their own conversation:

"¡Hay tortuguitas del mar!"

They all stopped mid-sentence and rushed over and with the light of a flashlight and a few cell phones, we counted several more. Just then, a few motos came racing down the hill (per usual), to arrive at the U. We scooped up the babies and carried them to the safety of the sand across the road.

Another student went searching for a local teacher/researcher for the National Park, Juan Carlos. He quickly found a shallow bucket and filled it halfway with sand, where we then carefully deposited each of the lost but not yet discouraged baby sea turtles.

Suddenly we were a group of ten or more, scanning and scoring the beach slowly in the dim lights, minding the sleeping sea lions, as we searched for more turtles.

After a while, with no more new discoveries, some photos were taken, and the babies were escorted into the evening tide.

Such a random thing to happen, but I was so glad that it did (and that we were able to gather seemingly all of the turtles, obviously, duh). They were smaller than my palm. Their almost fleshy-feeling flippers were so strong and stubborn, like thumb war winners, scales so fine and smooth. I picked them up by their miniature yet sturdy shells. My memory was flashing to all the times I've snorkeled with these giant graceful beings, my favorite sea creature by far.

What a beautiful night!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scuba as Meditation

Here's what I've learned both from my recent Open Water Scuba Dive course and my meditation practice:

1. Never stop breathing. As in, don't hold your breathe, for fear of bursting your lungs as you surface, sure, but also, to maintain a slow and steady core as you pass through the world. Or as the universe passes through you.

2. Keep your eyes open. Discovering life underwater, especially in one of the world's largest Marine Reserves, is exhilarating and inspiring, yet peaceful. Don't block out the negative aspects of this world, instead focus on the root, the source.

3. Know your emergency strategies. Being prepared for potential problems changes the situation from being out of control, to manageable. Knowing how to keep your cool, giving responses instead of reactions.

4. Always dive with a buddy. Share your experiences, share your life. Enjoy the company you keep, learn something from everyone, even if they are not 'on your side.' Know that you are not unique in your life, we are all connected by our human drama.

5. Keep searching. Don't settle, never allow stagnancy. Continue to grow and challenge yourself. Take up new hobbies, make new relationships, keep on discovering your self and the world.

"Constantly exhale a steady stream of bubbles, making a gentle "Ahhhh" sound."