Most of the time I take life for granted. Fortunately for me certain experiences and moments have woken me up and reminded me that each breath of life is a gift. Swimming in the ocean with sea turtles is one of those things. Human beings aren't the most highly adapted creatures in the ocean. I find it amazing to observe that the turtle, one of the least graceful creatures on land, is well adapted to moving around in water.
Baby sea turtles hatch on land and their instincts urge them to find their way quickly to the sea. One single hatchling out of a hundred will reach adulthood. In fact, the most dangerous moments of life for the hatchlings are those first minutes as they race perhaps a few hundred feet towards the sea.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said "It is not length of life, but depth of life." He could have meant this quite literally if describing sea turtles. Watching hundreds of hatchlings race towards the sea, despite the sea birds above and the crabs hunting them on the sand is an amazing display of the survival instinct. I don't believe that hatchlings race frantically to the ocean out of fear of the predators. If that were the case they would have stayed tucked in their nest under the sand.
Living life means moving forward. Fear is paralyzing, but life moves us by promising reward. To survive one more day might be very improbable for the sea turtle hatchling, but even a few more hours is impossible if it doesn't move forward with the rest.
What inspires me while swimming with the sea turtles is realizing all of the obstacles that have been overcome by the creature swimming nearby. Against so many odds the sea turtles have survived. Once these beautiful giants of the reef have grown their protective shells and reach adulthood their lives are very different. Protected by a hard shell, the adult sea turtle is able to live in the shallow reefs where food is abundant and they encounter few natural predators. Adult sea turtles can achieve lifespans of over 100 years.
Ah, the blissful life of the adult sea turtle. Their reward for their unlikely arrival to adulthood? A mostly peaceful life spent eating, mating and hanging out in the reef. On occasion they might bask in the sun on a sandy shore. They might even happen upon a curious human. I hope that this human will understand the magic of the moment they are sharing with a species that has survived in this manner for over 100 million years.
|Immersing myself in my surroundings with a camera doesn't just turn down the noise of life, it powers it off completely. - Ryan Henke Studio|