Jose volunteered to stay at home with the baby so I could go enjoy with his lab mates. We rented a smaller boat this time so the food wasn’t as good. They didn’t have the best brownies in the world which really sucked because I had even prepared a Tupperware! But it was great to be out in the sun, fresh air and salt water.
The reef we were going to was around Garden Island (?) and it took us about an hour to get there. Hei Mei and I were in the front talking about her love life while I stared into the water. Suddenly, I saw two shapes dart under our boat. “Oh my god, dolphins!!!” I screamed. One of the crew told us to keep looking because the dolphins were going to race us. We circled around and a whole pod of dolphins played around us! It was really amazing and totally unexpected! I think it was the first time I’d seen dolphins ever!
We reached the coral reef and jumped into the water. It was pleasantly warm! Of course after the dolphins the small fish and regular coral we saw weren’t such a big deal anymore. I even saw an old tire on the sea floor–what the hell?
In the beginning of our snorkeling session one of the guys, Mincho, told me that I should remove my life jacket because one can float easily in the sea. I didn’t know if he meant seas in general (not true in my case) or the Red Sea (because of high salinity?) I told him it was because he knew how to swim! I was not confident in my swimming abilities especially after almost drowning in Boracay 7 years ago. Last year when my friends and I went snorkeling in the Maldives, I hung on to my life jacket but was envious of Melanie, who was life jacket-free and had really nice underwater photos (while the rest of us bobbed at the surface). After that I resolved to learn how to swim because I wanted to stop panicking every time my feet couldn’t touch the bottom. After the trip, I went to the swimming pool quite often and even asked Solene to teach me how to improve my technique. Then I got pregnant and morning sickness derailed me from my dreams of swimming greatness. When we moved here to Saudi Arabia I went to the pool occasionally to practice. So, back to the Red Sea—after Mincho planted the idea in my mind, I told myself that I had to try before we got back on the boat. So after snorkeling I took a deep breath, took off the life jacket, and lo and behold, I could actually float, swim and not panic in the sea. What a great accomplishment for me! Well I didn’t go very far but that initial taste of success was so great that I’m looking forward to more sea swimming!